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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , piracy, ,   

    Double craigslist scam and more 

    Double craigslist scam and more

    Previously, we’ve told you about gift card scams and phony check scams. Now, at least one scammer tried to swindle someone using both scams at the same time. A woman in Madison, Wisconsin was trying to sell an item on craigslist and she received a check for more than $1000 than what she was asking for. The scammers told her to deposit the check and return most of the balance in gift cards. Luckily, the woman did not fall for the scam. If she had, not only would she have been on the hook for the amount of the phony check but once the gift card numbers would have been given to the scammer, the funds would be virtually untraceable.


    Speaking of gift cards, a New York man was arrested after allegedly using stolen gift cards to withdraw money at an ATM. The man allegedly used the account information from the gift cards to withdraw around $9,000. While the report doesn’t clarify what kind of gift cards were used we would imagine that they were something along the lines of a pre-paid VISA gift card. This is another potential reason you may want to avoid using gift cards as presents. We have some great tips here on how to avoid being ripped off when buying gift cards.


    Lastly, you may be tempted to buy a device online that promises you unlimited access to free movies and TV shows. Devices comparing themselves to the Amazon Fire Stick are showing up claiming to be ‘jailbroken’ which allow you to circumvent copyright protection in order to stream movies and TV shows which you would normally have to pay for a service like HBO to view. As you can probably guess, these devices are not only illegal but they’re usually loaded with malware according to CNET. This malware could potentially hijack devices connected to your home network such as microphones and cameras and could also send your personal information to any number of identity thieves. In the long run, you’re better off paying for a legitimate streaming service.

  • Geebo 9:01 am on May 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Kodi Box, piracy,   

    Facebook Marketplace has banned Kodi Boxes. What are they, and why are they banned? 

    Facebook Marketplace has banned Kodi Boxes. What are they, and why are they banned?

    Facebook Marketplace recently joined other places like Amazon and Ebay by banning the sale of ‘fully loaded’ Kodi Boxes by claiming that they promote piracy. So you may be asking what is a Kodi Box and what’s so bad about it? Before we get there we need to explain exactly what Kodi is.

    Kodi is software that you can install on just about any device that not only organizes all your media, but allows you to play your downloaded content on your HD TV. Some devices are sold that have Kodi pre-installed on them. They are very similar to the Amazon Fire Stick or the Google Chromecast. However, Kodi is open source, meaning anyone can either alter the code or make add-ons that allow Kodi devices to stream pirated content. This can include the streaming of first run movies that are still in the theater or pay-per-view sporting events.

    The Kodi Boxes that Facebook Marketplace is banning are the ones listed as ‘fully loaded’. This is thinly-veiled code meaning the boxes can be used for pirated content.

    For those of us who are old enough to remember the advent of cable television, this is akin to the pirate cable boxes from back in the day that would illegally unscramble all the pay channels.

    In conclusion, it’s not illegal to own or use a Kodi Box, unless it runs the apps that allow you to pirate paid content for free.

  • Geebo 10:05 am on November 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , piracy   

    Netflix to offer content downloads for offline viewing 

    Netflix to offer content downloads for offline viewing

    A Netflix executive recently mentioned on a TV interview that the online streaming service is looking into offering an option for users to actually download content for viewing offline. This would allow users to view content while an internet connection may not be available. While this may only affect a niche market in the US, Netflix is targeting a more global audience that may not have the internet speeds needed to effectively stream their content.

    One has to wonder how this will affect online piracy though. Most copyrighted content, whether online or off, is protected by what’s known as Digital Rights Management or DRM. That’s basically software or code that tries to prevent the copyrighted material from being copied and distributed for free. The problem is, rarely has there been a DRM that wasn’t cracked within a matter of days.

    However services like Netflix and Amazon Video are actually curbing piracy by offering streaming content. It’s much easier to just click a button on your device of choice than going through a somewhat convoluted and illegal process in order to access content for free.

  • Geebo 10:03 am on July 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Artem Vaulin, , , , KAT, Kickass Torrents, piracy   

    US seizure of top piracy site shows government’s misguided priorities 

    US seizure of top piracy site shows government's misguided priorities

    Yesterday, in a joint effort between Homeland Security, Facebook, Apple and the Polish Government, among others, 30-year-old Ukrainian citizen Artem Vaulin was arrested in Poland and is awaiting extradition to the United States. With that kind of concerted effort behind it you would think that he must be some kind of terrorist, or drug lord, or some huge figurehead in international organized crime. He’s none of those actually, but what he is believed to be is the owner of a website that allows its users to obtain pirated works such as movies, music and TV shows. Vaulin is believed to be, by US authorities, the owner of a site called Kickass Torrents (KAT). KAT doesn’t actually host any of the pirated works. What they do host are what’s known as torrent files. These are files that allow the users of KAT to collectively share the pirated works between each other. I realize that’s largely arguing semantics, but it dispels a myth that these pirate sites host the actual pirated works.

    So why does any of this matter? Even though no statement has been made to the effect, one could easily surmise that this massive operation on the part of the US Government came from pressure from the entertainment industry, which Homeland Security estimates that they’re losing $1 billion a year because of KAT. In a sense, it seems like the government is bowing to pressure from people who make things like trashy reality shows.

    Now I know the ‘Why don’t you go after the real criminals’ argument is a specious one, because you would want your law enforcement to pursue all criminals, but couldn’t the government’s resources and manpower be better used? For example, take Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer. Mr. Ferrer was called to testify before Congress about Backpage’s role in the sex trafficking of women and children in our country. Instead, Mr, Ferrer left for the Netherlands ‘on business’. Since that time not only has Congress held him in contempt but he and Backpage are being sued by Congress. Why is there no contingent of government and corporate forces uniting to bring Mr. Ferrer before Congress? It’s simple really. The victims of sex trafficking have no lobbying group behind them. There’s no money to be made by politicians for trying to stop the flood of human trafficking that Backpage allegedly facilitates. On the other hand the entertainment industry has very deep pockets for our friends in Washington.

    So sorry to all the victims of Backpage, it seems you can’t afford justice.

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