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  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 7, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Safety, , Twitch   

    Major social media platform experiences historic data breach 

    Data breach exposed most American families

    By Greg Collier

    If we had to hazard a guess, we’d assume that most of our readership do not use livestreaming platform Twitch. If you’re not familiar with Twitch, it’s most famous for its users who stream themselves playing video games, although it does have other content such as musicians and talk shows. Yesterday, Twitch was the victim of a massive data breach of epic proportions, which has left some of its top users vulnerable to potential cyberattacks.

    Yesterday, hackers released a veritable cornucopia of Twitch’s inside information. This was a 128 GB file that contained the platform’s source code. In layman’s terms, hackers released all the code that the platform runs on to the public. Some of this code contained information such as how much some of Twitch’s top earners make, which for some is in the millions of dollars. Twitch streamers make a lot of their money through monthly subscriptions and viewer donations.

    What’s more concerning to the average Twitch user is that it’s been alleged that usernames and passwords have been exposed. If this is true, this could lead to a rash of identity theft if Twitch users use the same password elsewhere online. While this breach may not affect the majority of our readership, it could affect your kids, as Twitch is massively popular among a younger audience.

    This data breach could be used to teach your kids a lesson in online security. Find out if they have a Twitch account and if they use their Twitch password anywhere else online. Recommend that they not only change their password to Twitch, but also to change it if they use the same password anywhere else. You should also recommend to them that they should not use the same password on multiple platforms. It’s never too early to have your children learn the value of internet security.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ProPublica, Safety,   

    Facebook marketplace is deadly 

    Facebook marketplace is deadly

    By Greg Collier

    Craigslist used to be the poster child for dangerous marketplace platforms. It was a reputation they earned through their unmoderated ad listings which led to countless scams, human trafficking, and a number of high-profile murders. However, within five years of launching, Facebook Marketplace has become the supposed industry leader. The reason Facebook Marketplace became so successful so fast is that Facebook already had a built-in audience of one billion users worldwide and for many of Facebook’s users, Facebook is their internet. And since Facebook doesn’t want their users to wander outside of Facebook’s walled garden, Facebook will implement features to try to keep users engaged. Marketplace is just one of those features.

    ProPublica is a non-profit organization that does investigative journalism. Recently, ProPublica did an extensive investigation into the problems with Facebook Marketplace. ProPublica claims in their report that Facebook Marketplace’s problems pale in comparison to the number of problems Craigslist had. They start off their report with a story about a man who was making a living selling cars on Facebook Marketplace. His Facebook account was hacked and scammers started selling cheap junk through his account. Since the account still has his name on it, he’s in fear for his life that a disgruntled customer will come looking for him. When the man tried to resolve the matter with Facebook, they just banned him from the platform with no answers given.

    But to Facebook, the fact that a Marketplace account is attached to a real person makes it safer for users. Except Facebook neglects to mention the part where just about anyone can open a Facebook account. And much like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace is awash with stolen goods on their listings. Facebook says that they have precautions in place to prevent scams and stolen items from being listed but according to ProPublica who spoke with past and present Marketplace employees, Facebook only reacts to complaints and does little to prevent fraudulent listings from going live.

    While Facebook Marketplace hasn’t had the number or PR nightmare that Craigslist had, there have been a number of murders committed using Facebook Marketplace. Much like we posted about OfferUp, the majority of these murders come from armed robberies. We’ll spare you the gruesome details, but many of these murders were particularly disturbing.

    Our point is that just because Facebook may be your social network of choice, that doesn’t make Marketplace safe by any stretch of the imagination.

    The even more unfortunate part of this blog post is that a lot of our audience won’t see it, since Facebook would almost assuredly prevent it from being posted on its platform. But they can’t stop you from posting it on Facebook. So please consider sharing this post or the ProPublica article with people you know who use Facebook Marketplace.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 17, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: armed robbery, , , Safety,   

    String of armed robberies plague OfferUp users 

    By Greg Collier

    Too many people seem to think that marketplace app isn’t as dangerous as Craigslist just because it’s a modern looking app. While OfferUp doesn’t have the body count that Craigslist does, that only means that OfferUp hasn’t been around as long as Craigslist has. OfferUp has had its share of murders as well, but again, nowhere near the numbers that Craigslist. That’s not to say that OfferUp won’t catch up to Craigslist, given enough time. At least anecdotally, Craigslist related homicides seem to be on the way down, while OfferUp seems to be picking up the slack.

    The majority of OfferUp related homicides start out as armed robberies, then for some reason or another, the bullets start flying. These armed robberies have become such a problem that the police force of a major metropolitan city has issued a warning to its citizens. In Seattle, the police department has issued a warning to residents after a string of victims were robbed at gunpoint at what the victims thought were car sales.

    This is an old tactic that goes back to the Craigslist days. Thieves will post an ad for a car being for sale. Some thieves will use expensive cars as the lure, while others will offer a more affordable car being offered at a below-market price. The goal is to get the victims to bring large amounts of cash with them to the exchange. Victims are then robbed of this cash along with other valuables, including sometimes the car itself. As we stated previously, too many times these robberies easily can turn into murders.

    Most people will tell you that you’ll be safe if you just meet in a public place during the day. Those rules don’t apply anymore. People have been robbed and killed in broad daylight on busy streets. The best way to make any in-person marketplace exchange is at a local police department. While it’s not 100% effective, it goes a long way in discouraging bad actors from trying to get the jump on you. Many police departments even have areas set up for just such exchanges. Every ad on Geebo.com has a link to SafeTrade Stations, where you can find a police station near you.

    We also understand that there are segments of the population who may not feel comfortable going to a police station to make their exchanges. We understand your hesitation. For extra security and safety, we recommend still going to the police station, but take someone with you who can record the transaction on their phone.

    We wish the world wasn’t like this, that we could just go to a shopping center parking lot and make our exchanges. Unfortunately, too many people look to take advantage of the civility of their victims.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Safety,   

    Why is Craigslist failing? 

    Why is Craigslist failing?

    By Greg Collier

    Since Craigslist is a privately owned company, they do not have to disclose their finances. However, the AIM Group recently asserted that Craigslist has lost close to 50% of their revenue in just two years. The AIM Group is a sort of watchdog organization that keeps tabs on the online marketplace space. They once famously referred to Craigslist as a cesspool of crime.

    Using what the AIM Group calls their proprietary methodology, Craigslist’s revenue dropped from $1 billion in 2018 to $565 million in 2020. Again, that’s an almost 50% drop in just two years. Part of the drop can absolutely be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the decline started long before lockdown. Part of the drop can also be attributed to the number of competitors that have recently started occupying the marketplace space. Other niche sites like Airbnb have also taken a chunk out of Craigslist’s userbase. However, we think it’s because of poor business decisions Craigslist has been making for the past 20 years.

    For a large majority of Craigslist’s history, it was long rumored that they received the majority of their traffic from their erotic services section. Due to mounting legal pressure over human trafficking concerns, erotic/adult services was shuttered in 2010. Craigslist’s revenues took a slight dip in 2011 but continued to climb until 2018. So, what happened in 2018 to cause such a downward spiral? That’s when Craigslist shuttered their personals section over fears of the anti-sex trafficking laws FOSTA/SESTA. After Craigslist closed their erotic services section, traffickers would instead just post their ads selling women and girls to the personals section. By closing the personals after FOSTA/SESTA was signed into law, Craigslist virtually admitted that their platform had a sex trafficking problem.

    Craigslist’s problem is that in their 26 years, they’ve refused to moderate any section of their site to keep out criminals and scammers. Craigslist only seems to moderate content on their platform when threatened with legal action. Except moderation costs money and Craigslist has a reputation of maximizing profits above all else, even at the expense of the safety of their userbase. Geebo.com and several other platforms moderate their content and still manage to be profitable. The only security measures Craigslist has is a list of safety tips and unless they change their tune, they will continue to decline.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Safety, ,   

    Grandparent scammers victimize woman three times 

    Grandparent scammers victimize woman three times

    One of the many problems with being a scam victim is that often the scammers will try to victimize from you again. Usually, the scammers will try to fool you again with a different scam. For example, a scammer might have fooled you with a police impersonation scam. Then, the scammers may try to fleece you again using a Social Security scam. It’s rare to hear of a scammer using the same scam multiple times on the same victim but that’s exactly what happened to an elderly woman in upstate New York.

    In Amsterdam, New York, an 88-year-old woman was contacted by someone who claimed to be her grandson. The scammer said they had been arrested and needed $7,000 in cash for legal fees. The woman gathered the money and sent it to an address in New Jersey.

    A month and a half later, she received another call from the same ‘grandson’. This time they were asking for $10,000 in cash after the phony grandson claimed to be in a car accident.

    Later on, the victim was contacted again. Once again, the phony grandson was asking for another $10,000. This time, an employee at the shipping service she was using asked her about the package. When the woman told them it was cash for grandson the delivery employee believed she was being scammed and contacted the state police.

    Unfortunately, if you’ve fallen for a scam in the past, it’s likely that scammers will try to target you again. Like we said previously, it’s usually with a different scam but it’s not unheard of for scammers to use the same scam multiple times and the grandparent scam is the perfect scam to use that way. If a victim believes the scammer is their grandchild once, they may believe it again.

    As we always advise when it comes to the grandparent scam, if you receive one of these calls, hang up. Then call the actual person the scammers are claiming to be to make sure they’re not in any actual trouble. If it were a legitimate call from a grandchild, they’re not going to be in any more trouble if you stop to take the time to verify their story. You can also ask the caller a question that only they would know or set up a family password to indicate the call is legitimate.

    Again we ask that if you know an elderly person or couple who live alone and do not have access to the internet, please let them know about this scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Safety, ,   

    Scammers are showing up at seniors’ doors 

    Scammers are showing up at seniors' doors

    If you’re not a senior citizen yourself, you may have an elderly relative. They may live alone and a great distance from you. Would you want strangers showing up to their door and taking thousands of dollars in your relative’s money? How upsetting to you would that be if it happened to someone in your family? Unfortunately, this is happening to many families around the country in this scary new twist on the grandparent scam.

    Just in case you’re unfamiliar with the grandparent scam it’s when a scammer calls a senior citizen and poses as one of their grandchildren or some other relative. The scammers will say that they’re in some kind of trouble. Usually, they’ll say that they’ve been arrested and need money for bail. Other times they’ll say that they’re in the hospital and need money for treatment. We’ve even seen some cases where they’ll say they’re overseas and they need money to get home.

    As you can see, the common goal of the scam is to get money from elderly victims. Scammers used to get money from their victims in this scam by having them buy gift cards and having the victims give the gift card numbers to the scammer over the phone. Just as an aside, we’d like to remind you that gift cards are commonly used in all sorts of scams, so please keep in mind that no legitimate company or agency will ask for payment over the phone in gift cards.

    Now, grandparent scammers have developed an increasingly worrying tactic. Instead of asking for gift cards over the phone, scammers are employing go-betweens who act as couriers to pick up the money personally. In at least one case in Ohio, a woman was scammed out of $15,000 when a scammer posed as her grandson in Florida claiming to need bail. The scammers had someone go to her home and physically collect the $15,000 in cash.

    While we haven’t heard of any of these scammers getting physical with their victims, the potential is always there.

    The best way to deal with these scams is to contact the person the scammers are claiming to be. Scammers may sound convincing due to the fact that they get a lot of their information from social media. However, even if the call is real no one is going to be sentenced to life in prison or thrown out of the hospital if you hang up on the phone call from the supposed grandchild.

    If you know an elderly person or couple who live alone and do not have access to the internet, please let them know about this scam. Also, consider setting up a family password for just such emergencies so you can verify the person calling is who they say they are.

     
    • Dave Smith 8:45 pm on August 31, 2020 Permalink

      They sound convincing, one called me and sounded just like my grandson from of out state.
      When I ask him what his mother’s name was, what was my name, what was his father’s name he started acting like the phone connection was bad, I told him until he could answer my questions I wasnt sending him anything. He hung up the phone. They are very convincing,
      If I hadn’t worked in Security I would have believed the story. DO NOT DO ANY BUSINESS ON THE PHONE!

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Safety,   

    A scammer at your door 

    A scammer at your door

    Scammers have always been quick to adapt their scams so they can steal your money as quickly as possible. Before, scammers would have their victims wire them money or they would make them buy a bunch of gift cards and the scammers would take the card numbers over the phone. More recently, scammers have started taking great lengths to make sure that nothing stands between them and stealing their victims’ money. One ploy we recently discussed was scammers keeping their victims on the phone during all aspects of the scam to make sure the victims were actually going through with the payment. Now it seems scammers are getting even more up close and personal.

    Various police departments and law enforcement agencies in Iowa are reporting that a number of residents have reported grandparent scams in their area. A grandparent scam is when the scammers pose as an elderly person’s grandchild and claim to be in some kind of trouble. This can vary from the scammer claiming to have been arrested, to being in an accident, and being stuck in a foreign country. They all have the same goal and that’s to get the victim to send them money. In one case in New York, one elderly woman gave a grandparent scammer $40,000 before realizing she had been scammed.

    The difference in these recent scams as opposed to grandparent scams of the past is that the scammers are showing up at the victim’s door to collect the money. Rather than risking someone tipping off the victim to the scam, scammers are posing as couriers and collecting money directly from the victim. This is concerning on a number of levels. Not only just for the scammer taking an elderly person’s money but the safety risk involved as well. Keep in mind that scammers are in fact criminals.

    If you ever receive a call like this, don’t hesitate to call a trusted relative to make sure the person claiming to be your grandchild is ok. If you hang up it’s not like the grandchild would be sentenced to life in prison.

    if you know an elderly person or couple who live alone and do not have access to the internet, please let them know about this scam. Also, consider setting up a family password for just such emergencies so you can verify the person calling is who they say they are.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Safety,   

    Some tips to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving 

    Some tips to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving

    With so many people cooking, traveling, or both for Thanksgiving, it’s time to once again for tips on how to keep your Thanksgiving safe. If you’re traveling by car this week, please drive carefully as Thanksgiving rivals New Year’s Eve and the 4th of July as far as alcohol-related accidents go. And even though it should go without saying, if you have too much to drink this week please make the proper arrangements so you don’t find yourself behind the wheel. Also, for your personal safety, you may want to let a friend or relative know your travel route in case something happens where you can’t get to a phone. If the unfortunate happens and you do have an accident, if the car can still move please move it to the side of the road to help prevent further accidents.

    As far as the kitchen goes, Thanksgiving is the worst day of the year for home fires. In general, you should always have a fire extinguisher in the home but you should especially have one for Thanksgiving. If a fire starts on the top of the stove, use a fire extinguisher to put it and out. Never use water as it could make a grease fire even worse. If a fire starts in the oven, close the oven door and dial 911. However, the biggest fire hazard for Thanksgiving seems to always be from deep frying turkeys.

    While deep-fried turkey may be delicious, it has the potential to be very dangerous if not done properly. Fires from deep frying turkey incidents have caused millions of dollars of damage to homes over the years and have the quickest potential to spread. Always make sure that the turkey is completely thawed before putting it in the deep fryer as the extra moisture will cause a hazardous situation. Deep frying should also be done outside and at least 20 feet from the home.

    With that please have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Safety,   

    Craigslist to start charging $5 for cars, Kids in Ubers and Lyfts, and no trafficking in Robert Kraft case 

    Craigslist to start charging $5 for cars, Kids in Ubers and Lyfts, and no trafficking in Robert Kraft case

    What a $5 car may look like

    As of today, craigslist will start charging $5 for car listings. So as of tax day if you’re selling your car on craigslist it will cost you a fiver. While craigslist has not publicly stated the reason for the change, many speculate that the move will cut down on scam listings. It will be interesting to see if craigslist users will balk at the new fee and if scammers will be willing to pay the fee. Not to mention that it’s almost ironic that craigslist is now starting to act like so many newspaper classifieds that they helped close down.

    ***

    KATU in Portland, Oregon is reporting on a new safety concern when it comes to using ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber. Their investigation found that many minors are using the ridesharing services even though their terms of service require a passenger to be at least 18. Some drivers will refuse the fare if they know the passenger is under 18, however, there are many drivers who either don’t know the rules or don’t care. According to KATU, some parents are even ok with their older kids using an Uber or Lyft. If you’re a parent, would you be ok with letting your kid use an Uber or Lyft alone?

    ***

    Lastly for today, it was recently reported that the investigation that allegedly caught New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft using a massage parlor did not find any evidence of human trafficking. Critics have dismissed this investigation as a witch hunt of sorts and that police were just looking to arrest workers and johns. However, in many cases, those being trafficked are unwilling to testify against their traffickers due to fears of reprisal or threats of violence against their families. To refer to human trafficking as an overblown problem is to dismiss the safety and welfare of all those being trafficked against their will who are treated as slaves.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Safety, Samantha Josephson,   

    Ridesharing safety at the forefront after murder of college student 

    Ride sharing safety at the forefront after murder of college student

    The safety of ridesharing users, especially women, has been a topic of concern lately after a University of South Carolina student was murdered by a man allegedly posing as her Uber driver. Last weekend 21-year-old Samantha Josephson got into a car that she thought was her Uber. Instead, the man who picked her up had no affiliation with Uber and is accused of stabbing her to death and leaving her body in a wooded area. While the tragedy that befell Ms. Josephson may be the most high-profile incident of assailants posing as Uber drivers it is unfortunately far from the first.

    The New York Times has collected a number of incidents that happened to female passengers who thought they were getting into Ubers or Lyfts before being assaulted by the driver. In some instances, their attackers had the sticker in their car windows in order to make it appear as if the attacker was a legitimate driver. These phony rideshare drivers tend to lurk around places where most rideshare services are requested such as bars and hotels. At one point in 2017, Uber even had to issue a statement warning customers about people posing as their drivers.

    If you’ve never used one of these services before you download the app of whichever service you want to use. The service requires you to upload a picture of yourself so the driver can recognize you and also for their safety. Conversely, the passenger will receive a profile of their driver that includes their name, what make and model of car they’re driving, their picture, and their license plate number. When your service arrives, make sure the driver tells you who they’re supposed to pick up and if they don’t know your name that’s a red flag not to get into the car. It’s also recommended that you message someone trusted that you’re about to get into an Uber or Lyft. Above all else, if you ever feel unsafe for any reason ask your driver to stop and if they won’t don’t hesitate to call 911.

     
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