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  • Geebo 9:37 am on May 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , texas   

    Craigslist scammer steals entire home 

    Craigslist scammer steals entire home

    We’ve discussed many real estate scams on this blog for the past couple of years. The most common one is when a home is listed for rent on craigslist by someone who doesn’t actually own the property. Usually, this is done to try to fleece prospective renters out of some kind of deposit or background check fee. More recently. we’ve heard of a scam that not only takes the cake, but it takes the whole house.

    In Missouri City, Texas, a couple was looking to put their home on the market. They were approached by a woman claiming to be a realtor. The homeowners signed something they thought was giving the woman permission to be their realtor. Instead, what they actually signed was a document that allegedly turned ownership of the home to the realtor for free.

    “These people changed our deed. They had got a power of attorney over our home, all the forms were notarized, but we’ve never been in front of a notary, never signed paperwork. Everything they’ve done was fraudulent.”

    To make matters worse, the alleged phony realtor listed the home for rent on craigslist and was able to lease it out to someone else who has since moved into the home. So far, no criminal charges have been filed but police are investigating.

    Trying to sell a home is hard enough without having to deal with scammers and con artists. If you’re approached by a realtor unsolicited, many states have a Real Estate Commission website where you can check to see if the realtor is legitimate.

     
  • Geebo 10:23 am on March 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , LeadInvest, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, texas   

    Texas cryptocurrency scam creeps up on craigslist 

    Texas cryptocurrency scam creeps up on craigslist

    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    For years it’s been debated whether or not cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are a worthwhile investment. Whether it’s due to the massive amount of power consumption needed to mine for cryptocurrency, its volatility in the current market, or its reputation for being the currency of choice in the trading of illegal goods on the internet, cryptocurrency has a less than stellar reputation among many investors. Now, the lure of easy money in the crypto market is being used to potentially scam investors out of their actual money.

    The Texas State Securities Board recently ordered a cease and desist order against a company called LeadInvest who claim to develop trading software for cryptocurrency. The reason for the C&D is because the company is allegedly misrepresenting itself by falsely claiming a number of famous people are on its management team like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, among others.

    One of the reasons the state of Texas became involved was because LeadInvest was said to have flooded craigslist with ads for their services targeting residents of the Lone Star State. If you see a cryptocurrency ad on a less than reliable website like craigslist, think of it like those ads on daytime TV trying to sell you physical coins as an investment option. They’re usually not telling you something that’s in the fine print that shows you how worthless the investment really is. Even under normal circumstances, cryptocurrencies are a highly risky venture. If you decide to risk money on such an investment, always be aware of the inherent risks involved and never invest money you can’t afford to lose.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on February 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dallas, , , texas   

    Are safe exchange zones effective? 

    Are safe exchange zones effective?

    In the wake of the multitude of violent crimes that have been committed through sites like craigslist and apps like OfferUp, a number of police departments across the country have set up safe exchange zones for people to have a safer environment to make transactions. For example, each ad on Geebo contains a link to the SafeTrade Stations initiative which contains a list of all participating police departments across the country. In the Dallas, Texas area, a number of police departments created safe exchange areas after too many high-profile crimes took place where the criminals used classifieds sites or apps to find their victims.

    More recently, another murder has sadly taken place in the Dallas area where the victim was using a classifieds app to try to purchase a cell phone. This has caused Dallas news station WFAA to ask if the safe exchange zones are having any effect to which police departments in North Texas say that the effect has been mixed. A representative of the Arlington Police Department had the following to say on the matter.

    “We know people are utilizing it but unfortunately you still have that segment of the population that is still kind of trusting other individuals and meeting them offsite,” Lt. Christopher Cook said. We still have a lot of our robberies occurring at nighttime unlit places and untraveled locations.”

    A tool is only as good as the person who is using it. If people aren’t using the exchange zones it’s difficult to ascertain their true effectiveness. It seems more like the problem isn’t the zones themselves but the education and publicizing of these zones.

     
  • Geebo 10:31 am on January 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Houston, , , texas   

    Backpage facing yet another trafficking lawsuit 

    Backpage facing yet another trafficking lawsuit

    In the past year or so, a number of lawsuits have been filed against Backpage, the site that tries to disguise itself as a classifieds site but makes most of its money off of sex trafficking ads. Some of these lawsuits have come from families whose daughters were killed in the sex trafficking trade. Others have come from women who were trafficked while underage on Backpage. The one thing that all these lawsuits have in common is that Backpage took money for these ads while knowing exactly what they were for.

    Most recently, Backpage is being sued by an 18-year-old woman from Houston, Texas. She says that she was 15 when she was advertised on Backpage. Her lawsuit alleges that Backpage knowingly edited ads to hide evidence of child sex trafficking. This is the basis of most of the recent lawsuits against Backpage as a Congressional investigative committee found evidence that Backpage was allegedly actively editing their ads in this manner. Due to the findings of that investigation, Backpage has settled at least one lawsuit filed against them by trafficking victims.

    Since Congress has been dragging their feet on providing any kind of real legislative protection for Backpage’s trafficking victims, maybe hitting them in their pockets for millions of dollars in settlements will finally make Backpage realize that it’s not worth it being in the business of selling people.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on June 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: car theft ring, , Hosuton, , texas   

    Craigslist and OfferUp used in multi-state car theft ring 

    Craigslist and OfferUp used in multi-state car theft ring

    Recently, 16 people from the Houston, Texas, area have been arrested for allegedly running a multi-state car theft ring that netted them over $1 million. The crew would use fake IDs to rent cars from rental car services and would then sell these cars states away. They were able to sell the cars through unmoderated classifieds.

    The suspects are said to have used both craigslist, which is no surprise, and classifieds app OfferUp to sell these cars to unsuspecting buyers. A number of the suspects were caught after they had bragged about their crimes on social media. It’s unknown what has happened to the money given to the suspects by buyers, but if history is any indicator, it will be a long time before they may see any of it again.

    This is the problem with unmoderated classifieds. When cars are being sold for ridiculously low prices it should be a red flag to any site or app that deals in car sales. If the price is too good to be true, many times it’s either stolen or the car doesn’t even exist. Precautions could be put in place by these sites and apps, but it seems they’d rather not spend the money to help ensure a better customer experience.

     
  • Geebo 10:59 am on February 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , texas, vending machine   

    Would you buy a car from a vending machine? 

    Would you buy a car from a vending machine?

    Are you the kind of person who hates to shop for a car? Do you hate having to deal with salespeople who you know are trying to rip you off just to make a big commission? Do you wish you could just press the buttons of E and 5 and have the car of your choice of produced magically in front of you? Well now you can.

    AN online car dealership has opened what they call a car vending machine in Austin, Texas. The structure is a five-story tall glass structure that houses 30 cars. However the term vending machine is a bit of a misnomer. You still have to finance and make your actual selection through the dealership’s website, however when you go to pick up your vehicle they give a giant novelty coin to put in the machine to get your car.

    Thankfully, it’s not like an actual vending machine. Could you imagine having to lug $30,000 or more in quarters only to find out that you’re a few dollars short. Then you take out the crumpled bills in your pocket and try to straighten them out against the change machine only to have your selection of vehicle get stuck in the machine that has a sign that says ‘no refunds’? That would actually be worse than dealing with a sales person.

     
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