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  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , texas   

    Is there really something wrong with your Amazon Prime account? 

    Is there really something wrong with your Amazon Prime account?

    Today, we’re bringing you scams that are happening locally in communities around the country. As we always say, if it’s happening there it could also be happening in your community.

    First up is a report out of Westchester County, New York where police there are warning residents about calls claiming to be from Amazon. Residents have complained about receiving calls from someone claiming that their Amazon Prime accounts have been compromised and need to be renewed. Victims of the scam are then asked for their financial information to resolve the non-existent issue. In one case, a victim was asked to remotely give control of their computer to the scammers so they could ‘improve the security settings.’ So this scam appears to be a hybrid of phishing and the tech support scam.

    A student at Texas A&M recently found herself scammed out of $10,000 in a Social Security scam. She received a phone call with the caller claiming that her Social Security information was misused with some drug issues in El Paso. They threatened her with arrest or she could pay them $10,000. The student was then instructed to transfer money to the scammers by way of BitCoin and gift cards. No government agency will call you on the phone like this and they especially wouldn’t ask for payment in BitCoin and gift cards. If you suspect there may actually be an issue with your Social Security, call the Social Security Administration yourself at their official customer service number of 1 (800) 772-1213.

    Lastly, if you get an unsolicited phone call from someone promising you a great cable deal, it’s more than likely a scam. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers of these fraudulent phone calls. The caller will promise you a discounted deal on your cable bill if you pay a certain number of months upfront. As with many scams, they ask you to make the payment by using pre-paid debit cards. Like gift cards, one the scammers are able to get the money off of the pre-paid debit card there’s no way of getting it back.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Kingsley Otuya, , , texas   

    Romance scam had tragic consequences 

    Romance scam had tragic consequences

    Readers seem to like our stories about romance scammers who get arrested. Who can blame them? They’re usually stories about justice being brought against those who perpetrate one of the cruelest cons in today’s society. These stories can also serve as a warning to others to be wary of such scams to protect not only their wallet but also their well-being. Sadly, not all the stories about scammers being caught have happy endings. We’re not trying to be sensationalistic by bringing you this story. Our hope is to inform consumers of the disastrous effects this scam can have.

    earlier this week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Texas announced the sentencing of 34-year-old Kingsley Otuya of Austin, Texas, for being part of a romance scam ring. Otuya was sentenced to 11 years in prison for being a ‘catcher’ in the romance scam ring. A catcher is someone who quickly withdraws money from a bank account before the bank can catch on that the account is being used for a scam. This particular scam ring was said to have taken over $1 million from their victims. Tragically, one victim was so devastated about being taken advantage of in a romance scam that they took their own life.

    Again, we can’t stress this enough that no one is immune from these romance scams. Victims have come from all socioeconomic and education standards and have crossed all racial divides. Too many of the victims have been left almost destitute in the wake of these scammers. If you think you may be the victim in a romance scam there’s no shame in coming forward to authorities. You’re probably not the only victim and your assistance could be crucial in helping apprehend the suspects. Also, if you think there’s no way out of your situation and are contemplating the unthinkable there’s also no shame in reaching out for help there too. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255 or their website.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , exotic aninmals, , texas, wild animals   

    Exotic animals being trafficked online in Houston 

    Exotic animals being  trafficked online in Houston

    At Geebo, we’ve never been shy about our policy of not accepting ads for pets. Whether it’s because of puppy mills, pet adoption scams, or animal abuse, we feel that it’s detrimental to animals and our customers to accept these kinds of ads. Meanwhile, some of our competitors, like craigslist, ban the sale of animals but do not enforce it. As we’re about to find out, it’s more than just cats and dogs being traded online but also larger animals that aren’t traditionally kept at home. One of those places that seem to be having a problem with this type of animal trade is Houston, Texas.

    Recently, a caged tiger was found in an abandoned Houston home. Possessing this kind of wildlife is illegal in Houston but that hasn’t stopped people from trying to sell these animals online. Police in Houston also arrested a man who was allegedly selling a bobcat on craigslist for $1000. The tiger is now at a wildlife sanctuary while the bobcat will more than likely be released back into the wild. These two cases are not outliers as Houston seems to have a history of people keeping wild animals domestically.

    We realize that some people will see this and believe that keeping a large exotic or wild animal in the home is no big deal, however, the ASPCA vehemently disagrees. according to their Position Statements on Exotic Animals as Pets not only can these animals lash out at their caretakers but can also spread diseases to humans. Even if the animal seems domesticated, it’s still cruel to take an animal out of its habitat just so someone can take selfies with it.

    Another problem with people keeping exotic animals is that the crimes are usually only a misdemeanor. If they can afford to shell out money for a tiger cub then they can probably afford the money for any misdemeanor fine levied against them and the cycle continues.

    Police rely mostly on citizen reports to find these animals and rescue them from these dangerous situations. So if you see an exotic but illegal animal being held captive please contact your local police.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on October 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , texas   

    Texas woman sues Backpage and Facebook over human trafficking 

    Texas woman sues Backpage and Facebook over human trafficking

    A woman from the Houston, Texas, area, only identified as Jane Doe, has filed a lawsuit against Backpage where she was allegedly trafficked while she was underage. This should come as no surprise as former Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer had admitted to the fact that Backpage knowingly made money off of the sex trafficking of girls and women. Jane Doe is also suing two area Houston hotels which is also not unheard of as many trafficking victims believe that the hotels should do more to be aware of trafficking victims. What is really making headlines about this suit is that the victim has also filed a suit against Facebook for allegedly failing to prevent her from being approached by a pimp.

    The victim claims that she was 15 in 2012 when a pimp first approached her through Facebook. As online traffickers tend to do, the pimp consoled her after a fight with her parents. The pimp was said to be Facebook friends with a number of her real friends and promised the victim a job as a model. When the victim met the pimp she was beaten and sexually assaulted before being advertised on Backpage. The suit claims Facebook allows traffickers to “stalk, exploit, recruit, groom … and extort children into the sex trade.” Even though I’ve been a very vocal critic of Facebook, at first glance I thought the suit against Facebook may have no merit, however, the victim makes a very valid point when it comes to the social media kingpin.

    The victim claims that Facebook allowed her abuser to use a false identity that allowed him to approach the girl. For some time, Facebook has prided itself on having its users use their real names, even going as far as to ban accounts that use pseudonyms. As has been demonstrated in the past, Facebook seems to enforce their own policies rather arbitrarily and haphazardly. While I’m far from being a legal expert it seems that since banning false accounts is a well established and practiced Facebook policy, this policy may allow the suit against Facebook to proceed.

    What’s your opinion? Do you feel that Facebook should be doing more to prevent human trafficking on its platform or is this lawsuit without merit? Please leave your comment and let us know.

     
    • S. B. 5:15 pm on April 27, 2019 Permalink

      I believe we all seen this coming for a while . Just a matter of when I’m not sure if she has a tight case as fare as Facebook however , if she does I’m sure that Facebook will settle out of court and the media giant will insure a gag order is in place to insure they take know legal responsibility .

  • Geebo 9:01 am on July 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , texas,   

    Single father taken in craigslist car con 

    Single father taken in craigslist car con

    If you try to buy a used car on craigslist, chances are you’ll run into any number of con artists. Some of the used car scams we’ve brought to your attention are ones involving phony car titles and stolen rental cars. That’s only the tip of the iceberg as used car scams can take many forms including the gift card scam as shown in the video below.

    Recently, a single father from Houston, Texas, found himself out of $3,000 that he borrowed from his sister so he could purchase a used car off of craigslist. The man met with the seller in a store parking lot and the seller just basically drive off with the man’s money. Reports say this particular scammer has allegedly performed the same scam in New Mexico and Nevada.

    Again, if you’re going to buy anything from a classifieds site we recommend meeting the seller at a local police station as they’re becoming the de facto place to meet in case of con artists. However, when it comes to cars we also recommend meeting the seller at your state’s DMV so you can go in and make sure the title is a legitimate one before buying. We also recommend using Geebo instead of craigslist as the vast majority of our car ads have the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) listed in the ad. That way you can check the history of the car even before going to see it in person. Many states have an online service where you can check the VIN and there are a plethora of paid commercial options as well.

    A car is a major investment and can mean the world of difference to someone who has difficulty getting around their area. It could mean the difference between having a job or losing one. So please take the extra time in researching any used car before making such a possibly life-changing purchase.

     
  • 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: , , , 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: , , , , 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.

     
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