Posts Tagged: Scams

I Miss Tokens

"A sharp subway rider warned Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials about a 'skimming' device on a MetroCard machine at the Columbus Circle 1 train station on Wednesday night. The illegal setups are made to blend in with the MetroCard vending machine and its surroundings. They grab electronic information from a debit or credit card when it is swiped to make a payment, and a separate hidden camera catches the PIN number riders enter. On Wednesday, 'an unidentified customer noticed the device, removed it from the machine and brought it to the station agent on duty. The New York [...]


Ask Polly: My Best Friend Keeps Recruiting Me To Join Her Multi-Level Marketing Scheme!

Hi Polly,

Over the past several years, my best friend and I have remained close through some huge life changes. I made the decision to get a divorce from my abusive spouse and she was right there with me, offering me a place to stay and moral support. She experienced an unplanned but welcome pregnancy which resulted in the birth of her first child. She also got engaged to the love of her life. I am now heavily involved in plans for her wedding. I love her dearly. However, there is one major problem with our relationship.

Both her and her new fiancée are active members of an international Multi-level [...]


Great Day For The Obama White House!

• "Contrary to assurances it has deployed U.S. drones only against known senior leaders of al Qaida and allied groups, the Obama administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified “other” militants in scores of strikes in Pakistan’s rugged tribal area, classified U.S. intelligence reports show."

• "A number of small banks used $2.1 billion in government cash intended to boost small-business lending to repay bailout funds from the financial crisis, a government watchdog said Tuesday in a report that also concluded the banks lent less money than firms that didn't take bailout aid."


My Three-Month Facebook Dialogue With A Scammer From Malaysia Pretending To Be A Beautiful Woman

During Hurricane Irene weekend, while holed up in a friend’s apartment and looking for some stimulation, I got friend-requested and emailed by an obvious scammer on Facebook. The con artist, under the name “Claire Anrie,” used a few professional photos of an attractive young woman (whom I later reverse-image-searched and discovered was a personal trainer in New York) and a typo- and contradiction-filled profile.

"Claire" quickly asked me to send her money by Western Union so she could come back to the U.S. and be with me, her "husband." Over the next three months, I kept up an ongoing dialogue via Facebook messages and chat in which I [...]


Dear NYC Young People: You Never, Ever Call an Emergency Locksmith

Sooner or later in many a young person's life, he or she moves to New York City and is then fairly promptly locked out of his or her terrible first apartment late at night. When this happens, you young people should know, the answer is go sleep at a friend's house, or pick up someone in a bar and sleep at their house, or sleep in a park, even if it gets you hassled by a cop and it's 20 degrees out. This is what happens pretty much, without fail, when you call a locksmith at 1 a.m. We're sorry we didn't let you kids know this sooner. [...]


Latest Richard Florida Takedown Has Big Dollar Figures

Just about everyone has written a Richard Florida takedown, to which I say, the more the merrier. This latest entrant, by Alec MacGillis, takes a long look at Catalytix, which is "A Richard Florida Creativity Group Company," one that extols the virtues of and implements the Creative Class® philosophy that he espouses. This is a great racket.


The Great New PR Campaign For Traders And Their Friends

It was easy to miss amid last week's great celebrity die-off, but while a nation turned its lonely eyes to the departing shade of Billy Mays, the securities industry moved into what it ominously termed the "execution phase" of its campaign to roll back "populist" resentment against the lords of the paper economy.


Nigerian Scammers Platform-Agnostic

"Message in bottle pulled out of River Thames contains Nigerian inheritance 'scam' letter"


"The Real Tooth Fairy" Fiasco: Sexism For Tweens Actually Isn't Paying Off For Once

"The Real Tooth Fairy" scheme is one of the great branding bombs of all time, with negligible web traffic to their site and all of 856 Twitter followers. Now the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has found the outfit's original investor pitch video, and it is a delightful hodgepodge of low production values, virulent sexism and childhood "goodness" brainwashing. SUPER GROSS. And it's hosted by the CEO of Fandango! Oh gosh it's bad. The Campaign is on high alert—"Until now, the Tooth Fairy was one of the few iconic children's fantasy figures that escaped being captured, branded, and monetized"—but we think the kids are safe. This [...]


"Winner Winner Chicken Dinner"

"Is it any wonder that virtually all Wall Street 'professionals' are habituated sociopaths who lie for a living just to skim a few pennies (metaphorically speaking: make that millions of "other people's" dollars in the real world). And is it any wonder that all banks demand their inner workings never see the light of day so they can operate in absolute secrecy, and exchanges like the above, and 22 more, are never read by the public." —Would you like to be a fixed income trader? Well, that era is ending, but it was a good grift. (via)


The Mysterious Case Of The Craigslist Writing Gig Scam

This is how the Freelancer’s Panic works: Checks that are supposed to have arrived get lost in the jaws of payroll processing, leaving you without any money and, worse yet, a sense that no money will find its way into your mailbox, ever. Days are spent alternating between considering the poor life decisions that have led to this point and sending out mass emails to friends and strangers looking for any leads. Which is how, one day last week, I found myself responding to an ad on the “Writing Gigs” section of the Los Angeles Craigslist that was, most likely, a scam. I mean, it definitely was a scam. Completely. [...]


If Someone Squirts On You It May Be A Scam

"THE SQUIRT: This is also known as the mustard dip, the ketchup dip or the bird poo… It's a classic scam which involves thieves getting the attention of their prey by squirting something on them. It can be a white mixture that looks like a pigeon's handiwork on someone's shoulder in the street or tomato ketchup in a cafe." -The BBC offers a helpful list of time-tested short cons to watch out for.


Things You Can Own: "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off"

There are so many new exciting sources of investment income these days! Fortunately you can own 25% of 20% of 50% of the performance royalties only of 80s pop hit "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off," as recorded by Jermaine Stewart, long dead now, and then you can retire, because you will be rich. Or stupid. (Here, the math: for every dollar earned that qualifies for performance royalties, you get, lesse: OH A SHINY ROUND 2.5 PENNIES.)


'Gossip Girl': The New York City Tour (For Morons)

We don't really have to do anything more than quote the headline on this press release: "Experience a Day in the Life of Manhattan's Elite on the Tour of 'Gossip Girl' Sites." But seriously: what, you can't walk into Henry Bendel all on your own, without someone telling you it was on the T.V.? It's a fucking department store!


Taking The Silver Cure

In 2002, RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan told a reporter from Blender about his post-9/11 health routine: drinking colloidal silver daily. "During the Black Plague, a lot of rich people didn't get sick… because of the metal intake—the silver in their bodies from their silverware and dishes," he said. Blender published the article under the excellent headline "IS THE RZA TURNING BLUE?" He has not, as far as we know.

Recently I sent an email to Silver List, a listserv of colloidal silver enthusiasts who share their experiences and advice about making and taking the liquid, asking for people who would talk to a journalist. I included a [...]


Electrocuted Alien Corpse Sadly Inauthentic

God, you can't trust anyone anymore.


UVA Board Just Wanted to "Disrupt" Education with Free Online Learnin'

Andrew Rice's Times mag story on UVA and the firing and unfiring of Teresa Sullivan sheds a bit more light on the BIZARRE STUFF that happened there. What had the board so worried? In late May, as she prepared to remove Sullivan, Dragas e-mailed a board colleague a link to a Wall Street Journal column, beneath the subject line: “Why we can’t afford to wait.” The article described a joint venture that offers free, open online courses. In the last year, Harvard, Stanford, M.I.T. and other elite schools have moved aggressively into this arena, drawing significant global audiences, if no actual revenue. While many veteran professors roll their [...]


Craig Newmark Will Murder You In Your Sleep (Says His Competitor)

A web listings service of which I've never heard has released some "stunning data" about crime on Craiglist, putting them somewhere in bed with John Boehner or maybe Rick Santorum. How much crime happens on Craigslist? On average, points out Fast Company, "around 0.00005% of posts are associated with crimes on Craigslist." That puts Craigslist use at somewhere on the safer side of flying in an airplane, which is far safer than sitting in your apartment, basically. And by the way, "crime" also includes prostitution and a whole lot of "other." So they're not only fearmongerers, they also hate proud American (sex) workers.


International Work On Your Novel Weekend Approaches

What are you going to do this weekend? Catch up on your CSI? Some light cleaning? Or maybe you could polish off two chapters in your dusty old novel! Maybe it's your first novel, the one that you would rather die before showing anyone? Or, as Michael Berger puts it today, "The one people will say, provided it ever gets published: oh that was just his first novel. That's why it was so childish and so preoccupied with sex and werewolves and time travel." (Um, yes please.) Anyway, that is what he is going to do this weekend and why don't you join him? He is still hacking out [...]


Ruth Madoff To Walk?

Um, that's weird! The Feds gave Ruth Madoff her passport back, "which apparently indicates that Lady MacMadoff will definitely not be charged with any role in the scam." Maybe she is innocent! Or promised immunity! Or maybe the world has gone mad.