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Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


This happened a while ago but its always puzzled me. When I was in college I went online to sell a gift card for cash. I found some sketchy website that agreed to give me 100% of the gift card's value! I did it and immediately afterwards thought I must have been scammed; what did they have to gain? To my surprise I got a good check in the mail for the exact amount on the card. How were they making money here? Some kind of money laundering thing?

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Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


Thread moved on a while ago, but this is all you need to know about the Better Business Bureau:

https://www.bbb.org/us/mi/ada/profile/multilevel-sales/amway-0372-17004933

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


Just got a call, an actual person surprisingly, from "visamastercard"

Its funny how indignant they get when you call them out. I said "didn't realized they merged" he replied: "do not waste my time sir!" like I prank called him.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


An amusing thing about scratch-offs: A series of scratchers is printed in one batch with a set number of grand prize winners. Once all the grand prizes are won and claimed the state is free to sell the remaining tickets even though they cannot be winners. Arguably its "fair" since the initial odds remain the same but there's a good chance the "win 1 mil bux!!" tickets at your local gas station have a known 0% chance of winning.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


If anything you'll probably get put on a "warm body at this number" list for more spam.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


The thread's moved on but slot machines have an interesting history, hopefully it interests someone besides me. Early on they weren't considered a significant source of income for casinos. Their main purpose was to keep the wives, girlfriends etc. of the gamblers amused while the real gamblers played at the tables. Their main limitation was the odds were pretty good and unchangeable. Take your classic three-reel slot machine: say each reel has, i dunno 20 spaces, 20 x 20 x 20 gives you a pretty good 1:800 chance of winning the jackpot so the casino had to keep the prize low to make a profit. You could add reels to make the odds lower but the difference would be obvious and no one would play it. Then in the 80's an inventor replaced the random mechanical spinning of the reels with a computer and RNG. The reels looked the same but what symbol they land on is predetermined by the computer. This allowed the casino to set whatever odds they wished. They could set the chance of a jackpot low and offer a large prize. This led to slot machines going from an afterthought to the main source of revenue for casinos. Now they've evolved into a video game carefully designed to be as addictive as possible.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


Everyone should know your printer wastes yellow ink to snitch on you, that sniveling bastard

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


In Massachusetts it is indeed the law that the product must be sold at the lowest indicated price, whether an ad, sign or sticker.

https://www.mass.gov/item-pricingprice-accuracyunit-pricing

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


Guest2553 posted:

If only there was some way to know an outcome like this was not America's best interest. They made their bed, now it's time to get hosed in it.

I do feel bad for those who didn't vote for him though.


P sure my mom was arrested for this once so

Yeah, used to work retail, its called "sticker swapping" or something and I think its legally considered fraud. Its why price stickers have cuts across them so you cant easily peel it off in one piece.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


My old stores policy was the moment any change funny business started to close the till and tell the customer they were free to review the security camera footage with management and sort it all out. Theyd promptly skedaddle.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


TheParadigm posted:

Alright, whats the deal with the deaf renter scam? People who can communicate only through text.

Is this just a new form of advance check fraud? I"m trying to figure out how 'cashier's check for first and deposit' can be leveraged into a scam.

My best guess: its advanced check fraud and they have the text messaging all automated. The deaf renter part is an excuse to never talk on the phone which would require an actual person. They'll "accidentally" write a check for too much and ask you to wire the difference to them. Almost no one will fall for it but the operating cost is tiny so they can get by with a low bite rate much like Nigerian prince emails.

Or your giving some poor deaf guy who wants an apartment a hard time (/jk I assume its obviously not legit)

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


Remember the fine print in commercials from the analog TV era? I think you'd need that CSI zoom and enhance technology to read those.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


I remember reports that the game didn't even have sexy ladies in it.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


Yeah don't let them get away with bullshit like this.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


BiggerBoat posted:

Yeah, they're loving wastelands. I wonder what's gonna happen to all that real estate? Several I've seen are being converted to big Super churches, speaking of scams.

Some places have converted them into all-in-one schools/libraries/public spaces

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


I actually have a friend who used to do IT for a bank. Its been a cat-and-mouse game dealing with skimming. The skimmer devices used to be obvious but are now very well made and hard to detect. Some are tiny and thin and actually jammed inside the card slot. Modern ATM equipment has countermeasures though.



The two circles below the slot are photodetectors that can tell if a skimmer has been placed over the reader. The ATM itself has these too.

On retail terminals they sometimes glue a rubber wedge that looks like a keyboard key to prevent a skimmer being placed over it. Its effective because the criminal has little time to attach a skimmer at a retail location. They ask the cashier for cigs and slap it on while they're turned around.

Gas pumps have notoriously bad security, they can be opened right up and a skimmer plugged into the cable going from the card reader to the pump computer. They've been putting security stickers over the door but I always see these ripped off so who knows.

A lot of their effort is focused on the spending end, detecting suspicious usage patterns and shutting down ways to convert stolen cards to cash.

I went on forever but I find this stuff fascinating.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


Absurd Alhazred posted:

I've had something weird happen to me twice on AbeBooks: I order a book from a seller, get a confirmation of the order, then get not tracking number for at least a week, ask them where the tracking number is, get some weird bullshit about here being a miscommunication with the delivery company or something, then when I ask for another update they say the item got lost and issue me a refund. Is the idea that a lot of people might forget they've ordered it, or might not use the extremely simple contact interface to ask what was up?

This has happened to me too and Ive wondered that. Maybe they're just incompetent though.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


Also I think they don't tend to show up on drug tests. But as Luxury Handset said they're mostly used by the utterly broke.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


Sydin posted:

My last car purchase was surreal because it was from a small used auto dealer and the owner was either the chillest car salesman on the planet or on zanax, maybe both. Asked to test drive a couple and he'd just give me the keys without asking to hold any kind of collateral or even copy my ID, finally narrowed down on one I wanted and asked about the price, he goes "yeah that's the full price, I've already added all the fees and stuff in. I'd also really rather not haggle if that's alright with you." Asked how I'd be paying and when I said cash he gives me a thumbs up. When I went back the next day to actually do the purchase I was in and out in under 30 minutes. I was so weirded out by the whole experience that I had a mild panic that I'd been sold a lemon and rushed it to my mechanic the next day for a once over, but he tells me nah it's in great condition.

So uh, yeah, if you're ever in the Bay Area check out Green Light Auto I guess.

This has been my experience as well. Tiny used dealer, cash only, just wants to move cars. I also wonder if wealthy areas have a surplus of perfectly good used cars.

It also sounds like you weren't a time-waster which I've heard goes a long way.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


axolotl farmer posted:

I think there was a thread here a loong time ago by someone who was involved in that cult/scam org that drives teenagers around in vans and make them go door-to-door selling books.

Sounds familiar to anyone?

southwestern company is one of the companies that does this.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


I briefly worked on brick-and-mortar retail payment systems. Its much more messy than e-commerce with numerous locations, physical POS equipment, etc.

An amusing (to me at least) example I read about a while ago: so each retail location needs a data link back to their payment processor to check if a card is valid and process the transaction. If the link goes down the company has two options: refuse customers paying with a card until the links back up, or just store the card number and process it at a later time. A lot of stores quietly do the latter, figuring most of the cards will be valid and they don't want to lose business.

So some fraudsters had a bunch of credit cards flagged as stolen. They snuck up onto the roof of a gas station and wrapped the satellite dish in aluminum foil, cutting off the payment link. Then they freely bought a ton of gasoline using the bad credit cards.

BiggerBoat posted:

You guys are probably right.

I'm just getting up there in age, feeling like this poo poo is passing me by, that the world moves too fast and I need people to get off my non existent lawn. Doing everything through my phone doesn't seem to make my life easier. It just makes have to be on my phone all loving day and remember 200 passwords.

It's not you, it's me.

Just keep an eye on your card statements for any purchases you didn't make. Card companies are obligated to refund any fraudulent transactions.

And yeah password managers are great.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


Inspector 34 posted:

Yeah I had to do this a while back too. I think the reasoning was that plates get old and beat up and sometimes specs change with regard to reflectiveness or whatever. I would actually be fine with this if they didn't already have an opportunity to inspect the state of my plates when they force me to go in for emissions testing anyway. For states that don't have emissions testing it makes a tiny amount of sense to require new plates every once in a while.

But now I have the plate for the first car I ever owned as a keepsake so that's cool. It's still sitting in the same spot on the floor of my office as it was that day 12 years ago, halfway buried beneath a wire rack. I would never have been able to keep this valued piece of my young adulthood without the state of Washington telling me I had to replace it.

I think New York at one point wanted everyone to have to buy new plates when they did a redesign. Their justification was that cops would know anyone with old plates had an expired registration. (of course eventually new plates would have expired registrations too) IIRC it got shot down as a blatant cash grab.

Massachusetts has the decency to replace plates for free if they wear out.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


Pharmaskittle posted:

The official line on the battery thing is that they were throttling the performance of older phones so as not to degrade the battery or cause the phone to become unstable and shut down, because iOS updates and apps keep getting more demanding but the phone's hardware isn't up to the task.

Even if you take their explanation at face value its pretty clearly planned obsolescence. They pile more and more crap in forced updates nobody wants until you need a new device with a more powerful processor.

I have a 6 year old ipad which is now pretty much unusable despite being in perfect physical shape. Websites take 30 seconds to load, the browsers always crashing and pdfs won't open. Not buying an apple product again.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


Blue Moonlight posted:


What I will say is that Apple probably needs to move Safari towards a more evergreen release strategy decoupled from OS releases.

Yeah with my ipad I haven't had any updates available for a long time which might be a problem.

I realize the situation isn't entirely Apple's fault but needing a new device to view the same websites you've always viewed feels like a ripoff.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


BiggerBoat posted:

But we just can't afford UHC

But look how efficient we've gotten the shenzen factory>USA>shenzen burn pit pipeline.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


I got a scam call with a somewhat realistic virtual person. It was a guy with a Texas accent asking for money to support your local pigs. I tried responding with the middle suggested amount, 45 dollars. Robo-tex actually gasped, stuttered and went on a guilt trip asking for more. If the responses weren't painfully slow I could imagine believing it was a real guy.

So I looked it up, its a PAC that spent 98% on "administrative costs", 2% on some Trump billboards last election. Completely legal as PACs have no rules in the USA

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/16/us/police-super-pac-political-group-invs/index.html

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


I just called the (completely legitimate) number to activate a credit card. You'd think they could be a little less sus then "HELLO WELCOME TO CARD SERVICES" like at least say your company name. I had to double-check the number.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


Midjack posted:

It's as likely that as a new group cycling through the same tired poo poo hoping for a few hundred hits from tens of millions of addresses.

Probably this, also I wonder if they strike upon some specific message wording that manages to get past the spam filters and blast it until the filters get updated.

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Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


Tubgoat posted:

Just that. Motherfuckers keep rolling up without a reservation or even the ability to tell me their loving names! And it's not because of a disability, even, they can speak perfectly clearly, except when giving me the name on their "reservation." Are you here to see your buddy? Cool! I love visiting my buddy at a hotel so I bet you will too! What is their name? A series of mumbles? That can't be right, please speak into the microphone. Hmm, sorry, we don't have anyone by the name of "mumblemumblemumble" checked in with us. Might they be checked in under a different name? No, sorry, there's no one here named "mumblemumblemumblemumble" either. That's rough luck, mate. Please leave before I call the pigs. Nevermind the people who are here to see their buddy whose name they just plain don't know!

Or the dumbfuck guests who leave their still-active keys on the ground outside for homeless people to find, who somehow always choose room numbers and floors that do not exist in our hotel, who then need me to tell them what room they're in. This is one of many reasons we demand ID from a guest needing a key if we do not personally, specifically know who they are. If you're trying to get inside a room here for free, the best way to do that is either work here and have a packed schedule for which the boss will let you sleep over in an out-of-order room, OR be a relative or business relation of one of the owners.

It kinda feels like, all else being equal, hotel guests are like Elon Musk levels of stupid. Some of them are a delight but the vast majority should not be trusted with children or aninals. SPEAKING OF, I have come around on dog ownership.
Specifically, that humans should not be allowed to own dogs, and that toy-class dog breeders should be put to sleep humanely and quickly for the good of all living things.

Its disappointing people don't consider why staff are careful about stuff like this. I lost my hotel keycard once and was almost annoyed at how they wanted multiple id's and such but then I thought, yeah, I want them to be really sure before they give someone access to my room.

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