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Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

Your brokebrain sin is absolved...go and shitpost no more!


the first robocall i ever got on my cell phone was for a "free cruise". it was also one of those robocalls that was intelligent enough to wait for the beep on your voicemail, so every month or so i'd get another call from the same number and i'd hit play and hear the same *hoooooonk* of a big ship's airhorn. i kinda miss it. i hope that airhorn is still doing ok

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Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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the "bag of crap" thing from woot became literally some plastic crap stuffed in a bag once amazon bought them out

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

Your brokebrain sin is absolved...go and shitpost no more!


Thanatosian posted:

There are legit reasons to do this. It allows you to give out "points" instead of cash as freebies, and allows you to have sales on points (which XBox did relatively frequently).

The most legit reason to do it is to confuse the consumer. Once a person converts real money into funbux, they don't think of it the same way they do an equivalent amount of real money, and they have a harder time keeping straight the actual value of products and/or their balance. And fake currencies aren't needed to put stuff on sale: you see iTunes cards on sale all the time.

There are some games I refuse to buy IAP in because of how stupid their funbux currency system is. I'm not going to give you money if every time I check the gem store I would end up having $4 left over after I buy the one thing I want. Looking at you, Path of Exile

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

Your brokebrain sin is absolved...go and shitpost no more!


I had a white van speaker guy try his scam on me once. I always giggle when I think about it, because before he was even halfway finished with his pitch I got so loving excited that holy poo poo this might be a white van speaker scam guy! After he was done with his pitch I just had to lean around the gas pump and see if it was a white van, which it was. Looking back on it, I might not have concealed my excitement very well and gave away that I was hip to the scam, because the guy didn't sell me very hard at all. I told him I already had a speaker system, a nice one, and he just kind of gave up. I always regret that I didn't think of something I could say to try and gently caress with him. I started trying to come up with some reason to say I was going to call the cops, but I was too excited to think up a way to question him about his "extra" speakers, and partially I chickened out with just never having dealt with this kind of scammer before.

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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grack posted:

I told him only if it was 4k. He flipped me a finger and drove off.

better than the kids in my neighborhood who steal generic red bull and frozen shrimp from aldi, then turn around and sell it to corner stores two blocks away

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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It looks like doTerra is some kind of MLM scam. Combine that with how essential oils are often hawked with really pseudoscience-y claims and you have a winner.

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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i don't know if it counts as an essential oil, but i recently bought a bottle of doctor bronner's liquid soap, the peppermint variety. i've used other varieties of soap from that brand and always thought "yep, it's soap" so i went with the one i thought smelled best. after using it for a few days, well...all i will say is that you don't want to leave it on sensitive areas of your skin for very long

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

Your brokebrain sin is absolved...go and shitpost no more!


I live in the only ZIP code for hundreds of miles in any direction that has no racial majority due to it being a popular spot for immigrant families from all over the world. One thing that's nice is that I haven't had to deal with any door to door solicitors for about half a decade

I suspect there are a few factors in play here. One is of course that you might run into people who you have a language barrier with. But it also wouldn't surprise me if your average dipshit scammer just isn't smart enough to sell to people who have successfully navigated the American immigration bureaucracy and started their own small business in a foreign land.

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

Your brokebrain sin is absolved...go and shitpost no more!


Avalanche posted:

5) Study Abroad in TURKEY over the summer! Only $1975! round trip all expenses paid!"

I really don't know what the gently caress this entails, I don't want to know, and I have no idea how the gently caress this has not been shut down yet other than the fact that even the most gullible of all people have no interest in ever going to Turkey.

some people go to college to actually learn new things and broaden themselves as a person. weird, right?


RenegadeStyle1 posted:

When we were originally looking for a place to live when I got out of the army my wife got contacted from Craigslist saying they were an older lady that owned a house in East Texas that she wanted someone to live in for free to take care of it. Obviously it sounded like a scam so we didn't do it but she sent pictures of a house and everything. I always wondered what the scam was since she never asked for any money, although we never got past a few emails with her.

The scam is that this person doesn't own the house, and probably lives in some other country. How it works is that they first find pictures of a property online, like on real estate websites, other Craigslist ads, Flickr, etc. Then they figure out its address to look legit, and post a rental listing on Craigslist pretending to be the owner or property manager. You email them and they act normally at first, but eventually they will mention that they are out of the country so you will have to conduct all your business by email or phone until they return. Obviously they are going to be back before your lease actually starts, but if you want to get everything in order you can fax them a signed lease and pay your security deposit by wiring them money.

The really sad part is when people fall for this and take the scammer at their word that they will meet up at noon on the first of the month to get the keys to the house. The first of the month comes and the suckers sit in their car for a while, notice that nobody seems to be around, and when they knock on the door of the house the discover that the real owners have lived in the house for 20 years and have never rented it out. I've run into this scam a few times while apartment-shopping and it's really scummy because it preys on people's anxiety about housing, a basic human need.

Lutha Mahtin fucked around with this message at 18:31 on Apr 9, 2016

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

Your brokebrain sin is absolved...go and shitpost no more!


Avalanche posted:

Maybe I should of been more descriptive and included the fact that the dude advertising this poo poo does not advertise with any other study abroad programs, it's always the same lone dude advertising, there's little/no literature available, and everything is written out in red ink on a small portable white board. Also, $1975 or whatever it is is always underlined with alternating green, black, and red marker ink.

Yeah this makes sense and is legitimately funny.

And I guess it's been a few years since I was in college but that number didn't really strike me as odd. Depending on the college and the study abroad program, sometimes it can be really cheap to go. I remember my college partnered with a study abroad program so the advertised rates were just a couple thousand bucks on top of your regular tuition.

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

Your brokebrain sin is absolved...go and shitpost no more!


Hello, Burger King? We are with the building safety commission and our information suggests that your store has become dangerously pressurized. Don't worry, you can fix this! All you need to do is

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRJBs3pjF90

(stolen from the minneapolis thread)

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

Your brokebrain sin is absolved...go and shitpost no more!


Either a dick or a good bullshitter...

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

Your brokebrain sin is absolved...go and shitpost no more!


Sergeant_Crunch posted:

I figure this is as decent a place as any for this question.

So I just got a call from PMC processing telling me that my sister is in big trouble for some official complaint that was filed against her. It seemed fishy as hell since they called me when I'm not all that close to my sister and it was a florida number, so I looked them up after. I'm pretty much positive it's a scam from what people are saying, but it's still eating at me.

I'm considering calling the number the lady gave me just to confirm they're trying to scam her, but what should I ask them?

This post is a bit confusing because it's not clear why you're being so vague. Is it because you're trying to not post certain specifics in case it would be damaging or embarrassing for your sister? Is it because you don't remember or understand what these people said? If it's for either of those reasons I think it's pretty obvious that my advice would be don't call. In my estimation you haven't established that this call was legitimate in any way, as in, that it was from a legitimate company or government agency or whatever.

The information you've included here doesn't exclude the possibility that you simply got a call from a criminal phone-spamming operation. If this is the case, then calling them back will only serve to let them know that your phone number is live and has a real person at the other end.

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

Your brokebrain sin is absolved...go and shitpost no more!


On a related note, one thing I wish everybody in the US knew is that debt collectors are actually regulated, and there is a pretty long list of things they can and can't do when trying to collect a debt from you or someone you know. The fact that there are now loads of phone spammers probably makes things worse, because many people are becoming conditioned to just delete voicemails that sound fishy, when in fact the best thing to do when dealing with someone who claims you owe them money is to document as much as you can about every communication you send to or receive from them. Like, if the phone call Crunch got had actually been a real debt collector, this would be a violation of the FDCPA (sec. 805(b) here). There is a long-running thread in BFC that helped me get a hilariously over-the-top apology letter from a big national debt collection law firm, if anyone's interested in the topic:

http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3234974

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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many johnnys posted:

Isn't it good if people help keep you from getting scammed or harassed/assaulted by a scammer?

not if it helps reinforce and continue the centuries of discrimination and prejudice against Roma people

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiziganism

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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except, the OP's phrase "offer to mow your garden" means the scammers are offering to use a lawnmower to cut the grass, which is growing out of the earth, which earth is part of the parcel of property on which your house sits. i've only ever heard "garden" used this way by non-Americans so i'm not sure if stand-your-ground laws are relevant

in other news, some australian con-man claimed he was the inventor of bitcoin and almost every news organization in the world reported this with zero fact-checking

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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drunk asian neighbor posted:

He also said "trim your trees" which is usually done with long, sharp and pointy things. Trees are also things that grow out of the earth, which is part of the parcel of property on which your house sits.

I guess I don't understand how me referencing a piece of landscaping equipment that is impractical to hold in one's arms such to appear vaguely threatening, means that somehow the goon who originally mentioned this scam has been magically transported from England to Florida.

Lutha Mahtin fucked around with this message at 17:25 on May 5, 2016

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

Your brokebrain sin is absolved...go and shitpost no more!


Those are a bit like the old burglar tactic where they buy a cheap business-looking vehicle and some surplus uniforms, so if anybody says "hey why are you taking all that stuff" they can say "oh, this is {similar-sounding address} right? We're the movers". It's just that little bit of misdirection and plausible deniability.

Lutha Mahtin fucked around with this message at 20:26 on May 8, 2016

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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lllllllllllllllllll posted:

Once paid with a 20 bill at a Chinese snack bar for <5 and got back around 5, allegedly because I only gave him a tenner.

when i worked as a cashier for near minimum wage, i had like 2 times when a customer handed me back the bill i'd given them for change, because they'd paid for their $1.20 soda with a $5 and I'd somehow given them back a $20 (or larger)

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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seacat posted:

Yeah I think I missed the part where this was supposed to be funny, im assuming because of the "whilst" it's a British humor sort of thing?

"lol desperate nerds amirite"

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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i got my second robo scam call today from someone claiming to be from "Medica", which is a health insurance company here, with "important" something or other about my insurance, and for which i needed to call their number back and enter a PIN. i decided to call them up (the actual company) and the gal i spoke to seemed almost surprised that someone was calling to just give them a heads-up

i gotta say though, i almost called the crooks' number, because i had medica for my insurance not too long ago. my guess is that they are targeting their calls to specific area codes, which is pretty clever. health insurance providers in the US are often very regional, sometimes only covering one state, or a few states. it wouldn't surprise me if saying that you're a smaller, regional company gets a better response rate than just generic nonsense like "your auto loan company" or "card services". plus people are probably getting hip to those really generic ones

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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I didn't click the link, but another scammy type of business that I don't think has been mentioned yet are those companies that advertise HOT TIPS TO BEAT THE GOVERNMENT but when you fork over your cash all you get is a cruddy pile of publicly available information. Like the scammers just write to various government agencies and make copies of the information because it's not copyrighted or is freely copyable, and charge tons of money for this SECRET INSIDER INFORMATION.

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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One of the bullet points on the energy disc page says that they are "non-transdermal, no drugs or chemicals: nothing enters the body". Hmm, you don't say

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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I was thinking specifically of Lesko when I made my last post, but it's worth mentioning that his books might have been a decent value before the Internet. Finding out about all those programs yourself would have meant hours of research at the local library, sending physical letters off to various government agencies, and making long-distance phone calls. But like the other goon said, things like benefits.gov exist now. Dude had some good marketing sense though: I remember seeing his ads and thinking "tons of free money? yeah right" but the combo of "hmm well i guess i don't know there aren't lots of free government programs" and his kind of disarming wackiness really made me want to order a book just to see if it was true.

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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what the

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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PT6A posted:

In Canada, you can call up the equivalent of the IRS (the Canada Revenue Agency) and they'll pretty much answer any questions you have on the phone. I'm sure they'd pretty much walk you through the whole thing if you needed.

yeah you can do that in america too. good luck convincing someone obsessed with THE GOVERNMENT to do it though

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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One tax thing that is scummy as hell are those "refund anticipation" loans. It's bad that the big tax prep companies lobby to keep the tax system as complicated and inefficient as possible, but there is a special level of Hell reserved for the people involved in that racket. Skimming money from the overpaid taxes of confused lower-income people is something that would only appeal to someone with a conscience as twisted and necrotic as Ayn Rand herself. And it's legal

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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There was a doctor's office I went to once that had a question on their intake paperwork, about how I wanted them to identify themselves on the phone if they ever needed to call me. My guess is that this was a holdover from the landline era, when somebody might want privacy from their family or roommates. One of the options was just a blank space for whatever you wanted, so naturally I wrote "Batman". Duh.

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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spacing in vienna posted:

To this day I have no loving clue what the answer was supposed to be. I had to reset the question. I would pay money to find out what it was, because what the gently caress did stupid, younger me think was an obvious answer to "werewolves?"

... I tried "werewolves." as my first guess. No dice.

Another thing like this is when there's a website that has an article I need for something, but they hide it behind a free account login. So I fill out all the account information with fake stuff; like, I'm sure there are quite a few Lutha Mahtin accounts here and there around the web that were logged into exactly once, and then were logged out a few minutes later. The problem is when you have another instance where that site has some page you want to see, and you try and sign up again only to see "that email address is already in use". Then I go to the password recovery system and it asks me "what's your birthdate"? Oh, looks like I must have just picked a random birthdate when I signed up the first time. Looks like the person who got scammed this time....is me

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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Boris Galerkin posted:

But my experience all day has been more like "here's a free bracelet." Now I've never let it go any further than that so I just don't know how it goes from "here's a free bracelet" to "lol changed my mind it's 20€."

It's the standard strategy to make the mark feel uncomfortable enough that they'd rather part with some money, rather than risk this stranger getting angry with them or feeling like they are causing a "scene". The bracelet trick has the bonus that the scammer can tie it on to someone's wrist in such a way that it is difficult for the mark to remove it themselves. And targeting tourists is always good, because scammers can imply that this is a normal thing in this culture and that the mark is committing a faux pas.

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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Why do Nigerian Scammers Say They are from Nigeria?

e:

it's actually a pretty interesting paper that has implications for many diverse fields

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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Zamboni Apocalypse posted:

Kinda sounded like a bar in the background, not a call center, and oddly enough they never called back, so...

i've had some scammy calls and voicemails that sound like this. my only guess is that they are using bad microphones that pick up tons of background noise, and that they aren't in any kind of real call center. maybe they are at home with the tv on in the background, or they're hosting their cousin's birthday party and snuck away to get some calls in, or they're crammed in a small room 20 other scammers and they all have to sit shoulder-to-shoulder along tiny tables

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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things i learned today:
- people eat raccoon meat
- hunters sell raccoon meat from the bed of their pickup
- dishonest pickup-bed meat sellers try to pass off skinned cats as raccoon meat

like, i grew up in the country, but this is a whole other level

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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When I was a kid, my mom had me lean out the door of our moving car to pick up a pristine unopened bag of Whopper buns that we could only deduce had literally fallen off the back of a Burger King delivery truck.

Did I mention I grew up in the country?

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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you can buy trays of cpus from the manufacturer. thats how they get there. intel makes the chips and then puts them in the trays

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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where are all these stolen chips and parts coming from anyway. the only people buying big orders of computer components are manufacturers. it makes zero sense that "all" the orders that go to manufacturers are then stolen and sold back to the same manufacturers. it makes even less sense when you consider that many components have serial numbers

honestly i don't understand why someone would waltz into the thread full of people who enjoy learning about scams, and spin a tale that's barely above "my uncle works for Nintendo". especially on a forum chock full of computer nerds and people who work in high tech

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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im pretty sure nobody that has responded to you ITT agrees with you

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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globalization has been pretty good for the shady business owner imo

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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Chuu posted:

About scams, there is a Chinese restaurant in a very ghetto strip mall I sometimes frequent, and every once in a while someone comes up to me and asks them if I could just hold their wallet for a bit while they ran to their car for something. This is such a request I can't imaging anyone saying yes, but what exactly is the scam here?

This is weird and you need to give us all the details. Is it the same person who asks you this? Are you the only person who gets asked this? What happens when you say no? Does the person ever find someone to do it? Do they actually go out to their car like they say?


...Are you Jules from Pulp Fiction?

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Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

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i see "magistrate" used sometimes in the news. i think they are referring to a specific kind of judge or specific function or something? but yeah not a thing that any normal person says on the daily

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