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Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



green chicken feet posted:

You might enjoy this, then. A guy made his own computer program designed to mimic a real person and mess with telemarketers. There's a Kickstarter linked within the article, too.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/02/16/if-you-hate-telemarketers-youll-love-this-robot-designed-to-waste-their-time/

There's also Lenny: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNykBjN3nCQ

Same idea, but instead of replying with affirmatives, Lenny is a senile old robot man who rambles on about his daughters and occasionally has to go shoo away a flock of ducks. The reactions he gets are amazing. This video is particularly funny because it's clear the telemarketers aren't allowed to break the call without his permission.

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Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



Speaking of change scams, I used to get people who would purchase hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards with stolen credit cards. Then later that evening they would turn up at a sister store and try to buy an armful of Blu-rays and game consoles with the gift cards. A quick and easy form of money laundering.

It didn't take us long to figure this out obviously, so we would keep the credit cards if their ID and signatures didn't check out, as well as call around to all our sister stores to warn them. There was always staff somewhere who were just too clueless or high to give a gently caress though.

Credit card security has gotten a lot better in the past decade but I'm sure there are still gift card scams going. Any situation where currency changes tender is an opportunity for money laundering.

A very common shoplifter/luggage thief's con is to have one person distract you with a bunch of stupid questions, while the other nabs the stuff. I saw this pretty often working retail, but was surprised to see the same tactic employed at a cafe recently, where there were a lot of unattended MacBooks and backpacks lying about. Rich students...

Obviously not every person with a bunch of silly questions is a thief. Just rely on your intuition. If something seems off, scan your surroundings immediately. Shoplifters and thieves aren't criminal masterminds, but they don't need to be. They rely on staff and targets being too busy, having tunnel vision or simply not caring about theft.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



ToxicSlurpee posted:

It's mostly the last part combined with "too busy." Sorry boss, I'm not going to care much about theft when I'm getting $7.15 an hour with no benefits and expected to do 16 hours of work in 8.

From my experience in Canada I agree, although I've realized people here in socialist wonderland Scandinavia are also startlingly clueless when it comes to theft.

For my own part, catching thieves was arguably one of the most interesting and fun parts of an otherwise dull job.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



There's a severe housing shortage in my city, especially affordable apartments or rooms for students. There's also a large influx of foreign students every year. An industry of scammers has grown up around this. The conmen will advertise apartments for rent in nice neighbourhoods at prices that are just a little too good to be true, and then take a deposit and first month's rent before the students even arrive in the country. The students go to their nice new address, and discover that somebody else lives there. They are now homeless in one of the most expensive cities in Europe, where housing is so short that even local people with connections have to search half a year to find something.

Recently this has escalated to the next level. The conmen rent swanky air bnb apartments and invite victims in to check the place out, sign the papers in person and fork over cash. Naturally, they never get their keys as arranged, and are left out in the cold, minus a thousand euro or two.

You could say these foreign students are naive, but most of them are intelligent and educated. They come from countries where there is an excess of housing, informal agreements are more normal, and they tend to be trusting of authority figures in a new country. It's a sad situation.

Pentaro posted:

Scam phone calls, edition:

A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from some dude claiming to be Col. Whatshisname, "chief of security of Cartel Whatever", saying that "two ladies" paid him to kick my rear end, but since he believes in fairness he sent a team of his finest men to investigate me, and then decided that I was actually a fine upstanding person and that the ladies where only losing his time and as such he was going to give them hell instead. Of course, he also mentioned how much money he spent in that investigation and was hoping for a "gesture of good will", and that I should not get cocky because his men were stationed one block from my house and ready to move at his command.
I must admit it was scary at first since the guy actually mentioned my name and address, but as he was spinning his yarn I realized anyone can pick a phonebook and pick any number at random, so I just hung up the phone.

drat it, prank callers are getting wild.

This is amazing.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



The mafia is getting really lazy. Work from home extortion, just three hours a day!!

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



House Louse posted:

What's the university's overseas students department (or whatever) doing? They should at least be able to liase with the people who accredit landlords.

Without going into unnecessary detail, the university's bureaucracy is notoriously impenetrable. Liaising is not something they do. As for accreditation of landlords, that falls under the tax ministry's purview, and they only care whether landlords are reporting the correct income in relation to the number of renters to rooms.

There are a bunch of resources, legal and otherwise,, but the university and government do a piss poor job of communicating them. I actually volunteer at a help desk for foreign students, and communicating that we even exist has been a struggle.

Edit: Part of the problem is that the lack of housing has created a large "black market" of landlords who don't report their renters. Scams are only one of the problems, I know people who have been subjected to harassment, sexual harassment, cockroach infestations, bizarre rules and evictions with little to no notice. So many evictions. The sad thing is there is legal support for these issues from non-profit orgs, but again, nobody knows they exist.

Fruits of the sea fucked around with this message at 05:01 on Feb 28, 2016

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



wide stance posted:

Gift cards. The biggest scam dollar-wise in the world.

Studies show most aren't actually used, so basically giving free money to stores. And if they are used then the person usually has to go out of their way to get something they don't actually want.

Just as careless as cash with the bonus of being idiotic.

One slight rare exception is Amazon.com's model, where it's credited to your account automatically and you don't have to do anything special to use it.

On this note online sttorefronts (usually for MMO's, browser games and mobile apps) that let you purchase bundles of in-game currency, but price everything at odd amounts. Users are forced to pay for more digital currency than they need or can use.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



Since we're talking about MLM schemes: I have a regular customer at my workplace who's tried to sell me on some Matcha tea thing for a while. He's genuinely a nice guy, so I had a long conversation with him about these MLMs a while ago.

It turns out he's "diversified" by participating in 7 different MLMs simultaneously, and uses them to cross promote and recruit fellow suckers who are already invested in one scheme. Pretty smart actually, in theory, he doesn't have to waste any time actually selling the lovely products.

The MLM he then tried to sell me on was a pretty basic pyramid scheme pretending to be a social media marketing tool. Each member had to pay $50 each month to "buy in" to the program. In return, they are guaranteed three downlines, and a small percentage of their monthly buy in (and a percentage of their downlines and so on). There's no pressure to recruit new members this way. The catch however is that half of those monthly $50 dollars are banked and can never be cashed out. That's $600 a year down the drain. Add to this the fact that my customer admitted it took a long time to get those three downlines and it becomes clear that getting an actual return on investment can take a very, very long time. And who knows how long the MLM will stay afloat.

He of course pays for three buy ins ($150) every month.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



So like, regardless of how much they earn, homeless people having some normal people things like a cell phone and some decent clothes is cool and good because they are spending their money sensibly and have good prospects for being employed.

I have friends who think the government should take homeless people's laptops. Like that's going to improve their situation?

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



Google the charities?

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



With a little experience, it's easy to spot the scams. I once had to correct a naive university student who was trying to rent out her room from afar while she was on holidays. It had all the hallmarks of a scam, but it was clear from our correspondence that she was just completely clueless.

Unfortunately there is a certain percentage of folks who will always be unprepared for scams or simply lack the intuition, so the problem will never go away entirely. A friend of mine has been conned twice in the past 6 months with flatshares and it will probably happen again.

In his case, the first contract had an agreement that they would have a shared food budget of about $450 a month on food. His roomie would then promptly blow it all on expensive organic food and alcohol and insist that my friend pay for his own food for the rest of the month.

The second time, he was paying almost twice the legal amount for a room in a rent controlled apartment, living with an angry 70-year old hoarder that forbid him from using the kitchen.

He went into both of these situations with open eyes and a blind trust that it would just work out.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



Probably the biggest loss hotels have to deal with is people booking rooms online with stolen cards.

Topical, because my card was stolen recently! The two guys who nabbed the card were pretty smooth. I had forgotten it at the counter of a store. The cashier noticed, at which point, the two men offered to bring it out to me. They did catch me outside the store, and told me that cashier wanted to talk to me as there was a problem with the purchase. I go back in the store and by the time I could have figured it out, they were gone.

Apparently similiar incidents have been happening a lot in my area lately, probably preying on tourists and drunks. (I fall into the drunk and just worked 12 hours category).

Fruits of the sea fucked around with this message at 13:01 on Jul 26, 2017

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



I'm in a city with a bike shop on every corner, and these car scams sound pretty familiar. Often it seems like mechanics choose the shady route out of convenience more so than actively trying to scam customers.

One upscale store replaced my inner tube with one three sizes too large. That's so much larger than the correct size that it had to be folded to even fit inside the tire. Clearly they didn't have the right part and just winged it, leading to my tube puncturing yet again 2 days later.

Replacing more expensive parts is a craphoot. Once when my chain broke, I shopped around only to discover that some mechanics would only offer to patch the chain (which is a temporary fix at best) while others would only replace the chain and the wheel drive entirely. Finally found a guy who was actually willing to explain the pros and cons of both and had him repair it. Gave me the impression that most mechanics prefer to do whatever they want, depending on the parts and time they have available.

If you break down in a spot where you don't have access to bike tools, there isn't much choice unfortunately.

Fruits of the sea fucked around with this message at 13:19 on Feb 7, 2018

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



It's less a scam and more an overly ambitious project with Molyneux'esque marketing, a terminal case of feature creep, spineless/powerless project managers and a leadership that is resorting to increasingly creative and dubious ways of making money to keep the ship afloat. Had they intended to scam folks from the start, they wouldn't have pissed so much cash away on hiring third party developers and opening new studios.

I'm a little out of date though. There was just a free weekend and it sounds like they added a bunch of stuff but the engine can't handle multiplayer.

Fruits of the sea fucked around with this message at 15:46 on Aug 28, 2018

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



I grew some cultures from my phone as part of getting a food safety certificate. The result was even more spectacular than the swabs we got from a toilet.

The point of the exercise is that we shouldn't dick around on our phones while eating or serving food, not that it needs to be scoured with bleach. Genuinely unsure what to do about POS terminals though

Fruits of the sea fucked around with this message at 09:11 on Oct 5, 2018

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



The Brothers Bloom is another good one.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



The difference in treatment you get at a bank as a rep for an established business and as a private costumer is pretty astonishing, just speaking from personal experience.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



Huh. Yeah, good luck googling a wildlife portrait artist called "Forrest"

Content: A dude came by last week to service our fire extinguishers at work. He seemed confused when I stopped him and called the owner.

I always do this after an old job where the guy "servicing" the fire extinguishers was just a random with a clipboard who stole them, and probably would have emptied the tills if there wasn't always someone present. Apparently a common scam in the Vancouver area.

Fruits of the sea fucked around with this message at 14:09 on Feb 4, 2019

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



EL BROMANCE posted:

Just curious, does anyone get an absolute poo poo ton of spam mail revolving around flight simulators? It's a very niche thing so wondering if it's widespread or if I've somehow become the target of some dude who thinks I really want some simulatin'.

Any chance they are advertising for ProFlightSimulator or the same game under a different name? Some shady dudes repackaged a freeware flight simulator under a different name and are marketing it pretty aggressively and misleadingly: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2018/03/09/dont-buy-proflightsimulator/

A good scam in itself, the free version is updated and has more content while the ripoff promises a bunch of features that don't exist.

E: Haha, I forgot all the screenshots are stolen from other games.

Fruits of the sea fucked around with this message at 09:06 on Feb 15, 2019

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



JacquelineDempsey posted:

I don't do Facebook very much, but find it a necessary evil for promoting my art/music shows so I pop in occasionally.

Got an email that looks very legit from them saying that someone had tried to log in on my acct from an unknown device, at an hour I know for a fact I was dead asleep. It offered a link (also looks legit) to ensure the security of my account.

My question: yeah, I think this email actually came from Facebook, I'd like to think I'm pretty savvy on spotting email bullshit. But the paranoid part of me wonders: did someone actually try to randomly brute force "hack" my account, or is this FB's sneaky way of gleaning more personal info from me? They could easily send out "oh noes, you may have got hacked! Send us some more personal info like your phone number an another email, so we can scrape your info and sell it to ad companies!"

Thoughts/experiences? I'm just ignoring it for now.

First, go to haveibeenpwned.com and check if the email linked to your facebook account has been stolen in a data breach.* If so, there's a good chance somebody was trying to brute force your account. Keep in mind that website only checks publicized data breaches. Many companies try to cover up data breaches, and some may not even be discovered yet.

Do you have two-factor authentification on your facebook account? If not, then they do want your phone number a whole lot, mostly because it is required for 2fa on Facebook's other apps, like Instagram and Whatsapp. The common phone number lets Alphabet track and record your activity on all their disparate apps.

They aren't interested in selling the phone number. They want to build a detailed profile on you by tracking your actions and personal data on all their apps. That much more intimate and detailed profile can be used to sell advertising space for content tailored just for you. That pays better than a phone number on its own.

*Yes, that website could also have a data breach. You almost certainly have been pwned already though.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



Hereís a scam Iíve run into two times now bartending - guy walks in and orders a beer with an extremely strong accent and kinda broken grammar. Ten minutes later he comes up and wants to get another drink, but he can only pay with an extremely large denomination bill.

Hereís where the fun starts. The moment I start counting change out, heíll say he wants to give a certain amount extra as a tip OR that he wants a specific amount of money back, also equating to a tip. He will explain all this very poorly, with a strong accent, talking quickly and repeatedly. So the person counting the change out is struggling to understand him, and also having to calculate a second transaction (the tip and whatever change is needed afterwards), all while they have probably close to $100 in their hands and the till is open. At this point, the dude will open his wallet, spread a mess of coins out and ask how much there is, again in broken English. So now I have to calculate the transaction, the tip, the small change he took out and whatever the hell heís actually saying because heís talking constantly. Hereís the scam: during the course of the (at this point incredibly confusing) exchange he puts the original large bill back in his pocket. If heís already handed me the bill (this happened the first time), he asks for it back and starts asking about the change on the counter again.

So, the con is to state that he wants to pay with a large bill, then confuse the hell out of the cashier so he can pocket the large bill and still get the change.

Iím only like 50% certain I didnít get conned the first time- the owner doesnít want me doing counts of the cash register because lol and I was caught off guard, so even though my mental alarm bells were ringing halfway through, it might have been too late. I'm pretty sure the bill changed 3 times, not 4. Could be wrong though. The second time I was ready though and grabbed the large bill at the first opportunity. Even counted the tip out for myself!

Fruits of the sea fucked around with this message at 20:22 on Nov 21, 2019

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



therobit posted:

Standard quichange artist. It is day one of bank teller training to watch out for that, and should be also be part of training for any job that involves a cash register.

Yeah, I'm surprised nobody had introduced me to the con before now, but I guess it's a regional thing. Where I used to live, it was always credit card fraud/counterfeit money or people stuffing poo poo down their pant legs.

This isn't really a con or scam, but the most impressive theft I saw from a decade ago was an addict who had a taxi waiting for him outside. Grabbed almost an entire display of blu rays and booked it into the cab. Well, probably a little more than a decade ago, since it was blu rays.

Fruits of the sea fucked around with this message at 20:50 on Nov 21, 2019

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



AmiYumi posted:

Yeah, itís a super common one - the accent and coinage isnít standard (and actually seems detrimental since it comes off as abrasive), the usual pattern is to start with a high bill and then break out smaller ones, all the while talking quickly and ďchanging your mindĒ about how to pay.

IIRC the stated policy at every retail place I worked that brought it up was to immediately close the till and call for a manager as soon as someone starts waffling on which bills to use.

People can be a bit naive and confrontation-averse here (Denmark), so being abrasive is probably a plus.

Inceltown posted:

You just take the bill off them and place it across the register so you know what they gave you and hand out change after that. The idea of getting change sorted before actually having the money in your hand is bonkers.

If they want to do some fancy change business later you do that as a separate transaction.

Pretty much exactly what happened the second time. I can see this trick working on many of my coworkers to be honest, at least the first time. Not that they are dumb, just trusting and they don't put a lot of thought or effort into what is to be fair, a part-time gig.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



That looks interesting, but its also kind of impenetrable when you don't come out and say what dinar and desara are at the start.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



JacquelineDempsey posted:

Spent a bunch of time bingeing John Oliver today, and this episode on psychics reminded me of this thread. They're loving con-artists that prey on desperate people who are just looking for a shred of hope or closure in their life, and I despise them.

Also, if you enjoy a side order of schadenfreude: oofah, there's some delicious footage of a few getting called out on their hot garbage to their faces.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhMGcp9xIhY

Woah. Long Island psychic is real? I thought that was just a really random SNL skit.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



Eric the Mauve posted:

Pay a lawyer $200 to send them a letter, and they will almost certainly drop it.

Going to second this, because

Bad Titty Puker posted:

Chase Bank isn't small potatoes and could gently caress with your credit. On the other hand, I don't know what the gently caress I'm talking about. In conclusion, the Legal Questions thread might be a place to ask yr question

It's a frustrating use of your time, but better safe than sorry.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



Wrong phone numbers keep loving with me but they are endlessly entertaining.

I am a prostitute and my name is Bianca.

I also stole a young Chinese manís phone. His mother was very angry about this.

I used to be an elementary school teacher. My (ex?) girlfriend was coming to town and boy was she pissed off that I didnít answer her texts.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



WeedlordGoku69 posted:

oh god my ex posts on SA? ()

What a coincidence! Do you also like "girls in leather pants or wet look"?

I have no loving clue what "wet look" is but the dude wanted it

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



A 25% cut is pretty brutal, most restaurants will struggle to break even after expenses. The norm in my country is somewhere between 10 and 15%.

E: the scam here is that businesses are obligated to maintain some sort of delivery service, even before the covid, just to stay abreast of the competitors. So online delivery services can rip them off, especially if they donít undercut each other.

Fruits of the sea fucked around with this message at 23:33 on Oct 23, 2020

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



I'm gonna guess its an extra fee, probably for booking or gas or something like that. Hotel rooms and flights will also have extra charges tacked on. It's probably in the fine print somewhere "standard rates and fees apply, etc." I'm assuming insurance was clearly listed?

Some countries and states have laws forbidding hidden surcharges but not all. E: to phrase it clearly, laws that require fees and/or taxes to be in the advertised price.


So there's content, several chain stores in my country got bad press last year for advertising "sales" on items for black friday. Turns out they just upped the price a couple months prior and then "discounted" the price back to normal for the sale.

Fruits of the sea fucked around with this message at 12:34 on Dec 1, 2020

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



It probably varies on the program. The Reveal podcast did a really thorough investigation on rehab work camps that are linked to the prison system that was pretty damning. It's called American Rehab.

An interesting detail I got from it is that a surprisingly large amount of the US workforce is unpaid labour. There are hundreds of thousands of people in these programs.

E: the issues they found were unsafe working conditions, illegal working hours, poor living conditions and executives being paid crazy amounts of money. A lot of these programs are classified as charities and/or religious organizations so they are exempt from OSHA and other regulations, depending on the state.

Fruits of the sea fucked around with this message at 13:00 on Dec 22, 2020

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



Tubgoat posted:

Is it like that one where some "Christian" "recovery" program had basically enslaved recovering addicts to do meat processing and force them to do bible study and a bunch of other absolute horseshit, under threat of reincarceration should they not find the exploitation to their liking?

Some of the organizations are spiritual, but they subscribe to a hosed up group therapy where the group takes turns shouting for 10 minutes at an individual for their flaws and shortcomings. It was supposed to be an honest reality check at the start but of course it devolves into finding ways to narc on others in order to climb up the totem pole. I forget exactly what that group was called. Podcast was like 8 hours long and pretty grim listening.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



Tubgoat posted:

Oh wow, so it cribs some of the syllabus from those camps where rich parents send their teenagers to be kidnapped and tortured. Wunderbar!
I looked it up - the original group was called Synanon. It was a counter-cultural group from the 50's that eventually saw some success as an alternative to AA. If anything, they probably get the credit for inventing the model

I don't want to say all work programs are bad though. I remember my hometown had a tiny farm attached to one of our prisons and some of the inmates actually rioted when it was closed down. Guess they liked it well enough there.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



A customer at an old job was pretty into MLM's, he spent a really long time trying to sell us on some overpriced matcha tea powder. He came around often enough that I managed to have some good critical conversations about the business model with him.

Interestingly, he acknowledged that it was a tough business, but he said the real way to get ahead was to participate in as many MLMs as possible. Apparently he was participating in 8 different mlms at the time. Occasionally he'd bring in ESL/exchange students that he was trying to enroll

e: I doubt it was working, the dude always stank of desperation. I feel bad for his wife and kids.

Fruits of the sea fucked around with this message at 16:24 on Jan 5, 2021

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



This is a good podcast about identity theft: https://thisiscriminal.com/episode-51-money-tree-8-23-2016/

From a very young age, a woman's family is plagued by identity theft. She becomes obsessed with it to the point of studying it in university. Eventually she figures it out it was someone close to her.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



This has been around for a while, I remember people on SA posting about receiving packages with random poo poo a year or so ago.

Online reviews are so useless these days, literally the only way to figure out if something is worth buying is by asking people on dead internet forums. Don't even get me started on review sites.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010





greazeball posted:

I've been looking for a new apartment and I wonder why so many scammers make their fake ads so easy to spot by pricing them 20-30% below market rates. All of the search sites I use have a button for users to report fake ads and most of these get taken down in about 5 minutes. Do they really get so many hits because the place is super cheap that they wouldn't get if it was just a little bit under market rate and just stayed up for 2-3 weeks?

If itís rentals then the scammers are primarily targeting immigrants, exchange students and people moving in from out of town.

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



If you follow the Steam thread in /games, the past year has been a constant parade of goon accounts getting compromised through that scam

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



A time honored tradition- a ton of stuff on Etsy is repackaged/glued together junk. Itís fun doing reverse image searches on jewelry.

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Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010



Book Depository, Goodreads and Comixology as well. Amazon has a pretty decent stranglehold on the new and used books market.

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