Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




ToxicSlurpee posted:

I'm fuzzy on the legal details but some deregulation in PA has led to some odd scams. The short of it is that energy-related utilities have been deregulated a bit in order to "encourage competition." Though the electricity is still all generated by the same power plants as ever the suppliers can change. The idea is that you can choose your supplier so you can get the best rates. I'm not too keen on all the details but it's basically increasing the number of electricity resellers that can sell you electricity even though they all end up using the same infrastructure anyway. It's pretty stupid.

But it has let all sorts of scammers weasel their way into the system. Now we have to deal with fast talking people going door to door using pretty standard tactics to get your money. Basically they start with the scare; "your rates are going to go up!" is the common one. Now we all don't want to pay more for stuff so it gets peoples' attention. However, it's a huge red flag on its own because they're going door to door when you haven't gotten any mail based on rate increases. They talk fast and try to confuse you, sometimes ask to see your bills, or whatever. In the end it's always "here sign this and your rates will stay the same/decrease" but they won't let you see the details. Just "sign this right now or you'll have to pay more pretty much immediately." Another one is people selling "insurance" against rate increases. They almost always quote some new law that nobody has heard about yet that just happened to go through yesterday/this morning that will lead to massive rate increases unless you sign this paper right now. They act like they're doing you a favor.

What they don't tell you is that you end up signing a year+ long contract with an energy supplier middleman type thing. See, you can basically just buy power directly from the company that owns the plants anyway so why bother paying a middle man? They also lock you into rates that are waaaaaaaay higher than what you'd be paying even if rates go up. The "insurance" is pretty much bullshit.

How do you deal with this? If somebody knocks on your door and starts talking about electricity rates just tell them to gently caress off and shut the door. Don't sign anything, don't show them any of your utility bills, don't let them get any information. Just tell them go away.

Jesus Christ this thing is a bad topic at my house.

My girlfriend told me that she wanted to switch over to Energy Direct so that we could save money on our power bills. Her sister had signed up for it the year before and she thought it would work for us. I asked her how it worked and she told me, and it immediately sounded scammy, so I googled it (and I think even made a thread in A/T) about it and quickly learned that it is 100% a scam and that the company who is at the forefront of it here in Canada was being run-out of Ontario by the provincial government.

Anyway, it caused a bit of a fight, but we never did sign up for it and to this day my girlfriend believes that we're wasting hundreds of dollars a year, even though oil is down and we use an oil furnace.

Her family is the perfect type of people to be scammed: the ones that don't need too much convincing, and I blame her father for it. He is 100% convinced that no matter the situation, he is the smartest person in the room, and I think it makes him the perfect mark. He has a full room of his house filled with "AS SEEN ON TV!" junk and boxes of Beanie Babies/sports cards/comic-books/toy cars/anything RARE and VALUABLE, all poo poo that the market fell out under years ago and he either collected afterwards or the investments never paid off.

Only 2 years ago he was calling my girlfriend and her siblings and telling them to go to their closest Walmart and buy as much Pokemon cards as the stores had in stock and that he'd pay them all back when he picked them up.

Yesterday I was telling him that in the Fall I was speaking to one of my neighbors who had paid a couple grand to have his driveway paved by a paving company that appeared in our small town for a few days with the "Leftover Asphalt" scam (people in our town fell for it hook/line/sinker, over the next week it seemed every fourth house had a newly paved driveway... these are all not-well-off people, who also almost exclusively use cash, so it's not even like they could drive to the bank and have time to think it over), and he shook his head and told me very slowly and deliberately how the scam worked, pretty much word-for-word how the scam is sold to the mark, with the exception that he didn't see it as a scam.

I softly tried to poke holes in it and it was pretty clear that he couldn't reason outside of what he'd just told me, I didn't let it drop that our roads are paved under contract with the province/municipality, and that workers going around making extra cash for asphalt already being billed to the taxpayer would be super loving illegal.

But yeah, the best guy to scam is the one who does most of the work for you. The ultimate irony that has never been realized with this guy (who I really like most of the time) is that I believe his arrogance cost him more than he'll ever realize: after he was laid off from his job he told a story about how, through pure disastrously bad luck and irony, he'd managed to somehow get himself alone with a high-up official with his company, and how he'd told him his views on how the oil company was being run as well as the companies' use of Temporary Foreign Workers, likely using the same slow and deliberate method of speaking that he used with me.

I guess the guy said something like "Huh, I'd never thought of it that way", and one week later he was out of a job... ahead of the oil slump. When he tells the story he seems to be 100% convinced that he schooled the wealthy business guy, when in reality that guy doesn't give a poo poo about wealth staying in the country/ working conditions/ anything that he would have had to say to him.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




I was speaking with someone who's son had gone through some sort of poo poo college that guaranteed employment after 1 year or else you get your tuition back. He was unemployed after one year and he did not get his tuition back.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Junkie's aren't the best masterminds

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Speaking of telecom/TV/Internet scams, here in the frozen wastes of Canada our providers were told to create $25 "Skinny" packages

The providers created lovely packages with tonnes of fees that make them expensive, everyone's sort of waiting to see if they'll be punished

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Fatty posted:

In the UK if you're called on a landline and hang up it doesn't actually terminate the call. The call is only terminated when the caller hangs up. This has lead to a scam where victims are called by the police/their bank, being told that illegal activity on their account has been detected, and they need to phone their banks fraud line now. The victim then hangs up and the scammer waits on the line. The victim makes a new call using the actual number they know is for their bank, the scammer hears a bunch of dial tones over the line, and then pretends to be a different person and gets the victim to give them account info. The scammer also frequently plays fake dial tones and ring tones to further fool the victim that their phone is working normally.

Its effective, because quite often the natural response for people who are very suspicious of scams is to hang up, and call the number thats been provided previously by their actual bank.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Comrade Koba posted:

Man, this makes me miss my old boss. Anytime a customer flipped his/her poo poo and demanded to see the manager, he'd come out of his office and shout at them to go gently caress themselves for wasting his time.

This reminds me of my old boss, Eddie, from when I worked at a pizza place. People would phone and try to order pizzas with ingredients not common in Canada (anchovies), and if we didn't have them they would try to get free pizza (this was a weekly thing for a popular radio host, who would try every couple weeks).

One conversation with the radio host went

Me: "Oh sorry sir, we don't have that available."

Him: "Wellll son, maybe you should. I'm not happy, I think I should get it for free"

Me: "Hmm, I'll check with my manager!"

Eddie: "TELL THAT gently caress I'M NOT GIVING HIM A FREE PIZZA gently caress HIM!

Me: "Sorry, he said we can't do that "

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Yeah that was a thing, guaranteed $50 min per box, I think a few goons figured they had $9 worth of stuff (literally from the Dollar Store)

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Antifreeze Head posted:


A different group of friends were in on the scammer side. They would order cases of the McFarlane sports figures to get the rare and valuable ones (one per box of six) then they'd do a no-receipt return the regular ones for store credit at some big box store.


These seems like a really dumb scam

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Xander77 posted:

But still. It was kinda weird. After I tried asking a few questions, they "decided to take their business elsewhere" so I guess… it was a scam of some sort? Maybe?

I would say that even if it sucks you missed out on full payment (?), you definitely dodged a bullet on whatever was going on there

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Avalanche posted:

Way back in the day during the cold war, my father played the fake gold bar scam on Soviet soldiers. He and his friend had diplomatic immunity to travel between East-West Germany on special assignments to deliver documents or messages or whatever in person to Russian diplomats. "Fraternzing" with the enemy is a huge deal that can land someone jailtime, but there wasn't exactly a lot of US oversight in East Berlin to catch them, no one really gave a poo poo, and all his immediate superiors he teased the idea to thought it was loving hilarious, so they got away with this for a while.

What he and his buddy would do is go to some local metal depot in West Berlin, buy some brass bars for next to nothing, , and then take the bars with them on the "U-Bahn" or whatever it was called in East Berlin. Since my dad and his buddy were both officers, they were automatically deemed to be very trustworthy by enlisted Russian soldiers and also very wealthy capitalists or whatever Russian propaganda at the time had them believe.

They would target a group of young enlisted Russians sitting together, ask in broken Russian if anyone wanted to trade, and bust out "genuine 100% American gold mined directly from the heartland of Chicago!". These poor soldiers would dish out fistfulls of rubles from their pockets, some rare military medals, watches, necklaces, rings, etc. for cheap worthless brass.

They even ran it once on a Soviet colonel and got the guy to rip a few medals off his uniform that were pretty rare combat medals of some kind and a really nice watch. They also found some dude in West Berlin that was willing to press poo poo like "99.999% Pure Gold 20 grams United States of America" and expanded the scam to target mostly junior officers that could speak English and would not be as completely gullible-hosed as the enlisted guys.


It all came to an end when the Soviet government complained directly to the US Ambassador in the region at the time about a band of US officers ripping off enlisted grunts and how this could severely strain diplomatic relationships. That made it down the chain of command and my dad and his buddy were quickly told to cut that poo poo out. (They also got brazen enough to run the scam way too often and tried to scam a bunch of Russians they scammed before and that almost ended badly.)

How much money could you realistically make off young mope soldiers and slightly older mope soldiers?

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




There was an A/T from a goon who worked for them. He was very open about how they were basically criminals, and sent out cheques for $0.01

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




This isn't exactly common, but it came up recently in a discussion with my father-in-law and threw me for a loop:

We're in rural Canada, and my father-in-law just built a shed, and had a local guy with a few of his buddies do the roof. They worked for a couple days, did good work, and left, however the guy left a few things behind (a tool and saw-horses). Apparently he does this at most jobs: gets a look at the inside of a shed or garage, works on a project, and then leaves something behind.

The scam is that he leaves stuff behind so that he has an excuse to drop by, almost always when either no one is home and the shed/garage is open or when the "man of the house"'s truck isn't in the driveway.

The guy went by several times to speak to my in-laws, but would always refuse to pick up his stuff, leaving it for next time. A few weeks ago my father-in-law had his truck a few houses up, helping out a neighbor, and the guy drove by the in-law's house, stopped, backed up, and seeing that the shed door was open, stuck his head in the house door and yelled to my mother-in-law that he was grabbing his things.

By the time he got over to the shed my father-in-law was walking down the road, and helped the guy load up his stuff before locking the door.

When I asked why he would get this guy to do the work his response was that he was cheapest, and that was worth the bullshit.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




This is a pretty easy one, but it blew my mind when I found out about it today: drug addict parents creating fake raffle tickets, printing them off, then sending their kids to go around asking their teachers and peers for money.

The teacher who told me about it told me she only gives money to the kids she knows are in hockey, aka the better off kids, usually, so basically don't trust poor students

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Man that's a lot of effort, you really have to work for it I guess

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




drunk asian neighbor posted:

I think your mother is the least crazy out of you, her and your wife because at least she's partially correct - Motorola was for a brief period assembling their phones in the USA, mostly so they could tout "ASSEMBLED IN THE USA" as a selling point. I know in your weirdo head that's a con or a scam, but it's really just marketing. It's not Motorola's fault Americans are morons that are somehow convinced a made in the USA product is superior to foreign-made.

See also: Shinola watches



The have/had a 10 minute long video on their site for a while showing all of the American staff they have hired. From what I remember, they are trained to just do the assembly of the watch, everything else is done in China or Europe.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




BiggerBoat posted:

Not for nothing and it's not a scam, but has anyone noticed that in every watch ad the hands are set to 10 and 2? I wonder why that is? I discovered it 20 years ago when I used to do a lot of collage art and wound up making a whole piece on it titled "10 After 10".

Apparently, this hand placement is the most esthetically pleasing position and generates more sales of watches. poo poo, Shinola or otherwise.

grack posted:

It makes the watch face look "happy". It's not a secret.

Also, Shinola just got slapped big time by the FTC over their Made in the USA branding because just about all of their components are foreign made and simple assembly doesn't meet the legal distinction required for that term.

I read on a watch forum once it's because that's where most brands put their logo and it's a framing thing :









Also lol that Shinola got hit for their main marketing strategy. They have some decent designs, but their prices are outrageous

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




reformed bad troll posted:

Tell me more about watches

Most use one of a handful of very affordable movements and companies only make the "face" and "body".

Seiko watches can be had for ~$50 that are fantastic watches, better than most $500 watches, and their Grand Seiko line (while ugly, imo) is functional art based on the movement alone.

Watches are all about brand name. I used to collect automatics, but I got tired of automatic watches that didn't keep as good time as my Timex (quartz watches are cheaper and more accurate, but use a battery).

Now I just have two quartz watches, the Timex and a Marathon.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Blackchamber posted:

After another 10 minutes of this I am really determined that I'm going to get that free pizza out of principal for sitting though all this wasting my time, at which point they announce that everyone who signed up was invited to go with the head guy and get pizza and everyone else was free to leave.

That's loving ice cold, drat

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




I don't know if this was a scam or not, but someone claiming to be Sirius Radio phoned me the other day. They wanted to talk to a woman, I told them this wasn't her number. The lady paused, but then continued, telling me this lady-who-was-not-me owns a SUV and they wanted feedback from her on how she's enjoying Sirius. I explained again she had the wrong number, but then she continued on with some spiel... so I hung up.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




How do those pages that pop up and tell you that "Windows has had an ERROR! and has been halted until you phone this number" work? I just got one and alt-cntrl-del'd out of it (scanning with Malwarebytes then AVG right now), but I know people who have been hit by them and have actually called.

Like what does that page do to make your browser stop working? Also, how concerned should I be?

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Yeah, strongest system only being as strong as the weakest guy on the team, etc

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




I sent froward a pm and before I knew it he had my SIN and bank account info

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




We had a Bell salesperson come to our house promising us that if we reconnected our cable and home phone our monthly bill would be lower than it is now with just home internet

No contract, but he could guarantee that he could get me that same deal if they ever sent me a notice telling me they were changing it

I said no that we were happy with our situation and he was visibly upset and kept reiterating that I would be saving money. I regret not telling him that I didn't trust his poo poo company and his guarantees were worthless and we both knew it

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Collateral Damage posted:

I had a similar thing where my (ex) ISP called me up and offered me a package deal on Spotify and Netflix for a minor discount over paying for both services separately, and the salesperson was noticably perplexed when I refused his offer after I had admitted that I use and pay for both services already.

I didn't have the heart to tell him that it's because I was waiting for my co-op to finish installing the local fibre network and as soon as that was done I was going to cancel their service so I had no interest in signing up for more services with them.

Our telecoms/ Chaos gods in Canada (all 3 of them plus the minor company they tolerate) are super grumpy that people are cancelling their cable and home phones and are charging more for internet to make up for lost revenue they think they deserve. They're terrible, but they have an undue amount of influence in this country

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




419Eater stopped being funny when they got those kids killed

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




IIRC the guy the 419'ers were scamming sent his nephew and a friend or something, never to be heard from again

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Don Gato posted:

Don't get me started on how horrible buying a car was. I just want 4 wheels and enough space to hold app my crap because I'm driving from Monterey to Texas, I'm paying in cash and there is literally nothing you can say or do that would change my mind. Then I see all the guys fresh out of basic with Camaros and Mustangs that even charitably cant be called cars since they spend more time in the shop than on the road, and find out the owners have to pay a month's paycheck to keep up payments because "The interest rate is so low!" and I know why they were pushing upgrade options so hard.

Like half the stories in the GiP idiot thread have to do with cars for a reason.

Buying a car is always a horrible experience and most car salespeople I've encountered are basically con artists

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Employee Pricing has to be some sort of scam. I doubt employees get a great deal on cars, but the insinuation is that they're selling cars and trucks wholesale or something.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Lutha Mahtin posted:

I don't know anything about it but the entire American car retail system is ridiculous. This American Life did an episode about all the wacky incentives that dealerships try and exploit, I learned a few things listening to it.

This is a great link, drat. I never thought to factor in when I went to buy a car and how it plays a part in how taken advantage of you were. I'm blown away that dealers actually take a lose on cars.

Also, car selling sounds like it's scammers scamming scammers scamming scammers, all while being scammed by the manufacturers.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




I'm listening to TAL's "I Am Not A Pirate" episode and drat Somalian pirates are terrible at scamming. Why do they demand exorbitant, insane amounts instead of reasonable ransoms that people will quietly pay instead of going to the government and waiting months, if not years, to get them back?

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




What's crazy is that the BBC is awesome.

In Canada we just tax everyone to fund the CBC, which is a pale comparison.

CBC Radio is pretty great, at least.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




What the crap are you talking about

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Tom went nuts, I liked it better when he made jokes about boobs and farts

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Midjack posted:

From another thread:

Is this somehow more profitable than actually driving people around? I assume the first one was a "no work" scam, but the second...

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




What is the go-to site or app now? I had taken the main one for granted so long I just thought it was part of the world, it was confusing when it was taken down.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




bongwizzard posted:

Yea, it seems like everyday there are more concert videos that I want to grab the audio from, but I am not terribly computer savvy and I'm a little gun shy about installing random stuff on my computer.

Same. It also annoys me that things are free as long as you're sitting in front of a screen. Not when you wan to just listen doing other things.

I know it's because advertising, but still

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




That is pretty awesome and way less murderous than 419eater

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




I finally got around to reading Merchants and it’s driving me nuts that he doesn’t talk about how much money he’s making at each stage

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Started Ch 4, he mentions that despite working all hours of the day and being told he'd be making at least $2000 a month that he was actually bringing in $600

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




BiggerBoat posted:

None.

Especially after buying all the tapes and attending the rallies and poo poo.

I'm on Chapter 7 now and he just said that their combined workload of 100 hours a week was pulling in $25,000 a year. That would be horrifying, if not for the part a few sentences later when he talks about his kids reading the Amway produced children's book Just Wait Until We're Diamonds to explain why mommy and daddy are tired all the time:

quote:

We read the book Just Wait Until We’re Diamond over and over to our kids. It was children’s book that talked about the lifestyle they would enjoy as Diamond kids. They were very excited about all we were working for. They would look at the book while we were both off at late night meetings and gone for weekends to seminars.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply