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ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

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.

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ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Fruits of the sea posted:

They rely on staff and targets being too busy, having tunnel vision or simply not caring about theft.

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.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

turbomoose posted:

One that I heard about from my grandparents was this:

1. scammers look for old people, then try to find relatives (grandchildren) on facebook or what have you. This will give them basic info, name, where they live, etc.

2. scammers call old people and say hey we have <insert kid's name here> in jail and they need bail money. they're calling you because kid gets in trouble if they call parents. Sometimes they even have a younger person of the requisite gender get on the line and mumble about needing bail money. I think the scam that was used claimed it was jail in Canada or something.

3. Old people get confused because the name of the kid is right and it sorta sounds like them so they send money/give cc info

Old people get targeted by scammers and salesmen something fierce because of Alzheimer's. It's sad and scummy as hell; because said old person might not realize they're having dementia issues yet they can be conned more easily and sign away everything they own without realizing it. When I was a telemarketer we were specifically told old people were the best calls to get for pretty much that reason.

...

I didn't stay a telemarketer much longer.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Kopijeger posted:

There are a few variations on these. In Rome, there was a dude claiming to be Slovenian apparently collecting signatures for a petition against drugs. Now, this particular scam is described on various scam warning sites, but even without that foreknowledge, it was suspicious that he asked me whether I was Italian or not and attempted an ungrammatical phrase in my native language when I told him what country I am from. If they had been legitimate, they probably wouldn't have gone after foreign tourists specifically and they would have stuck to their native country instead of going to Italy. Also, in Paris there was this young woman with an English accent who went: "Hello, do you speak English? I've got this[petition]..." Suspecting a scam, and in any case feeling no obligation to speak English in France, I simply ignored her completely. Apparently that annoyed her, making her go "Hellooooo...excuuuse me". Why she thought that would get her anywhere is beyond me.

Scammers tend to be very pushy partly so they can demand your attention and potentially weasel their way into your wallet and partly because some people will sign/pay just to make them go the hell away.

Another thing they use is guilt. If they act like they just want to talk to you please if that's not such a bother and make you feel like your a jerk for ignoring them rudely it gets a foot in the door, as it were.

ToxicSlurpee fucked around with this message at 21:09 on Feb 27, 2016

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Domus posted:

No, really. It's what he does for a living. For like the last 20 years. I think he's just high enough in enough pyramids that he genuinely makes money. It's just that he does it by lying to poor people. He's possibly a sociopath, or he keeps his emotions behind a ton of mental walls. When you talk to him, you get a distinctly fake personality.

So he was lucky enough to get in on the scam early, which let him be a scammer rather than get scammed. Good for him, he's a terrible person.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Professor Shark posted:

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.

Yeah schools that do that usually have some clause somewhere to weasel out of it.

Oh well did you apply to literally every job in existence? No? Welp, guess you didn't look hard enough, gently caress you.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Gabriel Pope posted:

Our office has gotten the printer service company call a couple of times. I always wondered what exactly their endgame was, since they never got that far. Our company has all of 4 employees including the owner and our printer service process is "whoever has time after work to stop by Office Depot picks up some more ink", so those conversations always went off script very quickly. They usually get really, really flustered too, I've never had one smart enough to hang up when they get called out.

My favorite was the time I got a version of that call asking specifically about our copier, at a time when we had no copier in the office (not even a multifunction printer.) He spent five minutes repeating himself in disbelief that our company could exist without a copy machine before declaring that our printer that can't make copies counted as a copy machine, then I told him we weren't interested and hung up.

Never was a phone scammer exactly but I was a telemarketer and that job basically tells you to keep badgering people until they hang up. We were expected to get at least five "no" answers before we were allowed to even consider ending the calls ourselves. The reason is that people are just so incredibly conditioned to say "no" repeatedly that you had to keep pitching to them over and over before they'd even consider what you were selling.

And it was ultimately true. At the time I was selling long distance phone service and the deals I had ready were actually quite good, some of the cheapest out there. It even came with a free month! No catch, just sign up, switch your carrier, get a free month, and then cheaper rates. Even then people were so incredibly hostile about it. Then cell phones happened and...welp.

Even so we were basically instructed to badger people until they hung up on us and never, ever end the call ourselves. I figure scammers were told to be even more aggressive. I think the end game is probably to convince you to sign up for some sort of delivery that's over-priced or regular or something.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Jared592 posted:

I don't know about the rest of you, but the prevalence of scammers/proselytizers in my area (semi-urban) has made ignorance my default response to a door knock. Almost 10/10 times I'll then hear the next door down getting knocked, and so forth down the block. It's sad in a way, though my perspective on how things were in "olden times" is probably rose-tinted- I'm sure there were door-to-door scammers in Leave it to Beaver times.

There have been scammers as long as people to be scammed have existed. A major difference is that a gently caress load of economic deregulation has happened in the past 60 years as well as sabotaging of every regulatory agency's ability to do anything at all. There are places that make money doing things that were literally illegal 20 years ago.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Fruits of the sea posted:

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.

That goes back to standards in MMO currency trading in general that have existed forever. Generally speaking in-game money isn't all that valuable because there's so drat much of it. In UO, for example, the going rate last time I played the game (which was a rather long time ago) for gold was $20 for 1,000,000 coins. NPC vendors sold things that were like...180 gold at most and you could go to player-owned stores and kit yourself out fairly well for that multiple times. MMO game super funn buxx are generally easy to get utter poo poo loads of but they don't really mean all that much.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

A charity that spends 3% of the donated money on what it was actually donated for in the first place is a lovely charity that should shrivel up and go away.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

DrBouvenstein posted:

Hell, wasn't Microsoft (and I think Nintendo?) pulling that sort of "scam" back in the day with the X-Box "points" or whatever they called them?

Sony just priced things in their store in actual dollar amounts, and you paid what it cost at checkout. But MS priced everything in "points" that were like a 10 to 1 or 100 to 1 ratio of points to dollars or some poo poo like that. But you could only buy points in "blocks" of, say, 1,000 points each or something, and games, avatars, X-Box Live subscriptions, etc... were all priced in an odd amount of points, so you'd always end up with leftover points that you couldn't use until you finally bought enough other things that your "leftovers" were enough for a small game that would cost like $5 or $10.

It gets even worse when you look at the price points of the various amounts. It didn't get cheaper by the point as you bought more in chunks. You'd think that if you bought 100 points you'd get a worse deal than if you bought 1,000. I forget which service it was but the point chunk that was labeled "best deal!" actually turned out to cost twice as much per point as any other point chunk.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

It's also exceptionally dumb that people are going TOXIIIINNNNSSSSSS YOU MUST REMOVE THEM ALL because the human body kind of, you know, has systems in place to deal with certain levels of toxins. Even the nastiest substances in existence have tolerable levels. The body is also remarkably good at fixing itself up even if you get exposed to harmful levels of most things.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Blackchamber posted:

Well there has also been the rise of panhandlers who clearly aren't homeless or poor. Not saying they are getting rich doing it, but I've personally seen them in my hometown where they text away on their cellphones while they half-heartedly hold up their cardboard signs. Some of them are pretty well dressed too. There's one guy who has a really nice looking electric scooter that he sits on while begging at the corner of the Walmart parking lot and I always wonder where he plugs it in at night.

There's just plain fewer jobs and the ones that do exist are far likelier to just plain suck. Not much you can do when the only work you can find is 20 hours a week for minimum wage but go try to find other money.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Professor Shark posted:

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

Yeah apparently some of them will respond with "that wasn't gold so we aren't sending you anything. No you can't have it back."

A poo poo load of them will fly by night as well. You'll see a big, fancy banner saying "buying gold!!!" crop up down town and only last a few months. They'll promise things like "hey we'll keep your thing so you can buy it back in X months if you want" only to not tell you that the place won't even be there by then.

Gold scammers are among the worst when it comes to outright lies and fraud.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

many johnnys posted:

I used to use those guys. Taxes are scary, until you actually do them. They've been built up as this huge complicated thing that you'd better not gently caress up or else you'll go to prison for tax evasion!!

Then you find a website that walks you through it for free.

It's also idiotic because if you do gently caress up the first thing the IRS will do is contact you and say "hey you made a mistake" and then work with you to fix it. You basically have to try to get arrested by the IRS or deliberately commit tax fraud. If you just go "oh, yeah that was dumb" and work with them they'll pretty much never even fine you, far as I can tell.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

They don't because freedom.

Well actually there are snippets of some of the worst cases being smacked. There isn't a ton they can do because of some odd laws or lack thereof if memory serves. Health food is full of bullshit because all you need is "an expert" to say something is healthy. This leads to stupid things like breakfast cereals claiming they'll improve your kid's grades in school.

But anyway read about pom some time. The fda smacked them in the head because it got so bad they were basically claiming that pomegranate juice cured cancer. The fda was like knock that poo poo right the gently caress off. You can get around that by being vague and making nonspecific claims apparently.

I'm not a lawyer and don't know the law all that well but it's a line drawing thing. You say "the line is here" and you get scummy companies trying to find ways to sneak over it.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

It also doesn't help that there is an obscene amount of misinformation out there are people that think whatever the fda says is wrong. They look at "the fda doesn't support our claims" as proof that it is a magical cure they don't want you to know about.

It's awful because this crap literally kills people. Then they just say "well they just used it wrong." Well no the problem is that antioxidants are not magical cure alls.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Weatherman posted:

What about circumcised gas station attendants? Do you tip them or pump your own gas? Looking to hear from at least fifty people in every state here.

I make sure to them spayed, neutered, and declawed. Can't be too careful with your gas station attendants, you know.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

bongwizzard posted:

Dont you guys just jam your gas cap into the handle to keep the gas pumping?

I just pour it all over the ground and eat it like an animal.

I am a piece of poo poo.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

BiggerBoat posted:

I'm just wondering how they DO it and it's utterly terrifying to me.

I guess they target porn sites because a person is less likely to complain when they were looking at midget/foot fetish/scat/incest videos than "I was balancing my checkbook and then THIS happened" but, still. Just being able to lock your browser like that...

I dunno. It's spooky to me. I think it's only a matter of time before they really hijack bank accounts, power grids and credit card info and poo poo, which I know has already happened but to some extent, but aren't the government and military computers notoriously antiquated and out dated? It's this weird digital arms race that I think is only going to escalate.

For years, I insisted on writing and mailing checks for bills, only using ONE credit card that had a really low limit for online purchases and what have you, until I realized that all I was doing was mailing in my checks to somoene else who would simply key it into a computer anyway. This whole online privacy genie is WAY out of the bottle.

I even think it's weird how Facebook algorithms connect me to people and how certain online sights ask me a car I owned 20 years ago or a place I rented for 6 months as a security question. Creeps me out.

It's very, very hard to remotely hijack a computer these days. Security on computers has actually gotten increasingly tight for exactly those reasons but you don't see it so you don't think about it. Think about firewalls, antivirus, and the like; aside from that the internet infrastructure itself has actually gotten better about that. Financial institutions are also way better at spotting fraudulent charges and watch very carefully for things. I just moved so a poo poo load of transactions started rolling in from my new place and the bank called me in short order like "yo, you spending this money in these places?" That and they're tight as gently caress about international transactions (no, my bank, you do not need to call me every time I buy things from GOG...they sell things I want and they can have some money from me from time to time).

Really, think about how drat much money is on the line; a company like Amazon very, very badly wants to keep raking in rear end loads of money so you can bet your rear end they're sinking some of that cash into security. Same with the open source software that runs basically the entire internet; software with a poo poo load of vulnerabilities is going to crash and burn (exception: WordPress). Granted this is why YOUR COMPUTER IS INFECTED! YOU MUST DOWNLOAD THIS IMMEDIATELY SO WE CAN HELP YOU!!!!! is the go to thing now. Most of us understand that that is 100% bullshit 100% of the time but, well, your grandma might not know any better.

I'm pretty sure that if you do end up with fraudulent charges on your cards you aren't on the hook for paying them; plus even if you are and your bank goes "nah, get stuffed" if you end up with that sort of thing you're going to switch banks in short order.

edit: To tell you how seriously this is taken there are people you can hire to prod at your system/website/server/whatever to find every vulnerability they can and then give suggestions on how to fix them.

ToxicSlurpee fucked around with this message at 23:05 on Jul 20, 2016

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

seacat posted:

Where the hell did this idea that crime victims can "press charges" come from?

I'm a complete idiot, and even i know charges are pursued by the DA's office, not the victim.

Too much TV? :P

Reality doesn't matter; it's a scare tactic meant to prey on idiots or old people with dementia. "Well see, you can either pay us or you can go to super ultra double mega jail. The police are already there and can have you arrested and convicted in five minutes. Better send $500 to [bank account] immediately or you'll never see freedom again!"

This is why scammers try to catch you off guard or scare you; some emotions run faster than rationality. If they can push the right button some people will reflexively pay up before even thinking about it.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

stringball posted:

not sure why you wouldn't post the video

but looking at sovcit websites there's expensive as hell packages, then on another page say that money is evil and that society needs to move away from it

Anything dealing with sovcits will just be inconsistent, bug gently caress crazy, and full of people taking advantage of idiots. Granted many of them fall prey to it because they got themselves into inescapable debt or troubling legal issues. A magical way out just sounds too good to pass up.

Others are just gullible idiots.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Griefor posted:

MLM is a legal thing, yeah. The problem with it is that it's a highly inefficient method of bringing a product from producer to consumer (5-10 people each taking a cut does not make for great margins!), whereas it's a pretty simple method of adding a product changing hands to an illegal pyramid scheme, thereby making it legal (Not a lawyer and not sure if I'm getting it 100% right, but I believe that's the gist of it).

MLM isn't a Ponzi scheme in the end; there are similarities but Ponzi basically paid the first investors with later investors. It looked like the promises were kept but they weren't.

In MLM they aren't technically committing fraud because you are ultimately signing up to buy something and resell it. It's still scammy as hell but if I can convince you to buy something worth $25 from me for $1,000 then well...caveat emptor, you know? MLM falls into a weird grey area and I guarantee you that they consult with lawyers to keep it within the bounds of the law.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

MLM encourages guilting everybody you know into buying from you or being recruited by you. This alienates your loved ones which only leaves you with the MLM cult and nothing else. I've lost friends to it, actually; I'd ask them to quit spamming me with that crap because first off it was typically things I didn't even want and second off it was MLM. They never did then acted like I was the jerk when I blocked their phone or Facebook.

It's technically true that people with enough people under them can make bank but that's only ever early adopters or founders making that. Almost nobody else does. It's like when a store tells you everything is up to 80% off. If everything is at least 1% off some previous price and one thing is, in fact, 80% off they aren't technically lying.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

The single worst thing to be in the music world is a musician. Anybody who has performed at all can write a drat book about music world bullshit.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Ytlaya posted:

Wouldn't this be a really inefficient way of scamming people, since each "attempt" costs you the money necessary to buy the USB stick.

I guess it has the benefit over e-mail that if someone does pick it up they're likely to use it, so putting it on a sidewalk or something is effectively the same as e-mailing it to everyone who walks by, though there's also the chance that someone might kick it into the street/grass or something and ruin any chances of it succeeding.

You can get old, outdated sticks pretty cheap if you know where to look. People lose the drat things all the time so you could probably get a lot of them just watching, say, a library for a while. Realistically you also probably only need a few to get one positive; then as long as the virus can propagate from there that's all you need. A quick search on Amazon indicates that you can snag 100 16 GB thumb drives for $360. I'm going to guess you could get a few hits by just loading something nefarious on them and leaving them in parking lots.

That's why, despite all the advances in security, it really only takes one person doing something stupid to compromise entire systems with millions of records of customer data.

ToxicSlurpee fucked around with this message at 20:41 on Sep 25, 2016

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

drunk asian neighbor posted:

There was a Nine Inch Nails album release ARG that involved USB drives being left in places like concert hall bathrooms and such. So for a lot of people the answer to "if you found an unfamiliar USB drive in a grungy bathroom would you plug it into your computer" is "absolutely!"

It's like a scheme you'd see on an episode of Mr. Robot or something.

Police blotters in my town and the ones nearby are full of people who got scammed in various ways through the phone or web. Some of the incident reports detail some pretty solid social engineering on the parts of the scammers, but a lot of times it's pretty basic stuff, so I have no doubt in my mind that most people around here would plug a USB drive into either their work or home computers without a second thought.

Honestly, I'd love to see experiments done where people leave USB drives in various locations that contain a harmless trojan or whatever that would simply report back that it was activated and then do nothing else - it'd be cool to get actual real-world results as to how many people will just plug whatever drive in whatever computer.

The biggest motivators are curiosity and voyeurism. The first comes from the fact that humans are just naturally curious; we see a box we want to know what's in it. We explore. It's what we do. Of course an unknown USB drive might have something cool on it. Maybe it was dropped by a musician and unreleased stuff is on it. Maybe it has financial records you can use to get 15 minutes on the news by exposing. Wow!

In other cases it's the voyeurism; it's possible that it has homegrown porn on it or naked celebrity pictures. Maybe it's something hot as hell that you can show off to your friends or get known as the person that leaked naked photos of some celebrity or another who won't get naked in front of a camera. Think of the possibilities!!! You're drat right I'm plugging that fucker right in!

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Namarrgon posted:

Could just be a callcenter drone who is not allowed to disconnect the call for any reason.

That is legitimately a rule that call people have to follow. I was a telemarketer for a while (holy poo poo loving hell never again that job is unimaginably awful) and we were told that the call only ended when the customer either ended it or asked to not be called again.

The second was optional; we were also taught to apologize for bothering them too much and hey we have a special offer just for you as an apology! Note that this wasn't special at all and was identical to what we were normally selling. We were basically taught how to be con artists at that job. The saddest part (yes this contributed it to me leaving and never looking back) was that they said old people were the best to get on the other end specifically because confused old people with dementia would probably sign up for anything if you made it sound good enough.

There was no "hey you should just sell the product and not take advantage of anybody" but rather "get every sale you can at all costs."

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

As a general rule if the police are coming to arrest you nobody will call you ahead of time. If somebody is calling you that's actually from the government it's something they want to clear up without getting the legal system involved. Why people fall for that is a mystery to me.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Skinnymansbeerbelly posted:

This is good advice, however conservatorship is easier said than done, especially when you are dealing with stubborn olds who waver between good days and bad days.

It also tends to be a long, slow slide. It can take time to kick in and get noticed by anybody. The old person them self probably doesn't realize it and will fight you on it.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Collateral Damage posted:

There's no such thing as a free cruise. Cruises in general kind of go in this thread as well because of their nickle-and-dime pricing model.

Same goes for "free" Caribbean vacations, too. You win one that entitles you to two nights in a leaky shack in the bad part of town but they'll generously let you upgrade to a real hotel room for $X.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Housing anywhere that people actually want to live is an absolute poo poo show right now. The demand in too many places exceeds the actual supply and AirBnB is just loving things up even worse. Anything involving money at all is going to end up with scammers in it but good god drat is housing a wreck right now.

Craigslist is...not a place I would go for renting. Ever. I tried that when I moved here and got really, really tired of wading through pages and pages of blatantly obvious scams, listings in bad neighborhoods that said they were in good neighborhoods, and the rampant housing discrimination.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Thanatosian posted:

I would love to hear an alternative that you could actually find housing from.

I found my current apartment on apartments.com, actually. It has its own issues but isn't half as awful as craigslist.

None of what I found there was listed on craigslist at all.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

AlbieQuirky posted:

There's a great book called God Wants You to Roll about scammers that preyed entirely on churches.

American Christianity itself also has scammers baked right into it. The prosperity gospel is a gigantic scam from top to bottom but that doesn't stop people from sending $80 to Reverand Money McRichpants when he literally says on TV "God wants me to have a private jet. He will reward you for helping me achieve that! Tithe generously. Plant a seed and it will grow!"

The "seed" being a series of donations that will totally pay off some day, promise!

And they wonder why Christianity is on the decline in America.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

The_Book_Of_Harry posted:

Many Americans who aren't Christian but have been thoroughly indoctrinated in the culture and beliefs of Christianity hold the cynical belief that Christians are simple prey for scammers.

What is it about legends like Credo Dollar, Marjoe Gortner and Benny Hinn that allow them to reap such economic benefit from psychopathy?

Basically they figured out that if you tell people God will love them and reward them if you TITHE GENEROUSLY TO THIS MINISTRY people will shower you with cash. Most Christians won't but enough will that you can be a millionaire if you're willing to live completely without morals.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

many johnnys posted:

The wisdom of age is making GBS threads your diaper and giving all your money to a traveling salesman in exchange for magic beans

In other cases it's just dying old people that medicine can't help hoping they can buy a miracle. Granted there are also far too many heartbreaking stories about a person that medicine could have helped giving all their money to a scam artist instead because God can totally cure you better than a doctor! Then they don't get better, are out a ton of money, finally go to the doctor anyway, and be told it's too late to do anything and you should have come sooner.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

WampaLord posted:

Mostly they're just lonely and salespeople are the only ones willing to talk to them.

That's one possibility but generally the ones most likely to fall for it are in the early stages of some form of dementia and don't know it yet. Your cognitive stuff goes first; your emotions are generally in your lizard brain so if you lose them you're dead anyway. Brains decaying away in a way that keeps you alive makes you regress into a more child-like state where you're less able to overrule your emotions. Given that the parts that let you regulate that stuff also tend to go away the part of your brain that says "if it sounds too good to be true then it is" just isn't overriding the emotions of "hey this friendly sounding person says this is a good deal! I should sign right the gently caress up." This is also why scammers try to fast talk you and get you to sign before you can think about it in depth. This is why basically anybody can be scammed if the scammer does it right. This is also why a lot of internet scams are YOUR COMPUTER IS INFECTED WITH EVERY VIRUS EVER!!!! PAY US TO CLEAN IT!!! and the like. Your lizard brain goes OH poo poo!!! DO IT!!! VIRUS IS BAD!!! but your higher functions go "wait no this is an internet bullshit advertisement and I have an antivirus program installed." The first goal of basically any scam is to throw you off guard so your higher functions have a harder time overruling the lizard brain part of you. If you're a bit confused you're spending mental effort trying to get back on kilter so your lizard brain can go "well yeah that sounds OK where do I sign?" before everything else kicks in.

Granted the other side of it is that when it comes to things like cold calling or knocking on doors old people are just more likely to be home in the first place given how many old people are retired.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

flosofl posted:

Hoiy poo poo.

It's almost like Yahoo was actively trying to be evil.

Yahoo! is actually not all that evil. They are, however, staggeringly and bafflingly incompetent.

Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to stupidity.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Well looks like I got targeted for my first CD scam a few days ago.

I was just walking down a sidewalk in a main street and this guy just randomly says "hey, good music here!" and hands me a CD from a stack of mismatched, random stuff. He then said "hey what's your name?" while getting out a bright pink marker and taking the cap off.

I just handed it back and walked away. I forget what he said but it was a throw away comment that basically meant "well guess I can't scam this guy."

My assumption was that he was going to write my name on the case and then demand I pay for it because he couldn't sell it to anybody else and I'd be the jerk for accepting it and not paying for it.

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ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

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Pillbug

Pharmaskittle posted:

I'd be more worried about buying a memory card off the street and blithely jamming it into my computer than its capacity.

A disturbingly effective hacking tactic is to just leave thumb drives in parking lots outside of whatever building contains computers you want to hack. There's always that one dumbass who will be all like "hey lol it might be celebrity nudes!" and plug it in.

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