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Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

In South Africa that whole "carwatcher" thing is actually a big underground business, you get harassed by people no matter where you park. Some of them do provide a service like helping you put your groceries in your car or remembering you and guiding you to your car, while others just demand money and don't do anything. There is a lot of risk of crime there but I doubt any of these watchers will risk their necks if someone does want to get into it.

In the Philippines, there was a huge racket uncovered last year where airport personnel would put bullets into a traveler's suitcase, tell the traveler that they're in deep poo poo, and demand a bribe to make it go away. If you didn't pay it, they'd simply arrest you for transporting illegal items, and good luck pleading your case. Terrible embarrassment for the country and they cracked down hard on it, but it's still best to wrap your luggage when traveling through the country.

NYC, and probably other American tourist cities have no end of people trying to scam you out of your hard-earned cash. One of the more depressing ones is where black youths will try to peddle their homemade hip-hop CDs to you, even forcing them into your hand and then demanding a donation to support their efforts. If you refuse it, then they get all tough and prey on fears that tourists have of NYC African youths, even being blatant like "are you sure you want to argue with a black man like me?" Great job enforcing the stereotype, guys! I've heard that these days those CDs are loaded with viruses and ransomware anyway so the scam continues when you put it in your PC.

Also bad in the Times Square area are electronic shops with insane markeup and goods are of questionable quality with pushy salespeople and a no-refund policy. poo poo like this:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d1734028-Reviews-47th_Digital-New_York_City_New_York.html

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Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

People seem to have a bigger fear of letting someone down then their own well-being, even if it's a complete stranger. It's how these scams thrive.

In China I've heard that random Chinese girls will come up to westerners in tourist attractions and say how they're studying English in college and how they'd like to practice with you. Everything seems innocent enough, they might show you around the site, and then suggest a place to go for lunch, or a place to drink good Chinese tea or some poo poo. You go there and end up with an insane bill and are "pressured" into playing it. I think the scammer also pretends to be shocked but say they don't have much money on them and oh no what should they do? This scam is especially cruel because it's actually not uncommon for people to want to talk to westerners, especially schoolkids from the countryside who are visiting and never see foreigners in their town. During my travels in Asia I've also had random people come up to me and offer to show me around or just want to talk to me with no scam involved, so you have to be really careful.

In Japan there are several bars or clubs where touts will invite you with promises of cheap drinks and girls (or you may just wander on your own), and you'll end up walking out with a sizable bill with lots of additional charges. One of my mates got taken for this, he should have known better but I guess his guard was down or something. He went to the police and they told him there was nothing they could do since the bar had an itemized list of the costs (albeit with completely unreasonable charges like a "$1000 table seating charge"). He ended up just negotiating a lower (still sizable) payout and got the hell out of there. Some places are worse and will have cell phone blockers and tough guys blocking the door so there's no real way to get help. Apparently the police keep saying they're going to crack down on this scam, especially with the Olympics looming, but there doesn't seem to be any progress and these scam bars are thriving.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

In China, you can book tours for fairly reasonable rates, which include dining. The catch is that during the tour, they take you to special "government shops" where they talk about how it's only open for tourists and have special deals that locals wish they could get. You usually go to jewelry or jade shops where they may give you a demonstration of how to find "authentic" gems and of course everything in the shop is top quality. All the shop staff is quite friendly and will be all too helpful to suggest things, even if you're a male who doesn't have an interest in jewelry they'll make plenty of suggestions for your wife or girlfriend. All of the stuff is just above costume jewelry and overpriced, needless to say the reason they don't sell to locals is that they'd go out of business as it's possible to get the same or far better-quality stuff for much cheaper in the country. The tour company and guides get a kickback on the sales so it's like the razor model in which you offer the tour for low rates and make it up in commissions. Even knowing that all the stuff in those shops aren't worth buying, they do such a good job presenting everything that I almost felt compelled to buy some crap. They did get me at the tea shop though, but the samples of tea were quite good and I could justify paying the prices, although a teacup I bought with it ended up breaking after just a few months after use.

Also in the Forbidden City we were able to enter a part of the palace where locals aren't allowed to go, the private quarters of some relative of the last emperor, who is a master of calligraphy. Oh, how lucky that today he happens to be in practicing! For a tidy sum, he'll write your name or whatever in his beautiful script! Really, the way they present these things in a way that we're so fortunate to have the opportunity to buy things in itself is quite impressive.

I had a mate who was on a group where no one bought anything and the guide apparently complained to the members about it, that must have been a sight. I've also seen similar things in Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, so it's probably a common thing around the world, or at least in Asia. Also, never go with a tour company that also caters to Japanese, they have a big culture of buying souvenirs. I guess it might not be easy to research that, but I once ended up on a tour bus with a large number of Japanese and half of the drat tour was going to souvenir shops.

Original_Z fucked around with this message at 12:21 on Mar 12, 2016

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

The Japanese movie "Game" would also fit the bill.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

BiggerBoat posted:

I read this book a while back after one of my friends started getting into the Amway poo poo. He changed almost overnight, and not for the better.

http://www.transgallaxys.com/~emerald/

It's a free download and was fascinating to read. All about one dude's experience in Amway/Quixtar.

Is there a dedicated MLM thread?

I think there was an MLM thread in the old GBS but for some reason it got locked when MLM shills started complaining and it caused a lot of arguments. It might fare better in the new GBS, it is a tread that's worth bringing back as it was quite fascinating.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

It's not about public shaming, it's just psychology. They present a service, no matter how useless, and try to guilt people into paying money for those services, even if unwanted. If the person resists, then they will make comments which although not direct threats, will likely make the mark uncomfortable. This is especially effective with tourists, like how the Times Square CD scam will take advantage of the stereotype of NYC black men being dangerous, whereas a local would just tell them to piss off. Most people don't want to deal with it, and a lot of people would rather things just remain pleasant instead of appearing rude.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

http://abc7ny.com/news/canadian-tourist-slugged-by-free-hug-guy-in-times-square;-suspect-arrested/1335434/

Here's what can happen if you get involved with Times Square scammers!

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

Professor Shark posted:

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.

I'm not sure if I'd say the price is only about the brand name. Especially with Quartz watches, the more you pay the more features you get. Sure, a $50 watch will be keep good time, but as you go up in price you start getting things like sapphire crystal, better water and magnetic resistance, titanium or diamond like coating, radio or GPS time sync, solar charging, automatic hand adjustment, etc. Automatic watches are a bit more tricky to quantify, but for sure they're more of a jewelry piece and nicer looking watches simply cost more money while adding complications, and there's usually a history of the manufacturer and a prestige involved as well.

Sure, a $20 Timex will keep time just as well as a Rolex, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the watch industry is a scam! The only scam watches, outside of fakes, are those produced by fashion brands like Gucci where you are literally overpaying for the brand name, most of the brands just outsource to Fossil anyway.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

Yeah, I mean that's not unique to watches at all. It's why Walmart keeps getting in trouble with advertising stuff "made in the USA" despite being manufactured overseas.

https://consumerist.com/2016/06/28/walmart-still-reportedly-misusing-made-in-u-s-a-labels/

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

Chuu posted:

Planet Money at NPR had a fascinating story about these companies and how they operate. Lockout malware software is actually big business and the organizations behind them are actually run like legit companies with dozens of employees handling customer support. When you are connected to a live person whose job it is to convince you to hand over money or walk you through getting bitcoins; it probably is a white collar worker somewhere in an ex-soviet country who is basically the equivalent of a call center operator.

They had another very interesting story in the series about online pharmacies. I always assumed they were mostly scams, but their success rate in getting legit prescription drugs was close to 100%, and these sites also have huge organizations behind them that are run very similarly to your average company.

http://blog.trendmicro.com/trendlab...ligence+Blog%29

It's almost bizarre how once people started realizing you could make money on mainstream viruses instead of just breaking poo poo, the underground world started behaving more "professionally". You can apparently just download some ransomware template to customize and launch out, and the maker takes a cut of payments as commission.

This is actually kind of scary, and it probably won't be too long until you have a risk of infection just by seeing a bad banner ad on a legit site.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

Fragrag posted:

That conference actually accepted a paper that was written entirely with autocorrect

This has got to be one of the funniest things I've read in a long time.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

WebDog posted:

You kind of have to be a bit of a prick when travelling and ignore anyone who comes up to you on the street at random and get used to saying no alot.

Yeah, it's like that line from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie, " You knew something was wrong but you came back into the house. Did I force you, did I drag you in? No. All I had to do was offer you a drink. It's hard to believe that the fear of offending can be stronger than the fear of pain. But you know what? It is. And they always come willingly." Even if you think something is off, a lot of us want to give other's the benefit of the doubt and not appear rude, and the scammers know how to work your emotions like that.

Original_Z fucked around with this message at 01:20 on Apr 9, 2017

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

There's a version of Yelp in Japan called Tabelog which is blatant about their advertising system. Last year, every single restaurant on their platform who didn't advertise with them automatically got their rating reset to 3. Also, you literally cannot give a bad review to some "recommended" places, if you give like 1 or 2 stars then it'll give you some error message, so sometimes you'd see negative text with a positive score. How this site has any credibility left is beyond me.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

I think I've had a couple of unexpected charges to my room in my many years of travel, usually it's a very easy thing to dispute and they never tried to accuse me of anything. I suppose it would make sense to not make a big deal of it and potentially anger the customer, especially if they're a business traveler.

In the movie Brokedown Palace one of the characters tries to charge something to a different room and it turns out that the person staying in the room is already in the venue, I suppose that that's always a risk.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

Pentaro posted:

The latest Reply All episode is goddamn wild. We've all heard tales of peeps sassing tech support scammers, but this guy took a completely different approach.
https://gimletmedia.com/episode/long-distance/

That was pretty interesting, I'll definitely be looking forward to the next part of the story.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

Red Oktober posted:

The second and final part of that Reply All episode is up, and it's just as weird as you'd hope. Pro-listen for sure.

I feel like they wasted their chance. Like, they flat-out told the guy that their objective for coming was that they wanted him to admit to scamming people? Why in the world would they be so confrontational, especially in a country like India, and even more where it's obvious that you're dealing with real gangsters. They had a chance to hang out with some of the real higher ups and get an interesting story by just being friendly and trying to slowly get information whole enjoying the entertainment, but they just go full-on reporter mode from step one and poison any potential relationship.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

I recently got a scam where I couldn't do anything with my Apple account and noticed that I had recently receive an email from"Apple" saying that my account was locked and to follow the link to unlock it. There were a few things off, the email address wasn't correct, the link was shady when you hovered over it, and the text of the email was a little less than legit but not so bad that it was obvious. Anyway I guess they must have kept trying to force their way into my account and the real Apple locked it for security reasons. I have 2FA on and didn't see anything else odd happening, and I was able to get my account properly unlocked and a new password set up. Pretty interesting though and I could see how it could fool people, wonder how I got targeted for that.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

TheParadigm posted:

I've been wondering this. How do scmamers turn ituned giftcards to profit? What's the payout/laundering scheme?

You know how once in awhile people will say something like “hey I found this site selling cheap iTunes and PlayStation cards, anyone know if they’re legit?”

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good


As the article mentions, this has been around for forever and predates trump by quite a bit, at the very least since the Iraq war days where people thought that once we’d win the war then the money would go up in value and idiots would pit their savings into useless Iraqi currency. I’m not sure whey they even bother with the trump angle since it’s just clearly some idiot with issues buying currency for no reason.

Original_Z fucked around with this message at 13:48 on Nov 23, 2018

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

BiggerBoat posted:

This checks out.

The weird part is that OCN is a Japanese ISP so that email address would be linked to a user account and it would be incredibly easy to find out who owned it if an official complaint was made to them.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

Yeah, good dental work is hard to understand if it's needed or not. I moved and went to a dentist that had good reviews online, he freaked out and told me my old fillings had mercury in them and needed to be replaced right away or I could end up poisoning myself. Those fillings were indeed old but had never given me any trouble. Whatever though, I let him do it and the new filling fell out within a year. Even after visiting other dentists and getting new fillings it keeps coming out every few years, looking online the dangers of mercury fillings seem to be very minor, that guy screwed up my teeth.

Another one was more recent, I noticed one of my teeth had a small dip in it and I didn't know if it was serious or not. My friend recommended me a dentist so I go there instead of my normal one, they tell me it's no problem but they'll polish it for me so I don't feel it. Well after that my tooth becomes incredibly painful whenever I eat or drink something cold, apparently they polished down the enamel during the procedure. I visited several dentists afterwards asking about it and they said that the tooth itself isn't damaged so there's no real way to fix it other than removing the nerve which they don't recommend.

In both cases I was kind of hesitant but assumed they knew what they were doing, guess I should have trusted my instinct.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

Family Values posted:

Dropping a recommendation here for The Dream podcast:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-dream/id1435743296?mt=2

This is a good series, the interesting part is that even know the hosts know it's all BS, even they get sucked into the excitement at times and start to enjoy it and have to keep telling themselves "no, this is a scam!" These MLMs really know how to play with people's emotions.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

BiggerBoat posted:

To this day I hear people that should know better claim that "some people are making some decent money selling Amway". No they are not. I promise you.

The dream does find someone who’s pretty successful at the business and is one of the top people in the state and their income is only something like $46,000, I mean I guess it’s all right but even if you do “play the game” correctly you still won’t be getting Lamborghini money and if you’re that good at marketing and sales then you can probably make a lot more almost anywhere else. They also talk about the disconnect about how the corporate people talk about buying $750,000 homes with no sense of shame.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

Yeesh, and that school was only shut down in 2011. I'd say that I'm amazed it lasted that long, but then reading something like this...

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

Somehow a school that has been condemned for using torture on their students is not only still going on, but it wasn't until this year that they were banned from using electric shock therapy! The page lists several other methods to torture their students that apparently haven't been banned yet, how the hell is a place like this still running?

Original_Z fucked around with this message at 12:28 on Dec 24, 2020

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

Those whole "exclusive contractor" jobs are a scam anyway. Yes, a company that exclusively deals with signing up for a specific service is completely unrelated to the parent company! Sucks for both sides, the employees get no benefits and are encouraged to lie and do anything to get a sale so when the customer calls up the main company to complain they can just be "woah now don't complain to us, that's a completely different company and we have no liability, go contact them!"

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Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

nonathlon posted:

Quora over communicates massively and should you ever create an account there, you'll get emails and alerts on everything. I eventually deleted my account there (they seem to require an account to read more than 2 articles) as that was the only thing that stopped it.

Yeah it's the most annoying thing. I remember when Quora had a huge data breach a few years back and I was just waiting for all of the negative press blasting them because they're so aggressive in forcing people to sign up, yet I never saw articles like that which you think would have made for easy content for people to get outraged over. Made no sense to me.

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