Law and Order
Craigslist, a cesspool for casual hookups and lightly used Ikea furniture, recently became the setting for a scam when two brothers from Pittsburgh took thousands of dollars from hundreds of people. Daniel and David Isabella are accused of duping 250 users by offering them discounted concert and sporting tickets, but never actually delivering on their promise.
Love in the Time of Algorithms
Three men in New Jersey were arrested yesterday for allegedly swindling nearly $7 million from an investor by claiming that they had “special access” to shares of Facebook prior to it going public last May.
Federal prosecutors arrested Aaron Muschel, 63, of Brooklyn, and Alex Schleider, 47 and Eliyahu Weinstein, 37, of Lakewood, N.J. and charged them with wire fraud conspiracy. Bloomberg reports that they offered a New Zealand investor “blocks of Facebook shares” even though the men had no access to them. They preyed off the near deafening buzz, that seemed to promise Great Gatsby-like riches, to those who cash in on the site’s IPO.
When Lawyers Send Letters
The Manti Te’o scam, which revealed that the supposedly dead girlfriend of a Notre Dame football player had never really existed, sparked a maelstrom of hype about the dangers of online dating. The New York Post even discovered a Second Life-type virtual reality world where people can have–gasp–virtual sex! (The only drawback, you’d have to say you met on “Utherverse.”)
Now, the U.S. government has jumped into the fray, offering some helpful tips on how not to get Catfished, or–as they put it–”don’t become the victim of a sweetheart scam!”
They See Me Trollin'
When last we heard from Time Warner Cable, a corporation so reviled that even Starfleet captains can’t help but voice their discontent, it was devising its latest scheme to become the most hated company ever by charging a modem rental fee. Now, the New York Daily News reports that not one but two class action suits have been lodged against Time Warner, alleging that the $3.95/month modem leasing fee is essentially a money-making racket.
In recent days the FTC has announced a crackdown on a particularly pernicious type of scheme: Scammers who call you up, out of the blue, purporting to be from “Windows Technical Support.” They tell you your computer is lousy with viruses, talk you into giving them remote access, then charge you hundreds of dollars to “fix” it.
If you’re computer savvy enough to be reading this blog, you’d probably see right through this nonsense, but you’re not the target audience for this scam–it’s your unsuspecting, eBay-loving Nana.
Every now and then, though, they call up someone who’s a little more cognizant of how security works.