Stealing Hope: A longread series from the Charleston Post & Courier on a group of "emotional scammers" preying on increasingly desperate adoptive parents. (Design Warning: All Links Contain Autoplaying Animations)
How I Fell Face First for an Epic IRS Scam: I received a call on my home phone recently from someone who identified himself as Officer Jason Dean with the Investigative Bureau of the Department of Treasury. He said an arrest warrant had been issued in my name for failure to respond to IRS Notice CP503 — a third reminder — informing me that I owed $5,347 in back taxes. He said my home and cell phones were being traced and I should not attempt to leave the city. [more inside]
Drop Kicker is a blog that investigates products on Kickstarter and Indiegogo that look scientifically implausible, outright impossible, or completely scammy
"In cities across the country, Michael Manos has thrown fantastic parties with faux celebrities and top-shelf tequila sponsors. He ingratiates himself in gay communities, fakes a European accent, and often has claimed to be the disavowed gay son of a Greek millionaire, though he actually grew up middle-class in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Along the way, he’s taken thousands of dollars from socialites and the well-heeled, who were easily blinded by his glitter and glamour. He duped actress Jane Fonda. He sold tickets to a “chic” fundraiser in honor of Sen. John McCain, who later said he’d never heard of him. Manos is a bank robber, a one-time male escort on Capitol Hill, and the target of more than one cross-country manhunt. He is also a convicted kidnapper who helped keep a man locked in the trunk of a car for four days. For that, he spent more than a decade in a New York prison. And now he’s behind bars again, this time in Louisiana."
Start a home business, get rich quick, win financial freedom! If you watch late-night TV, you've heard it all before. But what's the story behind these slick pitchmen and their dubious schemes? Enter The Salty Droid, your ornery metal guide to the corrupt underworld of scam-marketing scum. This charmingly acerbic bot (owned and operated by mild-mannered Chicago dog-lover Jason Michael Jones [inter-view, long talk + transcript]) is a valiant crusader against the vile con-men who bankrupt the elderly and the desperate with beautiful lies. Exposed so far: A shadowy "Syndicate" of frauduct-pushing personality cults polluting the media with blogspam and woo-woo talking points. Boiler rooms in the Utah desert where telemarketers farm credit from easy targets with cunning, probing scripts [PDF]. Powerful politicians bought wholesale. Believers left to die in fraudulent new-age vision quests. It's a soul-crushing beat, enough to make one feel like a regular catcher-bot in the digital rye. But somebody's got to do it -- preferably someone with plasma nunchucks and titanium skin.
Clive James on Scams and Hoaxes. "If the flim-flam man is sensible enough to offer you a return of only twice as much, the scam might even work. I was once defrauded of a heartbreakingly-large sum by a fellow writer who was smart enough to offer no return at all. True to her word, she didn't return my money either."
Looking for the right job? Or a new team member? Not so fast. You might like to read about others' experiences with the company. Shouldn't this site have been shut down already? Where can one complain if the company in question lists a bogus address?
A Mac user scorned is a dangerous thing... Gotta hand it to this guy: persistence pays off. After being scammed with $3000 in forged cashier checques in an eBay transaction, this seller took matters into his own hands. How secure do you feel making transaction over eBay and related services? What kinds of internet fraud have you faced or fear? And most interesting of all, to what extent have you gone to correct evils done to you?
"The fraud, the huckster, the salesman are not new phenomena in America; what is new is that they now so strongly control every estate of our society." For the last few days, I've been reading the Progressive Review's Undernews, a sort of progressive news blog-by-e-mail -- and frankly, it's amazing. One of today's articles blew my mind: it's a spot-on encapsulation of What's Wrong with America Today. (Scroll down to "Derivative America and the Enron Generation." This link is to the "Latest Issue" page. Tomorrow I think it will be archived here.) Seriously, read it now. It's worth it.