Kickstarting a tool to block robocalls and tie up scammers

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Roger Anderson, a telephony expert, developed the Jolly Roger Telephone Company to block and madden robocallers. Read the rest

In wake of Trump slump, fans nurse conspiracy theories

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You knew it would happen: Trump barely beating Rubio for second place in the Iowa Republican Caucus means that something must be up. The Washington Post reports on the conspiracy theories emerging from Cruz's unexpected victory. Top of the list: Microsoft, a major Rubio donor.

theorists pointed to failures of the Microsoft system during the night as evidence that something was funky. Because if Microsoft wanted to turn a 10 into a 20 on behalf of its favored candidate, it would need to shut down the system to do so.

By far the weirdest part of the conspiracy theory, though, is that Rubio still came in third. Rubio was predicted to come in third; Rubio came in third by less than was predicted. The theory appears to be that Microsoft switched votes from Trump to Rubio to make Trump not come in first -- but then why does that help Microsoft if they want Rubio to win? "Momentum," colorful eggs on Twitter reply, willfully ignoring that Rubio had momentum before Microsoft theoretically intervened.

The #MicrosoftRubioFraud hastag is a blast. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren's new 1%: the percentage of fraudulent profits companies pay in fines

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In Rigged Justice: 2016 How Weak Enforcement Lets Corporate Offenders Off Easy, a 12-page booklet, Senator Elizabeth Warren documents corporations that were caught undertaking grossly fraudulent, highly profitable actions, and were made to pay a trivial fraction of those profits in fines -- fines become a part of the cost of doing business, not a deterrent to criminal behavior. Read the rest

The surveillance business model goes to war against the FTC

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You may have noticed a surge of articles criticizing the Federal Trade Commission for its innovation-stifling, headline-chasing, out-of-control attacks on business. The timing of these articles, op-eds and jeremiads isn't an accident. Read the rest

Howto social-engineer someone's address and other sensitive info from Amazon

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Eric Springer is a former Amazon engineer and a heavy AWS user. He's posted a long, terrifying explanation of how identity thieves have been able to repeatedly extract his personal info from Amazon's customer service reps by following a simple script. Read the rest

Menu at Toronto's "Azure" was a work of fictitious fine-dining fraud

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Azure is the posh restaurant Intercontinental Hotel Toronto Centre, where the menu boasts "BC salmon" (which turns out to mean "boned and cleaned" not "British Columbia"), "freshly squeezed" orange juice (comes out of a bottle that boasts that the oranges were freshly squeezed before bottling), and some out-and-out lies, like calling boxed Quaker Harvest Crunch granola "organic granola" and store-bought salad dressing "home made." Read the rest

Reminder: Don't put balls of tea leaves in your vagina

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Embrace Pangaea, a "holistic company that provides high-quality herbal detoxes and information to educate clients about natural living" wants you to buy its Herbal Womb Detox Pearls at costs ranging from $85 and $480 and stuff them up your vagina to flush out "toxins" and, depending on which ball you buy, to promote "vaginal tightening" by "tightening the womb" after which your "vaginal canal will shrink." Read the rest

Trump Casinos lost millions every single year that Donald Trump ran it (but he's still rich)

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When confronted with the fact of his four bankruptcies, Donald Trump argues that he was just being a shrewd businessman, restructuring his affairs to maximize profits. But when The Donald took one of his companies public, we got an unprecedented look into his fiscal incompetence. Read the rest

How an obsessive jailhouse lawyer revealed the existence of Stingray surveillance devices

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Daniel Rigmaiden was a prolific and talented fraudster who made more than a million dollars filing tax-returns for dead people, using ninja forgery skills and super-tight operational security to avoid arrest for years. Read the rest

How fraudsters' call centers work

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Say you've just scammed someone out of all their financial details using an online fraud, but now you need to call up their bank and impersonate them, and you don't speak their language, have the wrong accent, or are of a different gender -- what do you do? Read the rest

Someone snuck skimmers into Safeway stores

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Some Safeway customers in California and Colorado who used debit/credit cards have had their card numbers and PINs slurped up by criminals who then took the cards out for spending sprees. Read the rest

Cybercrime 3.0: stealing whole houses

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Articles in the UK and US press describe fraudsters who used public document registries to steal entire houses, using forged documents to list the houses for sale, transferring title to them, and disappearing (or attempting to) with a lot of money in their pockets.

America's CEOs and hedge funds are starving the nation's corporations to death

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Stock buybacks (previously) allow CEOs to drive up the company's share-price by using profits to buy shares back from investors, rather than investing the money in wages, R&D, capital or expansion. Read the rest

It's not just NOₓ. Now Volkswagen says 800K of its cars have false CO2 levels, too

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Germany's Volkswagen is already in a whole heap of global trouble after the car maker was caught cheating on U.S. tests for nitrogen oxide emissions. Then, we learned “Dieselgate” also involved VW subsidiary brands Audi and Porsche.

Now it gets worse. Today VW announced that an internal investigation has revealed "unexplained inconsistencies" in the carbon dioxide emissions from some 800,000 vehicles.

Volkswagen logo is seen at a power plant in Wolfsburg, Germany. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

From AP:

The company warned Tuesday it estimated the possible "economic risks at approximately 2 billion euros" due to the new problem.

It did not identify which vehicles were affected, but said the flaw in no way compromised the safety of any of the vehicles.

The statement says the company will "will endeavor to clarify the further course of action as quickly as possible and ensure the correct CO2 classification for the vehicles affected" with the responsible authorities.

"VW's top management will immediately start a dialogue with responsible authorities regarding the consequences of these findings," a VW spokesperson said. Read the rest

Megachurch televangelists lay hands on Donald Trump, ask Jesus to vote for him

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GOP presidential candidate and noted scumbag Donald Trump met with a bunch of televangelists, Tea Party “teavangelicals,” and preacher profiteers at his Trump Tower office Monday afternoon.

The elite group, which included some megachurch chiefs who have previously been investigated by the federal government for misuse of donations, prayed while performing the “laying on of hands” to infuse him with the Holy Spirit. The goal: Jesus, get our man elected. Read the rest

In Volkswagen emissions fraud scandal, proprietary software is the real villain

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“Proprietary software is an unsafe building material. You can’t inspect it.”

Columbia University law professor Eben Moglen made that observation 5 years ago. It's timely today, as the Volkswagen emissions fraud scandal--enabled by proprietary software--worsens. Read the rest

It's surprisingly easy to set up a convincing, highly regarded fake online business

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Kashmir Hill invented a totally imaginary business -- "Freakin’ Awesome Karaoke Express" or FAKE -- and paid people on Fiverr to follow it on Twitter with thousands of fake accounts, and to flood Yelp and Facebook with positive reviews. Before long, people were calling her and asking her to take their money in exchange for a nonexistent karaoke truck. Read the rest

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