Wells Fargo blames "computer glitch" for its improper foreclosure on 545 homes

According to Wells Fargo, a "computer glitch" caused the improper denial of 870 loan modification requests, which led to 545 foreclosures in which Wells Fargo customers lost their homes; the bank is now offering those former homeowners -- some of whom saw the breakup of their marriages as the result of the stress of foreclosure -- insultingly small sums, like $25,000. Read the rest

Malware authors have figured out how to get Google to do "irreversible takedowns" of the sites they compete with

When a rightsholder complains to Google about a website infringing its copyright, Google will generally delist the site, but allow the site's owner to contest the removal through a process defined in Section 512 of the DMCA. Read the rest

Learn how to spot a fake painting from art forgery experts

Would you know how to spot a fake painting?

In this Wired video, forensic scientist Thiago Piwowarczyk and art historian Jeffrey Taylor of New York Art Forensics go through their five-step art authentication process to determine if they have a legit Jackson Pollock or not. Spoiler alert: it's not, though watching their discovery methods is fascinating.

(Nag on the Lake) Read the rest

Here's how the Pentagon swindled Congress with $21 trillion worth of undocumented, untraceable, unaccounted for expenditures

Remember when the Department of Defense's own internal auditor revealed that the agency had committed $6.5 trillion in accounting fraud in just one year? Read the rest

Cops catch Canadian clairvoyant and charge her for creeping on clients

Our current news cycle pushes out stories, scandals and tales of catastrophe faster than shit through a goose. There's no keeping on top of it all anymore. With this being the case, it's little wonder that we managed to miss the fact that a Canadian woman was charged with what amounts to witchcraft this past October.

From Vice:

This weekend police in Milton, a small town in Ontario, arrested 32-year-old Dorie Stevenson who was running a psychic business out of her basement. She was charged with extortion, fraud over $5,000 [$3,813 USD], and witchcraft/fortune telling. If you’re thinking, whoa, Canada has witchcraft laws? Well, the answer would be yes, but they’re probably not exactly what you think.

It's covered under section 365 in the Criminal Code under the title “pretending to practice witchcraft.” It focuses on anyone who “fraudulently” gets paid to tell fortunes, “pretends to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment, or conjuration,” or using their “skill in or knowledge of an occult or crafty science” to find where lost things are.

Stevenson was picked up by Halton Regional Police after it was discovered that she was running a business, selling psychic insights to folks out of her basement. That's fine: there's plenty of folks in Canada doing much the same. What the cops took exception with, after a months-long investigation, was the fact that Stevenson was preying on her customers while they were in a vulnerable state. According to the police, Stevenson was routinely telling her customers that she could foresee terrible things happening to them if they didn't bring her cash, jewelry and other expensive bobbles that would help her to divert their encroaching disaster. Read the rest

Wells Fargo: We can't be sued for lying to shareholders because it was obvious we were lying

Wells Fargo has asked a court to block a shareholder lawsuit that seeks to punish the company for lying when it promised to promptly and completely disclose any new scandals; Wells Fargo claims that the promise was obvious "puffery," a legal concept the FTC has allowed to develop in which companies can be excused for making false claims if it should be obvious that they are lying (as when a company promises that they make "the best-tasting juice in America). Read the rest

Security chips have not reduced US credit-card fraud

The US credit card industry was a very late adopter of security chips, lagging the EU by a decade or so; when they did roll out chips, it was a shambolic affair, with many payment terminals still not using the chips, and almost no terminals requiring a PIN (and some require a PIN and a signature, giving rise to the curiously American security protocol of chip-and-PIN-and-swipe-and-sign). Read the rest

Two Goldman Sachs bankers charged in multibillion-dollar Malaysian money-laundering scam

In 2015, the Malaysian government collapsed after a scandal involving embezzlement from the state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund; the scandal shows no sign of slowing down, with fresh accusations against the country's business and political leadership surfacing regularly and one prime suspect, the financier and "tabloid party boy" Jho Low going on the run, a fugitive believed to be in China. Read the rest

Gwyneth Paltrow plagiarized the fictitious "ancient Chinese" practice of vaginally inserted jade eggs UPDATED

Gwyneth Paltrow's insanely profitable empire of quack remedies has had some serious lowlights: it wasn't just squirting coffee up your asshole, or vaginal steaming and smoothie dust: really, the lowest of the lowlights was a concerted effort to convince women to insert $66 jade eggs into their vaginas because, supposedly, this was a widespread practice from "ancient China."

Update: An earlier version of this article credited Ms Paltrow with inventing the fictitious ancient Chinese practice of keeping jade eggs in one's vagina; it turns out that this legend was plagiarized from other sources." Read the rest

Rep Steve King spent $18,000 at private GOP club, sent taxpayers the bill

Steve King is a virulent, ardent, violent, authoritarian member of the Read the rest

SEC lawsuit: Elon Musk committed securities fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against entrepreneur Elon Musk alleging securities fraud. The complaint hasn't yet been made publicly available, but likely centers on his harebrained tweeting about taking the company private with foreign money.

Tesla shares are down 5.7%, reports Reuters. That's about $307, as of 4:20 p.m. Eastern time today.

AMAZING UPDATE:

Read the rest

Anonymous stock-market manipulators behind $20B+ of "mispricing" can be tracked by their writing styles

In a new Columbia Law and Economics Working Paper, Columbia Law prof Joshua Mitts uses "stylometry" (previously) to track how market manipulators who publish false information about companies in order to profit from options are able to flush their old identities when they become notorious for misinformation and reboot them under new handles. Read the rest

Apple's fine-print reveals a secret program to spy on Iphone users and generate "trust scores"

Buried in the new Apple Iphone and Apple TV privacy policy is an unannounced program that uses "information about how you use your device, including the approximate number of phone calls or emails you send and receive...to compute a device trust score when you attempt a purchase." Read the rest

Government seizes fraudulent military recruitment sites

Individuals willing to lay down their lives—or at least risk them for the promise of steady employment—shouldn't have to put up with phony websites designed to snag and sell their personal information. It's an opinion that's apparently shared by the FTC.

From Gizmodo:

The FTC filed a complaint in federal court today charging that two Alabama-based companies, Sun Key Publishing and Fanmail.com, made roughly $11 million selling data to private schools. The companies would contact the potential recruits and encourage them to enroll at specific for-profit schools under the false impression that the U.S. military endorsed the organizations. If the mark sounded interested, Sun Key would sell that recruit’s information for anywhere between $15 and $40. Tens of thousands of people visited the websites every month.

The defendants were charged with violating the FTC Act as well as the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and reached a settlement with the government. But they won’t have to give back that $11 million because of their “inability to pay.”

The evil geniuses behind the scam used websites with the web addresses Army.com and Air-Force.com (apparently Army.com has been privately owned since 1995,) to lure in hopeful candidates looking to work a job that never makes you think about what you should wear to work. According to Gizmodo, for the time being, the FTC is staying quiet on which schools were benefiting from the ill-gotten personal information. Chances are, as the FTC develops their case against the digital imposters and their clients, we'll learn more about the who-did-whats. Read the rest

Game store accused of opening collectible card games and resealing them

A Magic:The Gathering pre-release kit [Amazon] is about $25 and contains six booster decks and a D20. What would you think if you bought 14 such kits from your local game store, received not one good card, then bought another kit at a grocery store and spotted that it was shrinkwrapped differently? Read the rest

GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter indicted on wire fraud & campaign finance crimes, incl. $1,500+ of Steam games

Actually, it's about ethics in purchasing videogames with campaign funds. Read the rest

Leaked FBI memo warns banks of looming "unlimited ATM cashout"

When scammers get inside of the networks of financial institutions, they sometimes stage "cashouts" where they recruit confederates around the world to all hit ATMs at the same time with cards tied to hacked accounts and withdraw the maximum the ATMs will allow; but the wilier criminals first disable the anti-fraud and withdrawal maximum features in the banks' systems, enabling confederates to drain ATMs of all the cash they contain. This is called an "unlimited cashout." Read the rest

More posts