#Elsagate: a subreddit that's sleuthing out the weird videos of Youtube Kids

Last month, James "New Aesthetic" Bridle published an influential essay exploring the prolific and disturbing video-spam that had come to dominate Youtube Kids, in which seemingly algorithmically generated videos endlessly recombined a handful of Disney characters and assorted others engaged in violent, abusive and even psychosexual conduct, over a soundtrack of a few repeated public-domain kids' songs, with all sorts of trickery designed to uprank them in Youtube's play-next, recommendation and search results -- keyword stuffing, duration-stretching and more. Read the rest

Fire chief arrested in Japan for tricking women out of their swimsuits

The 30-year-old fire chief at a fire station in the Tokyo city of Hachioji was arrested for defrauding a woman into giving him three of her used swimsuits. Takumi Murakami told the woman via Facebook, "Do you have any athletic swimsuits that you are not using? I'm collecting swimsuits for swim teams in foreign countries that can't afford to buy their own, so I'd be very grateful if you could help me."

Via Japan Kyo:

The woman Murakami contacted did not give him any of her swimsuits, however, in May a friend of the woman, also in her 20s, gave Murakami three of hers. Shortly thereafter, one of the woman found that the donated swimsuits were being sold via the virtual marketplace app Mercari. When confronted Murakami admitted to to lying and selling the donated swimsuits.

Police arrested Murakami on charges of fraud. He has admitted to the charges saying "I wanted to make some extra spending money." He has also admitted to having done this before a number of times.

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Anatomy of the IRS phone scam

If you're like me, you get frequent calls from scammers based in India pretending to be from the IRS. They threaten to come to my house or place of work to arrest and jail me unless I pay them alleged back taxes in the form of gift cards(!). They are laughably bad at trying to con money (see my post "An IRS scammer called me and I made him mad"), but they do well with seniors and immigrants.

According to an article on Vox, "IRS Inspector General Russell George said his department heard from about 2 million people who said they received these calls — about 10,000 of whom admitted to paying the scammers, to a tune of about $50 million. And that’s just the people who contacted them."

In order for these scams to work, the Indian scammers need to employ criminals in the US to deal with the gift cards. On Thursday 20 people in the US were arrested for allegedly participating in a fake IRS ring.

This flowchart describes how the IRS scam works.

Previously: Indian call center employees posing as the IRS may have bilked Americans out of millions A tech support scammer explains his trade Read the rest

Indian call center employees posing as the IRS may have bilked Americans out of millions

I get a couple of calls a week from scammers pretending to be from the IRS. I also get calls from scammers telling me that my Windows computer (I don't use Windows) has a virus. I might not get as many of these calls, at least for a while, because a major call center in India was raided on Tuesday, and 770 people were rounded up.

From Washington Post:

More than 200 police officers descended on a tall, glass-fronted office building where the nine call centers were operating during Tuesday’s midnight raid after being tipped off by neighbors.

“It looked like a regular office building and employed a lot of young people who spoke English and had a good knowledge of computers,” Singh said. “It was a very sophisticated operation they were running.”

Read the rest

Locksmith scammer caught on video

Locksmith scammers are in every city. They advertise on Google, promising to unlock your house or car for $29 or so. Read the rest

A tech support scammer explains his trade

Lewis from Birmingham, UK is a young man who makes videos about tech support scammers. In this video, he interviews a scammer from Delhi, India who tells Lewis that he works in a call center with 50 or 60 other scammers. He says he is forced to do this crooked work because he signed a 5-year contract. He says he swindles about 10 people a day, and makes a better living than average. His dream is to move to the United States and get a legitimate job. Read the rest

An IRS scammer called me and I made him mad

One of those lame IRS scammers called me this morning.

Read the rest

Comedian's email exchange with a scammer

In this first episode of Scamalot, a new weekly series from Mashable, comedian James Veitch trolls a scammer who wants to give Veitch 50kg of free gold. Read the rest

Awesome dance track made of clips of scamming televangelist who is also famous for his farts

You know, I thought it wasn't possible to create anything funnier than “Farting Priest,” a now classic viral video in which scamming televangelist Robert Tilton is revealed as the gassy fartbag he truly is. Read the rest

How a jerk scams a free quadruple espresso at Starbucks 365 days a year

A Starbucks barista named Brad describes a guy who bought 365 Starbucks gift cards and registered each of them with a different birthday so he can get a free drink every day. That's already a dick move, but the guy makes it worse by being a real jerk to the barista. When he comes in to the store he asks for a Venti cup and a marker and writes instructions on the cup before handing it back:

He draws lines and arrows and writes all over the cup while telling me: “Two pumps of white mocha here, then add five pumps of vanilla. That should take us to this line here where you’re gonna add cold heavy cream up to this ridge here...it should be halfway between this line and this line. Make sure to add the heavy whipping cream before the espresso, it changes the taste if you do it out of order. Then add your four shots, three regular and one long shot. That long shot is important, since you guys reformulated your machines, it’s been Hell trying to get my drink right. That long shot helps balance it. Then stir it for me, Mister Brad. Now do me a favor and add ice to the top there and it’ll be easy as pie. I’m not picky so don’t worry about shaking it or anything like that.”

A drink like this is normally $6.50, which would make it ineligible for the free birthday coffee, so he instructs the barista to ring it up as a "one quad espresso, add white mocha, sub vanilla, sub heavy cream."

Read other "Stories of Horrible Restaurant Customers" at Kitchenette. Read the rest

Videos of people trolling phone scammers

It's a lot of fun to watch and hear these people making fun of phone scammers pretending to be from the IRS or Microsoft tech support. Read the rest

Supercut of people pretending that cars hit them

Ubiquitous video cameras have put a dent in the jumping-in-front-of-a-car-and-feigning-injury profession. Read the rest