Ja Rule has plans for to Fyre up another music festival. Seriously.

Ja Rule, who claims he hasn't watched either of the Fyre festival documentaries, is ready to rise like a phoenix from the, er, flames:

"(Fyre is) the most iconiq festival that never was," he says. "So I have plans to create the iconic music festival." Read the rest

Netherlands court strikes down Dutch grifter's patent claim over Ethiopia's ancient staple grain teff

Teff is one of the oldest grains to have been cultivated, a staple for so long that its original cultivation date is lost to history and can only be estimated at between 1000 and 4000 BCE; it is best known as the main ingredient in injera, the soft pancakes that are served with Ethiopian meals. Read the rest

PayPal bans Laura Loomer, noted racist troll grifter

“They want me to be homeless and die!,” Loomer cries on Instagram as she asks fans to send her $40,000.

Trump's pastor to flock: Give me your January salary or God will punish you

Donald Trump's “prosperity gospel” spiritual advisor Paula White, a pastor who is reported to reside in an 8,000 square foot house and travel on a $2.6 million private jet, is commanding her congregation to cough up their January salaries to her or else God is seriously going to punish them so hard. Read the rest

Watch this trailer for the new Fyre Festival documentary!

The Fyre Festival documentary premieres on Netflix on January 18 and I can't wait. If you remember the Fyre Festival, you definitely weren't there... because, y'know, it didn't happen. And I'm glad, because if it did, we wouldn't have this fantastically ridiculous story. From NetFlix:

Created by Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule, Fyre Festival was promoted as a luxury music festival on a private island in the Bahamas featuring bikini-clad supermodels, A-List musical performances and posh amenities. Guests arrived to discover the reality was far from the promises.

Chris Smith, the director behind the Emmy Award Nominated documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, gives a first-hand look into disastrous crash of Fyre as told by the organizers themselves.

Read more Boing Boing posts about the Fyre Festival. Read the rest

How pyramid schemes work and why people keep getting suckered into them

Pyramid schemes are appealing if you don't understand how they work. This video explains how they work, why they are unsustainable, and the psychological tricks used to recruit victims. Read the rest

Inside the funny accounting that lets the money-losing fracking industry claim to be profitable

Fracking is grossly unprofitable: the fracking industry is losing hundreds of millions of dollars, but it claims to be profitable and august publications like the Wall Street Journal and Reuters repeat these claims as though they were true. How can this be? Read the rest

Megachurch pastor struggles to defend $200,000 Lamborghini purchase

A Lamborghini here, a Lamborghini there, sooner or later it starts to add up. Read the rest

What it's like to be a woman reporter on a cryptocurrency cruise where nearly all the other women are sex-workers

Laurie Penny (previously) got sent on the 2018 CoinsBank Blockchain Cruise -- a four-day cruise filled with "starry-eyed techno-utopians and sketchy-ass crypto-grifters" who solved the fact that there almost no women signed up using the "free market": they paid teen sex workers from Ukraine to ship out with them. Read the rest

Probing a mysterious network of dropshippers, evangelicals, crapgadgets, and semi-vacant Manhattan department stores

Jenny Odell is an artist and critic whose Bureau of Suspended Objects report on dropshipping (previously) was a fascinating dive into the weird, scammy world of crapgadgets and farcically poorly made fashion items sold through a network of "influencers" and turnkey ecommerce tool. Read the rest

Babysitter vetting and voice-analysis: Have we reached peak AI snakeoil?

The ever-useful Gartner Hype Cycle identified an inflection point in the life of any new technology: the "Peak of Inflated Expectations," attained just before the sharp dropoff into the "Trough of Disillusionment"; I've lived through the hype-cycles of several kinds of technology and one iron-clad correlate of the "Peak of Inflated Expectations" is the "Peak of Huckster Snakeoil Salesmen": the moment at which con-artists just add a tech buzzword to some crooked scam and head out into the market to net a fortune before everyone gets wise to the idea that the shiny new hypefodder isn't a magic bullet. Read the rest

Instagram "influencers" phished and accounts stolen

Instagram influencers are easy marks for phishers: they are unlikely to be security-savvy, are easily taken-in by marketing patter, have huge easily-grifted audiences, and Instagram won't even give them their accounts back afterward. Taylor Lorenz:

For young influencers with no direct contacts at Instagram or Facebook, it can be nearly impossible to retrieve a stolen account. Hackers will change the contact email address and phone number and reset the username so the account is impossible to find. Then, they’ll run ads on it until they can sell the whole page off for a large price, sometimes more than a hundred thousand dollars.

Faisal Shafique, a college student who Instagrams under the handle @Fact, said that he earns roughly $300,000 a year from posting sponsored content for brands like TikTok and Fashion Nova. When Brooks seized control of his account several weeks ago, it put those brand deals in jeopardy, potentially costing him his livelihood. Shafique was able to retrieve his account back before it was sold off, but he estimates he would have lost a half-a-million-dollar property if he hadn’t.

See also The Rise of the Nanoinfluencer -- people with smaller but still exploitable social media followings who get paid in care packages of the (sometimes expensive) stuff they post about. Read the rest

Dramatic reading of wank shame scam spam sent to Boing Boing's corporate inquiries email helpline

It's always good to have something to blog about first thing Monday morning.

TO:inquiries@boingboing.net

Hi, victim.

I write you because I buried a malware on the web page with porn which you have viewed. My virus captured all your private info and switched on your webcam which recorded the process of your masturbation. Just after that the malware saved your contact list. I will erase the compromising video and info if you pay me 350 EURO in bitcoin. This is address for payment : 16aFnAAFfeq4BhL98P8LAoaviUaYp7oTSr

I give you 30h after you open my message for making the transaction. As soon as you read the message I'll see it immediately. It is not necessary to tell me that you have sent money to me. This wallet address is connected to you, my system will delete everything automatically after transfer confirmation. If you need 48 hours just Open the calculator on your desktop and press +++ If you don't pay, I'll send dirt to all your contacts. Let me remind you-I see what you're doing! You can visit the police station but nothing can't help you. If you attempt to cheat me , I'll know it right away! I don't live in your country. So nobody can not track my location even for 9 months. bye. Don't forget about the disgrace and to ignore, Your life can be ruined.

It turns out that the ESL Shame Wizard is randomly-generated! Our customer service email helpline received one with a slightly different wording:

Hi, victim.

Read the rest

The growth of Jamaican phone-scamming caused a crime-wave and martial law in Montego Bay

In the late 2000s, Jamaican authorities launched a crackdown on drug dealers, extraditing the country's most notorious crime-bosses to the USA; the power-vacuum was filled by telephone advance-fee fraud (419/Spanish Prisoner/etc) scammers who targeted American victims, bringing an estimated $300,000,000 to Montego Bay and its region, the epicenter of the scam. Read the rest

China's panicked upper middle class are easy picking for offshore real estate scams

The combination of Chinese anti-corruption reforms and currency controls has China's storied "middle class" (a nebulously defined category whose size and wealth are the subject of multiple, conflicting accounts) scrambling for ways to get their money out of the country and to establish bolt holes to escape to, should the situation suddenly worsen. Read the rest

EFF to Texas AG: Epson is screwing Texans

You remember when HP tricked its users into downgrading their printers by sending them a fake "security update" that actually made the printers refuse third-party and refilled ink cartridges? 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

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