Service of More Born Every Minute

May 9th, 2016

Categories: E-Commerce, Mobile Wallets, Moving, Online Security, Politics, Scams, Toys


Sorry to have to share more scams for suckers but it’s important to get out the word.

Moving right along

Did you hear about the Douglas County, Georgia family that hired a moving company through Craigslist and with the exception of one box, lost all their worldly goods?

Moving van plainThe movers had stolen the U-Haul truck [that the vehicle didn’t have the name of a mover painted on the side would have given me immediate pause]. According to Richard Elliot of WSB TV, after loading the truck the movers “appeared to be heading to the family’s new home in another county. But along the way, the homeowner said, the movers ditched her and vanished.” Estimated loss: $75,000. The box was recovered on a sidewalk by Cobb police two days later.

The homeowner was grateful. She’d said “If I don’t get anything back, I want that box, because it has all of our social security, birth certificates in it. It has death records from my mom and son,” she said, as well as the family Bible. The iPads and phones were missing from the box.

The naïveté of the customers made me sad: Most would have kept small electronic items and personal papers with them or stored them with friends. No wonder they were easy marks. I have to give it to the movers: They cleared the house in four hours. That’s lightening fast. Given my recent experiences in moving, I’d guess they didn’t pack or protect much; they must have tossed the furniture and other belongings in the truck.

Vote by hanging up

Telephone town hallHave you been invited to attend a town hall meeting on the phone with a political candidate? Take care warned Catherine Fredmen on where she shared intel from David Dewey, director of research at Pindrop Security, a firm that sells anti-fraud detection technology to call centers and others.

If you’re enticed by scammers that take advantage of the season and you give your credit card number to donate to your favorite pol, “Not only have you handed over money to an unknown entity, you have opened the door to identity theft.” She advises if the call is unsolicited, don’t play ball.

Not playing around

V TechWrote Fredmen, “Scammers are after more than your credit card number. Instead, they glean personal information to build detailed profiles that can be used for sophisticated forms of identity theft that may not be immediately obvious.” Her example is VTech, a toymaker. She continued: “For example, scammers could exploit the VTech data breach, which compromised the profiles of 6.4 million kids around the world, to hack identities for years. Because kids have no credit history and their parents generally don’t check their credit reports regularly, the theft might not be noticed until the kids grow up and apply for a credit card or financial aid for college.”

Mobile wallets on the move

“Dewey put the security of mobile wallets to a little test,” such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, Android Pay and PayPal, added Fredmen.  “First, he secretly copied credit card numbers and expiration dates from a few colleagues at Pindrop. A little Google investigating revealed the answers to ‘secure’ identification questions (such as a colleague’s mother’s maiden name) needed to activate the colleague’s card under Dewey’s mobile wallet account. Within minutes, Dewey had strolled over to Whole Foods and bought lunch for the office—paid for by his unwitting colleague. (The colleague was reimbursed.)”

Are you familiar with these scams or potential breaches? Know of others?

Android pay




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2 Responses to “Service of More Born Every Minute”

  1. hb Said:

    Although all of your stories describe a facet of the human suffering that the tidal wave of so called “technological advances” engulfing us is causing the naïve and the innocent, your first tale was especially upsetting. This does not appear to be a couple that should have known better than to use Craig’s list.

    A civilized society, which is, admittedly, less and less what we really are, has a duty to protect all its citizens, not just the rich and sophisticated. From computer fraud to financial and electoral chicanery, all of which are running rampantly out of control at the moment, nobody is doing anything to stem this tide.

    While we regulate everything from food and medicine to finance and intoxicants, I don’t think government regulation is the way to go. It would be too ponderous to be of much help.

    Rather, I suggest that if we let people who are hurt by the faulty seat belts and air bags in their cars, successfully sue for damages automobile dealers and manufacturers, even though they did not make the airbags, we should let technology users do likewise. Participants in the computer industry and related activities such as the internet, whether as a manufacturer, or service provider or whatever, should be held collectively liable for any harm they do to the public.

    If the Gates and Zuckerbergs and Apples and IBMs of the world were to be faced by a flood of damage claims from the citizenry, I’ll bet you’d see a lot of the bad stuff you describe go away real fast like!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Yes, I was cringing as I read and then wrote about that innocent couple who was bamboozled by creeps out of all they owned. I guess it’s caveat emptor if you use Craigslist. There’s too much of this kind of thing going on although there have always been cheats–the Internet allows them to cast a wider net for less money.

    You bring up an interesting point, but if I pass bad checks, should the bank or the paper manufacturer or printer be sued? Remember when we all cringed when a jury awarded a McDonald’s customer a ton of money for spilling hot coffee on herself?

    Meanwhile, I think that the Gates and Zuckerbergs, Apples and IBMs should get together to tighten up online security and pay for it. There are a ton of highly paid people working for answers for e-tailers, retailers, credit card companies, banks with online services, when it should be the drivers with the answers as they have the keys to the technology. If they don’t have solutions, they might direct some of the profits from their companies to find them. But that would put all the fixit people out of work.

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