Tag Archives | scams

Many Herbal Supplements Nothing But Rice and Weeds

snake-oil-scamIf you’re looking to try an herbal supplement it looks like you’d be best off growing your own.

Via Newser:

Tests to determine what’s really in popular herbal supplements found a key ingredient is often missing: herbs. Researchers conducted DNA tests on 44 bottles of the remedies sold by 12 companies and found that around a third contained no trace at all of the healing herb they were supposed to contain, reports the New York Times. Instead, the supplements were made of powdered weeds or fillers like rice and soybean, which were used to dilute other supplements that did contain some of the plant listed on the label.

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Elderly ‘Vacation’ Winners Used as Drug Mules

o-BRYAN-CRANSTON-facebook

Well played.

Who would’ve thought that the entirely unexpected free international holiday would come with a big, twitchy catch?

Via ABC News Australia:

Australian Federal Police have uncovered a scam in which a Perth couple were unknowingly used as drug mules.

Police say the couple, aged 64 and 72, travelled to Canada after being told they had won a free holiday, including seven nights’ accommodation and new luggage.

They became suspicious on their return to Perth and alerted Customs officers who found 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine hidden in each of their suitcases.

A 38-year-old Canadian man was arrested at Perth airport and has been charged with importing a commercial quantity of methamphetamine.

AFP Commander David Bachi said police do not believe the couple were willingly involved.

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Heads-up to the festival community, thieves are working the circuit; here is one of their scams

via chycho

BassCoast201217

  1. The Festival
  2. The Setting
  3. The Scam
  4. The Outcome
  5. How to Protect Yourself

I. The Festival

I was lucky enough to win tickets through ION Magazine to attend Bass Coast, an international electronic arts music festival that’s been held in British Columbia, Canada since 2009. My many thanks to Ion Magazine for partnering with Bass Coast to give away tickets and to the organizers for putting together this amazing event, I will definitely be attending again. For those interested, the following video featuring some of the musicians and artists that have attended the festival is a great introduction to what awaits you.

Unfortunately, no matter how amazing an event turns out to be, there are always bad elements present. The best festivals are ones that promote a sense of culture and community, it’s the best way to ensure safety and security, a central theme for Bass Coast. Even with the amazing vibe of this gathering, some minor predators ended up filtering through.… Read the rest

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Identity Thieves Scamming U.S. Government With Fake Tax Refund Claims

identity theftIngeniously devious and glaringly simple. Lizette Alvarez reports on the latest ID theft scam for the New York Times:

Besieged by identity theft, Florida now faces a fast-spreading form of fraud so simple and lucrative that some violent criminals have traded their guns for laptops. And the target is the United States Treasury.

With nothing more than ledgers of stolen identity information — Social Security numbers and their corresponding names and birth dates — criminals have electronically filed thousands of false tax returns with made-up incomes and withholding information and have received hundreds of millions of dollars in wrongful refunds, law enforcement officials say.

The criminals, some of them former drug dealers, outwit the Internal Revenue Service by filing a return before the legitimate taxpayer files. Then the criminals receive the refund, sometimes by check but more often though a convenient but hard-to-trace prepaid debit card.

The government-approved cards, intended to help people who have no bank accounts, are widely available in many places, including tax preparation companies.

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Sakawa Boys: Ghana’s Cyber-Juju Email Scam Gangs

sakawa-poster-11What do you get when you combine identity theft and email fraud with black magic, spells, and shape shifting? The explosively popular West African subculture known as Sakawa. Via Motherboard, who filmed their visit in Ghana with Sakawa boys:

While Nigeria’s 419 scammers may have written the book on West African internet fraud, their shtick looks like Compuserve compared to what’s going on in Ghana. Ghana’s scammers decided to stack the odds in their favor the old-fashioned way: witchcraft.

Traditional West African Juju priests adapted their services to the needs of the information age and started leading down-on-their-luck internet scammers through strange and costly rituals designed to increase their powers of persuasion and make their emails irresistible to greedy Americans. And so “Sakawa” was born.

Not only is Sakawa the country’s most popular youth activity and one of its biggest underground economies, it’s a full-blown national phenomenon. Sakawa has its own tunes, clothing brands, Sakawasploitation flicks, and even a metastatic backlash from Christian preachers and the press.

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Is There A Scam Behind The Rise In Oil And Food Prices?

gas pumpThe global economy and its recovery, and the living standards of millions of plain folks, are now at risk from the sudden rise in oil and commodity prices.

Gas at the pump is up, and going higher. Food prices are following.

The consequences are catastrophic for the global poor as their costs go up while their income doesn’t. It’s menacing American workers too, who in large part have not seen a meaningful raise since the days of Reagan (keeping it this way is clearly behind the current flurry of attacks on unions).

Already, unrest in the Middle East and many African countries is being blamed for these dramatic increases. It seems as if this threat to global stability is being largely ignored in our media, one that treats the oil business as just another mystical world of free market trading.

Why is it happening? Why all the volatility? Is oil getting scarcer, leading to price increases?… Read the rest

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Los Angeles Man Who Created Fake U.S. Army Unit Arrested

60873363 This takes elaborate ruses to new level. Californian Yupeng Deng used uniforms, IDs, basic training exercises, and military parades in a scam tricking Chinese immigrants into believing they had joined a “special forces reserve” of the U.S. military. The New York Times reports:

To the Chinese immigrants he recruited, Yupeng Deng was known as Supreme Commander. He offered them United States Army uniforms, conducted training exercises on Sundays, led marches in municipal parades and promised a path toward American citizenship.

The uniforms were real, but Mr. Deng’s U.S. Army/Military Special Forces Reserve unit was a sham, the authorities said.

On Wednesday, Mr. Deng, 51, was arraigned in Los Angeles County Court on 13 felony charges related to the fake military operation, which concentrated on Chinese immigrants, eager to become American citizens, in the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles.

More than 100 immigrants paid upwards of $300 to join the bogus unit, the authorities said, and $120 to renew their memberships each year.

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Some Kind Of Wanderful

The AmWand

The AmWand

The dudes at VICE crack the crazy behind AmWand, a so-called Zero Point Energy healing device:

Three grown men recently gyrated their wands inches above my lower back while I laid facedown on a red couch. Every few minutes they asked me whether I was “feeling anything.” They were hoping that twirling stainless-steel tubes full of “granulated minerals” over my body would relieve an ailment that has caused me niggling yet constant nerve pain for years. It had no discernable effect on my discomfort, but hundreds of people across the world believe these wands contain a powerful healing energy.

My wanding experience took place inside a charming 100-year-old house in Mount Vernon, New York. The homeowner, 39-year-old Paul Saenz, had invited me there for a demonstration of the AMwand, one of the many wellness products manufactured by the multilevel marketing company Amega Global. Paul is a part-time musician, a father of two, and the founder of Resonance Technology Global, through which he sells products from Amega and other companies.

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