Friday, June 8, 2018

Scam Spotting: Anatomy of a "free" premium headphones offer

Ever seen those offers: we're giving away (insert item) as a promotion, all you need to do is pay shipping and handling?

Let's dissect one and see how it really works.

Recently, someone brought this to reddit.com/r/scams attention. In the interest of NOT giving them any link juice, all names will be redacted, but you can easily figure it out.  Here's a screenshot of the top of their giveaway page.


They claim to be giving away all sorts of headsets and headphones for FREE. The catch is you'll need to pay about $13USD per item for shipping and handling.


However, are these headphones REALLY worth as much as they say? The answer is no. NOT EVEN CLOSE. Let's take that first headphone for example. They said "save $80", implying MSRP is $80.

Well, let's do a bit of digging via Google image search, and we got a $3 headset:


Oh, myyyyy. It's the EXACT SAME headset. For $2.99 with free shipping.  These headphones are NOT worth $80. They're not even worth $8. It's worth $3.00

Now you see why they are charging $13. For every order, they pocket $10, while making people believe they are getting something for cheap.

Let's pick another item, just to make a point.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bad Propaganda: Meghan Markle and Homeopathy, really?

A tweet from Alberta Association of Naturopathic Doctors just came across my tweetstream:


Uh, even that statement is wrong on many levels.

  • It's Sussex, not Essex
  • She's a duchess, not a princess. 
But third, did no one ask the circumstances of this picture? Turns out, this is a "gifting suite", circa 2012. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

How will the California Supreme Court "Dynamex" decision affect MLM?


When California Supreme Court handed down the Dynamex decision on May 4th, 2018, people wonder if the "gig economy" is doomed, as the decision is likely to affect Uber and Lyft drivers, and potentially all gig economy participants. But here's a question so far that had not been addressed: how will this affect multi-level marketing aka "MLM"?

In issuing the decision, CSC also handed down a new "ABC test" to see if the work should be classified truly as an independent contractor. To be classified as such, the worker needs to satisfy ALL THREE criteria below:

  • (A) that the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact
  • (B) that the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business
  • (C) that the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.

Does MLM pass the test? This is important because ALL MLM classify their participants as independent contractors (except for their corporate staff). They may get glorified names like "consultants", "Independent business owners", "brand ambassadors", and so on, but they are independent contractors because they get a 1099 and the end of the year.

But is joining an MLM really as an independent contractor...or as an employee?

Question A: is working in MLM actually free from control and direction of the hiring entity, both in performance and in fact?

This is going to be hard to answer, as it's NOT possible to say definitely either way. Many MLMs have LONG bylaws and joining agreements, including how you can dress and present the company image. (Mary Kay is infamous for its "no pants rule", really, look it up)

Question B: is working in MLM actually performing work that is outside the usual course of hiring entity's business?

This should be a definite "yes". MLMs typically have ZERO sales/promotional department. They may have a sponsorship department buying sponsorships and PR but no "sales force" per se.

Question C: is working for MLM something that the worker already does as an established trade, occupation, or such?

This is a "very likely no". Most people join MLM with zero experience (indeed, this is one of the mantras of MLM, "no experience needed, work as much or as little as you like")  Indeed, MLMs often specifically seek out housewives and students with ZERO work experience.

If MLM companies are forced to reclassify much of their associates as employees, this would be the end of multi-level marketing (as we know it).   And based on the ABC test presented, there is no reason why vast majority of MLMs will not be forced to do so.

And it may not be a bad thing.


Bad Propaganda: MLM trying cheap photoshop tricks on its gullible members? Or just rogue member?

Spotted this over in /r/antimlm:


Apparently someone took the photo fo Meghan Markle at her baptism a while back, photoshopped (tm) a cheap Herbalife plastic bottle into her hands (while she's walking past a ton of well-wishers, COMPLETELY inappropriate to be holding a shake bottle!) and claimed this is "proof" that Meghan Markle is an Herbalife customer.

Don't care who created the fake, but the way some people believe this **** without any verification "it's official!!!!!"  is just cringe-worthy. Are they in a cult or a business? 

But that's hardly the end of the story. Instead of an apology for spreading fake news, the spreader of fake news has since blocked the person who told her it's fake news. You can see the angry retort when the person was corrected.

Tsk, tsk. And they are lamenting WHY are they shunned in public...

It is because of stupid behavior like this: making up **** trying to score a few more sales by claiming bogus endorsements.

They really have no one to blame but themselves, but they don't see it that way. They live in their own echo chamber believing their own lies.

And they think they are better than the rest, blabbing about financial independence, empowerment, and blah blah blah.

They are in the Matrix, and they don't see it.



Monday, April 30, 2018

Example of a bogus cryptocurrency opportunity: Ethtrade.club

There are tons of websites purported to make you money based on the latest trends, and the current trend is cryptocurrency, such as Ethereum.

EthTrade claims to generate 20% ROI per month if you invest for 2 months, or 25% ROI per month if you invest for four months.

However, once you look down toward their executive team, their fiction quickly evaporates.


What's interesting is two out of four photos of the executive team are verified to be nothing of the sort.  Let's pay attention to the two in the middle.



As it turns out, the photo of "Michael Jentzsch" is actually a Fiverr member who goes by the name of Andreas_hof. Fiverr is a place for freelancers to advertise their services.


As for "Ichiro Hikita", that's even funnier. It's a stock photo.



I haven't found the real identities of the other two individuals on the "executive team", but I have little doubt they'll also be stolen photos and their bios are utter fabrications.

But then, this is the same way how Ryan Gosling's face ended up on some cryptoscam website.

ALWAYS be wary online.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

An LED light that cleans air? Nope, just marked up 10X LED bulbs

A company called "Pure-Light" claimed their TiO2 coated bulbs will clean the air...

...of these bacteria, viruses, mold, and pollutants. The air also gets deodorized as well since almost all odors are an organic compound. There is also a secondary PURE-LIGHT effect on the surfaces of items near the light bulb, such as kitchen/bathroom counters, dishes, stoves, cutting boards, door knobs, etc.  
But what is this "PURE-LIGHT effect"? It was never defined. It got only worse from there.

The two special super oxygen molecules Pure-Light bulbs produce are called SUPEROXIDE (O-2) and HYDROXYL ION (HO). These two super oxygen molecules provide a triple "action"... two actions against viruses and bacteria, and another "action" against VOCs.
Uh... O2 is just "oxygen". Calling it "superoxide" is just using bogus jargon. What's worse, their own diagram called it something else: "super oxygen" (right below the word "how")


There is no such thing as "super oxygen". The only place you'll find the term used frequently is at woo news sites such as "naturalnews" where the term is often used to refer to ozone (O3) as if it is better than oxygen.

Indeed, Pure-Light claimed that white blood cell works... by feeding bad things extra oxygen... which is NONSENSE!


SUPEROXIDE (O-2), or SUPER OXYGEN, is actually produced in the human body in large quantities by White Blood cells and is used by the immune system to kill invading microorganisms. ​Superoxide (O-2) inside the body, or in the air, combines with a microorganism giving it essentially a boost of oxygen. Good cells thrive with the extra oxygen while viruses and bacteria are killed by the extra oxygen. Superoxides are also used in firefighters' oxygen tanks and divers rebreather systems in order to provide a readily available source of oxygen.
White blood cells actually ingest the bad cells through a process called phagocytosis, and once the cells and virus are "eaten", they are digested with enzymes. Oxygen had nothing to do with it!

Monday, March 19, 2018

How to spot a suspicious Real Estate Listing

Someone brought this listing to Reddit /r/scams as it is suspicious as heck.  It's a house listed in New Orleans, and they ONLY take cash.



The listing is full of suspicious details, like
The only agent allowed is ours. Her name is Nicole Miller and can be reached at five six seven two eight four two four nine seven. There are tenants here currently there until March 29th, and need 48 hours notice before sale can commence or before anyone can see the inside. 
The phone number given, 576-284-2497 is a number in Toledo Ohio.

The lister wants 20% down, before you can even look at the house, and the house CANNOT be viewed until March 29th. According to the listing, it was posted on March 15th or so.

The listing was supposedly posted by a "Jeeb Renovations".


Except there is no such company in either Toledo Ohio or New Orleans, Louisiana.

What's even more interesting: Google found a SECOND house, this time in Jacksonville, Florida, for 30000, with the exact same terms: 20% down just to view it, cannot be viewed until March 29th, and the names are completely different, yet the language is IDENTICAL!


The only agent allowed is ours. Her name is Carolyn Dyer and can be reached at five six seven two eight four two four nine seven. There are tenants here currently there until March 29th, and need 48 hours notice before sale can commence or before anyone can see the inside. 
This time, the listing was supposedly provided by a "Larry Hutcherson", but the same 567 area code number was used. So now, we have FOUR different names attached to the SAME phone number, involving three different cities.


It's obvious by now that both house listings are bogus and perpetrated by the same scammer who's out to steal the 20% down "viewing fee". Once the money's deposited, the guy cuts contact, and you'll never see your money again.

Don't fall for the scam.