Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Scam Psychology: Bogus Science and Alternative Facts Redux

One of the ways scams and woo spread is by linking a famous person to it, never mind that famous person actually said the EXACT OPPOSITE.

Recently, there was a Twitter debate when someone rehashed the myth that "cancer cannot survive in an alkaline environment", and cited Dr. Otto Warburg, 1931 Nobel Laureate, and even claimed that's what he got the Nobel prize for.  But it wasn't.

This alkaline nonsense was thoroughly busted by Snopes back in 2016, as well as by practically every major medical news website and several hospitals and medical schools. To make a long story short, it's circular reasoning. Dr. Warburg actually discovered that cancer cells produce MORE lactic acid by using a different metabolism method than healthy cells. While a cancerous body is slightly acidic than normal, this is the effect of cancer, NOT THE CAUSE. And you can't force a body or blood to be acidic through diet (that means your kidneys have FAILED!). It's clear that whoever listened to this nonsense doesn't understand cause and effect. They think cancer -> acid, then anti-acid = anti-cancer. It doesn't work like that.  A caused B. B does not cause A.

But the way they try to validate their nonsense by citing Dr. Warburg via the false citing was the reason for this post. Falsely citing a celebrity is a common scam tactic, usually ignored by the company as that would imply they willingly violated state or Federal laws on False Endorsement and Right of Publicity Claims. In fact, some companies are known to have set up fake news pages claiming links between their products and actors and celebrities such as actor Will Farrell and celebrity chef Paula Dean.

Back in 2004 Actor Ray Liotta sued Nerium after some Nerium reps falsely claimed via Facebook posts that Mr. Liotta's facial complexion improved due to the use of their products. The case was later settled out of court. But this hardly stopped other overeager reps from claiming things that have no basis in science or fact.

One of the more recent victims of false endorsement was Malaysia sprinter Watson Myambek. In November 2018, someone was spreading claims on Facebook that Nyambek is a Bitcoin millionaire to promote some sort of crypto-scam. He categorically denied such allegations and said he will file a report with police and want the lying culprit found.

The point is unless you can trust the source, like a reputable newspaper article, you should NOT believe anything you read on Facebook and similar social media platforms.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Evil MLM: Revisionist History, Juice Plus Edition

Remember in the book 1984 by George Orwell, the government rewrites history when the policies change? "We've always been at war with Eastasia"? Turns out, MLM participants does that every day.

Just the other day, someone posted this to reddit's /antimlm subreddit

I have nothing to say about Bear Grylls. I do have something to say about the revisionist history though.

Notice where it says "juice plus has been tested and trialed for the past 40 years"?

That's impossible. Juice Plus didn't exist until 1993. This is from their own homepage:
All Juice Plus+ products share a common nutritional philosophy that traces back to our beginnings in 1993
Before 1993, Juice Plus sold water filters, air purifiers, and smoke alarms under the name "National Safety Associates" as an MLM. They swapped companies names in 1993 and changed focus entirely. It's a brand new company, but they kept the leadership, so they can kinda keep claiming they were founded almost 50 years ago (in 1970 under a different name).

I am NOT going to get into the bogosity of "juice plus cure my cancer" stories on Youtube. I'll just refer you to the article written by a real retired MD

Monday, November 5, 2018

British Columbia (Canada) Chiropractic Org Crack Down on Spurious Claims by Members, How About US?

You will often find that chiropractors claim to be able to treat everything from ADHD and Alzheimers to diabetes, infertility, all the way to Down's syndrome, and they are all over websites, blogs, and social media postings. There is absolutely ZERO evidence chiropractic can treat those afflictions. It seems one professional organization is finally doing something about these unsupported claims... and it's a chiropractic organization.

College of Chiropractors of British Columbia (Canada) has warned all members from making efficacy claims in its latest policy clarification, mandated any claims to be removed ASAP, and the deadline passed three days ago (on 01-NOV-2018).

What is also interesting is BC Chiropractors are NOT allowed to give public opinions about vaccination (for or against) as chiropractors are NOT trained in infectious diseases. Yet it didn't stop some chiropractors, including two BC College of Chiropractors board members, from taking an antivax stance on social media. Both promptly deleted their antivax post after being reminded of the college policy. And one vice-chair has resigned after posting a video claiming a smoothie is more effective than a flu shot at preventing flu.

So where are such regulations or policies in the US?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

MLM Genre Analysis: CBD products have HUGE risks not understood by participants

Some of the more recent MLMs have latched onto CBD, or cannabidiol as their next big thing, and several companies have started selling products based on CBD oil for topical and other uses. However, what those people failed to consider is CBD is NOT legal in all 50 states. That's right, holding CBD oil in certain states can get you arrested for drug possession, which can RUIN YOUR LIFE!

Fact: DEA considers CBD oil as a schedule I controlled substance, with ONE exception

DEA considers CBD oil "marijuana extract" and remains on schedule I (same as cocaine and heroin). DEA has allowed a specific formulation, containing less than 0.1% THC, and approved by the FDA, to be reclassified Schedule V. This happened in October 2018.

This is often misquoted by CBD advocates as "DEA legalized CBD" when nothing of the sort took place.

With that said, DEA has bigger fish to fry, like the opioid epidemic. But it's illegal. And if your state law enforcement wants to bust you, it can, as a man in Indiana found out. He was arrested for possessing CBD oil and prosecutors chose not to charge him because the state legislature made CBD legal AFTER his arrest.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Scam Psychology: Engaging Antivaxxers: What I learned from them vs. Scheme Denialists

Recently, I engaged a couple antivaxxers on Twitter. It was a learning experience. One just wants to talk about his conspiracy theory (There is no reason for the government to care about your health!)   (Uh, what about taxes?)  while the other ONLY want to talk about the harm done by vaccines and ignore all the good it did (Let's talk about how many children the original Salk vaccine harmed...)

Let's be absolutely clear here: Yes, the original Salk vaccine did sicken 200 children and killed 10, but it also saved about 15000 (or even 20000) children from paralysis THAT YEAR ALONE!  Go ahead, Google that yourself. A vaccine that saved 98.6+% of the children (210/15000) from a crippling disease such as polio was a success, NOT a failure!

But the anti-vaxxers only want to talk about the children that were harmed, not the 14000+ children saved that year from paralysis. They are NOT interested in seeing the whole picture.

I am not going to provide a blow-by-blow of my encounter. I'll just say that as predicted, they engaged in multiple goal-post shifting (trying to shift the topic), citing bogus experts (Mercola), claiming conspiracy theory and Galileo gambit (Wakefield and Sears), outright refuting facts ("measles is not dangerous"), name-calling ("Where are the honest provaxers?") then concluded with pigeon chess mixed with conspiracy theory ("You are stifling dissent, but you can't suppress the truth forever! ")

And this is the virtually identical pattern to the financial denialists I've engaged before. Except they want to somehow prove their pyramid or Ponzi schemes are legitimate money-making enterprises. Which pretty much proves that more than a few scammers are "financial denialists".

Sunday, July 22, 2018

How to Combat Falsehoods: It's NOT a matter of opinion or being neutral!

As a skeptic, it is often troubling to see the amount of bogosity available in public, much less the Internet, where anyone with some free time can offer advice, and many people just eat them up, with absolutely zero due diligence about the veracity of the information received. It doesn't help when social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and so on help (inadvertently) spread the misinformation.

Recently, a post on Slate documented how the subreddit /r/askHistorians struggle to control the deliberate misinformation campaign by Holocaust deniers, and how social media, afraid of lawsuits, basically left them to say ANYTHING they wanted. Fortunately, that subreddit has a crew of volunteer moderators that use the banhammer when it was called for.

And what they found about Holocaust deniers applies to ALL sorts of deniers, such as antivaxxers, pyramid scheme and ponzi scheme proponents, and so on. You should go read the article yourself, as I will only be discussing their findings.  Deniers generally use these tactics:

1) Cite bogus experts who are proven to have ignored facts that did not fit their narrative, or experts who had nothing to do with their field, but merely sympathetic to their field.

Holocaust deniers cite David Irving and Fred Leuchter

Antivaxxers cite Andrew Wakefield, Bob Sears, and Mercola.

Scam proponents cite their own leader(s) or uplines

2) Cite minor mistakes in citings and frame it as "Just Asking Questions"

Otherwise known as "JAQing off", this technique requires a lot of effort to dispell since there are an infinite amount of details they can focus on while sounding earnest, usually by leaving out the context of the question.

Holocaust deniers deny fundamental facts about the Holocaust, such as the number of deaths, whether Nazis have a campaign of extermination, and so on.

Antivaxxers are well known to deny that vaccines work at all, whether vaccines have eradicated most infectious diseases, and even deny that some infectious diseases are deadly.

Scam proponents are well known to deny their scheme is a scam, often even AFTER the scam had been shut down by authorities. They will often deny pyramid scheme by obfuscating-conflating it with "pyramid organization".

Attempting to engage them by doing the research does not appease them, but instead, waste a TON of time. They are NOT interested in the facts. Their questions, seemingly innocent, casts doubt on the facts: "if they didn't get this 100% right, what else did they get wrong?"

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Anatomy of a Scam: How "Verification Code" Scam Works

You should NEVER send ANY verification code you received to ANYONE ELSE. Verification codes are for you the recipient, and you ONLY. It verifies to the system that it is YOU who send the request. By giving the code to someone else, you just gave AWAY a part of your online identity... and worse.

With that said, here's how one way a verification code scam can work:

If you post anything for sale on Craigslist, you can be unwittingly enlisted by a scammer to be an accomplice, even if you don't accept the offer.

The scam usually goes like this.

A) You list something for sale on Craigslist. It doesn't matter what.

B) You get a text reply that goes roughly like this:

Scammer: I want to buy (insert product name). Is it still available?

YOU: Yes it is.

Scammer: I sent you a verification code from (X). Prove to me you are real by sending me the code.

(X) can be Google, Yahoo, Craigslist, Microsoft, etc.

C) A few moments later, you get a text message from a "short code" (4-6 digits only, not a phone number) or a phone number. It may or may not be in English.  It does contain a verification code.

At this point, you should cut contact with the scammer. 

The scammer is registering a new account on (X). However, instead of entering their own phone number for verification, they entered YOUR phone number instead. Thus, (X) is verifying that the request came from you. (Not the scammer)

If you give scammer the code, you have linked YOUR phone number to scammer's account. You also enabled them to get an account they shouldn't be able to otherwise.

This has various consequences when the scammer's account is eventually banned for scamming. You will be unable to register for any new accounts on (X) using that phone number. In the worst case, police may track you down instead. And you will have a hard time explaining why is your phone number used to register a scam account.

The effect of this differs by service.

On Craigslist, the scammer can now post ads for 90 days without further verification. And in the future, should you want to register on Criagslist, you may be blocked from doing so.

On Google, this can enable them to obtain a Google Voice number (for phone calls and text) and Gmail address.

For Yahoo and other email services, this allows their registration to go through.

So don't fall for this scam within a scam. 

ref: https://www.techwalla.com/articles/what-is-a-craigslist-secret-code

ref: https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/dont-send-codes/22448/

NOTE: Edited 11-DEC-2018 for wording and link to Kaspersky blog entry

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.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Cognitive Distortions, i.e. when your brain is lying to you

You can trust your brain... in general. You have to, since your brain controls everything. But there are occasions when your brain will lie to you. Not intentionally, but call it... "miswired" or "misprogrammed". It's been fed some garbage data and it formed some connections that should not have been made.

And scams are basically intentional signals to encourage your brain to form a connection it should NOT have, to reach a decision that will hurt you, usually financially.

Our brain was created to form connections between vast sets of data and memories, and see patterns in every ing: thoughts, ideas, actions, and consequences, even when they make no sense whatsoever. Athletes and gamblers often have lucky tokens or special rituals, because they associated "winning" with those tokens and rituals. We did A, we get result B. That's the power of correlation. But we've been told time and time again "correlation is not causation".

Yet a cult (and by extension, MLM), and scams are very fond of presenting partial facts as a part of their mind modification techniques to increase your devotion to "the cause".

Here are sixteen of the most common cognitive distortions, and how they apply to cult mind modification. (NOTE: This list is long, so it will be continued in the next post).

1) Extreme thinking

Ever heard the expression: "you're either with us or against us"?  That's polarized thinking. There are no shades of gray. It's either good, or bad. It's great, or awful. There is no in between. This sort of thinking makes it impossible to discuss things with any rationality, as the real world is full of shades of gray.

Commercial cults often treat anyone who questions their favorite company/product as evil to be either avoided at all costs, or as objects of derision, when all the other side wanted is some honest answers. Commercial cults often throw out terms like "dream-stealers" or "naysayers" and use that to describe anyone who doesn't agree with their narrative, even when those narratives are full of holes. They don't want to deal with ANY questions about their own narrative, either you believe, or you don't. 

2) Overgeneralizing

Taking conclusion from one data point, and apply it to everything, is an overgeneralization. Get one "C" on a test, and the student is considered a dismal failure. Get paid once by a suspect scheme, and it must be a "good program". It's obviously not logical, yet you'd be surprised how many people do it.

Commercial cults members are often very fond of citing their own experience in trying out the product as if that validates everything they presented. They can't seem to see that it's just ONE datapoint... their own individual experience, they are are presenting, as if it's the universal truth. Commercial cults are often fond of asking its members to go after the low-hanging fruit first, i.e. friends and family, because those are the easiest to get, thus giving the members a false impression of "how easy it is", thus reaching "overgeneralization". When the members ran out of the easy pickings, they started to find out how the business is REALLY run.

On the other hand, it's more likely for the negative experience to linger and become overgeneralized, i.e. "I failed here, I'll always fail".

Monday, January 29, 2018

Herbalife's first post-FTC disclosure still uses funny math to manipulate impressions

Herbalife settled with the FTC in 2016 in exchange for FTC not calling the company a pyramid scheme outright. The settlement included a long series of accommodations and required disclosures, and the first of which was just published, and it included some interesting statistics.  The document is called "Statement of Average Gross Compensation" for 2016, and here's a link to it from myHerbalife.com

It's parsing the numbers that make things interesting and reveals what's between the lines (and behind the numbers).

Note the following tidbits:

"In 2016... 86% of US Distributors (466926) did not receive earnings from Herbalife"

If you do some math, that says 14% of distributors, or about 76000, did receive earnings in 2016.

"In a typical month from June to September 2017, about 45000 US distributors order products for resale from Herbalife and about 40000 of them earned money from their sales and the sales of those they sponsored."

This disclosure statement contrasts HEAVILY with what the president of Herbalife, Des Walsh, said during the November 2 3rd quarter earnings call, where he said

"Today, we've got about 470000 preferred members. We've got about roughly 215000 distributors." (source)

How did Herbalife go from 215000 distributors in June to September 2017 (3rd quarter) to "45000 distributors (who) ordered products" between June and September? If it were only 10-20% variance, we'd say oops, and let them fudge. But we're talking about a 478% variance (45000 vs 215000). 170000 distributors went missing between the President's statement and FTC-required disclosure.

Clearly, the two are using some VERY VERY different definition of "distributor"

Which really makes you wonder... What ELSE is Herbalife not telling us?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Scam Tactics: Why do HYIPs compound DAILY?

Why do HYIPs compound daily?

The answer is "habit loop"... The HYIPs are there to feed you false information to get you to form a habit... "trust us"

Habit loop has three steps
  • Cue -- the trigger to start the routine
  • Routine -- the behavior
  • Reward -- the reward for performing the routine
A cue triggers the habit, much like the bell causes Pavlov's test dogs to start salivating. 

The actual routine is the behavior triggered by the cue. A physical routine is sometimes called "muscle memory", but a routine can also be emotional or just mental, or combinations. 

The reward is the endorphin rush you get when you've completed the routine, can be physical rewards (like chocolate) as well. A reward can be a simple "whew, glad I survived that" to a little smile when you realized you parallel parked perfectly or anywhere in between.  

The way the brain works is as soon as it spots a cue, the brain automatically executes the routine, without further processing. Think of it as "macros" that is run automatically. The brain doesn't need to calculate every move as long as it saw the cue. And the reward for finishing the routine is what cements the routine into place, and turn it into a habit. 

So what does all this have to do with HYIP, i.e. micro-ponzis? 

The HYIP operators are out there to make it your habit. You are prompted and was rewarded for doing so. And to accelerate your habit formation, the ponzis compound daily. Once it became a part of your habit, it makes you resistant to any suggestion that you're involved in a fraud. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

News: BehindMLM is under Denial of Service Attack for several days now

BehindMLM is under Denial of Service Attack, where bad actors, controlling a swarm of hacked PC's, flood the server with traffic it cannot handle. The result is the website becomes unavailable.

No one has claimed responsibility, but then BehindMLM has made many enemies when it exposes new suspect scams almost daily, both online and offline. And it wasn't the first time the BehindMLM had been knocked offline. This time, not even Project Shield by Google, which is supposed to handle DDOS attacks, was able to handle the traffic at this time.

BehindMLM's last expose revealed that USI-Tech, had been declared illegal by several US and Canadian jurisdictions, has apparently stopped withdrawals. This has not been confirmed when the website went offline.

It's also reported that OneCoin is pretty much in stasis, with many of the prominent "leaders", many of whom had fought bitterly online with critics, have moved on to other kleptocoins.

MLMSkeptic will keep you updated on such news as available.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

MLM Basics: Why MLM (almost) never have a price advantage

Ever notice that the products in MLM cost way more than equivalent products elsewhere?

doTerra essential oil... Intro kit is $27 for 15 mL of oil.

However, Amazon sells 10X the oil for slightly lower price, from a different vendor

Remember, 15 mL vs 160 mL of oil. doTerra is more than 10X more expensive. 

You can guess the doTerra reps will start yapping about how their stuff is Certified Therapeutic Grade Pure and nobody else compares. Actually, it's a term invented by doTerra themselves, and they certify themselves, it doesn't mean anything!

How about juices, you say?