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A poorly-worded Stanford CS account phishing email

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I received a pretty crappy attempt to get me to give up access to my lifetime Stanford computer science department email address. I hope no one falls for this! (read more »)

San Diego, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | May 30, 2013 01:03:27

Another day, another copyright infringement (this time, by Greenpeace)

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Greenpeace uses my screaming turtle picture without permission

Greenpeace International is using my screaming turtle picture without permission nor credit. Most of their feed, for the past couple of days, consists of pictures ripped from the internet and modified with text, uploaded directly to their Facebook timeline. (read more »)

San Diego, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | May 24, 2013 17:45:10

Scam: traveling, mugged, and need cash

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I’ve gotten this email from more than one person in the past. If any friend asks for cash via email, please make sure you talk to them directly on the phone before you even think about helping them. Usually, it means that their email account has been compromised, so they should also immediately change all of their passwords.

Hello

I’m sorry you’re getting the mail from me at this Point in time,my family and I came down here to Manila(Philippines), for a short vacation unfortunately we were mugged at the park of the hotel we stayed,all cash credit cards and cell were stolen off but luckily for us we still have our passports with us.

I have been to the embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all and our flight leaves pretty soon from now but we’re having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let us leave until we settle the bills.Please be so kind to reply back so I can tell you what to do and how to get some cash to us.

I’m freaked out at the moment

Here’s a helpful snopes article that talks about this scam. Also, all the telltale signs of scam from non-native English speakers are there: poor grammar, arbitrarily capitalized words, missing spaces, and the use of the word, “kind” or “kindly.”

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Apr 25, 2013 17:43:35

My most popular picture has been used a lot

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Screaming Turtle online usage as of Dec 21, 2011

My most-published picture is a picture of a juvenile loggerhead turtle being released into the wild just off of Palm Beach, Florida. It is commonly referred to as “the screaming turtle“. According to Google, it is being used online in about 21,200 locations. One day, I will unleash an IP attorney to hunt down all unauthorized commercial use. I don’t care about the personal use, as long as people attribute me and leave my watermark on the picture (which many do not).

Hint: to see where your pictures are used, go to Google Images and drag a JPG into the search field!

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Dec 22, 2011 01:24:13

Rampant credit card fraud in downtown Mountain View restaurants

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Last month (November, 2011), 11 people at our office in downtown Mountain View were hit with credit card fraud. Most of us eat at the same group of restaurants on and around Castro Street in Mountain View. I was out of town, and was thus spared being a victim. However, I returned in late November and resumed using my credit card for lunch in downtown Mountain View. A couple weeks later, my American Express was shut down for fraudulent activity. It had been used at two Home Depot locations: one in Pennsylvania, and one in New York. One charge was for over $700, and the other for $450.

That makes 12 credit card fraud victims at our company—a significant percentage. The logical conclusion is that a someone who works at a restaurant in downtown Mountain View is stealing credit cards. If you’re headed to Castro Street to eat, it may be prudent to either 1) go somewhere else, or 2) pay in cash.

Mountain View, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Dec 15, 2011 04:52:16

London robbery scam

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This is the second email like this I’ve gotten from a friend’s compromised email account. People, please don’t fall for stuff like this!

This had to come in a hurry and it has left me in a devastating state. I am in some terrible situation and I’m really going to need your urgent help. Yesterday, unannounced, I came down to London for an urgent situation. Well we actually got robbed and they made away with my wallet (which included my cash, diaries and credit cards). My cell phones were not brought along since I did not get to roam them before coming over. The phone cables have been burnt including internet connection cables and the Hotel’s database has been compromised as well. So all I can do now is pay cash and get out of here quickly.
I have spoken to the embassy here but they are not responding to the matter effectively,I will appreciate if you can lend me the sum of $2450 to sort-out my bills and to get the next available flight home, I’ll Refund the money back to you as soon as i return, let me know if you can be of any help. Please be rest assured that I’d have your money reimbursed to you immediately I get home. I hope to read from you as soon as possible. Please keep this to yourself only! i will explain better to you when i get back home.

It’s a common scam, and I’m putting it here on the web to add yet another page for Google to find and index in the hopes that people will find it.

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Jan 21, 2011 16:19:45

Shark attack copyright violation by Russian 1TV.ru

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A Russian TV station used my GoPro Underwater Shark Experiment in a news piece about a shark attack.

It’s no wonder videographers use huge watermarks in the middle of their videos (like I do with my stock video).

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Dec 13, 2010 22:50:11

Block Facebook apps that allow printing of friends’ photos

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A Photo Editor recently posted about Facebook apps like Walmart, Target and others that allow the printing of photos hosted on Facebook. The problem is that Facebook allows those apps to print your friends’ photos, too, which should be unethical and/or illegal for copyright violation.

I just blocked the following apps and reported them to Facebook for privacy violation:

To block an app, click through to the app when you’re logged into Facebook and then click on “Block Application,” which is an option in the left-hand menu. You can also report the application for bad behavior by scrolling to the bottom of the Application page and clicking on “Report Application.”

There may be more apps that allow the printing of friends’ photos. I’ll block and report every one I come across.

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Jul 19, 2010 23:47:18

United Airlines Elite Choice is legit (but you’d never know)

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I received an email from United Airlines today about their “Elite Choice” program, saying that I had reached a certain number of Elite Qualifying Miles and was eligible for an award. I clicked through, and was confronted with this page:

The URL is https://www.uaelitechoice.com/, which instantly made me suspicious. Furthermore, all of the other links in the email were shortened URLs hosted at link.p0.com (instead of at the united.com domain). This made me even more suspicious. I was sure that it was some sort of scam, but then I remembered that I actually enrolled in this program, and that the number of miles they said I had reached matched the number I actually had. I looked back at old emails from United, and all of them use the link.p0.com URL shortener. That was enough information for me to continue to login (and indeed, it worked, and I received a confirmation email from United)… but I very nearly did not follow through. If United’s goal was to stop some percentage of people from going through with the reward redemption process (due to healthy paranoia), they are geniuses.

If any company asked me to supply login credentials on a site with a second domain name, I would balk. Can you imagine if Paypal asked you to login at something like paypalrewards.com?

Every company needs an internet-savvy employee or two on staff. In this case, we can’t be sure if it was idiocy or genius.

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Apr 6, 2010 21:44:58

Getingate = spammers

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I received 3 comments within 20 minutes claiming that Getingate is a better commenting system better than is Disqus. It’s pretty clear that Getingate is using comment spam to spread the word about their product. I hope Google picks this up: Getingate are spammers, and you shouldn’t work with them.

Here are the comments I just received:

From John (two identical comments, 1 minute apart):

Have any of you tried the Getingate Commenting System (www.getingate.com)? I prefer it over Disquis – it’s much easier to install and simpler to use. They’re currently holding a competiton for the website that generates the most comments. First prize is $1K and second prize is $500.

From romi :

Did you try using Getingate’s Social Web commenting tool? they don’t take cheap shots such as faking comments, don’t spam your website, and they are FREE. Also their interface is not as ugly as Disqus… try it.

Luckily, I was able to use Disqus to immediately mark the comments as spam and blacklist both the users and ip addresses. (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 12 comments » | Apr 1, 2010 13:35:44

California LLC Statement of Information scam

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I almost was fooled by this one. Wetpixel received an urgent notice from the “Business Filings Division” today stating that we had to submit a Statement of Information in order to continue doing business in California (LLCs have to file one every 2 years). The fee? $239.00

I filled out the form and wrote a check, but something didn’t seem right, and I went to Google for help. It turns out that this is a common scam that quite a few people fall for. Through official channels, the actual fee for filing is $20.

Here’s the fraudulent form: (download)


fraudulent statement of information form

… and here’s the actual form (Form llc-12, which you can download from the Secretary of State):


actual statement of information form

Bastard scammers.

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 6 comments » | Oct 2, 2009 16:21:57

Paypal is the vehicle for scams on Craigslist

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I’d like to state first that I use and rely on Paypal for many different kinds of transactions. Used between people I know (who have existing, stable accounts) and through eBay, it has been a convenient and consistently-useful tool.

However, I just sold two cameras and a Blackberry using Craigslist, and the experience was a bad one. For every solid lead, I received at least ten emails from scammers who wanted me to mail the phone / cameras overseas, often including large sums of additional payment for shipping. All of them offered to pay via Paypal. (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 131 comments » | Aug 19, 2009 12:52:33
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