Scum, sleaze, and scams

There are various nasty people on and off the Net. A few hopefully useful warnings are listed here.

"This is Steve. I'm calling from CBCS." Have you heard that on your answering machine? Don't return that call!

I ordered some light fixtures from Livex Lighting, aka Lighting New York. Three weeks later nothing had shown up. I inquired and was told that the order was out of stock till a date two months in the future. I cancelled the order and was told my credit card would be credited with a refund the next day. In fact it took ten days and happened only after I disputed the charge. They've been spamming me ever since.

Someone operating through providers in former Soviet countries is sending out massive amounts of spam trying to get people to buy Liberty Coal Energy stock. I don't have any way to tell whether the company is directly involved. The intended result is to boost the price of the stock while the spammer sells stock which it previously bought cheap; typically the price collapses afterwards. The spammer seems to think that people who get ten email messages a day all promoting the same stock will take them as confirmation of the stock's value rather than confirmation that a crook is at work. A quick Internet check on April 16, 2013, shows that LBTG was declining in value and since has spiked, showing that there are idiots who really do think that.

Orbitz runs third-party pop-up ads that can result in charges to your credit card without telling you. Think twice about using Orbitz. At least don't keep credit card information on file between purchases. and the "Dan and Scott Show." Now defunct, but I'm not forgetting their ten-year campaign of harassing phone calls and email and threats falsely delivered to strangers in my name. If Bob Meyrowitz (who blew away millions of dollars in investors' money in a single year on that website, with offices in the most expensive part of Manhattan) has a business proposition for you, throw the bastard down the stairs.

CarSafe is an extended car warranty scam operation. If you get a form claiming your car warranty is about to expire, or that a "service contract" which you don't have is about to expire, and asking you to call 866-364-3336, the sender is out to fleece you. Read their BBB review, which gives CarSafe an "F" rating, and gives information of an ongoing legal action against the outfit. In general, beware of any mailing claiming to offer an extended automobile warranty.

Another automobile warranty scam comes from an operation calling itself "AutoAssure, LLC," with the phone number 800-734-7203. They sent me a bogus "automobile coverage expiration" notice. Here's a report by someone who was foolish enough to fall for their scam, and here's a report of 41 Better Business Bureau compaints against them., run by a Wayne Ross, is a bottom-feeding pirate site which has grabbed some recordings I've made (including a song by another person), making false claims that I had put them under a Creative Commons license. My recordings don't even have any commercial value, having been made just to entertain friends.

Barnes and Noble has been bombarding my GMail account with more spam than all other spammers combined for months. Based on my previous buying patterns before they turned me into a non-customer with their spam, they've lost a couple of hundred dollars in business. So Barnes and Noble regards the privilege of dumping mail into my spam filters as worth at least that much. Barnes and Noble even bought customers' contact information from Borders in order to expand its spam operation. Barnes and Noble has declared that by not opting out, you have "subscribed" to their mailing list and now need to "unsubscribe." I will never, never, never buy so much as a cup of coffee from Barnes and Noble.

A spam comment caught by my Wordpress filter tried to promote Tanasbourne Family Dental in Beaverton, OR, in one of my blogs. Another one is promoting a purported real estate operation in Oregon called "The Garner Group." Anyone who resorts to comment spamming to build search engine rank can be assumed dishonest (not to mention desperate). It's curious that so much sleaze comes from Oregon; I also have gotten repeated telemarketing calls on my cell phone from various Oregon numbers claiming to be from my "captain."

Speaking of Wordpress spammers, the slimiest is one that can be recognized by its repeated use of "lista de emails." This piece of dirt throws dozens of spam comments a day at my blog; fortunately, Wordpress's filter catches them all. The crook uses multiple domains, presumably to keep some going when others are shut down. The ones I currently know of are:

All of the domains in that list should be treated as rogue and blocked wherever possible. Someone else has come up with a list of IP addresses from which they're spamming. purports to be a site for finding jobs. It sends out forged email messages with "invitations" to people to sign up. It appears that it somehow hijacks people's address books. Here's a report, where a victim of the scam writes " search my gmail account and sent the email automatically when I joined it. And I have deleted my account now." It appears that Skillpages gets users to download a malware application, which keeps admins busy trying to block it.

Another spammer, sending from multiple locations in eastern Europe, bombards people with multiple "stock recommendations" per day. The game is to drive the price up temporarily, sell off, and watch the price collapse again. This crook was pushing G T R L (not even consistently spelled: sometimes it's G_TRL, GT RL, G_T R_L, or GT R L) and BYSD (similarly inconsistent). Then for a while they were trying to sucker people into buying a stock called HAIR (Biostem US Corp). Now that it's run dry and suspended all operations, the crook is pushing Monarchy Resources (MONK) and Alanco (ALAN) to the people who have any money left after being suckered twice. Personally, if I held any stock when spammers started pumping it, I'd get rid of it immediately for whatever I could get. Here are some details.) If you make your investments based on recommendations by spammers, you're an idiot.

A spammer using the names and Paymentech is sending out fraudulent billing notices, with stern warnings not to let anyone know about the email. It's the National Security Letter of spam.

If you send me spam, I will report it to your ISP and won't ever deal with you. If it's bulk e-mail and I haven't explicitly requested it, it's spam. There is no "except you" clause.

I use a GMail account with vendors I don't trust not to spam me. In quite a number of cases, my distrust has been deserved. The following are sites that have been sending spam (which is unsolicited bulk email, NOT "unsolicited bulk email unless you ever did business with us in the past") there, in spite of my not requesting any email and in some cases explicitly opting out:

Obviously they don't want my repeat business.

This and this are just long lists of phony addresses to help clog spammer address harvesting.

Copyright 2009-2013 by Gary McGath

Last updated September 14, 2013

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