Posts Tagged "scams"

In early November, I parked my motorcycle in spot number 4, went to the meter machine, and paid for spot #4 for the full day. At the end of the day, I returned to find that I was given a ticket for not paying for spot #3. I got back to my bike and took this picture.


Which parking spot would you say I was in? I said 4, which was why I paid for 4. The spot to the right is #5. That helps me know I’m actually in #4, in case I wasn’t sure. But that day, I was. The “4” was inside the lines for where I parked. The “3” looked like it was in the spot to my left.

I immediately fought the ticket and sent in various photos and videos showing that the #3 on the ground actually lines up with NO parking spot. #3 is painted on the line between spot 2 and spot 4, so there’s no way to park there. I included a copy of my debit card transaction showing I had paid for my spot for the whole day.

Here’s a pic I took weeks later in daylight (panorama from standing on top of my bike). It shows that bank of motorcycle spots and how the numbers match up to the spots. 6 numbers for 5 spots. One spot must not exist.


I got a letter back saying nope, the citation is good, pay it or have a hearing. I didn’t want to skip work for a hearing, so they offer a “hearing by mail.” You send in all of your evidence along with a check to pay the parking fine. If they find for you, I guess they tear up the check. If they find against you they deposit the check.

I just noticed my check was deposited. The San Francisco MTA should be ashamed. They are ticketing me and probably others for a spot that doesn’t exist.

This is a scam. If you park in areas marked like this, do yourself a favour and park somewhere else. Even with photo and video evidence that parking spot 3 doesn’t exist, prepare to lose all fights against this parking ticket.

Can we agree that if I can prove that spot 3 doesn’t exist, you’ll invalidate my ticket for not paying for spot 3 (aka meter 50101123)?

That’s what I wrote in my hearing by mail. I then included photos of the area and other evidence.

Hey Deb, I bet you parked in 3, got a ticket, and then moved to spot 4. You’re lying!

Show me how I could have ever parked in spot #3. I see spot 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 in that bank of spots. How do I park in spot 3?

Hey Deb, see the 3 with the arrow pointing to the right? You think you parked in spot 4 but the arrow pointing to the right must mean that’s spot 3.

So if the spot I thought was #4 is actually 3, where is 4? To the right of the spot I thought was 4 clearly is spot 5 (and then spot 6). No matter how you slice it, there are 6 numbers painted on the ground and 5 physical parking spots.

Also, the arrows don’t point to the spot. They point to which parking meter you should go pay. The black box by spot 4 in the above picture points to the meter box you should pay. That’s what spots 1, 2, and 3 point to the right while 5 and 6 point to the left. They’re trying to make sure you pay the correct box.

This happened to at least one other person.

ScreenHunter_39 Jan. 16 12.18

When I Googled the parking spot number and Jessie (the street), I found a website where people enter parking tickets they feel are scams. And look what I found. Poor Irving had the SAME thing happen to him just a few months before my ticket.

The SFMTA must be dancing with glee that they get to do this to us. Fight back by not parking in spots 2 or 4 on that street until it’s re-painted. If you park in 2 or 4, prepare to get a ticket for not paying for #3. Watch out for other areas of the city similarly badly painted.

Learn from this scam, San Francisco motorcycle and scooter parkers.

If you see a spot whose numbering seems like it COULD be taken advantage of by the city, stay away from that spot. Pick another. It’s not worth the day’s payment for the spot you’re actually in PLUS the $68 parking ticket I evidently just paid.

Even if it means a few extra blocks of walking, take it from me. You’re not going to win, even with photo and video evidence that shows the city that the spot for which they ticketed me doesn’t exist.

PS: This is on Jessie near 2nd in SOMA. AVOID and tell a friend.

Update! Ticket dismissed… out of courtesy because it’s still actually my fault, says the MTA

After seeing they deposited my check and publishing this blog post, I got this letter in the mail (click to enlarge):

2016-01-16 18.43.19

That’s right. This is a notice! A warning. Next time, please pay for the right spot. As in they don’t believe I was parked in spot 4. They believe I was parked in spot 3 (which doesn’t exist) and I just paid for the wrong spot.

HOW DIRTY. This only took hours and hours of my time to fight this twice only to have the not-really-a-resolution of the blame being on me. They’re not admitting the parking spot doesn’t exist! They’re warning me that next time, I really need to pay for spot 3 because that’s where I was parked.

Which means other riders need to watch out. They will keep ticketing for this non-existent spot.

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I warned you before about these penny bidding auction sites. But I have an interesting angle for you today.

From DealDash’s terms of service:

By registering and using DealDash you understand that you are likely to spend more money than you may receive in merchandise value. Most customers using the site gain less in merchandise value measured in monetary value compared to the amount of money spent bidding to win auctions. Do not buy bids or spend money on the site if you cannot afford to lose the money.

Absorb that a moment. You are likely to spend more money than you get in merchandise value. Most customers spend more than they should to (try to) get stuff. People who lose auctions here don’t get back what they paid for bidding. Yes, here bids cost money whether you win the item or not.

It goes on…

DealDash is convinced that the entertainment value of participating in its auctions is valued and that paying a premium price for this entertainment value compared to shopping at the lowest priced retailer is fair.

Let me translate that for you. DealDash believes you will have so much fun gambling on possibly winning the item that you won’t mind playing a higher price. Like your time at a slot machine, you’re paying for entertainment whether or not you win.

I wonder if people who walk away from a slot machine having lost money notice they feel entertained.

In summary, if you want to shop at the “lowest priced retailer,” it’s not DealDash, where they are selling you entertainment more than they’re selling you goods, certainly not discounted goods.

Remember that if an iPad sells for $13.66 on DealDash, that means there were 1366 penny-incremented bids that DealDash collected 60 cents each on. DealDash collected nearly $820 for that item. If 1 out of every 5 bids were yours, then you spent about $164. Winning an iPad for $164 sounds good. Being one if four theoretical people that spent $164 and got no iPad probably sucked.

Don’t fall for the commercials telling you how fair and honest this is. The more anybody tells you something is fair and honest, the more you should assume it’s not.

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We’re a little late for spring cleaning. Summer cleaning, if you’re in the northern hemisphere.

I recently had an ugly run-in with someone I didn’t know. This was through Facebook. I ended up having to block her. I was surprised to find that 7 of my friends were friends with her.

And then I wondered, “Are they REALLY friends with her? Do they know her in person? Like her? Do they enjoy her posts and following her online world?”

Go Through Your Facebook Friends Today

One of my Facebook friends has a policy of unfriending or not adding anybody to whom you wouldn’t wish a happy birthday. I’m going to go a few steps farther, and suggest these steps. It’s like “you might be a redneck if…”

You should unfriend (or never friend in the first place) someone if:

  • You have hidden him or her entirely from your news feed. That’s not your friend. Remove.
  • You have never visited his or her individual Facebook page to see what he or she is up to. Sounds like you don’t care too much!
  • You have ever had to remove something this person said from your wall or in comments under a post. Probably not your friend.
  • You accepted their friend request because you thought you had to or were afraid of repercussions if you didn’t. You’re an adult. This is Facebook. Face the music and remove anybody who isn’t really your friend.
  • You watched someone do something bat shit crazy that made you see them in a whole new way. Normally for me, this is when someone who I think is my friend comes out with some public declaration like, “The Mexicans are responsible for all Tucson crime,” or “I hate every Muslim on the planet.” I strongly disagree with those, and know those people won’t make good friends for me. Remove.
  • You didn’t mark this person as a Close Friend in Facebook.
  • Do they have your back? If something serious or bad went down in your life, would they care? Would you want them to know about it? Would they visit you in a hospital if they lived nearby? Would you invite them to your wedding? Would they come to your funeral?
  • You don’t know them in real life and/or you don’t really trust them. Think about how much stuff Facebook friends get to know about you. If they were fake accounts or scammers or criminals or just jerks, they probably know where you live, what you look like, what your family looks like, when you’re home, when you’re not home, etc… Remember that thanks to Facebook’s “graph,” your Facebook friends (who are strangers to me and possibly to you) see things about me through OUR connection. Please don’t be careless with your personal details OR with mine!
  • Bonus: You don’t know them in real life, the picture is a young hot woman, and you have no mutual friends. Totally remove. Hot chicks might look good, but that’s a scam account.

It can seem scary but it’s really good to give your Facebook account a total enema. Time to clean out the people who really shouldn’t be there. And you don’t have to give them an explanation. A few years ago, I cut 200 people who fit the above criteria. I gave them no explanation or message. Only one asked to come back, and I said OK.

I treat my Facebook as my “nearly inner circle,” and I talk about personal things. I then have my really inner circle, which is a secret Facebook group of about 20 people who hear the whole story. My friends are spread out around the world, so I’ve found this to be the easiest way to keep up with people, especially the really inner circle when something super good or super bad happens.

Everybody else can follow my public posts like it’s Twitter. I don’t want or need to open up my life to people I don’t know or trust. I especially don’t need to open up my info or my friends’ info to people I’ve never even heard of.

There are no prizes for most Facebook friends. Some people I know said they added strangers that sent friend requests in the hopes of having just another person to promote their business to. Well guess what. That stranger doesn’t care. He or she is mostly there to mine your info and then my info through the graph. So while you assumed a stranger adding you on Facebook was a potential customer for you, you just opened both of us to more scams and spams.

What are you waiting for. Go unfriend!

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I don’t even know where to start with this one. A company I’ve never heard of sends me an email. It starts with “first of all” and some sort of pleasantry about their deepest sympathies going out to the people affected by the Oklahoma tornadoes. Um OK, who are you?

And then it goes RIGHT into “thank you for the great responses.” To what? You’re spamming me. I have no idea what you do or who is responding to what.

And then right into “we have special packages for you.” They evidently claim to do something with social media. Well, they sure are showing their chops by spamming me and pretending to care about OK natural disaster victims!

And 10% of turnover (wha?) goes to charities I choose! I don’t know you. But I get to choose where you give 10% of some sort of pile of money? How?

And then into Free iPads. What?

I am not on enough drugs to make sense of this email. I figured you needed to see the whole thing. So here’s a screen shot and then a PDF (linked from the image below). This is what happens when you don’t walk the walk but do a lot of talking. I’m looking at you Social Media Tyme. Guess they didn’t want to pay for, which is for sale.


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Categories: Business

Tags: contracts, moving, scams

I just had something so uncool happen, and I hope you will learn from my mistake.

I had items in a storage room in a suburb of Boston. I needed my things removed from the room, temporarily stored, and then moved to my new place outside of San Francisco, CA. I got many quotes from moving companies, but I chose Excellent Moving and Storage, also just outside of Boston, MA.

The people on the phone seemed nice. I explained what I had (a lot of boxes and a few pieces of my grandmother’s dining room set). Grandma’s old furniture basically can’t be replaced. We think it’s from the 1930s, maybe 1940s. And Grandma is gone.

The woman on the phone explained that there are two insurance options. By law, they have to give me 60 cents per pound for free. OR I can upgrade to $12,600 of coverage… and wouldn’t I want that for Grandma’s furniture. Yes yes, of course I would. Sign me up for it!

I was later dealing with the man I think is the owner. I sent him a photo of the things in my storage room. A bunch of things in boxes, and Grandma’s furniture, some of which already had furniture pads around it (the moving company that put it in the room wrapped it up). He assured me that the extra insurance would cover me, so I did something unlike me.

I signed their contract without having completely read it. Bad move. I admit I did it.

This was a really emotional thing, finally getting Grandma’s furniture out of storage and across the country, back into my home. I believed what they told me on the phone.

The contract showed I was paying an extra $630 for $12,600 of coverage. It also showed that Excellent Moving and Storage wasn’t packing any of my items since they were already packed. So there was a line on the contract that said what packing they were doing: NONE. What packing I was doing: ALL. I was happy to see that since I didn’t want to pay for packing.

They sent me a credit card authorisation form as a Word document. Normally, those say that I authorise a charge to my card, the card details, and my signature. What was really interesting was that it actually said that I agree that I will NOT dispute or cancel this charge.

What kind of company has to trick people into signing something that says they won’t dispute the charge? A company that knows it’s going to pull shit on its customers… who are going to want to dispute the charge… and will find out they can’t

Since it was a Word document, I took out the word dispute. I let it say I won’t cancel it. I won’t! They will have my things and I need to get my things. But I might dispute it if they suck, and wanting me to sign something waiving my right to dispute BEFORE we’ve done business is a BAD sign.

Learn from that. That’s a bad sign. Find another company who doesn’t need to sneak that into a contract or credit card authorisation form.

The day they took everything out of the storage room, a friend of mine went to oversee it. She said they seemed very nice and very careful. That was good to hear. I had more boxes than they thought, so my moving price would go up. OK that’s my fault for not remembering how many boxes I had. I later got a fax with an inventory of what they moved out of the storage room.

It was then that I noticed something written by hand that said they ONLY insure what they pack. And with a room full of already-packed things, they had packed nearly nothing. So I paid $630 for extra insurance that I can’t use.

That means they wrote me a contract that says they only insure what they pack, that they were packing nothing, and that I was paying an extra $630 for upgraded insurance.

Just sit with that a moment and let that sink in.

I sent them an angry email saying that I didn’t realise they only insure what they pack, and if they KNEW they were packing nothing, why did they sell me on insurance I can’t use? The whole TRUCK could explode and go up in flames, and even my upgraded insurance wouldn’t cover anything because they didn’t pack it. I asked for a $630 credit. I said I would gladly pay for the rest of the move, but I NEVER should have been sold that insurance.

The owner replied that I was wrong and of course his wonderful phone girls explained this to me on the phone. REALLY? You think that I wanted to donate $630 to your company for insurance I couldn’t have used? If the insurance doesn’t cover me, why not just use the “free” insurance I would have received by law?

And how are you or your wonderful phone girls capable of writing up a contract that says we only insure what we pack, we’re packing nothing, and the client is paying for upgraded insurance (that won’t cover her at all)? How does nobody there stop and say HEY WAIT. We shouldn’t sell this woman something she can’t use. That would be unethical and possibly illegal. Nope, not at Excellent Moving and Storage! Sell sell sell.

I got no reply to that reply. So I just waited for my things to come. Two weeks later than the original delivery date, they did. Do I get a discount for them coming late? No. I paid the rest in cash, locked the door, and called my bank to try to dispute the $630.

Long story short, I can’t dispute it. I signed a contract agreeing to this ridiculousness. Even though my bank phone rep agreed that this was “unscrupulous,” as she put it, I agreed to it because I believed what they told me on the phone. I’m usually reading every word of every contract, and I messed this up. I would blame myself except some unethical movers did this for their own profit. They relied on my emotions about Grandma’s furniture, and they got me. They really did. I’m rarely gotten, and they got me.

I will always know that I should not have been sold the extra insurance. I know it’s unethical and possibly illegal. Certainly unscrupuluous. And I’m sure Excellent Moving and Storage aren’t the only moving company pulling shit like this. So please learn from my mistakes and look for sneaky things like this. Double check what the insurance covers and what it doesn’t. Check what will be insured and what won’t. And don’t buy extra insurance unless it really covers your items the way you expect it to.

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We’ve all probably received Facebook friend requests from total strangers. We don’t know them at all. They’re not friends of friends.

If you are on a quest to have a pile of Facebook friends no matter who they are, then you will add these people. I only add people I really like in real life. So no matter what they message me, I don’t add them.

Lately, Facebook has been suggesting that I add some friends of friends. Facebook thinks I might know these people! So far, all of them are women around 21 years old (based on the birthday written on their personal Facebook page). They have no other profile information on Facebook. They have one profile photo that while a picture of their face is really a picture of their… shall we say… breasts. In some sort of skimpy top. Some of these women pose alone. Others pose with another stereotypical hot and underdressed chick.

All of them have about 15 Facebook friends, and when I poke around, I find that these friends seem to have nothing in common. They’re not in the same location. Not the same age. But they are almost always all MEN. I’m assuming men saw boobs in their Facebook requests, and said, “yes, please.”

ScreenHunter_05 May. 08 14.34

Sure, people like cleavage, but this might be one of many serious scams.

It might seem harmless to friend on Facebook some boobs you don’t personally know in real life, but it can actually lead to a lot of really undesirable outcomes.

They now have access to your personal information.

Based on what you put on Facebook, these strangers might know where you live. Where you tend to go (Foursquare check-ins). When you’re not home (Foursquare check-ins). Who you’re married to, dating, who your family are. Where you work. Maybe even when you work. They could know a lot about you.

Did you put contact information into Facebook? They might have your phone number, cell phone, and email address. With enough revealed about yourself on Facebook, this could potentially lead to identity theft.

They now have access to MY personal information.

But Facebook likes to extend things out to “friends of friends.” That means some of the things I post can be seen by the person behind the Boobs account. If you commented on something I posted, that fake friend sees it. And if I’m not careful, that info might be where I live. Where I work. Who’s in my family. Places I go. When I’m not home. My phone number and email address. Et cetera.

Which they can now use for more realistic spamming.

Let’s say a friend of mine named Jim is friends with one of these Boobs, and is also Facebook friends with me. Based on information these fake accounts can scrape, they could easily email Jim at his email address and make it look like it’s from Debbie Levitt. Jim might be more likely to believe any wacky thing the email says since he thinks it’s from someone he knows and trusts. Compare that to getting a spam email from Dr. Waldorf Tecumseh Flywheel. You might ignore that outlandish name as someone you don’t know or trust.

But now, it looks like I’m emailing you. And I’m in trouble! Or I need you to click on something. Lord only knows what Fake Me needs you to click on and what information you put in when you get there. 🙁

Only make real friends your Facebook friends.

Please be more careful about who you friend, especially if you’re my friend. I don’t want you to get scammed. I don’t want information you thought was for friends only to be in the hands of people with bad intentions. And I don’t want my information in their hands either.

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I guess I searched once upon a time. Based on the email address I gave them, it looks like I did this maybe 3 years ago. I remember finding nothing that interested me, and pretty much forgot about them. They forgot about me too.

Until last week. I got an email from the CEO about a Hurricane Sandy outage. Huh? Haven’t gotten in email in like 3 years and then now to talk about an outage? Interesting marketing!

I logged back into the site to find out where to close my account and make sure they’re not going to send me any more emails. Luckily, it was easy to find. The form they wanted me to fill out had something really interesting in it. Click to enlarge:

At what seemed like the end of the form, it asked if I ended up finding a new job. There are three choices. Yes, from TheLadders. Yes, from somewhere else. Or no, I didn’t get a new job. As the screen shot shows, I chose the honest one. I got a job from other sources than TheLadders.

Once I clicked that, this whole bottom piece appeared. Congratulations! Well, thanks! There’s no reason… inspire others… we won’t use your name… And it’s asking for details on my new job, which I didn’t fill out.

I read this a few times. And if I’m reading it correctly, TheLadders will market that another TheLadders member got a $100K+ job. Well, that makes them look pretty good, doesn’t it. It’s a testimonial of sorts. But there’s one little hitch in this plan.

TheLadders didn’t get me my new job. TheLadders never got me any job. No leads, no interviews, no jobs. Nothing. But they want to ride on the coattails of the job I DID get to make it look like they get people good jobs.

How incredibly uncool. And dishonest. Because if I read something that said a TheLadders client got a UX Strategist job at Comrade Agency for $X in salary, I’d get the impression from that sentence that TheLadders were directly responsible for that person getting that job. And that would be false.

How incredibly uncool of TheLadders. But that’s not the only uncool thing they do. If you ever have some time to kill, Google TheLadders and scam. It’s quite the read.

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Welcome to the New Online Scam

Posted By on Jul 18, 2012

The new online scam… just answer an ad for an apartment for rent, and chances are, the person who writes you back doesn’t have an apartment for rent. But what’s most interesting is that they don’t all want money. Some ask for money right away to secure this amazing apartment! And it is amazing. They have stock photos of very desirable places listed at WAY lower than the real rent would be.

What most of them seem to really want is your information. Personal information. And more of it than you might have imagined. I’m going to paste in one of the complete emails I got from someone claiming to have an apartment for rent. You certainly don’t have to read all the prose, though all the scam emails go like this… some long story about a job transfer, usually part of the story is about how wonderful their children are… who believes this!

But notice what they would know about you if you fell for this. Where you live now. How much longer you plan to be there. Kids. Do you work at night. And my fave, PICTURES of you… so they can spot you when they’re breaking in to the address you gave them.

Please don’t fall for these. I don’t know how anybody could, honestly, but then again, at least one person has hoped a fallen Nigerian Prince was wiring him $18,000,000,000 tomorrow.


The apartment is still available for rent and is available for long/short term lease,To tell you a little about myself.My name is James Scott am married with one duagther and am a professional construction engineer,i work for a construction company while i was in San Francisco, CA but recently plans came up for me with the help of the management board of the company assisted my project of investing in a modern construction company which is a dream come true for me in Manila, Philippines to head as a branch manager and we will be here for long so we are looking for a responsible & clean tenant that will be able to take good care of our apartment.Before i and my family left for London,United Kingdom we could not find a competent property agent to handle the welfare of the apartment because we really cherish our property so that was why we decided to take the keys and the documents along with us but we will make sure that all goes fine…i
will like you to know that the apartment is vacant now and it is available for move in .The apartment is located at:(address removed),San Francisco, CA 94103

We are making an inquiry for a responsible person/tenant to take good care of the apartment for us pending the time we will be here.We want to make potential tenant to be comfortable that’s why we want to rent out the apartment for a monthly rent of $1200 which includes all the utilities and for either short or long term lease with security deposit of $800 and what is required is the first month rent and the security deposit which will be refunded to you in full amount after your tenancy that is when you want to move out of the apartment and we will be here for approximated period of like 3 years to make the firm take a stand if you understand what i mean and we want some kind of assurance and security for our property and the apartment is available immediately for moving In ASAP or at a later date.
This brand new luxury apartment is available for rent with utilities included and pets are allowed,The apartment is strategically located in a very cool and lovely environment with many appliances including refrigerator, Gas cooker, dishwasher, full size washer and dryer,cable and high-speed internet access. plasma, central air conditioning and vertical blinds installed on all windows,dish washer with in-apartment laundry apartment and plenty of storage space and parking space.Professional and mature neighbors ensure peaceful living arrangements and pets are allowed. The kitchen is completely equipped and it is Freshly painted.If you are interested in taking care of the apartment,you can go ahead and get views of how the exterior of the apartment and the nice environment is or drive by and kindly get back to me so that i can forward to you the interior pictures of the apartment for you to know how spacious and beautiful the inside is and
below is the rental application form for you to fill out..

(Private and Confidential)
(1) FIRST NAME: __________________
(2) MIDDLE NAME: __________________
(3) LAST NAME: __________________
(4) PROFESSION: ________________
(5) PHONE (____) __________ (CELL)
(6) PHONE (____) __________ (WORK)
(7) PHONE (____) __________ (HOME)
(8) MARITAL STATUS: _________
(9) KIDS _____ (YES/NO), HOW MANY: ________
(10) PRESENT ADDRESS: ___________________________
(11) CITY: _______________
(12) STATE: ______________
(13) ZIP CODE: ____________
(14) PREVIOUS RENT: _______
(17) WHEN DO YOU INTEND MOVING IN: ______________
(18) DO YOU HAVE PET: ________
(19) DO YOU SMOKE: ________
(21) DO YOU HAVE A CAR: _______
(22) WHY ARE YOU MOVING OUT YOUR PRESENT apartment: ________________________________________________________________________________
(24) PICTURES OF THE OCCUPANT? IF AVAILABLE ___________________________

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