Posts Tagged ‘fraud’

Target Announces Free Credit Monitoring and Identity Theft Protection for Its Customers – All the Deets

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Should you do this, should you worry about this issue?

IDK, there are pros and cons.

But if you’re already freaked out, then this is for you.

(Do normal people ever give money to Experian, you know, buy their “products?” I never have…)

All the deets:

Visit creditmonitoring.target.com to request an activation code and read below for details on how the offer works.

Last week, Target announced that we would offer one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to all Target guests who shopped U.S. stores, to provide an added safeguard following the recent data breach.

After a thorough review of options, Target has chosen ProtectMyID, provided by Experian—a leading global information services company that helps individuals understand and keep track of their credit reports, as well as monitor for and resolve identity theft. Request an activation code before April 23, 2014 and then register for the offer through ProtectMyID before April 30, 2014.

In addition to a complimentary copy of their credit report, guests who sign up will receive daily credit monitoring, identity theft insurance (except where prohibited by law), and have access to personalized assistance from a highly trained Fraud Resolution Agent. Access to the Fraud Resolution Agent will continue even after other benefits of the initial one-year ProtectMyID membership expire. After 12 months, those who register have the option to continue their memberships at their own expense.

This ProtectMyID package includes the necessary tools guests need for credit monitoring and identity theft protection. It does not include Experian credit score or reports from Equifax and TransUnion. When visiting the enrollment site, guests will have the option to purchase these additional products at their own expense if they choose, but are not required to purchase a credit score to receive the benefits of credit monitoring and identity theft protection.

How to Enroll

Enrolling online is fast, secure, easy and accessible at any time. Here’s how to register:

  1. Visit creditmonitoring.target.com to request an activation code. Guests will be required to submit their name and an email address. After submitting their information, Target will email guests within 1-5 days with their unique activation code and directions for how to enroll in ProtectMyID. Guests should look for this email and check that it does not end up in a “junk” mailbox. Emails collected during this process will only be used for the purpose of sending an activation code for free credit monitoring.
  2. After guests receive their activation code from Target, they may visit www.protectmyid.com/target and use the code to start the enrollment process. It will be important for guests to verify the code they enter matches the notification they received from Target. Also, guests must be sure to click the red “Click to Redeem Your Activation Code” button (or use the “ENTER” key).
  3. Enroll in ProtectMyID: Guests will need to provide Experian with personal information, such as name, address, date of birth and social security number. Experian asks for personal information so that identities can be verified during the registration process and future log-ins. This is strictly a security measure to ensure no one else, including Target, will have access to your information.
  4. After completing these steps, guests can begin to take advantage of all the ProtectMyID features.

Visit our Credit Monitoring FAQ to learn more about the offer and find answers to commonly asked questions. Continue to visit Target.com/databreach for the latest news and updates and to verify all official communication from Target.”

If You See a BMW and Mercedes Parked Next to Each Other, Which is More Likely to Have a Fraudulent Handicapped Placard?

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

(This is a trick question BTW.)

As seen on Geary:

Click to expand

The answer is that BOTH the Mercedes Benz AND the BMW will have handicapped placards.

Why is that? Well, it has to do with handicapped parking fraud.

Oh, and the owners of these cars think that you’re a sucker for not having a free parking pass of your own.

Oh well.

SFMTA Dragnet

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

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Attention SFMTA: The Big Beneficiaries of Charging for Parking on Sundays are Placard Holders and Rich People

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Well, here you go, the first four vehicles I saw on this block of Clement in the Inner Richmond District on a recent Sunday had handicapped placards and the fifth one was a new Jaguar.

See?

Is this what you want, SFMTA? Placard fraud ripping you off and richers paying you a few shekels per hour?

Oh, it is?

Well then, keep up the good work.

‘Cause I’ll tell you, all these drivers appreciated the easier parking opportunities I’m sure.

Oh, and your goal of 15% of the parking spaces on Clement being free at any given time will never ever come True.

Just saying.

On It Goes…

How the Falun Gong Defeated Google – The Shen Yun 2013 “Extravaganza” Plays San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

All right, let’s say you’ve heard about the big Shen Yun 2013 show at our Orpheum Theatre and you want to find out a little about it, m’kay?

So you type into Google and this what you get:

What you won’t get is something like this:

The Falun Gong Show

Or Yelp reviews neither, like these:

The Yelp

And you certainly won’t find the official Chinese Communist Party (“Socialism, with Chinese Characteristics!”) website on Shen Yun all that easily, oh no:

Cult Studies [Uh, FYI, CCP, your agitprop website looks a little crude, like it's from your little buddy North Korea, just saying.]

So I guess the lesson to be learned is that if a small group of people want to game Google so that you’ll buy tickets to this show without knowing, in a general way, what it’s about first, then they can.

Things I now know:

SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE;

THE BOLD ITALIC IS GANNETT COMPANY, INCORPORATED; and

SHEN YUN 2013 IS FALUN GONG 

That’s something to consider when you’re getting the hard sell at San Francisco Costco #144, as seen last week on 10th  Street:

Just saying,…

Another Sad Case of MUNI Fraud – And Yet, Does the SFMTA Give Tickets to Cable Car Drivers Who Steal $6 Fares? No

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

This is the face of MUNI Fraud.

North Face Girl didn’t pay her $2 fare, looks like.

So a crew of three SFMTA Inspectors had to take her down, for tout le monde to see.

See?

Click to expand

Sponsored GIF:

Not really.

But what happens when a cable car driver steals a six dollar fare, like something that happens all the time every day?

Do MUNI Inspectors ever hand out citations for that?

I don’t know.

Yelp Throws Down: Starts Up a Shame Campaign Against Businesses That Pay For Positive Reviews

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

So basically Yelp is now announcing a new shame campaign against businesses what break the rules to get an inflated Yelp rating.

(I’ll tell you, I’ve never seen footnotes in a press release before, but that’s how area Yelp flack Stephanie Ichinose rolls, I guess)

Check it:

“Yelp Rolls Out Consumer Alerts to Educate and Inform Consumers

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 18, 2012  – Yelp Inc. (NYSE: YELP), the company that connects people with great local businesses, announced today that it will be taking additional steps to protect consumers from biased reviews. The company will place a consumer alert message on a business’s profile page when it determines that there have been significant efforts to purchase fake reviews to mislead consumers.

“Yelp has become so influential in the consumer decision making process that some businesses will go to extreme lengths to bolster their reviews,” said Eric Singley, vice president of consumer products and mobile, Yelp. “While our filter already does a great job of highlighting the most useful content, we think consumers have a right to know when someone is going to great lengths to mislead them.”

The consumer alert will call attention to attempts to purchase reviews for a business profiled on Yelp. When consumers click on the alert, we will show them screenshots exposing the effort to mislead our users.

The alert will be removed from the business’s Yelp page after 90 days, unless evidence of ongoing efforts is discovered, which may renew the warning period. Initially, nine businesses will have the consumer alert message posted on their profile page, but the company will be posting alerts like these on an ongoing basis as warranted.

Beyond alerting consumers to attempts to purchase reviews, the next step in Yelp’s Consumer Alert program will be to let consumers know if a business has had a large number of reviews submitted from the same Internet Protocol (IP) address, which can be a helpful indicator that they lack authenticity. While the review filter already takes this type of information into account, we believe that consumers also have a right to know if this activity is going on.

Consumer trust is essential to the utility of a user-generated review service. Since early 2005, Yelp has taken an aggressive stance to protect the quality of the content on its site, namely in the form of its review filter which aims to highlight reviews that are helpful and reliable. This automated program is applied continually and equally to all reviews submitted to Yelp. Reviews that have been flagged by the filter can be viewed by users if desired. Yelp has become a trusted source for more than 78 million monthly visitors in large part because of this focused quality-over-quantity approach.

An independent Businessweek(i) report confirmed the success of Yelp’s efforts to protect consumers. The article details the efforts of a Texan business owner who purchased 200 online reviews in an attempt to artificially bolster his business’s online reputation. The report found that Yelp’s review filter returned “impressive results” catching every purchased review, while the shill reviews remained up on seven other review sites.

Academic studies from Harvard Business School(ii )and UC Berkeley(iii), have demonstrated the impact a business’s Yelp reviews can have on its success. These findings indicate a strong incentive for some businesses to try to game the system, and explain why Yelp must continue to innovate in the steps it takes to protect consumers.

Yelp exists to help consumers find and support local businesses. In its ongoing efforts to help local business owners make the most of their presence on Yelp, the company has built a robust online resource (biz.yelp.com) and offers regular workshops for business owners, both via webinars and locally in more than a dozen cities across the US.

About Yelp

Yelp Inc. connects people with great local businesses. Yelp was founded in San Francisco in July 2004. Since then, Yelp communities have taken root in major metros across the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Australia, Sweden Denmark, Norway, Finland, Singapore and Poland. Yelp had a monthly average of approximately 78 million unique visitors in Q2 2012(iv). By the end of the same quarter, Yelpers had written more than 30 million rich, local reviews, making Yelp the leading local guide for everything from boutiques and mechanics to restaurants and dentists. Yelp’s mobile applications were used on approximately 7.2 million unique mobile devices on a monthly average basis during Q2 2012. For more information please email press@yelp.com.

(i) Source: BusinessWeek “A Lie Detector Test for Online Reviewers”, Karen Weise (September 29, 2011)

(ii) Source: Harvard Business School, Michael Luca (October 2011)

(iii) Source: The Economic Journal, Michael Anderson and Jeremy Magruder (March 2012)

(iv) Source: Google Analytics”

I’ll tell you, shame works. Just look what my local bodega did to me after I passed a whole bunch of bad checks, you know, to get delicious Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and the occasional Cheetos Natural Puffs White Cheddar. They posted them for tout le monde to see:

Via Big Rye

All the shame is making me consider not defrauding area business, you know, someday.

Anyway, Yelp is disciplining a total of nine bidnesses in all of Yelp-land, for sdtarters anyway.

Is that enough to stop Yelp Fraud?

Non-Intuitive Parking Assist: Why Is It That Most of the Handicapped Motorists in SF Drive Luxury Cars and Park for Free?

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Maybe the perfect option for your luxury car is a handicapped placard?

Your license plate says that you’re an SF Resident, so of course a placard hanging from the rear-view:

Click to expand

Think about it – which is the better option? Something like Intuitive Parking Assist, which will park your car for you only after you’ve found a space, or a placard, which will allow you to park wherever you want all day for free?

I’d prefer the placard.

You’re on the honor system with this one. If you feel as if you deserve to park wherever you want for free all day long, then you’ll be able to get one.

It’s not hard.

The Shame of San Francisco: People Abusing the California Handicapped Placard Program for Easy Parking

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Most of the cars parked in this area just south of Market Street had handicapped placards.

Here’s three in a row, the most my wide angle lens would let me take in. This is typical:

Click to expand

The fact is that most of the people who use handicapped placards to park in San Francisco are abusing the system. 

Oh well.

DPT Stakeout at Costco – Disabled Placard “Street Team” – Expired Permit – Jersey Plates – Lonely Pooch

Monday, November 21st, 2011

(Check it, my first pro-SFMTA post.)

This cute pup was guarding an Acura parked on 10th Street while its owner visited our SoMA Costco (I assume, I mean, why else would anybody park down there?)

Click to expand

Problem? The disabled placard hanging from the rear-view has expired. See?

So guess who was waiting for this car’s owner to show up – it was DPT’s Disabled Placard Street Team with their bright blue shoulder patches.

Les mise-en-scene avec Etat de Jardin* license plates sur la Acura bleu:

This issue could end up costing the driver thousands of dollars, when all is said and done.** (I can’t say for sure because I don’t get paid by the City Family to stakeout cars, plus I had to split. Oh well.)

Now, WWSD? Like What Would KRON-TV’s Stanley Roberts Do if he came upon this scene? Oh yes, something like this.

But, you know, I might possibly be beefier than Stanley (I know I’m taller than he but I could actually outweigh him) and, you know, I wouldn’t want to get into an another Elmo situation.

Bon courage, Acura pooch. Your owner will need all the love she can get today.

*Garden State – it’s a Jersey Thing.***

**The funny thing is that Costco has plenty of free parking. And honestly, I don’t think the good people of Costco would care all that much if you parked in their garage while shopping elsewhere. As stated, there’s nothing else going on ’round that area so it’s not like they’re on the lookout for renegade parkers. 

***YouTube, you’re too funny. Oprah + Snooki = ???