Internet hoaxes are capable of tricking not only your grandma, but also the Los Angeles Police Department. An 8-year-old yarn about terrorists — dressed as UPS workers thanks to uniforms bought on eBay — who could deliver explosives disguised as packages spurred the force to send out an alert to residents. An unidentified state law enforcement agency passed the info to the police department. [More]
The BBB says people are reporting seeing a new phishing scam going around that masquerades as an Amazon order alert. It arrives as a confirmation email with a product description, price, and Amazon logo. Naturally, if you click the provided account link to cancel the order or see whether you were actually charged for the item, the login screen you’ll be taken to won’t be Amazon. [More]
Nick received an automated call from some scammy outfit this morning that told him his debit card had been deactivated. The scam looks simple enough, but it’s probably worth looking at as a reminder to others. [More]
There are several apps on the Apple app store that help consumers track sales and free offers from developers, but you have to launch them and check in regularly. The website App Spy offers an automated price tracker for games (just games, unfortunately) that will send you an email whenever a price threshhold is reached. If you tend to be an app junkie, it can help save you money by letting you get your fix on the cheap good stuff. [More]
The Generation 2 crib, which was sold by ChildDESIGNS until the company folded in 2005, is being recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) after reports of three infant deaths and 28 other safety incidents. Usually in a recall like this, the manufacturer offers to send out repair kits or replacement parts, but as the manufacturer no longer exists the CPSC is urging consumers to stop using the crib for good, effective immediately. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out the $60-160 dollars that it cost. [More]
Maybe those hamsters are okay, but these Amby Baby Motion hammock beds are not. Two infants have died–one in June, the other in August–from suffocation, prompting Amby Baby and the CPSC to issue a recall notice. You can make the hammock safe to use after repairing it with a free kit, which you can order directly from Amby Baby. [More]
Considering the growing amount of credit card fraud, it’s not surprising that banks are becoming more and more vigilant about identifying suspicious transactions. It’s too bad they haven’t been as successful at filtering out false positives or promptly notifying customers, as James Fallows at The Atlantic recently discovered when he got his account frozen for sending files to his Kindle.
Lynne writes, “Citizens Bank is now charging customers an annual overdraft protection fee. This is a charge for linking your savings account to your checking account. Customers can be removed from the program and can get the fee back.” We don’t know when this started—they just say there might be fees involved and call for details on their website—but if you’re a customer of the bank you might want to make sure you haven’t been enrolled without knowing it.
Last week, a customer in Long Beach, New York, discovered a skimmer attached to the outside of a local ATM branch instead of on specific machines. We’ve talked a lot about being wary of any suspicious add-ons at the ATM, but in this case the criminals were collecting card info as people swiped to enter the building—although they still had pinhole cameras set up to record PINs next to each keypad.
Last week we mentioned that Costco has a habit of backdating the starting date for lapsed membership renewals, which prompted Monica to write in and let us know of another issue they seem to have with billing. If you renew your executive membership with Costco but then apply for the Costco American Express card, Amex will charge you the membership fee a second time. Monica says the Amex CSR who fixed the problem told her it happens all the time.
Don’t install the iPhone app iDrive Lite if you value the privacy of your contact list. Avi Muchnick, one of the developers behind the free, consumer-friendly online graphics suite Aviary, used iDrive to backup his Gmail contact list when switching to a new phone. The next day, he awoke to discover that iDrive’s parent company, Pro Softnet Corp, had spammed every single entry in his contact list without his permission.
An anonymous reader says both his and his wife’s Discover cards—the accounts are separate—had their due dates moved up by four days in June. He called Discover, “and they stated that they sent out notices in the mail 45 days in advance warning of the change, which I don’t remember seeing. Regardless, they were able to revert my due date starting in July. You may want to have your readers closely check their Discover Card statements.”
How can you tell you’ve made it on the Internet? How about if you’re turned into spambait? MSN Money reports that scammers are taking advantage of the sudden interest in swine flu by using it in subject lines to get people to open messages and download attachments. Don’t do it! Tell your friends and relatives not to do it, either!
Holy $#!@, this lounge chair will eat your fingers! Fox5 New York has a video report on dangerously unsafe lounge chairs sold at Kmart under the Martha Stewart brand. Naturally (we’re not making this up), the chairs are designed to complement the Martha Stewart Spontaneously Shattering Glass Patio Tables also sold at Kmart.
We’ve seen how available balances can disappear when lenders cut credit card limits, but SmartMoney points out that lenders can cut your limit below your current balance, causing all sorts of problems. They’ll send you a notice, of course, but you may not receive it for several weeks. Your best bet is to set up your own alert system. A web-based financial service (like Mint) will send you an email or SMS alert if your available balance drops below a specified threshold.
If you happened to be on Northwest Airlines Flight 51 from Frankfurt to Detroit last Tuesday, and you were one of the 17 unlucky passengers who sat near enough to Mr. Fancypants Lung Disease Person, you can look forward to a call from the CDC telling you that you need to get tested for tuberculosis. The risk of catching the disease is low, but the CDC is contacting passengers as a “cautionary move” according to the Associated Press. And if for some reason you do end up with TB, please do not get on any airplanes.
PC World notes that phishers are now targeting Steam account holders. Games are an easy target because you can make quick money off of them and the security isn’t as high as with, say, credit cards. The site that first reported this, SpywareGuide, demonstrates two examples—steamgift.com and steamverification.com—that will attempt to trick you into giving them access to your digital library of games.