If you bought cameras or electronics from any of these stores recently you were probably scammed: Best Price Camera, Foto Connection, 1 Way Photo, 86th Street Photo, Broadway Photo, Camera Whiz, and Sonic Photo. Or perhaps you bought something online from one of their astonishing array of alter egos and websites (see full list).
Four Romanian nationals in Florida have been charged in a series of ATM skimmer frauds that targeted banks in New York City, Cicero (near Syracuse), NY, and Rochester, NY. They are charged with, among other things, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit credit card fraud. According to the Syracuse office of the Secret Service, they stole $1.8 million overall.
While I think we can all agree that what happened to Chris Dotson—getting scammed out of over three grand on eBay and Paypal—sucks to high heaven, he raises a more interesting point at the end of his post: Is there a market for a third-party eBay scam collection service?
Starting in August 2004, Ancheta turned to a new, more lucrative method to profit from his botnets, prosecutors said. Working with a juvenile in Boca Raton, Fla., whom prosecutors identified by his Internet nickname “SoBe,” Ancheta infected more than 400,000 computers.
The Center for Consumer Freedom is a lobbying and media group that advocates ‘consumer choice,’ specifically the choice to consume fast foods, alcohol, and tobacco. Originally founded with money from a grant from the Philip Morris company (and launching as the ‘Guest Choice Network’), the Center for Consumer Freedom is currently funded by a long list of food and restaurant companies, including Coco-Cola, Monsanto, Tyson Foods, and Applebees.
Open source software is great for cheapskates, because so often those commie programmers give away perfectly saleable software for free. The licenses under which much free software is released are pretty liberal, but were probably not meant to be so free as to let clumsily-named websites sell the software as their own.
At the nadir of every story comes the inevitable New York Times retrospective, and The Thomas Hawk Affair is no exception. It’s good to hear this about camera scam artists Price Rite Photo:
The last best address leads to a metallic gray warehouse by the waterfront in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Trash haulers go about and there is a dull buzzing sound in the hallway. Graffiti gives information that white people are devils. [Duh! -Ed.]
This is potentially heinous. Ed writes:
Attached is a copy of a letter sent to me most recently by Countrywide, my mortgage holder for some years now, but also by another company, a mortgage broker, from NJ with whom I am not affiliated (they implied I was a customer). [Ed's qualified with us that he got the exact same letter from two separate companies. -Other Ed.] I unfortunately threw the other one away in disgust after calling them and finally harassing them until they admitted that it was just a marketing ploy. The fact is that their claim that one of their employees ripped off identities of applicants is a complete fabrication and a scam to get you to sign up for their identity theft insurance products (the first year is free, oh yeah I’m sure). The fact that large financial services companies are blatantly lying to their own customers is mind boggling even in this day and age. Try calling the number here and speaking to the Zuckerman woman, or ask the name of the law enforcement agency they reference. What blatant bullshit.
We did call the company, but they wouldn’t give us any details about which organization they were working with to solve the ‘problem.’ We were told that if we had an account with Countrywide, they could look at our account to see if we had been affected by the (presumably apocryphal) rogue employee.
We can’t decide which part of this story makes us shiver the most: the fact that teenagers were hawking Xbox 360’s in a parking lot or that they were doing so in Alaska. Either way it was a dumb decision, since those precious Xboxen were stolen right from them at gunpoint.
A man who was described as bald and wearing bluejeans and a blue hooded sweatshirt walked up to the van, opened its sliding door and pulled a gun out, police said. The man ordered the teen to open the van’s rear door. Another man, described as having dark curly hair, opened the door and took four of the Xboxs.
The poor, 14-year-old kid in the car managed to hide a single remaining Xbox under his feet. We’re sure when his other four teenage friends returned, they graciously let him keep his.
A manager at a Washington-area Urban Outfitters duped a mother and daughter into signing an admission of shoplifting by saying the form was to report ‘damaged goods.’ When the girl signed the papers, she was under the impression she was being banned from shopping in the stores, but soon received a “civil penalty” of $150 from Urban Outfitter’s law firm.
eBay UK is getting fraudier, reports the BBC. Crooks aren’t using just the standard, in-system scam, either—selling something they don’t have—but are instead hijacking high-scoring accounts, so better to lure in those who really want to buy a used hot tub.
Adidas told the BBC that it monitored up to 12,000 auctions involving its goods every day on the British site – yet it estimated that up to 40% of all Adidas products available were counterfeit.
It’s an online auction site—there are going to be some scams. Forty percent, however, is somewhat amazing. And if we can’t trust customer ratings, then what does eBay offer that Craigslist does not?
Any ideas, eBayers?
Thomas Hawk continues his investigation into PriceRitePhoto, telling us the scam photo seller has changed its name to ‘Barclay’s Photo.’
Thus far the names that seem to be tying together include PriceRitePhoto, Barclay’s Photo, Film4Less, Edigix, CP Industries, The Camera Zone, TheCameraMall, Film Shop, Film Shop Clipper USA.
Even worse, it would appear that Don Wiss, the guy who biked around Brooklyn taking pictures of the spaces the camera shops weren’t, has received a death threat—just like the call Lee Holmes got just a couple of months ago.
Even before The Thomas Hawk Affair with PriceRitePhoto, The Consumerist was preoccupied with the phenomenon of Brooklyn-based camera stores. For one, we live in Brooklyn. For two, we recently purchased a camera and did much comparison shopping beforehand.
When we saw a comment on another blog asking us to email email@example.com to find out about buying Xbox 360s in lots of ten, we dropped him a line. You know, might as well. Here was Adam Cigly’s reply:
We are selling the xbox 360 for just $180USD ,these are all unlocked brand new xbox 360 and with 1year international warranty so for the shipping is within 48hours through FEDEX SHIPPING COMPANY which cost $60usd and the payment is thrugh western union money transfer ,do reply back with your full shipping address and your personal phone number ok thanks and God bless””””””””””’
See, they make it up in volume. And God bless you, too, Adam.
Online camera shopping is rough, should one stray from Amazon or other major retailer to explore the wilds of Froogle or Pricegrabber. Dozens of camera shops online are in fact fronts for scam artists. They are actual stores and will sell you a deeply-discounted camera, but only if you tack on loads of overpriced accessories. These crooks live, inevitably, in The Consumerist’s home of Brooklyn, NY.