Scam alert

Don’t use Noom. Don’t go to their website and don’t download their app. I have never encountered a more blatantly money-hungry service in my life, and this thing went from “this might be useful to me” to “this is the 30th time you’ve offered me something in return for additional money, I’ve said no, and you’ve instantly discounted it and asked again five seconds later, and you still haven’t shown me this personalized plan you’re supposedly crafting” in no time flat. There’s already one unauthorized charge on my card and they were doing their damnedest to railroad me into another when I backed out of the whole thing and demanded a refund. I’ll call the bank tomorrow to contest all of the charges.

In other news, my back hurts, I was in a training all day (and will be for the next two as well) and I am not in the mood for this.

In which I fight evil

It was a good day. It was a stressful day– I was fully expecting someone to die somewhere because of the inauguration, and I may have more thoughts on it later. But it appears that everything went off without any violence, and the right-wing goon squad seems to have dried up and blown away without the Asshole encouraging them on Twitter. Hopefully it will stay that way.

I had a Thing happen, though, unrelated to the inauguration, and if you don’t mind I’m just going to embed a bunch of Tweets because I’d tell the story the same way here anyway.

(These appear to have embedded obnoxiously, which I apologize for, but hopefully a single click will take you straight to Twitter, where you can read these and view the images in native format.)

What particularly annoys me about this is that when I’m daydreaming about winning the lottery, the specific way in which I fantasize about being ultra-rich is that I want to set up a charitable foundation, and part of the way I want to use the funds for my charitable foundation is by flitting around the Internet and randomly and anonymously completely fulfilling people who post GoFundMes and various and sundry other “I’m getting evicted, please send me money” types of things. And I can imagine a world where I might actually just do a Twitter search for “credit card debt,” and then ask for Venmo addresses so I can send folks money. So I decided to take this seriously until it proved to be a scam (which was what I expected) or I somehow got $3K from the money fairy on Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day, which trust me, was about to be taken as an omen.

Instead, hopefully I got to ruin a scammer’s day. I mean, probably not, but I hope at least BoA zaps that account and Twitter bans Annette. Either way, all in a day’s work, I guess.

Scam alert update

It has been pointed out to me that the suspect checkout interface I pointed out yesterday is apparently the base checkout screen for the Shopify platform, and I had a couple of people show me legit websites that they’ve used repeatedly that use that platform. I’m going to slightly back off and modify my claim from yesterday, from a flat “avoid” to a “back out and do some research.” I’m also going to echo Elisabeth’s comment from yesterday that another thing these shitty sites have in common is Facebook and Instagram ads. You’re probably all familiar with this phenomenon; you click on one ad, sometimes by accident, or sometimes just linger over one too long and suddenly you have ads featuring the exact same pictures from several different sites.

I have a policy now; if I recognize a photo of a piece of merchandise from another ad, I start reporting every single ad where I see that photo as a scam. I have threatened to do this before and not followed through, but I’m closer than I’ve ever been to shutting down both Facebook and Instagram for good. I have here, TikTok and Twitter; that really ought to be enough social media for everyone.

Not much else going on today, but I thought I’d point all that out.

WARNING: Scam Alert

If you happen to be doing some Christmas shopping, and you’re at a website you’re not familiar with, and their checkout screen looks like it uses this template:

Back out immediately and do not make the purchase, as the site is likely a scam. Note that in this particular case I’ve added this item at random to create a shopping cart, but I have reversed a charge against Helli Shop, as it’s become more and more clear that they never intend to ship me the dice I ordered and upon closer examination (which I finally did today, after disputing the charge with my credit card company) the vast majority of their wares appear to have images stolen from other sites, including occasionally actually leaving the watermarks from the other sites on the image.

Why am I warning you about the template and not about the specific site? I’ve made one other order from a (different) site with this exact same template, and the item I ordered did arrive, but it was junk, and it shipped direct from China. Helli sent me tracking information six weeks ago using the same Chinese shipper, and the tracking information hasn’t moved from “item ready for shipment” since then. Those dice are never coming.

(It’s only $30, so if my bank refuses it’s not the end of the world, but I’m also changing some passwords too.)

Today, I was looking into a Christmas present for my wife, and noted that the template for checkout was the same. I backed out and did some more research on the site, and sure enough, all sorts of reports of either never receiving the items they’d ordered or in one case receiving what was supposed to be a “king-size” blanket that ended up being the size of a napkin. I also chased down a couple of the reviews from major magazines that they’d claimed to have for their product, and sure enough none of them seemed to actually exist.

So, yeah. Buyer beware, or even better, don’t be a buyer in the first place. I’d guess if I looked into it more deeply that all three sites would turn out to be registered by the same people, and they’re using this template for all of their stores. Avoid.

(Note, for those of you coming in through a link, that there is an update to this post.)

So this just arrived

…I am starting to think that listing my resume on CareerBuilder.com was perhaps not the brightest decision I ever made.  This showed up in my mailbox today; the only alterations I have made are the italics and to change my real name to Luther’s:

Respected Luther M. Siler,

Our Company New-W. would like to congratulate you on your selection for the position of Logistics Supervisor. New-W. is a reputed company dealing in logistics of delivery of goods purchased from USA & Canada online retailers to customers all over the Globe. Our company gives you the perfect opportunity to get experience in the field of logistics with field work and provides the best of career growth to hardworking candidates

To confirm your acceptance, please send the following to us:
•       Your Name & Surname
•       Your Cell Number

As a logistics supervisor you duties will include the following
•       Receipt and dispatch of packages to clients Worldwide
•       Coordinate the logistics of delivery process with other members of the team
•       Control to admin panel on daily basis

SALARY & PERKS
For the 1st month which probationary, you salary will be in the range of 2400-3500$. After successful completion of this period, you will be eligible to receive bonuses depending on your performance.
We look forward for a fruitful association with you.

Sincerely,
Alfreda Hall
New-W. Company

I note also that the return email does not appear to be affiliated with “New-W. Company,” which somehow fails to surprise me.

Jobhunting!