Category Archives: Scam/Consumer Alert

Consumer Scams (advertising), Alerts about unsafe/questionable products.

Acai Berry Scam

This scam is world wide. It has now made it to Australia and the advertising market is LIT UP with responses to scam ads.

The scam artists prey on your inability to “see” what you are looking at or understand what you are looking at or reading.

Case in point: I ran across an ad in paltalk that looked like the one below and to the fake acai news aduntrained eye would look like a breaking news report that exposes some dark secret about acai berry that doesn’t do what it’s claimed to do. So you click on the ad and your browser opens to a web page for the Daily Health Alerts news page which looks very official including what looks like a news reporter in a professional looking snapshot with a caption. The web page is even designed to show today’s date, plug in some user comments with todays date and a day or two earlier, and plug in an expiration date of today plus 1 day to establish a sense of urgency.

It is safe to open the page from the link I provided above and you can look through it as I explain its parts here. First thing that alerts you to a scam is the professional looking photo of a woman with a caption that causes you to think she is a real reporter or journalist for a news company, until you click on her photo which takes you to a web advertisement page for the acai berry.

acai news1

There is no official company called the Australian Health Inquirer even though a logo is posted top left. You will also notice that the Fox News Special Report at the right sidebar has no video or image or working link, because there isn’t really one.

Second point, the headlines suggests that something has been uncovered and after reading the article you discover that nothing diabolical was uncovered after all and that the opposite is true. The article causes you to believe that the reporter was duped by doing her own test of the product and proved to herself that the product actually works, like a miracle.

Then we come to point #3 at the bottom where the user comments would normally be. We find that there are 10 out of 177 comments showing, BUT WAIT! there are only 9 comments showing, not 10 andacai news2 the last comment has todays date on it. WOW, I JUST missed being able to post a comment, but the comments are “closed due to spam activity” and you are left with nothing to do but read the 9 (not 10) comments that appear to be real from today and the previous day.

These comments talk about “going to”, “about to” “planning to” try the product, and some even say they did try it at exorbitant fees to help you, the reader, feel like you are special by getting the chance to take a free trial offer which by the way, EXPIRES tomorrow! This type of urgency is seared into your mind to make a better selling ad.

acai news 3

Now the truth:

Amazingly enough if you visit the root web address of http://www.dailyhealthalerts.com you find that it is NOT a website with daily health alerts at all. In fact it is a base for the different fake ad web pages to be hosted. There are many other websites on the web just like this mentioning a single mother of two who lost an amazing 42lbs in 3 weeks, or some professional single mother with no time to exercise who lost 37 lbs. in 4 weeks, etc., infinitum.

It’s a real shame that Oprah had an entire show on the effects of acai berry and literally HELPED the scammers sell more product that does nothing more than simple red wine and exercise.  Sadly, Oprah is responsible for helping a LOT of scammers. Don’t become a victim.

Big 3 Auto Makers Charged With Extortion

If anyone else had gone to Washington and gave Congress an ultimatum that if they didn’t give $25 billion to bail their company out of hot water or one to three million people would lose their jobs and throw America into economic ruin, they would be going to prison on charges or extortion. But this is the Big 3, so people will be looking the other way.

You wont be seeing those headlines because General Motors (GM), Ford, and Daimler feel they are above the law and the main stream media doesn’t recognize extortion since they don’t even recognize that they committed treason many times over while reporting on military matters based on the fact that it was news and it’s freedom of the press (which is a different story for another time).

President Bush felt it was necessary to “help out” the economy even though it isn’t his responsibility to bail out businesses who fail at being a profitable business, by offering a $700 billion safety net. The House of Representatives were smart enough to vote it down. However, the Senate wasn’t so bright, and they passed the measure.

At that time, I stated it was a huge mistake and it would set a trend that this country doesn’t need to start. Company after company have gotten in line for tax payers money to save their failed mortgage companies, banks, and so on. Remember Bear and Stearns, one of the largest global investment banks and securities trading and brokerage firms, got a huge handout of tax payers dollars. Blew that wad, and then sold out to JPMorgan Chase.

Having contributed a combined $1,842,297 to federal candidates, according to data gathered by the Center for Responsive Politics, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stepped up to the line asking for handouts. AIG is on the rescue list. This trend should never have started but at least these failing companies only “asked” for help. The big 3 went over the line and is attempting to extort the government and the American citizens.

I’m afraid I have to say two things, let them fail and arrest the big 3. But wont that kill the economy? Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm answers questions during a news conference in Troy, Mich., Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008. Granholm said that “the crisis in the auto industry is urgent”, arguing that “the national economy rests on this”. However this can not be farther from the truth. The Japanese’s own Big 3- Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and other prominent foreign car manufacturers are ready and waiting to fill the production capacity and demand vacuum left by the Big 3’s failure to continue dominating the North American market.

Another cause for this failing business, unions. Union workers get on average double to triple the wages of a non-union worker. If union workers are laid off, the big 3 are required by contract to pay 95% of their base pay during the time they are laid off. These among other costs not mentioned have to be absorbed by the companies which ultimately go into the sale of the vehicle.

So what do we have here: Car companies who charge us 3 times what they should be for the sale of a vehicle, Car companies who would rather (according to their bean counters) pay out on lawsuits for wrongful death caused by their malfunctioning vehicles rather than fix the defects because its “more cost effective” to pay the lawsuits than recall vehicles, Car companies who have fought for years not to produce more and more fuel efficient vehicles because there isn’t a big enough profit in the effort, (and the list goes on) and now they want our tax dollars to bail them out of their failing business?!?!

LET THEM FAIL! The answer here is simply that they need to file bankruptcy like every other failing business which isn’t an honorable thing to do when you fail, but it is the right thing to do in this situation. Suck it up and file.

My Fellow Americans, Call your Senators and tell them to STOP the trend. Its going to have a lasting ill-effect for the next 30+ years and our children will be paying the price.

Destroy Information on the Internet

Find out everything that’s being said about you online and get rid of the content you don’t like.

Next we DESTROY This is where we go to work for you. Our trained and expert online reputation specialists use an array of techniques developed in-house to correct and/or completely remove the selected unwanted content from the web. – ReputationDefender™

Does this sound alarming to you or maybe impossible?

Using our network of websites & forums we dominate your name or business!
PROTECT YOUR NAME FROM HARMFUL INTERNET POSTINGS!

We specialize in moving those negative listings aside and replace them with positive information about you or your company! Dont be held hostage by negative Internet listings. DefendMyname[.com]

How is this possible? How does a company remove anything you have published, from the Internet?

Do you have a Myspace, Facebook or Hoverspot account? A recent survey of hiring managers at CareerBuilder.com found that about two-thirds of the them rejected an application after performing a web search on you.

As soon as I had heard that companies are claiming to be able to do something like “remove” or “destroy” information on the Internet, a red flag went up. Our country is based on certain inalienable rights, of which freedom of speech and freedom of press are just a couple. So how are these companies able to relieve you of those rights? The answer is, they legally can not.

The first company I quoted (ReputationDefender), doesn’t even have a phone number that you can contact them with, stating “…we are in Beta and we are keeping our costs low, which allows us to keep our prices low. Prices? Oh yes, there is always a price, and in this case its $10 for you to find out what information about you they can find and then its $30 for them to do something about the information they find about you, if they can do anything at all. Then they claim to destroy information published on the web. If that doesn’t scream SCAM!, nothing does. I personally challenge them to destroy this post about them without hacking into my account.

The second company is a little more careful with their wording, and to an observant reader, disclose how they accomplish “squelching” any information about you on the internet. The process is simple, but completely unethical. DefendMyName will utilize the technology in search engines such as Google, along with their numerous forums and websites to post repetitious “good” information about you to ensure only the “good” information ranks highest in web search results. This is organized abuse at its finest as well as an unethical business practice. The company will only negatively impact the Internet and make it harder for researchers and folks searching the web for information, to find what they are looking for and force a longer sifting process. This type of flooding the internet with repetitious information is in essence suppression of information, oppression, and propagandizing.

I am sure you were thinking it so I will overstate at this time, yes, there is a price for the service.

China – Toy Ban

Do not purchase toys “Made in China” is fast becoming the talk in an overwhelming number of social circles across the US and other countries.

China has successfully grown a reputation for itself as the most dangerous toy manufacturer in the world. With repeated and continuous violations of manufacturing toys that are a choking, laceration, lead poison hazards and now toxic “date rape” chemicals applied to their toys, it is no wonder China is becoming known as the “Killer Toy Maker.”

With a list of approximately 800 recalled toys, the US CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) keeps us informed as to the hazards of toys made around the world. Not surprisingly, over 95% of the listed products are made in China.

Here are a few examples:

  • Spin Master Recalls Aqua Dots…Aqua Dots
    Spin Master Recalls Aqua Dots – Children Became Unconscious After Swallowing Beads
    Hazard: The coating on the beads contains a chemical that can turn toxic when many are ingested. Children who swallow the beads can become comatose, develop respiratory depression, or have seizures.
    Coated with the industrial chemical 1,4-butanediol, the chemical metabolizes into the “date-rape” drug gamma hydroxy butyrate, and may cause breathing problems, loss of consciousness, seizures, drowsiness, coma and death.
    Supposed to have been coated with nontoxic 1,5-pentanediol, a chemical commonly used in computer printer ink. But that chemical generally sells for three or four times the price of the toxic compound found on the tainted toys, 1,4-butanediol.Curious George

  • Curious George Plush Dolls …
    Curious George Plush Dolls Recalled By Marvel Toys Due to Risk of Lead Exposure
    Hazard: Surface paint on the toy’s plastic face and construction hat contain excessive levels of lead, which violates the federal lead paint standard.

  • Swimways Corp. Recalls “Skippy” pool toys…Skippy
    Hazard: The elastic tongue of the fish can break and forcefully come out and cut the users’ hands during launching of the toy.

  • Magnetix Magnetic Building Set…Magnetix
    Magnetix Magnetic Building Set Recall Expanded
    Serious Injuries Continue to be Reported to CPSC
    Hazard: If a child swallows more than one tiny powerful magnet detached from the plastic building pieces or one such magnet and a metallic object, the objects can attract to each other inside the intestines and cause perforations and/or blockage, which can be fatal, if not treated immediately.

  • Pokémon USAPokemon Recall of Pokém…
    Recall of Pokémon Plush Toys
    Hazard: The stuffing of the toy may contain tips of sewing needles
  • Sony Computer Entertainment…
    Recall of Certain AC Adaptors Sold with Slim Version PlayStation® 2 Systems
    Hazard:
    The recalled AC adaptors can overheat and melt. This poses the risk of fire, burn and shock injuries to consumers.
  • New Easy-Bake Oven Recall F…Easybake Oven
    New Easy-Bake Oven Recall Following Partial Finger Amputation
    Hazard:
    Young children can insert their hands into the oven’s front opening, and get their hands or fingers caught, posing entrapment and burn hazards.
  • Bendable Dinosaur Toys Recalled…Bendable Dinosaurs
    Bendable Dinosaur Toys Recalled by Kipp Brothers for Excessive Lead
    Hazard: The recalled toys pose a risk of lead exposure to young children.

If you were a country that wanted to subdue, takeover, or destroy another country, wouldn’t it be a great plan to kill off their children first and then kill as many of the adult population as you could in a conventional war? This would prevent the country from reproducing or seriously limit their chances of procreation leaving them incapable of rebuilding their forces for, at best, many generations.

I think it’s time to stop patronizing a country that builds “killer toys” and boycotting their distributors. What do you think?

Donna Jean Summers, Rewarded Criminal at Large.

It’s hard to believe that grown adults could not recognize a seriously wrong situation, let alone adults that were trusted enough to be hired as an assistant manager of a restaurant. Good judgment out the window. Morals, out the window. Intelligence, zero.

April 9th, 2004 – Mt Washington, Kentucky

Asst. Manager Donna Jean Summers [51] gets a call from an unidentified caller telling her that an employee, Louise Ogborn [18], is being accused of stealing a purse. The “caller” tells Donna Jean Summers that he is a police officer. Without any proof of any kind who the person is on the other end of the phone, Donna Jean Summers begins to do everything the caller asks of her. As Donna is instructed by “caller”, she tells Louise she is to be searched, then strip searched or be taken to the police.

After watching this video (originally airing on ABC News Now and edited by Opie and Anthony) you may have about 100 questions popping into your head about the entire incident. Before we get into some of them, the following are the facts as they are today:

  1. Louise Ogborn sued McDonalds for $200 million and is awarded $6.1 million.
  2. Donna Jean Summers was fired and plead guilty to wrongful imprisonment and given 1 year probation.
  3. Donna Jean Summers sues McDonalds for $50 million and is awarded $1 million by the jury.
  4. Walter Nix Jr[42] is arrested and convicted for his part in this crime and other related crimes.
  5. David Stewart[38] a prison guard in Panama City, Florida is arrested and acquitted of being the culprit in this crime. (other charges pending in other similar cases) [special note, all calls of this nature to fast food restaurants have stopped since Stewart’s arrest]
  6. McDonalds did send warnings to their stores about prank phone calls two weeks prior to this incident (confirmed).

Now to the questions that came to mind while watching this. A store manager arbitrarily follows the instructions of an unidentified caller to perform police work knowing full well she is not qualified to perform police work, such as a strip search, let alone any kind of search of another person without a warrant. Not even reasonable suspicion will authorize Donna Jean Summers since she is not a law enforcement officer or even remotely trained as one. Donna Jean Summers illegally detains a subordinate, an employee under her care, and removes her victim (Louise Ogborn) of all possible defenses and means to defend herself and imprisons Louise using an effective means that prison guards employ to reduce the number of attempts to escape custody. A psychological ploy that reaches deep into the human psyche is the embarrassment and humiliation of being in public naked/nude and challenging authority. On an 18 year old female, this would be especially effective in keeping her prisoner without any effort. Donna Jean Summers, being an adult female, should have recognized the helplessness of this feeling immediately.

Donna Jean Summers took Louise’ car keys, cell phone and clothes, effectively imprisoning Louise in her office. Was Donna Jean Summers under a spell? Was she drugged? Was she being commanded to perform these acts with a gun held to her head? Why didn’t Donna Jean Summers just ask the “caller” to come to the store and do this himself, if he was truly a law enforcement officer, since the police station was only 5 minutes down the road from that particular McDonalds.

Donna Jean Summers was then instructed to bring her boyfriend/fiancé (Walter Nix Jr.) to the restaurant and perform guard duty. The second unqualified person to perform police work and Donna Jean Summers still doesn’t question anything that she is doing at the command of an “unknown” person on a phone. Keep in mind, this all transpired over the course of approximately 3 hours. Jason Bradley, 27, a cook who Donna Jean Summers at one point called in to watch Ogborn, refused to go along with the caller’s instructions to remove her apron and describe her.

While Louise was held prisoner against her will in a McDonalds store office, stripped of her defenses, stripped of her dignity, the 42 year old Walter Nix Jr (an adult) comes to take over by the “caller’s” request. Why would a 42 year old male, upon witnessing the situation, not immediately question this activity or the authenticity of the caller? We now know why and we now see the true colors of Donna Jean Summers and her judgment of those she “trusts.” What law enforcement authority would command one person to perform sexual acts on another? What idiot would follow such an order?

While Walter Nix Jr is enjoying the commands of his new boss “the caller”, Donna Jean Summers is more interested in keeping her subordinates out of the area of the office by attending to what must have been an “onslaught” of customers that were more important than the seriousness of the supposed situation in the office. If Donna Jean Summers had any true conviction that she was dealing with a real officer on the phone, and believed in her heart that this situation was legitimate and real, why wasn’t she at the side of her subordinate the entire time tending to this supposed more important issue, rather than feeding hungry people, which she had employees for? Donna Jean Summers enters the office at one point and ignoring that Louise is naked walks right past her to fiddle with the computer and looks for gift certificates at which point Walter Nix Jr then tosses Louise the apron to cover herself. Donna Jean Summers had abandoned a defenseless, helpless 18 year old female under her care [who Donna Jean Summers had personally rendered helpless and defenseless] to two adult male strangers, one with physical contact and the other on a phone giving commands. Donna Jean Summers was then shocked and surprised that anything “wrong” was going on even when she walked in on a fully nude Louise at one point.

Some time later, one Thomas Simms [58] was asked into the office and spoke with the “caller” to which he also refused to comply with a stranger on the phone. Donna Jean Summers was shocked and surprised to hear he was asked to remove Louise’ apron as well. Still Donna Jean Summers found nothing wrong with this entire incident, found no reason to stop it and never questioned the morality or violation of a subordinate Donna Jean Summers was responsible for or that persons rights and freedoms, including due process. Donna Jean Summers was in fact a willing participant.

Eventually other managers arrive on the scene (apparently contacted by Donna Jean Summers herself) and the real police were called to the scene who arrive in, you guessed it, 5 minutes.

McDonalds claims they sent warnings about phone pranks and hoaxes to all stores via voice/email two weeks prior to this particular event. This has been confirmed, however, whoever was the first to see this voice/email, somehow discarded it and “forgot” to tell the other managers or employees of this warning. Lisa Siddons, the manager there, said in her deposition that it didn’t mention strip-searches (see special note at the bottom). Apparently it was more important to get the word out that the McRib was back or that happy meals have a better prize in them.

If you look at just how bizarre this incident is in relation to Donna Jean Summers participation and her fiancé’s participation and how they both willingly believed the “caller” was law enforcement, but yet Walter Nix Jr had no problem with an officer telling him to command an 18 year old girl to perform sexual acts with him, and Donna Jean Summer had no problem strip searching one of her own subordinates without question or cause or a flicker of skepticism. Maybe the whole idea of Donna Jean Summers being commanded by a stranger to perform sexually exciting things to an 18 year old female turned Donna Jean Summers on. Maybe it turned on Donna Jean Summers AND her fiancé to have a stranger on the phone command them both to perform sexual acts with an 18 year old female. Maybe it was their secret fantasy to spike their own relationship, but it had to be with someone at least 18 but not old enough to fight back. Wait, that can’t be. There aren’t any people in this world that are that sick and demented, and there is no way that Donna Jean Summers and Walter Nix Jr could ever have been in league with or in partnership with this mysterious “caller” and set this whole thing up so that Walter Nix Jr would be readily available at a moments notice and that it would only be a matter of time before Donna Jean Summers called for some extra help at the end of a particular shift of a person that had already expressed her willingness to help out whenever she could for the extra spending money. Naw………too ridiculous……..or……….is it?

Special Note – McDonald’s employee manual clearly notes its policy against strip-searches. It also notes that no non-employee of McDonalds will be allowed into the restaurant offices.

Your Idenitity Stolen – if you answered the email below

Did you give away your Identity to a thief? Did you get this email below and then answer it?

If so, your identity was stolen and your account information along with it.

I italicized and used strike-through on the words that areweb forgery misspelled. This will help you to identify emails that are scams. The number one footprint of a scam is a professional looking email that has several misspellings in them or improper grammar. Then I went to this scam site and I got the verification from Google and Firefox as the picture at the right states. Just click on the image to see it in full view.

Please don’t get caught by these scams. In the image to the right is a link to “how Firefox protects you” and I am providing that active link right here. Firefox is a browser like Internet Explorer, Netscape and Safari.

“The Co-operative Bank p.l.c.” <customerservice@co-operativebank.co.uk>
 

 

   

 

     
 
 
   
 
 

The Co-operative Bank p.l.c., Internet Banking Security Department has been receiving complaints from our customers for unauthorised uses of The Co-operative Bank accounts. As a result we are temporarily shutting down some selected Online Accounts perceived vulnerable to this, pending till the time we carry out proper verification by the account owner. The Co-operative Bank p.l.c., is committed to ensure the safeguard of each customer personal information, making sure only authorised individuals have access to their accounts.
As a first step to have Your Co-operative Bank Internet Banking Access reactivated please reconfirm your identity by using the link provided below.

https://www.co-operativebank.co.uk/CBIBSWeb/start.do

These instructions are sent to and should be followed by all Co-operative Bank clients,to avoid service deactivation after the verification is completed. We apologise for any inconveniences and thank you for your cooperation.

The Co-operative Bank p.l.c., Internet Banking Security Department

The Co-operative Bank p.l.c., (990937) P.O. Box 101, 1 Balloon Street, Manchester, M60 4EP

Car Insurance Credit Check?

Why using a state mandated requirement as a means to increase profits should be illegal:

Insurance companies are using state mandated requirements to increase profits and reduce the amount of “payout” as a safety net to hide beind. [more]

Internet Speed Fines

All too often I have seen several companies advertising “High Speed Internet” service or “Broadband” service as a campaign against “those other guys” using dial-up or slower cable modems.

Verizon has a real good “hook” campaign and so do some of the Bell companies. I haven’t heard much about Comcast (a.k.a. BrightHouse Networks in the southern states), but that’s probably because they don’t have to advertise so much. I had great service with them in Daytona Beach, Fl. and I had above average service from them in Atlanta, Ga. And I have darn good service with them here in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The real catch is in knowing whether the ads are talking about mega “bits” per second or mega “Bytes” per second transfer rate. We may also be talking Kilobits versus KiloBytes as well.

So here is how it works in simplest form. There are 8 bits of data in a byte. If you see an ad that touts 56Mbps (lower case b), then they are talking megabits. This means you can divide your 56Megabits by 8 and you are actually getting roughly 7MBps ( 7 MegaBytes) transfer speed. I won’t go into details but it is only a rough approximation because of a kilobyte being 1024 thousand bytes of data. Summarily, if you see an addspeedtest.jpg touting 768Kbps versus 768KBps you can then divide the 768Kbps by 8 to discover you are only getting 96KBps true transfer speed.

My results are Download Speed: 12181Kbps (1522.6KBps) which translates into roughly 1.5 MBytes/sec or 15 Mbits/sec.

Now when I say transfer speed, I am actually talking about “optimal” download speed only, not upload speed. Many configuration settings on your computer can affect your actual speed of data transfer (upload and download). The standard upload speed was roughly 384kbps, but there have been some changes in technology of late and some people may be getting close to the same 1500kbps uploads speeds as I get.

If you are interested in knowing what your actual transfer speeds are with the current service you have, click on the Speak Easy speed test Logo at the top right of this article. By the way, just for a cost comparison, I pay about $35 a month for Internet service.

Kiddie pool Attacks 6 Year old

How safe is it to leave a child unsupervised? For most of us, it’s pretty bad judgment and almost always ends in regretful parents. How safe is your child even when you are supervising? If you don’t think about the things that are out of your control, then you would say pretty darn safe. However, this article is about that monster lurking in the shadows called “negligence.”

As Mr and Mrs Taylor felt there couldn’t be anything wrong with letting their 6 year old daughter Abigail, swim in the kiddie pool just feet away from them, who would have thought her life was being changed forever as the Minneapolis Golf Club’s Kiddie Pool silently and effectively attacks Abigail. Here is the story as told by the 11Alive(NBC) News (Atlanta, Ga):

Abigail Taylor is what doctors call a medical miracle.

The six-year-old is sitting up, talking and fully aware that she nearly died last Friday in a horrific pool accident at the Minneapolis Golf Club’s Kiddie Pool.

Abigail sat on the drain at the bottom of the pool and doctors say her bottom created suction on the drain.Abigail Taylor Swimming

They say the strength of the suction from the drain pulled part of her small intestines out.

Her mom says Abbey somehow pulled herself off the drain and out of the pool before collapsing into the deep end of the regular pool.

“It’s a medical miracle that she survived,” Abigail’s father Scott Taylor said.

The little girl was rushed to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.

Doctors operated for several hours before addressing the family.

“I immediately fell to me knees, my initial reaction was she hadn’t survived,” Taylor said.

But Abigail did survive, though her life will never be the same.

“She’ll basically be on an I.V. That’s how she’ll receive all of her nutrition based on the fact that her small intestines are gone. She can’t process food,” Taylor said.

Taylor is talking to reporters to make sure other parents and pool owners are aware of the dangers lurking at the bottom of pools.

Taylor’s lawyer says a missing drain cover may be what caused this incomprehensible accident.

The manager of the Minneapolis Golf Club says he wasn’t aware of any problems with the pool.

“Whatever happens from this point forward, the fact that she’s still with us is amazing. I don’t know any other way to say that,” Taylor concluded.

Abbey will remain in the hospital for at least a couple of weeks.

I had to comment on this story, and out of all the lawsuits that are frivolous, this one would be far from it. I hope the Taylors sue the Country Club into bankruptcy thereby preventing their negligence from ever harming a child again. Here was my comment to the story:

Scott –Pittsburgh, PA

This is the kind of negligence that someone needs to be accountable for. There are tons of questions as to “how” something this horrible could happen.

1. How much suction (force) does this kiddie pool require to circulate old water out and new water in?
2. Is there a “safety” limit especially for kiddie pools?
3. Why was there “not” a suction prevention guard over the existing drain lid?
4. Are the pumps pressures monitored?
5. How Often?
6. Is there a fully trained and certified Pool technician employed on the grounds?

So many ways this could have even avoided. I wonder if the country club has any idea not just how permanent the damage is, but the other complications Abigail will endure for the rest of her life. Does it even cross their minds she will feel hungry in her belly the rest of her life non-stop?

It’s one thing when an accident is caused by being clumsy or misbehaving or tempting danger by doing something wrong. It’s totally a different story when a machine attacks you. What if Abigail decided to go underwater and swim for the first time and the suction at the drain got a hold of her face [or hair]?

This is cut and dry, sue their **** OFF! It’s not even close to an even trade if the club is ordered to pay millions of dollars. It’s a one time payment and they wash their hands, Abigail must endure for the rest of her life.

Added: Aug 15, 2007 –

I came across this blog of a lawyers firm in Maryland “marylandaccidentlawblog.com” and to my continued disgust, read the very first line “Calls for better pool safety laws continue in Maryland, in the wake of a serious accident involving 6-year-old Abigail Taylor from Minnesota.”

It never ceases to amaze me how many lawyers and firms will go after the pool manufacturers when the fault is of the owner/operator of the “equipment”, which happens to be responsible for maintaining the equipment properly. Pool manufacturers sell their product with ALL the parts necessary to be called a “complete” pool system. Accessories are even offered for sale to “enhance” the pool design and function. It is NEVER the pool companies fault for the buyers negligence in use or maintenance of the product. Pools are sold with pool drain covers. Pools are sold with “enhanced” pool drain covers. Accessories are sold (Safety guard for pool drains) that fit over the top of the existing pool drain cover. The pool at the Minnesota Country Club where Abigail’s life changed forever, had an “improperly maintained pool drain cover, and NO safety guard over the drain cover EVEN THOUGH the products are available. If I sell you a widget, there is no way I can “force” you to use it and maintain it properly. If you decide not to take care of my widget, then it is no ones fault but your own if it hurts you, “due to your negligence.”

Soul Mate Scam

Love Soul Mate scam of the century. It amazes me how much time people have on their hands, and spend it thinking up ways to rip off America.

When you see ads that say “find out the exact name of your soul mate“, do NOT be tempted to take the test. It’s not a test at all. in step 1 you will enter your gender, in step 2 you will enter your zodiacal sign, or star sign. In step 3 you will enter your first name, (are you getting a feel for this yet?), and in step 4 you will enter your cell phone number.

Spider WebMY What???? That’s right, and what you don’t notice is that at the bottom of the red bordered screen, out of your immediate view, is the “fine print.” In the fine print you will discover that after you have entered your cell phone number, you will be sent a PIN for you to discover the name of your soul mate. You must reply to the text message with your PIN to reveal your soul mate. Once you have replied to the text message, you are subscribing to a weekly prediction service and agree to be charged anywhere from $5.99 each week to $19.99 a month [depending on who your cell service is with].

The ONLY way to stop this service is for you to send the word “STOP” to the number [short code] 89623, which appeared briefly on the “enter your cell phone number” page which you probably breezed right past and didn’t notice the fine print hidden obscurely out of view at the bottom of the page that you must scroll down to see.

Soul Mate LakeWhat a great scam huh? This is the typical “preying on human nature” scam that Banks on the fact you will be excited, eager and in a hurry to find the answer. In your haste you will zoom right by the important information that will quietly and invisibly relieve you of your hard earned cash on your quest to find out the name of your soul mate.

So who is my soul mate? I don’t know, because I stopped dead in my tracks when I am asked to enter my cell phone number on a web site. However, I am willing to bet that it would have been the name of some celebrity that is also a Sagittarius, or a list of famous celebs with birthdays in December. Or maybe, the name would be revealed to me after I have gotten 6 predictions first, or it would be a name taken from the phone book of a 3rd world country, who needs to be married immediately to an American or they will lose MILLIONS of dollars that is waiting for them in an obscure offshore account because it was left to them by someone who was related to them (by name) and died recently without a will and leaving the money unclaimed. [Some of you may have gotten that if you have seen that scam as well]

Source: http://lovesoulmate.us

***UPDATE***The Soul Mate site has changed their pages to include the “fine print” at the bottom of every page and changed the title to inform you that you will get your soul mate’s name through weekly horoscope predictions to your cell phone.

***UPDATE 6/12/2007***A new website from the same company running love soul mate is now open called My 1 Pure Love. The charges are the same, the scam is the same and still they only offer horoscopes and love “predictions.”

***UPDATE 7/16/2007***Yet another website by the same company has produced “Perfect Lover Calculator” and it appears on myspace.com accounts as “crush Calculator.”

PerfectLover will not issue refunds to persons or entities claiming that they did not authorize the use of their wireless account to receive a Download.

The STOP text of 75557 is the number to use on this service. The terms and conditions are identical to all their other services with the exception of the name change and the terms and conditions were last updated for all their named services in Nov 2005.

***UPDATE 7/30/2007***It appears that the “STOP” numbers that you text back to the company do not work:

December 27th 2006 04:11:32 AM I HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM GETTING MESSAGES ON MY T-MOBIL CELL PHONE THEY’VE CHARGED 20.00 2 MY BILL I WANT SOMETHING DONE AND MY ACCOUNT CREDITED 4 THIS 20.00.I’VE TEXT STOP 2 75557 CALLED 800 # TO NO AVAIL . PLEASE DO SOMETHING THIS IS WRONG ITS A SCAM AND NEEDS STOPED AND REPAY THE MONEY CHARGED ON OUR CELL BILL. THANKS M.M. IN ALABAMA

December 21st 2006 04:38:04 PM I have been charged as well and can not get through on my cell phone for them to stop! WHAT A FREAKING SCAM!I had $30.00 worth on my bill. The phone providers are powerless because of “anti-trust” laws. If they can’t do anything, it is up to us to do it. I am going to start by filing a complaint with the FCC. Don’t know if it will help, but worth a shot.

***UPDATE 8/23/2007***Major changes are taking place since I began this consumer alert post. Today I have discovered that LoveSoulMate.us has changed its home page in the following ways:

  1. The title of the page is no longer “Find out the exact name of your soulmate.” It is now displaying “Find out the name of your love soulmate with weekly horoscopes to your cell.
  2. The graphic now includes a notice to all users saying “Don’t miss out on calculating your Love Soulmat’s name! You will also get weekly horoscopes.
  3. The home page of the site now includes links to the Service Info, Privacy Policy, Contact Information and Terms and Conditions. [Please read ALL of these first]

In the contact Information you will note “Please tone dial your number to remove yourself from the service. We do not monitor incoming messages to our service number, so you must send the correct keyword STOP to cancel the service.

They don’t have a live person monitoring their customer service number at 800-235-7105 so you must use the “STOP” text instead to stop the service. What the Hell??!!??!! But you can enter your cell phone number and they will remove that number from their service, after just telling us that we must use the stop text instead. HUGE red SCAM flag.

So, just out of giggles and grins, I entered a bogus number “588-245-1174″ as my cell phone number, and would you believe the response was “We have successfully removed your cell number from our database. You will no longer receive text messages from Mobile [unrecognized word].

They removed a number that doesn’t even exist? let alone in their database?? HUGE red SCAM flag.

Now the big scam – At first they were going to tell you the exact name of your soul mate (and they consistently spell soul mate as one word “soulmate” when in fact it is two words which suggests this is not an American company), before changing it to say “don’t miss out on calculating…” What the hell does that mean? Don’t miss out on someone doing the calculating for you? Nope, not at all, as is explained in the “service Info” which specifically states “LoveSoulMate.us is an entertainment service providing weekly readings and monthly love tips. The user is able to calculate some details about their perfect match.” So we have to do the calculating ourselves? from what information, our horoscopes about ourselves? Are you kidding me?!?!

Now, the Privacy Policy which states “Removing Yourself From Database –You may unsubscribe from any or all services by messaging the word STOP.“”Law –The only case where we will provide all neccessary information is where we are approached by representatives of the law enforcement bodies.“[necessary is misspelled]Lets Summarize:

  1. The Crush Calculator, the Love Soulmate calculator/prediction, The My 1 Pure Love prediction/calculator, are not really calculators or predictions at all.
  2. They wont provide any information to anyone unless they are approached by a law enforcement body, in other words, only if they are sued or summoned to a grand jury investigation.
  3. “STOP” text message doesn’t work.
  4. Calling the company at their customer service number won’t get you a live person because it’s not monitored by a live person.
  5. Entering “ANY” number at the customer service number will be removed from the database even if the number doesn’t exist or is not your own. (we don’t know if any number is actually removed)
  6. “Any and All services” implies they do own more than one service under different names. (The terms and Conditions verifies this by giving the same customer service number for all the names stated above in this scam)
  7. Contradictions, bad or incorrect english and lies [about removing a number from the database and the effectiveness about the STOP text message] all suggest a non-American company and Scam.

This scam needs to be reported to the United States Dept of Justice Attorney Generals office by as many consumers as possible. Click the “Contact Us” link once there.

***UPDATE 7/04/2009*** The global Privacy Policy has been changed to reflect as follows : “We reserve the right to disclose your personally identifiable information as required by law and when we believe that disclosure is necessary to protect our rights…”

“…You have no right, and waive any right you may otherwise have, to pursue any of our service providers or your cell phone carrier for any violation of this Privacy Statement.”

Now I have no idea who the idiot is, pretending to be the legal adviser or legal staff of Mobile Messenger and Mr Tsvetnenko, but this clown has gone way overboard to tell us that we have no rights and that we waive our rights just because he wants us to.  I’m sorry, this is laughable.  Also this service has spread to Facebook under many company names such as IQquizapp, Inc, and MobiConnex (officialIqquiz.com). The Privacy Policy and the Terms & Conditions now use the term “The Company” to represent all the individual company names used for this world wide scam.

Below is a list found on the officialiqquiz.com website to unsubscribe:

Playphone – Does NOT Accept Nextel or Boost Traffic

To cancel your Subscription Plan, send a text message with the text “STOP PP” to 77888, or such other number as may be designated on our Website (http://www.playphone.com), or, send an e-mail to refunds@playphone.com or contact 866-661-2076. The termination shall become effective at the end of the billing period in which you gave your notice of termination.

Ringaza – Does NOT Accept Sprint Traffic

Subscribers may cancel by texting STOP to 75714. To know more about Ringaza’s Terms & Conditions please visit our Web site (http://www.ringaza.com) or contact customer service at support@ringaza.com.

Jamster – Does NOT Accept Sprint, Nextel or Boost Traffic

To cancel your Subscription Plan, send a text message with the text “STOP” to 75555.

SendMeMobile

To stop receiving the security code confirmation text messages or to cancel any service at any time, text “STOP” to 77899, or contact our SendMe Mobile customer support team directly help@sendmemobile.com or call 877-3-SENDME or text HELP to 77899.

GameOn

To unsubscribe send “STOP” to 77877.

Mobile Messenger

This is an auto renewing subscription service that will continue until cancelled anytime by texting STOP to short code 46357.

Solow

Text “HELP” to 23687 at any time for more information about how to play. You can also contact SoLow customer service at help@solow.com or by calling 1-877-402-3687. To stop receiving the security code confirmation text messages or to cancel a service at any time, text “STOP” to 23687.

Flycell

To Unsubscribe simply text STOP to 69999. For more information on unsubscribing visit Flycell here.”

The Big Picture on Gasoline Prices

What is the big picture on gas prices? They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Below is the big pciture, but remember, there are plenty of details and circumstances that ultimately affect the meaning of the picture.

The first column shows the actual national average price per gallon for that year. The most important factor you have to take into account is the cost of living or the status of the economy in any particular year. The column on the right shows the price you would pay for that gallon of gas today, with todays dollar.

Also keep in mind when looking at the fluctuation between a span of years or in any given year, the events of that day such as the great oil crisis, or the Korean War, or natural disasters, etc.

One of the first things that caught my eye was that, in 1998 gas was $1.06 per gallon and if gasoline was priced today with 1998 oil prices, we would be paying $1.27 today for a gallon of gas. The second thing that caught my eye was that between 1920 and 1973 (53 years) the price of gas only increased 9 cents a gallon making a 23.1% increase (overall, taking into consideration it had both ups and downs), and in the next 25 years (1973 to 1998) it rose $0.67 per gallon making a 63.25% increase (again, overall).

Hang on to your knickers, because here is where my stomach starts to churn for a decent hurl. In the last 9 years (1998 to 2007) gas has gone from $1.06 a gallon to a national average of $2.97 a gallon (April 24th, 2007 national average) which is an increase of $1.91 a gallon or a 64.3% increase. IN 9 YEARS! not 25 years, and not 53 years. Does anyone see the danger of this kind of trend? If I just roughly estimate another 64% increase, it would happen in another 3 to 4 years (53 years in half to 25 years, 25 years roughly in half to 9 years (actual 12.5) and 9 years (roughly in half) to 3-4 years) making gas costing us $4.65 a gallon in 2010-2011.

One thing that will give the Oil Companies the perfect excuse to justify raising the oil prices equal to $4.65 a gallon for gasoline? The Democrats having their way and increasing minimum wages so the oil companies can say “the American household budget can easily “handle” it. Aside from that, when does the trend stop or change? With Mrs Slick Willy as president? LOL
FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program: Fact #426: May 29, 2006

The Year Retail Gasoline Price
(current dollars/gallon)
Retail Gasoline Price
(constant 2005 dollars/gallon)
1920 0.30 2.91
1921 0.26 2.87
1922 0.25 2.93
1923 0.22 2.51
1924 0.21 2.39
1925 0.22 2.48
1926 0.23 2.58
1927 0.21 2.37
1928 0.21 2.39
1929 0.21 2.45
1930 0.20 2.33
1931 0.17 2.18
1932 0.18 2.56
1933 0.18 2.68
1934 0.19 2.75
1935 0.19 2.69
1936 0.19 2.73
1937 0.20 2.71
1938 0.20 2.70
1939 0.19 2.63
1940 0.18 2.57
1941 0.19 2.55
1942 0.20 2.45
1943 0.21 2.32
1944 0.21 2.28
1945 0.21 2.22
1946 0.21 2.08
1947 0.23 2.02
1948 0.26 2.10
1949 0.27 2.20
1950 0.27 2.17
1951 0.27 2.04
1952 0.28 2.03
1953 0.29 2.10
1954 0.29 2.11
1955 0.29 2.12
1956 0.30 2.15
1957 0.31 2.15
1958 0.30 2.05
1959 0.31 2.05
1960 0.31 2.05
1961 0.31 2.01
1962 0.31 1.98
1963 0.30 1.94
1964 0.30 1.91
1965 0.31 1.93
1966 0.32 1.93
1967 0.33 1.94
1968 0.34 1.89
1969 0.35 1.85
1970 0.36 1.80
1971 0.36 1.76
1972 0.36 1.69
1973 0.39 1.70
1974 0.52 2.08
1975 0.57 2.06
1976 0.61 2.11
1977 0.66 2.11
1978 0.67 2.01
1979 0.90 2.43
1980 1.25 2.95
1981 1.38 2.96
1982 1.30 2.62
1983 1.24 2.43
1984 1.21 2.28
1985 1.20 2.18
1986 0.93 1.65
1987 0.95 1.63
1988 0.95 1.56
1989 1.02 1.61
1990 1.16 1.74
1991 1.14 1.63
1992 1.13 1.57
1993 1.11 1.50
1994 1.11 1.47
1995 1.15 1.47
1996 1.23 1.53
1997 1.23 1.50
1998 1.06 1.27
1999 1.17 1.37
2000 1.51 1.71
2001 1.46 1.61
2002 1.36 1.47
2003 1.59 1.69
2004 1.88 1.94
2005 2.30 2.30
2006* 2.40 2.35
* March 2006 only.
Source: Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review, April 2006, Table 9.4. Historical data from 1920-1975 are from other EIA sources.
Consumer Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was used to calculate constant dollars.

Rocket

Jury Duty Scam

Most of us take those summons for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out on their civic duty, that a new and ominous kind of scam has surfaced. The caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Give out any of this information and bingo, your identity just got stolen. The scam has been reported so far in 11 states, including Oklahoma, Illinois and Colorado. This (scam) is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try to bully people into giving information by pretending they’re with the court system.

The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their web sites, warning consumers about the fraud.

For Immediate Release
September 28, 2005

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

TELEPHONE FRAUD INVOLVING JURY DUTY

Washington, D.C. – The FBI today is providing a warning to the public against an ongoing scheme involving jury service. The public needs to be aware that individuals identifying themselves as U.S. court employees have been telephonically contacting citizens and advising them that they have been selected for jury duty. These individuals ask to verify names and Social Security numbers, then ask for credit card numbers. If the request is refused, citizens are then threatened with fines.

The judicial system does not contact people telephonically and ask for personal information such as your Social Security number, date of birth or credit card numbers….[–more–]

Rocket

Social Security Number abuse and violation of your privacy

You are legally bound to give your social security number to a very limited number of agencies.

So many people have no idea how readily their private Social Security Number is being abused. Not only that, they have no idea what to do about it.

Lets do a little history for a minute. Back in 1935, the Economic Security Act became the Social Security Act. In 1961, the Civil Service Commission adopted the SSN as the official federal employee identifier. In 1962, the Internal Revenue Service adopted it as the official taxpayer ID number (along side the already functional ITIN [Individual Taxpayer Identification Number]). For more on the history of the Social Security, follow this link “History“.

What the general public doesn’t know, is that you do not have to have a SSN. What does this mean? Well, if you don’t have a SSN, you don’t collect any benefits that you pay into the account over your lifetime of employment. You may choose to have an ITIN instead, for tax purposes to complete your yearly tax forms, and to identify you to the IRS. Many people are not counting on social security benefits, or even the program existing when they reach retirement age, so they are creating IRA’s and other such means to live on after they retire. For more on the ITIN, follow this link “about ITIN’s“.

So, you are asking yourself now, who is authorized to ask for and have my SSN?

The answer is: It depends upon the agency. Some government agencies, including tax authorities, welfare offices and state Department of Motor Vehicles offices, can require your Social Security number as mandated by federal law (42 USC 405 (c)(2)(C)(v) and (i)). Others may request the SSN in such a manner that you are led to believe you must provide it. Basically, “a federal or state (or political subdivision thereof) agency, in the administration of any tax, general public assistance, driver’s license, or motor vehicle registration law within it’s jurisdiction, can request and utilize your SSN issued by the Commissioner of Social Security for the purpose of establishing your identity affected by such law.”

Do I have to provide my Social Security number to private businesses?

Usually you are not legally compelled to provide your Social Security number to private businesses — including private health care providers and insurers, unless you are involved in a transaction in which the Internal Revenue Service requires notification. (Medicaid and Medicare are government health plans and can require a Social Security number.)

There is no law, however, that prevents businesses from requesting your SSN, and there are few restrictions on what businesses can do with it.

With identity theft on the rise at epidemic proportions, what is the best way to protect yourself from giving out your SSN to anyone other than your employer or authorized government agent or agency? Type up or print out a copy of Title 42 Chapter 7 Subchapter II Section 408 pgh (a)(8) which states:

whosoever discloses, uses, or compels the disclosure of the social security number of any person in violation of the laws of the United States; shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.”

Then write a short paragraph underneath stating ” I, the undersigned, am fully aware of the laws governing the purpose, use and disclosure of a social security number and verify that I am not compelling any person to disclose their assigned social security number to myself for any other purpose except to be used for social security tax withholding from earned wages.” and have them sign it, print their name, their title and their business or company affiliation.

Hand it to them and ask them to sign it before you give them your social security number.

If they sign it, then this means they have every legal federal right to have possession of your social security number. Other than that, they have no legal right to ask you for it. IF they “compel” you to disclose your SSN to them, then it’s a felony. However, if a business refuses you their services, they are within their rights not to sell you their product or services. If you find yourself in a situation where they need some way of identifying who you are, well, all I can say is that a birth certificate and a driver’s license have always been valid forms of identification.

Somewhere along the line since 1935, private and commercial businesses just up and decided they “need” your SSN because it is a good way to keep track of you in their records. You might consider that if they have no other way of keeping track of you or identifying who you are in their records, then who’s problem is it? yours? or theirs?

Protect yourself, and don’t disclose any information about yourself that is protected by the Privacy Act of 1974, found here “1974 Privacy Act“.