Aug 28 2009

FreeCreditReport.com and Craigslist Scam

Recently my girlfriend and I went out looking to upgrade our apartment; mainly to provide a yard for the dog and space to grow vegetables. Since the rental market is currently in the favor of renters right now, and our lease was nearing term, we trekked around town with my laptop checking out westsiderentals.com and craigslist postings. Through the course of the process I found the following scam.

We find a posting with a brief description of the property (terse would be more like it, but that’s pretty standard for craigslist) accompanied by some photos and a link to an external website. The external site had some more photos and a little “request more information” form. The domain was a little strange, something like “azoosie.com” or similar garbage, but I poked around the site and found other rentals listed, complete with photos, and the whois information for the domain was a PO Box in my neck of the woods. PO Boxes aren’t too uncommon for landlords to do around here, so I figured it was originally some vanity website, the name of a pet, or the like.

After doing a drive-by of the neighborhood (the exact address wasn’t listed) and contacting the landlord to schedule a walk-through, she states something along the lines of “I’m out of town for a couple days, so I’ll give you a ring when I get back. I’ve been getting a lot of interest on this property, so it’d save me some time if you can bring a credit report. If you want, you can get them at freecreditreport.com.” Note that isn’t a direct quote, but it is the gist of the email, and the link was definitely to freecreditreport.com. As a landlord myself, I’d never want to trust a applicant-supplied credit report, I’d want to run it myself — but again, this isn’t all that uncommon around here.

My first instinct was to just provide a credit report downloaded directly from one of the three credit reporting agencies, but I figured, “hey, this place has potential, and if that’s the format she prefers, I’ll go ahead and do that.” I read all the fine print on freecreditreport.com, downloaded my report, and emailed to request my account be terminated. See, freecreditreport.com (owned by their parent company, consumerinfo.com), requires a credit card number in order to view even the single free report, stating that they’ll bill you $14.95/month if you keep the account longer than 7 days. It also costs extra money if you want to enroll in their TripleAdvantage credit monitoring service, which will come into play in a moment. But, at this time, I haven’t enrolled in it, nor in any other service of theirs that is incurs a fee.

The next day, I haven’t received a confirmation, and that’s when I realize you have to call in to cancel your account. I do so. I receive no confirmation.

In the meantime, I inform the landlord that I have a credit report, and would like to schedule the walk-through, but the landlord turns to vapor. No responses. Their website turns to a parked domain after a couple days. People start flagging the poster’s listings on craigslist, even after the poster starts using different domains.

When my next credit-card bill comes in, I see a charge from freecreditreport.com. I contest the charge with my credit card company, and go to file a report with the Better Business Bureau — that’s when I notice they have a crap-ton of reports filed against them for shady business practices, deceptive advertising, and incorrect billing. I call them up again, explain my situation, and they say they “have no record of my cancellation request.” I tell them that is their fault, and adamantly request, several times over, that my account should be cancelled. They just keep asking “Are you sure? This is a great membership! And there’s been changes to your credit history since you last checked, you want to find out what they are, right? It’d be wise to keep your account!” Eventually they capitulate, after perhaps five or six requests, and state that I’ll receive a confirmation of termination email in one day, as they claimed before.

After returning to the BBB site and finishing my complaint, I notice I have a new email in my inbox: an email from freecreditreport.com saying “Welcome to TripleAdvantage Credit Monitoring!” Wait, what? Instead of terminating my account, they upgrade me to a more expensive service? Pardon?

I have to call back again, go through the same process again, inform them that I’m contesting all charges, reporting them to the BBB, and finally, when I get back to my inbox, I have an account termination confirmation.

All in all, a very shady service. And beware of their salespeople trolling craigslist, requesting you to create account there — especially when it’s not a hard sell.


Jun 26 2007

More Craigslist Fun

I posted another add on craigslist. Re-posted for your viewing pleasure.


Dinette Set: Table and Four Chairs – $20

I know what you’re thinking. Really, I do. And it’s not “$20 for a full dinette set? How can that be? This is a deal too good to be true!” No, what you’re thinking is, “Wow, that must be a really crappy dinette set.” And in a way, you’re right. It is a crappy dinette set, on the outside. Inside, it’s got a heart of pure gold. (Or fibrous lignum cut into planks, I’m not sure which.)

See? I’m not trying to pull anything over on you.

That said, it does it’s job, and it’s never complained. Without the inner leaf, it’s 42” inches square, 29” high. The inner leaf is 17”, which means fully expanded you’ve got a glorious 59” of dining expanse. Now, last time I ate out with my girlfriend, we spent over thirty bucks on breakfast. That’s ten dollars more than these table and chairs, and that breakfast didn’t even come with with anything to eat it on. Score one for the crappy dinette set. See, its beauty lies in its utility, not its looks.

That’s what I’m talking about. This dinette set is like the Terminator: very few words (aside from a snappy epithet, which is seldom audible); it just gets the job done. It’s a trooper.

But what makes this dinette set look so crappy? Well, first of all, just glance at it. It looks like it came out of a 1980’s time share condo. I imagine it used to share a room with one of those red-black-and-white “modern” minimalist illustrations of some chick wearing a V-shaped shoulder-padded jacket and stirrup pants, looking provocatively back over her shoulder. You know, like the ones you still see that haircut store that hasn’t updated it’s posters since before the New Kids on the Block. But then, who expects a soldier to be stylish? I don’t. They’ve got jobs to do.

Also, it’s a bit scuffed up. If you look carefully at the front of it, you can see a small black line between two of the horizontal supports – that’s because it’s not flush. Probably the result of some field trauma. (I don’t think Cheney’s war machine properly armored it, but that’s neither here nor there.) It could probably be hammered back into place, but I never felt the urge to do so, since it works just fine as is. Don’t fix what ain’t broke, as they say. And, since I’m leaving town, I need to transfer this bad boy to another unit. Don’t let this dinette become ronin. The last thing we want is the Blackwater division of Ethan Allen getting wind of his impressive record.

Looking for a throwback to the ’80s? Have a rental unit you don’t care about? Need a poker table for the garage? All are perfect roles for this grunt of a table. You’ll never worry about spilling beer on it, potting plants, or changing your grandson’s diaper on it. (Although the last has never happened, I’m sure it wouldn’t mind. All part of the job for this intrepid dinette set.)

You support our soldiers, right? Even if our foreign policy is totally fubar’d and you don’t think they should be there in the first place? Yeah, me too.

So buy this dinette set. If you can show me military ID, it’s free.

(You’ll need a truck. Point Loma / Loma Portal area)


Mar 16 2007

Physics Quote of the Day


Feb 6 2007

Search Terms

Ok, I have no idea how some of these search terms have brought people here, or even what they were looking for, but here’s some of the best:

  • All truths are only half truths
  • Argentine Bombshell stripper
  • asymmetric body hair
  • broke my sneakers
  • day laborer his cock
  • fish highway diagram
  • From the bough floating down river, insect song
  • housewives at play repost
  • she choked him out
  • sub scrub
  • chr oct ord w engine perl Obfuscation
  • dorismar playboy behind the scene
  • drunk party streeper
  • frotterism japanese
  • how do men stick their dicks in girls pussy
  • How many one dollar bills in a packaged stack
  • how much does the dorms at ucsd cost
  • how to get ink out of carpet
  • meaning of a double edged razor necklace
  • Nuclear accidents Boetingen 1970
  • pelvic bruising
  • sand sleep meet meat market woman
  • should I nibble on my girlfriends clitoris
  • what number comes next in the sequence 6 14 18 28 30
  • It is useless to show the gold piece to a cat
  • a sword in my trunk sticker
  • horny grandmas in the bedroom
  • the wheels on my skateboard are moving really slow
  • wings labia
  • Photo of traffic signel

Oct 6 2006

No, Alanis, this is irony:

A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in “fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity”.


Sep 1 2006

Shakes on a Plane

This is fucking hi-larious. It took a fair amount of control not to laugh out loud at work.


Apr 5 2006

Laughing to Tears

Click Me. You won’t regret it.


Mar 31 2006

Para Graph

Lately I’ve noticed a disturbing trend for online articles, be it mainstream news, weblogs, instructional articles, or whatever other bilge is available: current articles contain a preponderance of one sentence paragraphs. Not only one-sentence paragraphs, but single sentences. Yes, Thomas Mann created masterpieces of one-sentence paragraphs, but those were so fluid and beautifully complicated they don’t even compare.

Now, I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that writing is not my forte (these small vignettes may be the only thing I write that work to some small degree), and I’m by no means in the running for grammar king, but I can’t begin to understand how such stilted narratives don’t grate on the authors’ collectives noggins. Throw in a comma, somwhere! (Then again, I abuse puncuation.) But let the prose rumble forward like a wave; imbue some variation and dynamics!

Do people not re-read their tripe at least once, say, to feel the flow of the text or to see if their idea is reasonably expressed? Or is it indicative of this accelerated producer-consumer culture? “Don’t worry about that literary vomit, the crowds will have moved on tomorrow.” Since sentences in a paragraph should be related to the development of an idea, and paragraph breaks should be used to separate different developments, digressions, expressions, evolutions, concepts, or perhaps to just provide visual cues for ease of reading extended narratives, are these authors indicating that each utterance is so damn accurate and succinct that it encapsulates an entire concept, introduction, development, and conclusion, in one gem of an atom? Or is it that there is so little content that we’re performing the collegiate equivalent of expanding our word processor’s margins? Or perhaps there was no cohesion to the piece in the first place?

Take this excerpt from NBC newswire, the complete text of which has a grand total of 9 sentences and no quotation to force paragraph breaks:

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that authorizes the death penalty for twice-convicted child rapists.

The proposal approved Tuesday still needs a final reading before going on to the House.

It would authorize prosecutors to seek capital punishment for any sex offender convicted twice of raping children younger than 11.

The plan is part of a larger bill that would set minimum sentences for sex offenders and require lifetime electronic monitoring for some of them.

Then again, perhaps this has been occuring longer than I’ve been aware, and it’s just my focus on fluidity in my martial arts that brings it to the forefront. If that’s the case, bueno, as recognition of the problem is the first step to remediation. ‘Cause reading that makes my brain hurtz.


Jan 28 2006

North Atlantic Butt Trade Agreement

Tucker Carlson has certainly (snipped in case it gets pulled):

Former ‘Playboy’ playmate deported
Argentinean model wants special immigration status and re-entry to U.S. TRANSCRIPT
MSNBC
Updated: 4:09 p.m. ET Jan. 26, 2006

Tucker Carlson
Anchor, ‘The Situation’

Here’s a believe it or not story. Talented foreigners around the world are flashing their skills to get into this country, of course. But very few have the assets of Argentine bombshell Dorismar. The former “Playboy” playmate was rounded up by immigration authorities and deported with her husband on January 5 after living illegally in Miami for five years.

Now her attorney is trying to get the calendar pinup back into this country by classifying her as, quote, “an alien of extraordinary ability.”

Tucker Carlson was joined by Dorismar’s attorney, Michael Feldenkrais, to discuss this quest for special immigration status.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST ‘THE SITUATION’: What exactly is Dorismar’s extraordinary ability?

MICHAEL FELDENKRAIS, DORISMAR’S ATTORNEY: Well, the INS has already considered her as an extraordinary ability, and that’s probably her looks, her singing abilities, and her looks, I guess.

CARLSON: You can’t see the screen, but we unfortunately have – we’ve blotted out her extraordinary ability that you’re talking about. And that’s her rear end, of course. She was named by “Mirror” magazine as a woman who possessed one of the top 25 rear ends in all of entertainment. You’re saying that because this girl has a cute butt, she should be a U.S. citizen?

FELDENKRAIS: Well, not necessarily U.S. citizen. But she should be allowed to be able to work in this country. She should be allowed to come in and do her performances, do whatever it is that she needs to do to proceed with her continued dream of becoming a, quote unquote, supermodel and so on and so forth. Absolutely. She should have the right to work, come in, maybe even leave, go in and out of the country. Absolutely.


Nov 30 2005

Then What Happened?

From sigalert:

  • 15 South Before Miramar Wy Traffic Collision – No Injuries 3:52 PM
  • Thomas Guide Map Coordinates: Page 1229, Grid 1G
  • Reporting Party Doesn’t Think That Its a Traffic Collision / Both Vehicles Are Facing Wrong Way 3:52 PM
  • 2 Vehicle in the #4, #3 Lane That Are Facing Wrong Way 3:52 PM
  • CHP Unit Enroute 3:55 PM