117 Best Affiliate Programs For Bloggers In 2020

/r/Scams Common Scam Master Post

Hello visitors and subscribers of scams! Here you will find a master list of common (and uncommon) scams that you may encounter online or in real life. Thank you to the many contributors who helped create this thread!

If you know of a scam that is not covered here, write a comment and it will be added to the next edition.

Previous threads: https://old.reddit.com/Scams/search?q=common+scams+master+post&restrict_sr=on
Blackmail email scam thread: https://old.reddit.com/Scams/comments/g8jqnthe_blackmail_email_scam_part_5//
Some of these articles are from small, local publications and refer to the scam happening in a specific area. Do not think that this means that the scam won't happen in your area.

Spoofing

Caller ID spoofing
It is very easy for anyone to make a phone call while having any number show up on the caller ID of the person receiving the phone call. Receiving a phone call from a certain number does not mean that the person/company who owns that number has actually called you.
Email spoofing
The "from" field of an email can be set by the sender, meaning that you can receive scam emails that look like they are from legitimate addresses. It's important to never click links in emails unless absolutely necessary, for example a password reset link you requested or an account activation link for an account you created.
SMS spoofing
SMS messages can be spoofed, so be wary of messages that seem to be from your friends or other trusted people.

The most common scams

The fake check scam (Credit to nimble2 for this part)
The fake check scam arises from many different situations (for instance, you applied for a job, or you are selling something on a place like Craigslist, or someone wants to purchase goods or services from your business, or you were offered a job as a mystery shopper, you were asked to wrap your car with an advertisement, or you received a check in the mail for no reason), but the bottom line is always something like this:
General fraudulent funds scams If somebody is asking you to accept and send out money as a favour or as part of a job, it is a fraudulent funds scam. It does not matter how they pay you, any payment on any service can be fraudulent and will be reversed when it is discovered to be fraudulent.
Phone verification code scams Someone will ask you to receive a verification text and then tell you to give them the code. Usually the code will come from Google Voice, or from Craigslist. In the Google version of the scam, your phone number will be used to verify a Google Voice account that the scammer will use to scam people with. In the Craigslist version of the scam, your phone number will be used to verify a Craigslist posting that the scammer will use to scam people. There is also an account takeover version of this scam that will involve the scammer sending a password reset token to your phone number and asking you for it.
Bitcoin job scams
Bitcoin job scams involve some sort of fraudulent funds transfer, usually a fake check although a fraudulent bank transfer can be used as well. The scammer will send you the fraudulent money and ask you to purchase bitcoins. This is a scam, and you will have zero recourse after you send the scammer bitcoins.
Email flooding
If you suddenly receive hundreds or thousands of spam emails, usually subscription confirmations, it's very likely that one of your online accounts has been taken over and is being used fraudulently. You should check any of your accounts that has a credit card linked to it, preferably from a computer other than the one you normally use. You should change all of your passwords to unique passwords and you should start using two factor authentication everywhere.
Boss/CEO scam A scammer will impersonate your boss or someone who works at your company and will ask you to run an errand for them, which will usually be purchasing gift cards and sending them the code. Once the scammer has the code, you have no recourse.
Employment certification scams
You will receive a job offer that is dependent on you completing a course or receiving a certification from a company the scammer tells you about. The scammer operates both websites and the job does not exist.
Craigslist fake payment scams
Scammers will ask you about your item that you have listed for sale on a site like Craigslist, and will ask to pay you via Paypal. They are scamming you, and the payment in most cases does not actually exist, the email you received was sent by the scammers. In cases where you have received a payment, the scammer can dispute the payment or the payment may be entirely fraudulent. The scammer will then either try to get you to send money to them using the fake funds that they did not send to you, or will ask you to ship the item, usually to a re-shipping facility or a parcel mule.
General fraudulent funds scams The fake check scam is not the only scam that involves accepting fraudulent/fake funds and purchasing items for scammers. If your job or opportunity involves accepting money and then using that money, it is almost certainly a frauduent funds scam. Even if the payment is through a bank transfer, Paypal, Venmo, Zelle, Interac e-Transfer, etc, it does not matter.
Credit card debt scam
Fraudsters will offer to pay off your bills, and will do so with fraudulent funds. Sometimes it will be your credit card bill, but it can be any bill that can be paid online. Once they pay it off, they will ask you to send them money or purchase items for them. The fraudulent transaction will be reversed in the future and you will never be able to keep the money. This scam happens on sites like Craigslist, Twitter, Instagram, and also some dating sites, including SeekingArrangement.
The parcel mule scam
A scammer will contact you with a job opportunity that involves accepting and reshipping packages. The packages are either stolen or fraudulently obtained items, and you will not be paid by the scammer. Here is a news article about a scam victim who fell for this scam and reshipped over 20 packages containing fraudulently acquired goods.
The Skype sex scam
You're on Facebook and you get a friend request from a cute girl you've never met. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. She'll ask you to send pictures or videos or get on webcam where she can see you naked with your face in the picture. The scam: There's no girl. You've sent nudes to a guy pretending to be a girl. As soon as he has the pictures he'll demand money and threaten to send the pictures to your friends and family. Sometimes the scammer will upload the video to a porn site or Youtube to show that they are serious.
What to do if you are a victim of this scam: You cannot buy silence, you can only rent it. Paying the blackmailer will show them that the information they have is valuable and they will come after you for more money. Let your friends and family know that you were scammed and tell them to ignore friend requests or messages from people they don't know. Also, make sure your privacy settings are locked down and consider deactivating your account.
The underage girl scam
You're on a dating site or app and you get contacted by a cute girl. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. Eventually she stops communicating and you get a call from a pissed off guy claiming to be the girl's father, or a police officer, or a private investigator, or something else along those lines. Turns out the girl you were sexting is underage, and her parents want some money for various reasons, such as to pay for a new phone, to pay for therapy, etc. There is, of course, no girl. You were communicating with a scammer.
What to do if you are a victim of this scam: Stop picking up the phone when the scammers call. Do not pay them, or they will be after you for more money.
Phishing
Phishing is when a scammer tries to trick you into giving information to them, such as your password or private financial information. Phishing messages will usually look very similar to official messages, and sometimes they are identical. If you are ever required to login to a different account in order to use a service, you should be incredibly cautious.
The blackmail email scam The exact wording of the emails varies, but there are generally four main parts. They claim to have placed software/malware on a porn/adult video site, they claim to have a video of you masturbating or watching porn, they threaten to release the video to your friends/family/loved ones/boss/dog, and they demand that you pay them in order for them to delete the video. Rest assured that this is a very common spam campaign and there is no truth behind the email or the threats. Here are some news articles about this scam.
The blackmail mail scam
This is very similar to the blackmail email scam, but you will receive a letter in the mail.
Rental scams Usually on local sites like Craigslist, scammers will steal photos from legitimate real estate listings and will list them for rent at or below market rate. They will generally be hesitant to tell you the address of the property for "safety reasons" and you will not be able to see the unit. They will then ask you to pay them a deposit and they claim they will ship you the keys. In reality, your money is gone and you will have no recourse.
Craigslist vehicle scams A scammer will list a vehicle on Craigslist and will offer to ship you the car. In many cases they will also falsely claim to sell you the car through eBay or Amazon. If you are looking for a car on Craigslist and the seller says anything about shipping the car, having an agent, gives you a long story about why they are selling the car, or the listing price is far too low, you are talking to a scammer and you should ignore and move on.
Advance-fee scam, also known as the 419 scam, or the Nigerian prince scam. You will receive a communication from someone who claims that you are entitled to a large sum of money, or you can help them obtain a large sum of money. However, they will need money from you before you receive the large sum.
Man in the middle scams
Man in the middle scams are very common and very hard to detect. The scammer will impersonate a company or person you are legitimately doing business with, and they will ask you to send the money to one of their own bank accounts or one controlled by a money mule. They have gained access to the legitimate persons email address, so there will be nothing suspicious about the email. To prevent this, make contact in a different way that lets you verify that the person you are talking to is the person you think you are talking to.
Cam girl voting/viewer scam
You will encounter a "cam girl" on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask you to go to their site and sign up with your credit card. They may offer a free show, or ask you to vote for them, or any number of other fake stories.
Amateur porn recruitment scam
You will encounter a "pornstar" on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask you to create an adult film with hehim, but first you need to do something. The story here is usually something to do with verifying your age, or you needing to take an STD test that involves sending money to a site operated by the scammer.
Hot girl SMS spam
You receive a text from a random number with a message along the lines of "Hey babe I'm here in town again if you wanted to meet up this time, are you around?" accompanied by a NSFW picture of a hot girl. It's spam, and they'll direct you to their scam website that requires a credit card.
Identity verification scam
You will encounter someone on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask that you verify your identity as they are worried about catfishing. The scammer operates the site, and you are not talking to whoever you think you are talking to.
This type of scam teases you with something, then tries to make you sign up for something else that costs money. The company involved is often innocent, but they turn a blind eye to the practice as it helps their bottom line, even if they have to occasionally issue refunds. A common variation takes place on dating sites/dating apps, where you will match with someone who claims to be a camgirl who wants you to sign up for a site and vote for her. Another variation takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where the scammers setup fake rental scams and demand that you go through a specific service for a credit check. Once you go through with it, the scammer will stop talking to you. Another variation also takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where scammers will contact you while you are selling a car and will ask you to purchase a Carfax-like report from a specific website.
Multi Level Marketing or Affiliate Marketing
You apply for a vague job listing for 'sales' on craigslist. Or maybe an old friend from high school adds you on Facebook and says they have an amazing business opportunity for you. Or maybe the well dressed guy who's always interviewing people in the Starbucks that you work at asks if you really want to be slinging coffee the rest of your life. The scam: MLMs are little more than pyramid schemes. They involve buying some sort of product (usually snake oil health products like body wraps or supplements) and shilling them to your friends and family. They claim that the really money is recruiting people underneath you who give you a slice of whatever they sell. And if those people underneath you recruit more people, you get a piece of their sales. Ideally if you big enough pyramid underneath you the money will roll in without any work on your part. Failure to see any profit will be your fault for not "wanting it enough." The companies will claim that you need to buy their extra training modules or webinars to really start selling. But in reality, the vast majority of people who buy into a MLM won't see a cent. At the end of the day all you'll be doing is annoying your friends and family with your constant recruitment efforts. What to look out for: Recruiters love to be vague. They won't tell you the name of the company or what exactly the job will entail. They'll pump you up with promises of "self-generating income", "being your own boss", and "owning your own company." They might ask you to read books about success and entrepreneurs. They're hoping you buy into the dream first. If you get approached via social media, check their timelines. MLMs will often instruct their victims to pretend that they've already made it. They'll constantly post about how they're hustling and making the big bucks and linking to youtube videos about success. Again, all very vague about what their job actually entails. If you think you're being recruited: Ask them what exactly the job is. If they can't answer its probably a MLM. Just walk away.

Phone scams

You should generally avoid answering or engaging with random phone calls. Picking up and engaging with a scam call tells the scammers that your phone number is active, and will usually lead to more calls.
Tax Call
You get a call from somebody claiming to be from your countries tax agency. They say you have unpaid taxes that need to be paid immediately, and you may be arrested or have other legal action taken against you if it is not paid. This scam has caused the American IRS, Canadian CRA, British HMRC, and Australian Tax Office to issue warnings. This scam happens in a wide variety of countries all over the world.
Warrant Call
Very similar to the tax call. You'll get a phone call from an "agent", "officer", "sheriff", or other law enforcement officer claiming that there is a warrant out for your arrest and you will be arrested very soon. They will then offer to settle everything for a fee, usually paid in giftcards.
[Legal Documents/Process Server Calls]
Very similar to the warrant call. You'll get a phone call from a scammer claiming that they are going to serve you legal documents, and they will threaten you with legal consequences if you refuse to comply. They may call themselves "investigators", and will sometimes give you a fake case number.
Student Loan Forgiveness Scam
Scammers will call you and tell you about a student loan forgiveness program, but they are interested in obtaining private information about you or demanding money in order to join the fake program.
Tech Support Call You receive a call from someone with a heavy accent claiming to be a technician Microsoft or your ISP. They inform you that your PC has a virus and your online banking and other accounts may be compromised if the virus is not removed. They'll have you type in commands and view diagnostics on your PC which shows proof of the virus. Then they'll have you install remote support software so the technician can work on your PC, remove the virus, and install security software. The cost of the labor and software can be hundreds of dollars. The scam: There's no virus. The technician isn't a technician and does not work for Microsoft or your ISP. Scammers (primarily out of India) use autodialers to cold-call everyone in the US. Any file they point out to you or command they have you run is completely benign. The software they sell you is either freeware or ineffective. What to do you if you're involved with this scam: If the scammers are remotely on your computer as you read this, turn off your PC or laptop via the power button immediately, and then if possible unplug your internet connection. Some of the more vindictive tech scammers have been known to create boot passwords on your computer if they think you've become wise to them and aren't going to pay up. Hang up on the scammers, block the number, and ignore any threats about payment. Performing a system restore on your PC is usually all that is required to remove the scammer's common remote access software. Reports of identity theft from fake tech calls are uncommon, but it would still be a good idea to change your passwords for online banking and monitor your accounts for any possible fraud. How to avoid: Ignore any calls claiming that your PC has a virus. Microsoft will never contact you. If you're unsure if a call claiming to be from your ISP is legit, hang up, and then dial the customer support number listed on a recent bill. If you have elderly relatives or family that isn't tech savvy, take the time to fill them in on this scam.
Chinese government scam
This scam is aimed at Chinese people living in Europe and North America, and involves a voicemail from someone claiming to be associated with the Chinese government, usually through the Chinese consulate/embassy, who is threatening legal action or making general threats.
Chinese shipping scam
This scam is similar to the Chinese government scam, but involves a seized/suspicious package, and the scammers will connect the victim to other scammers posing as Chinese government investigators.
Social security suspension scam
You will receive a call from someone claiming to work for the government regarding suspicious activity, fraud, or serious crimes connected to your social security number. You'll be asked to speak to an operator and the operator will explain the steps you need to follow in order to fix the problems. It's all a scam, and will lead to you losing money and could lead to identity theft if you give them private financial information.
Utilities cutoff
You get a call from someone who claims that they are from your utility company, and they claim that your utilities will be shut off unless you immediately pay. The scammer will usually ask for payment via gift cards, although they may ask for payment in other ways, such as Western Union or bitcoin.
Relative in custody Scammer claims to be the police, and they have your son/daughtenephew/estranged twin in custody. You need to post bail (for some reason in iTunes gift cards or MoneyGram) immediately or the consequences will never be the same.
Mexican family scam
This scam comes in many different flavours, but always involves someone in your family and Mexico. Sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member has been detained, sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member has been kidnapped, and sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member is injured and needs help.
General family scams
Scammers will gather a large amount of information about you and target your family members using different stories with the goal of gettimg them to send money.
One ring scam
Scammers will call you from an international number with the goal of getting you to return their call, causing you to incur expensive calling fees.

Online shopping scams

THE GOLDEN RULE OF ONLINE SHOPPING: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Dropshipping
An ad on reddit or social media sites like Facebook and Instagram offers items at huge discounts or even free (sometimes requiring you to reblog or like their page). They just ask you to pay shipping. The scam: The item will turn out to be very low quality and will take weeks or even months to arrive. Sometimes the item never arrives, and the store disappears or stops responding. The seller drop-ships the item from China. The item may only cost a few dollars, and the Chinese government actually pays for the shipping. You end up paying $10-$15 dollars for a $4 item, with the scammer keeping the profit. If you find one of these scams but really have your heart set on the item, you can find it on AliExpress or another Chinese retailer.
Influencer scams
A user will reach out to you on a social media platform, usually Instagram, and offer you the chance to partner with them and receive a free/discounted product, as long as you pay shipping. This is a different version of the dropshipping scam, and is just a marketing technique to get you to buy their products.
Triangulation fraud
Triangulation fraud occurs when you make a purchase on a site like Amazon or eBay for an item at a lower than market price, and receive an item that was clearly purchased new at full price. The scammer uses a stolen credit card to order your item, while the money from the listing is almost all profit for the scammer.
Instagram influencer scams
Someone will message you on Instagram asking you to promote their products, and offering you a discount code. The items are Chinese junk, and the offer is made to many people at a time.
Cheap Items
Many websites pop up and offer expensive products, including electronics, clothes, watches, sunglasses, and shoes at very low prices. The scam: Some sites are selling cheap knock-offs. Some will just take your money and run. What to do if you think you're involved with this scam: Contact your bank or credit card and dispute the charge. How to avoid: The sites often have every brand-name shoe or fashion item (Air Jordan, Yeezy, Gucci, etc) in stock and often at a discounted price. The site will claim to be an outlet for a major brand or even a specific line or item. The site will have images at the bottom claiming to be Secured by Norton or various official payment processors but not actual links. The site will have poor grammar and a mish-mash of categories. Recently, established websites will get hacked or their domain name jacked and turned into scam stores, meaning the domain name of the store will be completely unrelated to the items they're selling. If the deal sounds too good to be true it probably is. Nobody is offering brand new iPhones or Beats or Nintendo Switches for 75% off.
Cheap Amazon 3rd Party Items
You're on Amazon or maybe just Googling for an item and you see it for an unbelievable price from a third-party seller. You know Amazon has your back so you order it. The scam: One of three things usually happen: 1) The seller marks the items as shipped and sends a fake tracking number. Amazon releases the funds to the seller, and the seller disappears. Amazon ultimately refunds your money. 2) The seller immediately cancels the order and instructs you to re-order the item directly from their website, usually with the guarantee that the order is still protected by Amazon. The seller takes your money and runs. Amazon informs you that they do not offer protection on items sold outside of Amazon and cannot help you. 2) The seller immediately cancels the order and instructs you to instead send payment via an unused Amazon gift card by sending the code on the back via email. Once the seller uses the code, the money on the card is gone and cannot be refunded. How to avoid: These scammers can be identified by looking at their Amazon storefronts. They'll be brand new sellers offering a wide range of items at unbelievable prices. Usually their Amazon names will be gibberish, or a variation on FIRSTNAME.LASTNAME. Occasionally however, established storefronts will be hacked. If the deal is too good to be true its most likely a scam.
Scams on eBay
There are scams on eBay targeting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you should look out for people who privately message you regarding the order, especially if they ask you to ship to a different address or ask to negotiate via text/email/a messaging service. As a buyer you should look out for new accounts selling in-demand items, established accounts selling in-demand items that they have no previous connection to (you can check their feedback history for a general idea of what they bought/sold in the past), and lookout for people who ask you to go off eBay and use another service to complete the transaction. In many cases you will receive a fake tracking number and your money will be help up for up to a month.
Scams on Amazon
There are scams on Amazon targeting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you should look out for people who message you about a listing. As a buyer you should look out for listings that have an email address for you to contact the person to complete the transaction, and you should look out for cheap listings of in-demand items.
Scams on Reddit
Reddit accounts are frequently purchased and sold by fraudsters who wish to use the high karma count + the age of the account to scam people on buy/sell subreddits. You need to take precautions and be safe whenever you are making a transaction online.
Computer scams
Virus scam
A popup or other ad will say that you have a virus and you need to follow their advice in order to remove it. They are lying, and either want you to install malware or pay for their software.

Assorted scams

Chinese Brushing / direct shipping
If you have ever received an unsolicited small package from China, your address was used to brush. Vendors place fake orders for their own products and send out the orders so that they can increase their ratings.
Money flipping
Scammer claims to be a banking insider who can double/triple/bazoople any amount of money you send them, with no consequences of any kind. Obviously, the money disappears into their wallet the moment you send it.

Door to door scams

As a general rule, you should not engage with door to door salesmen. If you are interested in the product they are selling, check online first.
Selling Magazines
Someone or a group will come to your door and offer to sell a magazine subscription. Often the subscriptions are not for the duration or price you were told, and the magazines will often have tough or impossible cancellation policies.
Energy sales
Somebody will come to your door claiming to be from an energy company. They will ask to see your current energy bill so that they can see how much you pay. They will then offer you a discount if you sign up with them, and promise to handle everything with your old provider. Some of these scammers will "slam" you, by using your account number that they saw on your bill to switch you to their service without authorization, and some will scam you by charging higher prices than the ones you agreed on.
Security system scams
Scammers will come to your door and ask about your security system, and offer to sell you a new one. These scammers are either selling you overpriced low quality products, or are casing your home for a future burglary.
They ask to enter your home
While trying to sell you whatever, they suddenly need to use your bathroom, or they've been writing against the wall and ask to use your table instead. Or maybe they just moved into the neighborhood and want to see how you decorate for ideas.
They're scoping out you and your place. They want to see what valuables you have, how gullible you are, if you have a security system or dogs, etc.

Street scams

Begging With a Purpose
"I just need a few more dollars for the bus," at the bus station, or "I just need $5 to get some gas," at a gas station. There's also a variation where you will be presented with a reward: "I just need money for a cab to get uptown, but I'll give you sports tickets/money/a date/a priceless vase."
Three Card Monte, Also Known As The Shell Game
Unbeatable. The people you see winning are in on the scam.
Drop and Break
You bump into someone and they drop their phone/glasses/fancy bottle of wine/priceless vase and demand you pay them back. In reality, it's a $2 pair of reading glasses/bottle of three-buck-chuck/tasteful but affordable vase.
CD Sales
You're handed a free CD so you can check out the artist's music. They then ask for your name and immediately write it on the CD. Once they've signed your name, they ask you for money, saying they can't give it to someone else now. Often they use dry erase markers, or cheap CD sleeves. Never use any type of storage device given to you by a random person, as the device can contain malware.
White Van Speaker Scam
You're approached and offered speakers/leather jackets/other luxury goods at a discount. The scammer will have an excuse as to why the price is so low. After you buy them, you'll discover that they are worthless.
iPhone Street Sale
You're approached and shown an iPhone for sale, coming in the box, but it's open and you can see the phone. If you buy the phone, you'll get an iPhone box with no iPhone, just some stones or cheap metal in it to weigh it down.
Buddhist Monk Pendant
A monk in traditional garb approaches you, hands you a gold trinket, and asks for a donation. He holds either a notebook with names and amounts of donation (usually everyone else has donated $5+), or a leaflet with generic info. This is fairly common in NYC, and these guys get aggressive quickly.
Friendship Bracelet Scam More common in western Europe, you're approached by someone selling bracelets. They quickly wrap a loop of fabric around your finger and pull it tight, starting to quickly weave a bracelet. The only way to (easily) get it off your hand is to pay. Leftover sales
This scam involves many different items, but the idea is usually the same: you are approached by someone who claims to have a large amount of excess inventory and offers to sell it to you at a great price. The scammer actually has low quality items and will lie to you about the price/origin of the items.
Dent repair scams
Scammers will approach you in public about a dent in your car and offer to fix it for a low price. Often they will claim that they are mechanics. They will not fix the dent in your car, but they will apply large amounts of wax or other substances to hide the dent while they claim that the substance requires time to harden.
Gold ring/jewelry/valuable item scam
A scammer will "find" a gold ring or other valuable item and offers to sell it to you. The item is fake and you will never see the scammer again.
Distraction theft
One person will approach you and distract you, while their accomplice picks your pockets. The distraction can take many forms, but if you are a tourist and are approached in public, watch closely for people getting close to you.

General resources

Site to report scams in the United Kingdom: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
Site to report scams in the United States: https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
Site to report scams in Canada: www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm
Site to report scams in Europe: https://www.europol.europa.eu/report-a-crime/report-cybercrime-online
FTC scam alerts: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts
Microsoft's anti-scam guide: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/safety/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx
https://www.usa.gov/common-scams-frauds
https://www.usa.gov/scams-and-frauds
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts
https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes
submitted by EugeneBYMCMB to Scams [link] [comments]

OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – Just take a hard left at Daeseong-dong…2

Continuing
“Perhaps that might actually work better.” Agent Rack agrees, after all, he’s been looking at the list of team members and their departure points. I’m the only one from the Middle East, the rest are from Russia, Europe, or places way up north.
“Rack, let me look at the grouping of team members”, I say, “There’s got to be something better than your fly and schlep scheme.”
‘Fine, Doctor. It is, after all, your project.” Agent Rack relates, “Email me with your updated ideas and itinerary.” He says and hangs up.
“Damn”, I snipe, “I knew I should have asked for more than 3x my day rate. No trip is worth this much all fired ready aggravation…”
I get a new cigar, refresh my Greenland coffee, and get to the list of folks I’ll be working with for the next few weeks.
“Sindy?”, I ask my computer, “Open ‘Agent Rack mail #2’ please”.
There’s a grinding of hard drives, satellites are linking up in outer space, computer banks at NASA are lighting off. There's a teletype in Virginia annoyed at being awoken at this ungodly early hour.
A few minutes later, I am reading over my list. Quite the collection.
Two geologists: A Russian, Dr. Morskoy Utes, and a Brit, Dr. Clifford Swandon.
Two geophysicists: A Russian, Dr. Volna Sglazhivaniye, and one Swede, Dr. Aktiv Vågformme.
Two Reservoir Engineers: An Dutch, Dr. Vijver Monteur, and Portuguese, Dr. Graciano Guimarães.
One geomechanic: A Bulgarian, Dr. Iskren Dragomirov Dinev .
Two geochemists: A Canadian, ‘eh, Dr. Erlen Meyer, and a Russian, Dr. Academician Ivan Ivanovich Khimik.
One Petroleum Technologist: A Finn, Dr. Joonatan Vedenalaiset
And one Petrophysicist: A Canadian, Dr. Dax Aceron
And yours truly, Dr. Rocknocker, The Motherfucking Pro from Dover, makes for 12.
Such a nice, round, woody number.
OK, let’s see, before we get to particulars.
Countries of origin: Russia, England, Sweden, USA by way of the Middle East, Finland, Bulgaria, and Canada.
All northern hemispherical types; for the most part.
Great. We can all meet in London and fly British Airways directly to Beijing. Then, it’s Air China to Pyongyang. Besides, I’ll still get my frequent flyer miles and I don’t want to fly Aeroflot if I can avoid it.
I send Agent Rack an Email defining my ideas. He writes back within an hour OK’ing the plan. He will make plans for all of us to meet in London, spend a night at the airport Hilton Garden Inn, then off to Beijing. Then, after a quick layover, on to Pyongyang, Best Korea.
To history. And beyond!
However, there are a few logistical problems that need to be overcome.
With this Cheap-Ass Mexican Beer virus crisis, there’s no flights out of my present home country.
How will Esme make it back to the states and I to London, where there, at least, they’re a bit less ridiculously paranoid, and I can catch a commercial flight out to China?
Calling Agent Rack and Ruin…
With a bit of Agency of intervention, Esme and I are to be transported via one of the military’s flying war machines. It will deposit Esme in Abu Dhabi where she will catch a direct flight to the Windy City.
They say they may slow down before they kick me out in Dubai to catch the BA flight to London. They already know me from previous adventures.
There. All done and dusted. I love flying first class, as it were.
Now, logistics.

Esme is packed and ready to go in less than an hour. Most of her luggage is stuffed with gifts and other sorts of Middle Eastern tat for the folks back home. We haven’t been back to the states in quite some time; there will be much rejoicing.
However, I will have to hear of it second hand. I’m going to Best Korea and have no idea what the climate’s like other than its Oriental Continental. Most of North Korea is classified as being of a humid continental climate within the Köppen climate classification scheme, with warm summers and cold, dry winters.
Currently in the upper teens centigrade, winds light and variable 10 to 130 kilometers per hour, it’ll be a nice day if the tornadoes stay away.
Well now, that’s like mail from home. Equable weather in an unequable land.
Hawaiian shirts? The most garish. Exploration vest? Of course. Field boots? But of course. Ah, hell, the usual travel wardrobe. Into the silver aluminum travel cases go the Scottish high-calf woolen socks, Stetson, cargo shorts, one pair of long chinos, the usual undergarments, spare lighters, cigar-cutters, emergency flasks, flint and steel (just in case), generic Northern European Armed-Services knife with built-in cigar cutter, a couple of fueled Zippos, a couple of different sized Cow-Hide Men tools, a handful of cheap-o butane lighters, bags of beef and camel jerky…just the absolute necessities.
In my day pack, which never leaves my side, are my cigars, cigarettes for gifts, some emergency rations; like a spare pint of bourbon, one of vodka, and some Dammitol in case of headaches. Plus, field notebooks, pens, pencils, hand lens, various geological-geophysical cheat sheets, tickets, visas, tourist passes, and all that other world-traveling guff.
Looks like we’re both ready to travel. I get on the horn with one or the other of my favorite agency denizens and tell them we’re ready to go.
Agent Ruin notes positive and tells us he’ll dispatch our transport to the airport forthwith.
I’m out in front of our villa and the whole city is a god damned ghost town. Virtually no road traffic and absolutely no air traffic. It’s eerily quiet. The whole city’s taking a siesta. Or in a coma…hard to tell which.
I’m scanning the roads looking for our taxi to the airport when the still silence of the scene is split by the sonorous resonant THUMP-THUMP-THUMP-THUMP of a heavy helicopter.
Not just any “Oh, look, Mummy. Up in the sky”, helicopter.
This is a huge black US military transport helicopter and it’s FUCKING LANDING IN THE EMPTY LOT ACROSS THE STREET.
Remind me to be slightly nice to the collective agents next time we meet.
Once the sand, grime, and assorted desert dust settles down, I’m locking the villa as two Airmen are storing our luggage aboard the large black ominous-looking black transport black helicopter.
They escort Esme and me to the passenger compartment. They could see me being crestfallen when they refused to let me ride up front. I mean, I am a fully licensed helicopter pilot.
“Oh, insurance rules and stuff. Right”.
We don our new 3M™ Peltor™ Hummingbird™ Headsets and are asked, very nicely, to strap in as in mere moments, we will be taking off for the local airport.
I smile at Esme and beam: “I told ya’. Stick with me and you’ll go places.”
The way she smiled back at me sustained me throughout my trip above the 38th parallel. I resolved to do my damnedest to bring her back something very nice.
With a smooth, graceful leap due up, we’re airborne. The few neighbors that came out to see us off waved briefly and rapidly became as ants as we titled forward, opened the taps, and hauled ass to the local International airport.
No “International or Business” this time. We landed way the holy earthenware fuck over on the north side of the airport. That clandestine place where all the strange and secretive military aircraft were parked and surreptitiously maintained.
We flared in and, light as an anvil landed. We waited the proscribed few minutes while the airship spooled down and we were allowed egress.
Out of the chopper, across 150 meters of tarmac and into the waiting abdomen of a Lockheed C-130 Hercules. Our luggage was already being stowed in the belly the beast, and we were ushered into the cavernous interior of the plane.
This plane, as I was told, could carry up to 90 passengers, 72 troops, or 65 paratroops.
Today, it would carry Esme, me, and a skeleton crew to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
We’d be landing first at Abu Dhabi to get Esme sorted out, then wheels up for approximately 5 air-minutes, then back to feet dry at Dubai International Airport. There I would be unceremoniously tossed off the plane and left to my own devices.
The flight crew were fully briefed and truth be told, I’d met several of them in varying circumstances over the years. They knew I was mostly harmless, but somewhat of an eccentric VIP, hence the flight, and they gave me no end of shit about it.
For that, I really appreciated and liked these guys and gals.
I walked Esme to the local international airline's flight desk in Abu Dhabi, business, of course, and deposited her luggage.
“Guess this is it, hon. Have a great time in the States and don’t let the Covids bite. Be sure to give the girls my love.”
“When will you be back, so I can plan my return trip?” Es askes.
“No earthly idea. It could be a month, could be three. I’ll get word to your mother, you guys will be checking in with her all the time anyways. Let’s play it loose and have some fun with all this. Now, off to the Lounge with you; get a massage, and relax. You’ve got 8 hours to burn before you even load up.” I said.
We embrace, kiss smoochily, even though we could get put away for PDA (Public Display of Affection) which is still a misdemeanor here in the lovely, cosmopolitan Middle East; an electric courtesy cart arrives to take Es to the combined Emirates First and Business Class lounge.
“See you soonest”, I say as the cart whisks her away. She waves and tries to camouflage her wiping her eyes. She’s always emotional before I travel to strange places around the globe.
I saunter out the door and back across the tarmac to my transport ship. I’m getting this Captain Kirk vibe being the only one being transported on the flight, and decide to christen the Herkybird “The Enterprise”.
Now, do I go all Bill Shatner or Patrick Stewart?
I arrive at the loading platform and there are a couple of airmen lolling around smoking cigarettes. They’re well away from the aircraft and legal, although I thought the military would have kittens if they knew of this.
I have some 5 hours to kill before my flight to London. I wander over to chat with the airmen and fire up a cigar. Since we’re probably not going to be leaving for a few hours, I offer them tots from one of my emergency flasks.
But, with the Modelo Virus about, one airman begs off and returns moments later with some small, disposable paper Dixie cups.
Necessity, the mother of invention.
We chatted, swapped stories, and they were amazed that I was actually looking forward to going to Best Korea.
They basically informed me that was a post no one wanted. It was a place where one went to watch their military career die.
It was tedious, yet tense.
Important, yet mundane.
Above all, it was massively boring.
Nothing of any substance even happened there and one hoped for that to continue. Yet, some long stripers would relate that even a small thermonuclear exchange would be welcomed to break up the tedium.
I parted with a couple of cigars as we felt and heard the engines of the Hercules being rekindled back into life.
We all scurried onto the plane and after some preliminary warnings, we were wheels up and headed to Dubai International Airport.
And then we were taxiing to the VIP arrivals terminal some 8 minutes later.
Fuck, I hate these long flights. Sure, I could have cabbed it from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, but they were headed this way anyways, so…
Into the arrivals area with all my baggage and a very nice US female airman accompanying me to the British Airways desk. She was wheeling my gear. I felt like such a cad, but I rapidly got over it.
We were at check-in, she made certain I had my passport, visas, tourist and landing cards, and everything else necessary for the trip.
“Yes, thank you, Sr. Airman Mother”, I joked.
She actually blushed a bit. I could have been her grandfather.
Gad. I hated writing that sentence.
She made certain everything was A-OK and a go. We shook hands, and she departed back to the waiting Hercules and back to their local home here in the maddening Middle East.
The airport was dead. Really dead. In fact, I’ve never seen it deader. Call in the bulldozers. Turn this place into a parking lot…
Dubai International is usually a fucking madhouse. It has always been nuts - a shopping mall trying to be an airport. Today, one could have held RC plane flight races around every concourse.
No weird-ass disenfranchised form god-knows-where bums out bothering and panhandling you. No madding crowds trying to sweep you against your will to a far and distant, not to mention, unusable, terminal. Duty-Free shops. Some closed, but the cigar and booze kiosks are open.
Whew. That’s a relief.
I’m checked in flight-wise and the nice BA gate person has to ask me why I’m going where my baggage says I am.
“I’m an agent of the United States, on a super-secret mission to find oil and gas in the best Korea on the planet.”
Her look and raised eyebrow said “Oh, pooh.”, although she smiled and said “Ah. That’s nice.”
Hey. I was telling the truth…
Well, I had some time in an almost deserted airport with a load of pre-flight cash, a hungry look in my eye, and a cheeseburger in my pocket; but that latter story will have to wait for a later time.
My bags were ostensibly ticketed to Pyongyang, but also Beijing. I’d have to check and see if they got transferred to Air China once we arrived. No worries, we should have plenty of layover time in China.
So, off to a leisurely stroll through Duty-Free.
“Oh, this looks nice. Oh. And this. Hmmm…Wild Turkey 101 Rye. That’s a two’fer. Ah, here’s the Duty-Free humidor. Camachos? By the Great Horn Spoon! They have triple maduros. 4 boxes of these go in the cart.” I giggled like a giddy old aunt.
A few bundles of cheap-ass cigars to use as gifts and bribes. Oh, yes. They love to smoke cigarettes in Best Korea. I load up three cartons of Sobranie pastel-colored Cocktail cigarettes.
At least, this way I’d know in an instant who I’ve already graced with my munificence.
Thus sated, I pay for my prizes, and decide to wander off to the Business Class lounge. I have hours left and well, boredom was settling in.
Or, I could go, as I have for years, to the Irish Pub, have a pint of nitrogen-charged Guinness, a bowl of ‘authentic’ Irish Stew and a nice smoke afterwards. I think it’s one of the few places left on the planet where you can actually sit at a bar, have a drink, and smoke without everyone going all C. Everett Koop on your hapless ass.
Oh, sure. In Business class everything’s free. At the Irish Pub, I’d have to pay.
Fuck it. I made a beeline to the Irish Pub.
It’s damn near-deserted. So much so, in fact, I’m seated immediately.
This is odd. It’s never happened before. This place is usually SRO.
Of course, I order a nitrogen-charged pounder of Guinness, a bowl of Irish Stew, a side of their famous real onion rings and a couple of shots of genuine rye whiskey just because.
Sated to the gills, I was feeling fine as I watch the abbreviated sports review on the telly. I dug deep into my recent purchases and drag out a triple maduro Camacho cigar.
No, I’m not shilling for Camacho cigars, they’re just one of my favorite go-to brands. However, if there’s anyone out there that’s affiliated with Camacho cigars, or Wild Turkey Rye and Bourbon, I’d certainly listen to any ideas you might have for sponsorship of this little forum.
Anyways, I was talking with the Sri Lankan bartender, Tharushi. I was, of course, regaling him with one of my endless supply of rude and ribald jokes when I hear a voice say:
“Why don't you save that rapier-like wit for the cheeseheads back home, Rock?
“Tharushi, did I ever tell you of the frustrated petrophysicist Dr. Dax Aceron who’s legendary prowess with a fishing rod is such that he couldn’t catch a cold buck-naked, sitting in a freezer with his feet in a bucket of Moscow river water?”
“Dr. Dax? How the hell are you?” I spin to see my old petrophysical buddy from many long best-forgotten global campaigns.
“Dr. Rock. I am doing fine. Better than fine. I’m going to Best Korea and I know personally the team leader. How the hell are you, you old troublemaker?”
“Dax. What are you doing here? I thought we’d meet up in London.”
“Yeah, that was the plan”, he explained, “I let them think I was still in Calgary. I was actually over here in Dubai doing a little side work. Totally under the table. Completely off the books. You know, the usual. Now give me a cigar and buy me a drink. I do believe it’s your round.”
“So, Dax”, I say, “Flying BA to London in”, as I look at my watch, “three and a half hours?”
“Yeah.” He halfheartedly replies.
“Problem? “I ask.
“Yeah”, he snorts, “Going baggage class. Can’t afford Business. Work’s been kinda thin on the chin lately.”
“Pish and tiddle”, I reply, “Tharushi, please call the BA front desk for me, if you would”, as I slide a US$20 across the bar.
“Yes sir, Doctor Rock, sir!” he rapidly replies.
<RINGRINGRING> “BA front desk”.
“Yes, hello. This is Dr. Rocknocker. I’m sending over one Dr. Dax Aceron with my BA Rhodium Thunder Frequent Flyers card. Please upgrade him to Business on BA Flight 106 to London departing in some 3.5 hours. My security code is <mumblemumblemumble>. Got that? Great. Thank you.”
“Here Dax”, as I hand him my frequent flyer's card, “Go to the BA desk and get yourself upgraded. I’ll sit here and keep the bar from running away. Now, begone with thee.”
Dr. Dax is all smiles as he lights off for the BA desk.
Oh, I could have gone and handled it all, but there was this one crucial problem.
I didn’t want to.
I order another Guinness and light up my cigar anew. This already had the earmarks of an epic adventure.
After a beer or eight and associated shots, I pour Dr. Dax into the courtesy cart and we’re whisked off to our departure gate. Normally, this would take full portions of an hour, the crowds would be so thick. Today, we’re at the most distal of the departure gates and we made it there from the Irish Pub in less than 7 minutes.
The plane was mostly empty. The ground crew did a desultory check of our passport and visas and told us basically to ‘sit wherever you want’.
“We’re already business class.” I replied.
“I hope someone else was buying your tickets.” Was the response.
Dax and I got to our Business Class seats and get comfortable.
We looked around and First Class was full, Business Class had one or two open seats and coach? Well, pretty much empty except for those souls who wanted a whole row to themselves to rack out on the upcoming 7.5-hour journey.
I asked if could get my Dr. Dax Business Class upgrade miles back.
The flight attendant said that ‘she’ll see’. It was more of a rhetorical question, based on the absurdity of international flights these days of scary infectious diseases and global idiocy.
The plane was probably 1/5th full. If we played our cards right and Dr. Dax and I could have our own private airline cabin attendant.
With a minimum of fuss and puling, after the obligatory “Please. Just sit back, enjoy our flight and don’t do anything stupid” lectures, in English, Arabic, and Dutch for some reason, we pushed back, rolled out and were heading off to our take-off position.
It’s Zombie Apocalypse time out here; without the drooling creatures lusting for brains; which is odd, even for Dubai. The airport’s dead, few ground vehicles scurrying around, and very, very few planes doing much of anything. We rolled into takeoff position, sat for less than a full minute, and suddenly went 110% throttle.
“Adios, Dubai. See you on the flip side.” I said to no one in particular, saluting the city one digit at a time.
We were wheels up so fast, I didn’t even get the obligatory “Welcome aboard, Dr. Rock, here’s your complimentary pre-takeoff drink”.
I sought to alleviate that sordid situation straightaway.
We leveled out and were headed generally north-northwestward when I waylaid the unsuspecting cabin-crew worker.
“Hello. How are we today? Good. Good. Might I trouble you for a drink?” I asked, sweeter than 1.23 kilos of jaggery.
“You’ll get a drink when I’m good and ready to get you a drink”, she barked back like an Alligator Snapping turtle with tertiary clap and barbed-wire undies.
“Now, now. See here, Miss. There’s no reason for all this. All I’d like is...” I tried to continue.
“Yeah. We know. ‘Vodka. Ice. Sliced limes. Bitter Lemon’, right? We’ll you’ll get that when I get around to it. Not before.” She snarled back.
“Evidently my reputation does precede me,” I said, somewhat perplexed and a bit miffed. I never am nasty to those who serve my alcohol, so I was genuinely perplexed at this turn of affairs.
“Yeah”, I hear a familiar voice from the back of the plane, “Everyone in existence knows of the one and only Dr. Rocknocker.”
What the actual fuck?
I swivel around and standing there with a shit-eating grin some representational three kilometers wide is Toivo.
“Toivo? What the actual flying fuck? What the hell are you doing in Dubai?” I asked.
“Paying the cabin crew real money to give you a hard time.” He laughs, as the red-faced cabin attendant hands both me and Toivo a drink.
Toivo is sputtering along in delighted laughter.
Dr. Dax is out like a light, snuffling his way westward.
“That still doesn’t answer my question, Toiv: what the blinkered hell are you doing in Dubai?” asked again.
“Well, you know I own an oilfield service company. Most everyone is in a global lockdown, but I can afford to fly where I want when I want. Only ‘essential’ employees are at the office. What better time to drop by some oil companies Middle Eastern HQs, make an impression, and try to drum up some business? If nothing else, they’ll remember me when the need comes for oil field servicing.” He laughs.
“Well, I can’t argue with the logic, but I might with the execution. Why not move up here into Business and we’ll catch up?” I ask.
“Nah, Rock. I’m bushwhacked. I got a nice, little row of four seats all laid out as my own, private Idaho. I’ve got in-flight entertainment, a patented ‘Dr. Rocknocker’ never-emptying glass and a desire to count high-velocity aerial sheep. Give me a few hours kip and I’ll come back and we can catch up. Deal?” he asks.
“Sure. No problem. Just don’t ask what I’m up to because it’s super-secret, really dangerous, and ridiculously ‘Eyes-only’ confidential. Have a nice nap.” I smile and turn back to my drink.
Toivo slowly rises and head back to his nest, shaking his head over what I was on about this time.
“Fuck with my beverage service? OK. I fuck with your head”, I smile quietly to myself.
“Why, yes, I’d love another. Could you make it a double?” I ask the flight attendant, who has now recovered her previous bit of Toivo-induced embarrassment She was well on her way to redeeming herself mightily in the eyes of this grizzled world traveler.
I spent the flight time writing up my field notes. I devised a brand-new form of encryption that no one would be able to break; except for me, of course. I planted primers through the coded entries to remind me how simple this code was, but how unbreakable the code would be if the people trying to decode it weren’t, well, me. There were little asides and personal accounts linked to the decryption key that would be impossible, I fervently hoped, for anyone without certain key pieces of history, to unravel.
I’m going to a primitive and paranoid place, and I’m the one sweating the encryption of my hand written notes.
Weird.
I built up a file system on my really cheap ass-looking Toshiba laptop that would prove to be impenetrable to anyone short of a batch of NSF Crays with nothing to do for the next geological epoch. It was an old, beat-up looking, field notebook computer, circa 1999.
However, looks can be deceiving.
I had it juiced with all the latest computer gizmos and gimcracks that brought its guts right up to 2020 or possibly beyond. It had 6 TB Samsung 860 PRO, 2.5" SSD, with all the attendant bells and whistles according high-juice operating systems today. It runs on Win 7 because I hate Win 10 but it also runs on Windows XP. I had my computer guru do whatever it’s called so I could run both systems simultaneously so I could show it doing XP things to a concerned TSA agent when it really was running Win 7 covertly in the background.
This thing could, in a pinch, process raw seismic data.
The logic? Well, I show customs and that crowd, and it’s an old, beat-up geologist’s field electronic notebook. In the hotel room, I can activate it’s alter ego and have access to all the goodies I need that frankly are equivalent or better than my workstation back home
Truth be told, it’s an old ploy that Rack and Ruin suggested. There are even some packages of ones and zeros that had originated from some shady place in the hills of the East Coat of the US swimming around the guts of the thing. This makes for the ideal situation to keep prying eyes where they belong and yet still allow me to have the access to all my latest geological, geophysical, and petrophysical software; as well as communication and snooping programs.
We secured permission to bring in one laptop or iPad per person on this trip; so I decided with the paucity of the internet in the place I was headed, I’d bring along my satellite lash up and the necessary computer to drive it. No one, unless they’re really tech-savvy, which I‘m not, would realize I have a fully functional satellite Internet machine in that old beat up Toshiba notebook facade and those couple of bags of adapters, wall warts, and patch cords.
That all done, I ordered another drink, pick a bit at the Full English Breakfast I thought sounded good until it arrived, and read some of the latest newspapers.
COVID-19! ALARM! RUN IN CIRCLES! SCREAM AND SHOUT!
Oh, bother.
Toivo finally arrives back from his little trip to the land of Nod and sits down in the unoccupied seat next to mine. We have some time and need every minute to catch up. I must say, thus far, it was the most agreeable part of the trip. It was good to see an old face from back home.
Toivo’s staying in London for a few days, trying to drum up some North Sea business, then he’s back to Houston via Mexico City and overland to Matamoros. The things as citizens that we’re forced to do under the guise of security.
We’re readying for landing when Dr. Dax finally wakes up. He just has time for his morning ablutions before we land in sunny ol’ England.
I had printed out the list of attendees and first thing, after we deplaned, went through all the passport and customs folderol, got to the hotel, checked in and had a couple of drinks. Then I’d requisition a conference room in the hotel for all of us to meet before our flight out to China the next day.
That’s why I get the big money. I can plan logistically like a motherfucker.
Dax and I get through all the entrance formalities and I arrange for our baggage to be sent to the hotel, which is connected to the airport Terminal 4. It was a near thing, though, as we were some of the last guests who were allowed to stay at the hotel before it closed due to the whole Bad Mexican Beer virus absurdity.
However, our rooms wouldn’t be available for a couple of hours, but they’d keep our bags for us until we decide to show up. So, with time in an airport to kill, where else do we go?
Off to the nearest bar.
It was a long walk to our hotel, and since we didn’t care to walk after being locked in an aluminum tube for the last 8+ hours, we found the first pub right after we sorted out our bags with BA. It overlooked the international arrivals area, and had a ringside seat to the comings, but not goings, of international adventurers.
So we were sitting in the Pogo Lounge of the London International Airport...in the patio section, of course, drinking Singapore Slings with mescal on the side.
Dax and I ordered several drinks as I wanted something different for a change. We sat back, got comfortable, and wanted to fire up cigars, but here in the Northern Hemisphere of late, that would probably be an executable offense.
“Y’know, Dax”, I said between sips of a really fine cocktail, “We’ll probably be seeing all our compatriots walk right on by us here. We should let them know that we’re here.”
As another aside, all the team members of this little excursion spoke English. I didn’t mention that until right now because I didn’t think it important, but I suppose it is. With the translations to the native language, to and fro, of where we’re going; additional languages would have just fuckered our timetable, which was long enough as it stood.
Dax agreed, procured some crayons, literally, and a paper placemat and ginned up a fairly credible International Union of Petroleum Geological Sciences (IUPGS) logo and our names for all to see.
So much for anonymity, inconspicuousness, and clandestineness.
Ha! With this bunch? Hardly…
Dax and I ordered another round which arrived expediently, as we pretty much had the lounge to ourselves.
It was weird hanging around a place that I’ve never before seen without bustling, hustling, thronging mobs of people. There were a few fellow travelers, but it was like after a great conflagration, a reverse decimation, where instead of only 10% of the population being laid waste, it was 90% and we were part of the lucky 10% of survivors.
“Yes, thank you. ”, I said to the smiling barkeep. I didn’t know you could double a Singapore Sling. The more you know…
Dax and I sat there enjoying our libations. Well, I was. Dax was having the damnedest of times keeping up; not that I asked him to or challenged him in any way. I was itchily lusting for a good smoke; those Dubai Camachos were taunting me just a foot or two away in my field pack.
To be continued…
submitted by Rocknocker to Rocknocker [link] [comments]

/r/Scams Common Scam Master Post

Hello visitors and subscribers of scams! Here you will find a master list of common (and uncommon) scams that you may encounter online or in real life. Thank you to the many contributors who helped create this thread!

If you know of a scam that is not covered here, write a comment and it will be added to the next edition.

Previous threads: https://old.reddit.com/Scams/search?q=common+scams+master+post&restrict_sr=on
Blackmail email scam thread: https://reddit.com/Scams/comments/dohaea/the_blackmail_email_scam_part_4/
Some of these articles are from small, local publications and refer to the scam happening in a specific area. Do not think that this means that the scam won't happen in your area.

Spoofing

Caller ID spoofing
It is very easy for anyone to make a phone call while having any number show up on the caller ID of the person receiving the phone call. Receiving a phone call from a certain number does not mean that the person/company who owns that number has actually called you.
Email spoofing
The "from" field of an email can be set by the sender, meaning that you can receive scam emails that look like they are from legitimate addresses. It's important to never click links in emails unless absolutely necessary, for example a password reset link you requested or an account activation link for an account you created.
SMS spoofing
SMS messages can be spoofed, so be wary of messages that seem to be from your friends or other trusted people.

The most common scams

The fake check scam (Credit to nimble2 for this part)
The fake check scam arises from many different situations (for instance, you applied for a job, or you are selling something on a place like Craigslist, or someone wants to purchase goods or services from your business, or you were offered a job as a mystery shopper, you were asked to wrap your car with an advertisement, or you received a check in the mail for no reason), but the bottom line is always something like this:
General fraudulent funds scams If somebody is asking you to accept and send out money as a favour or as part of a job, it is a fraudulent funds scam. It does not matter how they pay you, any payment on any service can be fraudulent and will be reversed when it is discovered to be fraudulent.
Phone verification code scams Someone will ask you to receive a verification text and then tell you to give them the code. Usually the code will come from Google Voice, or from Craigslist. In the Google version of the scam, your phone number will be used to verify a Google Voice account that the scammer will use to scam people with. In the Craigslist version of the scam, your phone number will be used to verify a Craigslist posting that the scammer will use to scam people. There is also an account takeover version of this scam that will involve the scammer sending a password reset token to your phone number and asking you for it.
Bitcoin job scams
Bitcoin job scams involve some sort of fraudulent funds transfer, usually a fake check although a fraudulent bank transfer can be used as well. The scammer will send you the fraudulent money and ask you to purchase bitcoins. This is a scam, and you will have zero recourse after you send the scammer bitcoins.
Email flooding
If you suddenly receive hundreds or thousands of spam emails, usually subscription confirmations, it's very likely that one of your online accounts has been taken over and is being used fraudulently. You should check any of your accounts that has a credit card linked to it, preferably from a computer other than the one you normally use. You should change all of your passwords to unique passwords and you should start using two factor authentication everywhere.
Boss/CEO scam A scammer will impersonate your boss or someone who works at your company and will ask you to run an errand for them, which will usually be purchasing gift cards and sending them the code. Once the scammer has the code, you have no recourse.
Employment certification scams
You will receive a job offer that is dependent on you completing a course or receiving a certification from a company the scammer tells you about. The scammer operates both websites and the job does not exist.
Craigslist fake payment scams
Scammers will ask you about your item that you have listed for sale on a site like Craigslist, and will ask to pay you via Paypal. They are scamming you, and the payment in most cases does not actually exist, the email you received was sent by the scammers. In cases where you have received a payment, the scammer can dispute the payment or the payment may be entirely fraudulent. The scammer will then either try to get you to send money to them using the fake funds that they did not send to you, or will ask you to ship the item, usually to a re-shipping facility or a parcel mule.
General fraudulent funds scams The fake check scam is not the only scam that involves accepting fraudulent/fake funds and purchasing items for scammers. If your job or opportunity involves accepting money and then using that money, it is almost certainly a frauduent funds scam. Even if the payment is through a bank transfer, Paypal, Venmo, Zelle, Interac e-Transfer, etc, it does not matter.
Credit card debt scam
Fraudsters will offer to pay off your bills, and will do so with fraudulent funds. Sometimes it will be your credit card bill, but it can be any bill that can be paid online. Once they pay it off, they will ask you to send them money or purchase items for them. The fraudulent transaction will be reversed in the future and you will never be able to keep the money. This scam happens on sites like Craigslist, Twitter, Instagram, and also some dating sites, including SeekingArrangement.
The parcel mule scam
A scammer will contact you with a job opportunity that involves accepting and reshipping packages. The packages are either stolen or fraudulently obtained items, and you will not be paid by the scammer. Here is a news article about a scam victim who fell for this scam and reshipped over 20 packages containing fraudulently acquired goods.
The Skype sex scam
You're on Facebook and you get a friend request from a cute girl you've never met. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. She'll ask you to send pictures or videos or get on webcam where she can see you naked with your face in the picture. The scam: There's no girl. You've sent nudes to a guy pretending to be a girl. As soon as he has the pictures he'll demand money and threaten to send the pictures to your friends and family. Sometimes the scammer will upload the video to a porn site or Youtube to show that they are serious.
What to do if you are a victim of this scam: You cannot buy silence, you can only rent it. Paying the blackmailer will show them that the information they have is valuable and they will come after you for more money. Let your friends and family know that you were scammed and tell them to ignore friend requests or messages from people they don't know. Also, make sure your privacy settings are locked down and consider deactivating your account.
The underage girl scam
You're on a dating site or app and you get contacted by a cute girl. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. Eventually she stops communicating and you get a call from a pissed off guy claiming to be the girl's father, or a police officer, or a private investigator, or something else along those lines. Turns out the girl you were sexting is underage, and her parents want some money for various reasons, such as to pay for a new phone, to pay for therapy, etc. There is, of course, no girl. You were communicating with a scammer.
What to do if you are a victim of this scam: Stop picking up the phone when the scammers call. Do not pay them, or they will be after you for more money.
Phishing
Phishing is when a scammer tries to trick you into giving information to them, such as your password or private financial information. Phishing messages will usually look very similar to official messages, and sometimes they are identical. If you are ever required to login to a different account in order to use a service, you should be incredibly cautious.
The blackmail email scam The exact wording of the emails varies, but there are generally four main parts. They claim to have placed software/malware on a porn/adult video site, they claim to have a video of you masturbating or watching porn, they threaten to release the video to your friends/family/loved ones/boss/dog, and they demand that you pay them in order for them to delete the video. Rest assured that this is a very common spam campaign and there is no truth behind the email or the threats. Here are some news articles about this scam.
The blackmail mail scam
This is very similar to the blackmail email scam, but you will receive a letter in the mail.
Rental scams Usually on local sites like Craigslist, scammers will steal photos from legitimate real estate listings and will list them for rent at or below market rate. They will generally be hesitant to tell you the address of the property for "safety reasons" and you will not be able to see the unit. They will then ask you to pay them a deposit and they claim they will ship you the keys. In reality, your money is gone and you will have no recourse.
Craigslist vehicle scams A scammer will list a vehicle on Craigslist and will offer to ship you the car. In many cases they will also falsely claim to sell you the car through eBay or Amazon. If you are looking for a car on Craigslist and the seller says anything about shipping the car, having an agent, gives you a long story about why they are selling the car, or the listing price is far too low, you are talking to a scammer and you should ignore and move on.
Advance-fee scam, also known as the 419 scam, or the Nigerian prince scam. You will receive a communication from someone who claims that you are entitled to a large sum of money, or you can help them obtain a large sum of money. However, they will need money from you before you receive the large sum.
Man in the middle scams
Man in the middle scams are very common and very hard to detect. The scammer will impersonate a company or person you are legitimately doing business with, and they will ask you to send the money to one of their own bank accounts or one controlled by a money mule. They have gained access to the legitimate persons email address, so there will be nothing suspicious about the email. To prevent this, make contact in a different way that lets you verify that the person you are talking to is the person you think you are talking to.
Cam girl voting/viewer scam
You will encounter a "cam girl" on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask you to go to their site and sign up with your credit card. They may offer a free show, or ask you to vote for them, or any number of other fake stories.
Amateur porn recruitment scam
You will encounter a "pornstar" on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask you to create an adult film with hehim, but first you need to do something. The story here is usually something to do with verifying your age, or you needing to take an STD test that involves sending money to a site operated by the scammer.
Hot girl SMS spam
You receive a text from a random number with a message along the lines of "Hey babe I'm here in town again if you wanted to meet up this time, are you around?" accompanied by a NSFW picture of a hot girl. It's spam, and they'll direct you to their scam website that requires a credit card.
Identity verification scam
You will encounter someone on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask that you verify your identity as they are worried about catfishing. The scammer operates the site, and you are not talking to whoever you think you are talking to.
This type of scam teases you with something, then tries to make you sign up for something else that costs money. The company involved is often innocent, but they turn a blind eye to the practice as it helps their bottom line, even if they have to occasionally issue refunds. A common variation takes place on dating sites/dating apps, where you will match with someone who claims to be a camgirl who wants you to sign up for a site and vote for her. Another variation takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where the scammers setup fake rental scams and demand that you go through a specific service for a credit check. Once you go through with it, the scammer will stop talking to you. Another variation also takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where scammers will contact you while you are selling a car and will ask you to purchase a Carfax-like report from a specific website.
Multi Level Marketing or Affiliate Marketing
You apply for a vague job listing for 'sales' on craigslist. Or maybe an old friend from high school adds you on Facebook and says they have an amazing business opportunity for you. Or maybe the well dressed guy who's always interviewing people in the Starbucks that you work at asks if you really want to be slinging coffee the rest of your life. The scam: MLMs are little more than pyramid schemes. They involve buying some sort of product (usually snake oil health products like body wraps or supplements) and shilling them to your friends and family. They claim that the really money is recruiting people underneath you who give you a slice of whatever they sell. And if those people underneath you recruit more people, you get a piece of their sales. Ideally if you big enough pyramid underneath you the money will roll in without any work on your part. Failure to see any profit will be your fault for not "wanting it enough." The companies will claim that you need to buy their extra training modules or webinars to really start selling. But in reality, the vast majority of people who buy into a MLM won't see a cent. At the end of the day all you'll be doing is annoying your friends and family with your constant recruitment efforts. What to look out for: Recruiters love to be vague. They won't tell you the name of the company or what exactly the job will entail. They'll pump you up with promises of "self-generating income", "being your own boss", and "owning your own company." They might ask you to read books about success and entrepreneurs. They're hoping you buy into the dream first. If you get approached via social media, check their timelines. MLMs will often instruct their victims to pretend that they've already made it. They'll constantly post about how they're hustling and making the big bucks and linking to youtube videos about success. Again, all very vague about what their job actually entails. If you think you're being recruited: Ask them what exactly the job is. If they can't answer its probably a MLM. Just walk away.

Phone scams

You should generally avoid answering or engaging with random phone calls. Picking up and engaging with a scam call tells the scammers that your phone number is active, and will usually lead to more calls.
Tax Call
You get a call from somebody claiming to be from your countries tax agency. They say you have unpaid taxes that need to be paid immediately, and you may be arrested or have other legal action taken against you if it is not paid. This scam has caused the American IRS, Canadian CRA, British HMRC, and Australian Tax Office to issue warnings. This scam happens in a wide variety of countries all over the world.
Warrant Call
Very similar to the tax call. You'll get a phone call from an "agent", "officer", "sheriff", or other law enforcement officer claiming that there is a warrant out for your arrest and you will be arrested very soon. They will then offer to settle everything for a fee, usually paid in giftcards.
[Legal Documents/Process Server Calls]
Very similar to the warrant call. You'll get a phone call from a scammer claiming that they are going to serve you legal documents, and they will threaten you with legal consequences if you refuse to comply. They may call themselves "investigators", and will sometimes give you a fake case number.
Student Loan Forgiveness Scam
Scammers will call you and tell you about a student loan forgiveness program, but they are interested in obtaining private information about you or demanding money in order to join the fake program.
Tech Support Call You receive a call from someone with a heavy accent claiming to be a technician Microsoft or your ISP. They inform you that your PC has a virus and your online banking and other accounts may be compromised if the virus is not removed. They'll have you type in commands and view diagnostics on your PC which shows proof of the virus. Then they'll have you install remote support software so the technician can work on your PC, remove the virus, and install security software. The cost of the labor and software can be hundreds of dollars. The scam: There's no virus. The technician isn't a technician and does not work for Microsoft or your ISP. Scammers (primarily out of India) use autodialers to cold-call everyone in the US. Any file they point out to you or command they have you run is completely benign. The software they sell you is either freeware or ineffective. What to do you if you're involved with this scam: If the scammers are remotely on your computer as you read this, turn off your PC or laptop via the power button immediately, and then if possible unplug your internet connection. Some of the more vindictive tech scammers have been known to create boot passwords on your computer if they think you've become wise to them and aren't going to pay up. Hang up on the scammers, block the number, and ignore any threats about payment. Performing a system restore on your PC is usually all that is required to remove the scammer's common remote access software. Reports of identity theft from fake tech calls are uncommon, but it would still be a good idea to change your passwords for online banking and monitor your accounts for any possible fraud. How to avoid: Ignore any calls claiming that your PC has a virus. Microsoft will never contact you. If you're unsure if a call claiming to be from your ISP is legit, hang up, and then dial the customer support number listed on a recent bill. If you have elderly relatives or family that isn't tech savvy, take the time to fill them in on this scam.
Chinese government scam
This scam is aimed at Chinese people living in Europe and North America, and involves a voicemail from someone claiming to be associated with the Chinese government, usually through the Chinese consulate/embassy, who is threatening legal action or making general threats.
Chinese shipping scam
This scam is similar to the Chinese government scam, but involves a seized/suspicious package, and the scammers will connect the victim to other scammers posing as Chinese government investigators.
Social security suspension scam
You will receive a call from someone claiming to work for the government regarding suspicious activity, fraud, or serious crimes connected to your social security number. You'll be asked to speak to an operator and the operator will explain the steps you need to follow in order to fix the problems. It's all a scam, and will lead to you losing money and could lead to identity theft if you give them private financial information.
Utilities cutoff
You get a call from someone who claims that they are from your utility company, and they claim that your utilities will be shut off unless you immediately pay. The scammer will usually ask for payment via gift cards, although they may ask for payment in other ways, such as Western Union or bitcoin.
Relative in custody Scammer claims to be the police, and they have your son/daughtenephew/estranged twin in custody. You need to post bail (for some reason in iTunes gift cards or MoneyGram) immediately or the consequences will never be the same.
Mexican family scam
This scam comes in many different flavours, but always involves someone in your family and Mexico. Sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member has been detained, sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member has been kidnapped, and sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member is injured and needs help.
General family scams
Scammers will gather a large amount of information about you and target your family members using different stories with the goal of gettimg them to send money.
One ring scam
Scammers will call you from an international number with the goal of getting you to return their call, causing you to incur expensive calling fees.

Online shopping scams

THE GOLDEN RULE OF ONLINE SHOPPING: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Dropshipping
An ad on reddit or social media sites like Facebook and Instagram offers items at huge discounts or even free (sometimes requiring you to reblog or like their page). They just ask you to pay shipping. The scam: The item will turn out to be very low quality and will take weeks or even months to arrive. Sometimes the item never arrives, and the store disappears or stops responding. The seller drop-ships the item from China. The item may only cost a few dollars, and the Chinese government actually pays for the shipping. You end up paying $10-$15 dollars for a $4 item, with the scammer keeping the profit. If you find one of these scams but really have your heart set on the item, you can find it on AliExpress or another Chinese retailer.
Influencer scams
A user will reach out to you on a social media platform, usually Instagram, and offer you the chance to partner with them and receive a free/discounted product, as long as you pay shipping. This is a different version of the dropshipping scam, and is just a marketing technique to get you to buy their products.
Triangulation fraud
Triangulation fraud occurs when you make a purchase on a site like Amazon or eBay for an item at a lower than market price, and receive an item that was clearly purchased new at full price. The scammer uses a stolen credit card to order your item, while the money from the listing is almost all profit for the scammer.
Instagram influencer scams
Someone will message you on Instagram asking you to promote their products, and offering you a discount code. The items are Chinese junk, and the offer is made to many people at a time.
Cheap Items
Many websites pop up and offer expensive products, including electronics, clothes, watches, sunglasses, and shoes at very low prices. The scam: Some sites are selling cheap knock-offs. Some will just take your money and run. What to do if you think you're involved with this scam: Contact your bank or credit card and dispute the charge. How to avoid: The sites often have every brand-name shoe or fashion item (Air Jordan, Yeezy, Gucci, etc) in stock and often at a discounted price. The site will claim to be an outlet for a major brand or even a specific line or item. The site will have images at the bottom claiming to be Secured by Norton or various official payment processors but not actual links. The site will have poor grammar and a mish-mash of categories. Recently, established websites will get hacked or their domain name jacked and turned into scam stores, meaning the domain name of the store will be completely unrelated to the items they're selling. If the deal sounds too good to be true it probably is. Nobody is offering brand new iPhones or Beats or Nintendo Switches for 75% off.
Cheap Amazon 3rd Party Items
You're on Amazon or maybe just Googling for an item and you see it for an unbelievable price from a third-party seller. You know Amazon has your back so you order it. The scam: One of three things usually happen: 1) The seller marks the items as shipped and sends a fake tracking number. Amazon releases the funds to the seller, and the seller disappears. Amazon ultimately refunds your money. 2) The seller immediately cancels the order and instructs you to re-order the item directly from their website, usually with the guarantee that the order is still protected by Amazon. The seller takes your money and runs. Amazon informs you that they do not offer protection on items sold outside of Amazon and cannot help you. 2) The seller immediately cancels the order and instructs you to instead send payment via an unused Amazon gift card by sending the code on the back via email. Once the seller uses the code, the money on the card is gone and cannot be refunded. How to avoid: These scammers can be identified by looking at their Amazon storefronts. They'll be brand new sellers offering a wide range of items at unbelievable prices. Usually their Amazon names will be gibberish, or a variation on FIRSTNAME.LASTNAME. Occasionally however, established storefronts will be hacked. If the deal is too good to be true its most likely a scam.
Scams on eBay
There are scams on eBay targeting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you should look out for people who privately message you regarding the order, especially if they ask you to ship to a different address or ask to negotiate via text/email/a messaging service. As a buyer you should look out for new accounts selling in-demand items, established accounts selling in-demand items that they have no previous connection to (you can check their feedback history for a general idea of what they bought/sold in the past), and lookout for people who ask you to go off eBay and use another service to complete the transaction. In many cases you will receive a fake tracking number and your money will be help up for up to a month.
Scams on Amazon
There are scams on Amazon targeting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you should look out for people who message you about a listing. As a buyer you should look out for listings that have an email address for you to contact the person to complete the transaction, and you should look out for cheap listings of in-demand items.
Scams on Reddit
Reddit accounts are frequently purchased and sold by fraudsters who wish to use the high karma count + the age of the account to scam people on buy/sell subreddits. You need to take precautions and be safe whenever you are making a transaction online.
Computer scams
Virus scam
A popup or other ad will say that you have a virus and you need to follow their advice in order to remove it. They are lying, and either want you to install malware or pay for their software.

Assorted scams

Chinese Brushing / direct shipping
If you have ever received an unsolicited small package from China, your address was used to brush. Vendors place fake orders for their own products and send out the orders so that they can increase their ratings.
Money flipping
Scammer claims to be a banking insider who can double/triple/bazoople any amount of money you send them, with no consequences of any kind. Obviously, the money disappears into their wallet the moment you send it.

Door to door scams

As a general rule, you should not engage with door to door salesmen. If you are interested in the product they are selling, check online first.
Selling Magazines
Someone or a group will come to your door and offer to sell a magazine subscription. Often the subscriptions are not for the duration or price you were told, and the magazines will often have tough or impossible cancellation policies.
Energy sales
Somebody will come to your door claiming to be from an energy company. They will ask to see your current energy bill so that they can see how much you pay. They will then offer you a discount if you sign up with them, and promise to handle everything with your old provider. Some of these scammers will "slam" you, by using your account number that they saw on your bill to switch you to their service without authorization, and some will scam you by charging higher prices than the ones you agreed on.
Security system scams
Scammers will come to your door and ask about your security system, and offer to sell you a new one. These scammers are either selling you overpriced low quality products, or are casing your home for a future burglary.
They ask to enter your home
While trying to sell you whatever, they suddenly need to use your bathroom, or they've been writing against the wall and ask to use your table instead. Or maybe they just moved into the neighborhood and want to see how you decorate for ideas.
They're scoping out you and your place. They want to see what valuables you have, how gullible you are, if you have a security system or dogs, etc.

Street scams

Begging With a Purpose
"I just need a few more dollars for the bus," at the bus station, or "I just need $5 to get some gas," at a gas station. There's also a variation where you will be presented with a reward: "I just need money for a cab to get uptown, but I'll give you sports tickets/money/a date/a priceless vase."
Three Card Monte, Also Known As The Shell Game
Unbeatable. The people you see winning are in on the scam.
Drop and Break
You bump into someone and they drop their phone/glasses/fancy bottle of wine/priceless vase and demand you pay them back. In reality, it's a $2 pair of reading glasses/bottle of three-buck-chuck/tasteful but affordable vase.
CD Sales
You're handed a free CD so you can check out the artist's music. They then ask for your name and immediately write it on the CD. Once they've signed your name, they ask you for money, saying they can't give it to someone else now. Often they use dry erase markers, or cheap CD sleeves. Never use any type of storage device given to you by a random person, as the device can contain malware.
White Van Speaker Scam
You're approached and offered speakers/leather jackets/other luxury goods at a discount. The scammer will have an excuse as to why the price is so low. After you buy them, you'll discover that they are worthless.
iPhone Street Sale
You're approached and shown an iPhone for sale, coming in the box, but it's open and you can see the phone. If you buy the phone, you'll get an iPhone box with no iPhone, just some stones or cheap metal in it to weigh it down.
Buddhist Monk Pendant
A monk in traditional garb approaches you, hands you a gold trinket, and asks for a donation. He holds either a notebook with names and amounts of donation (usually everyone else has donated $5+), or a leaflet with generic info. This is fairly common in NYC, and these guys get aggressive quickly.
Friendship Bracelet Scam More common in western Europe, you're approached by someone selling bracelets. They quickly wrap a loop of fabric around your finger and pull it tight, starting to quickly weave a bracelet. The only way to (easily) get it off your hand is to pay. Leftover sales
This scam involves many different items, but the idea is usually the same: you are approached by someone who claims to have a large amount of excess inventory and offers to sell it to you at a great price. The scammer actually has low quality items and will lie to you about the price/origin of the items.
Dent repair scams
Scammers will approach you in public about a dent in your car and offer to fix it for a low price. Often they will claim that they are mechanics. They will not fix the dent in your car, but they will apply large amounts of wax or other substances to hide the dent while they claim that the substance requires time to harden.
Gold ring/jewelry/valuable item scam
A scammer will "find" a gold ring or other valuable item and offers to sell it to you. The item is fake and you will never see the scammer again.
Distraction theft
One person will approach you and distract you, while their accomplice picks your pockets. The distraction can take many forms, but if you are a tourist and are approached in public, watch closely for people getting close to you.

General resources

Site to report scams in the United Kingdom: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
Site to report scams in the United States: https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
Site to report scams in Canada: www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm
Site to report scams in Europe: https://www.europol.europa.eu/report-a-crime/report-cybercrime-online
FTC scam alerts: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts
Microsoft's anti-scam guide: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/safety/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx
https://www.usa.gov/common-scams-frauds
https://www.usa.gov/scams-and-frauds
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts
https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes
submitted by EugeneBYMCMB to Scams [link] [comments]

A List of Sidehustle Ideas from SidehustleSchool.Com

Source: https://www.sidehustleschool.com/
[More ideas in the comments below too.]
...
  1. "Cheap Plane Tickets" Site Becomes Million-Dollar Hustle ...
  2. $10,000 Side Hustle Helps Musician Land Full-Time Job ...
  3. 13-Year-Old Australian Creates Schoolyard Lollipop Fortune ...
  4. 23-Year-Old College Student Uses “Sweatcoin” App to Earn ...
  5. 3D Printing Brings Cosplay Into 21st Century
  6. A Life of Travel Leads to a House-Designing Hustle
  7. A Packed Closet Leads to Secondhand Subscription Boxes ...
  8. Academic Advisor Creates Profitable Karaoke League
  9. Accidental Side Hustle Becomes Decorative Family Business ...
  10. Accountant Earns $233751 Reselling Items He Buys at Walmart
  11. Acrobatic Mom Jumps Through Hoops to Become High-flying ...
  12. Active “Type 1” Lifestyle Inspires Sticky, Successful Side Hustle
  13. Actress Becomes Organizational Director of Organization ...
  14. Aerospace Apprentice Soars to Seven-Figure Sales Heights ...
  15. Alcohol Fueled Idea Sells Over 1500 Shirts in Less Than a Year
  16. An Everyday Bag That Gives Back to Women in India
  17. Art Teacher Draws Her Way Into Ceramic Shop
  18. Artistic Cartographer Maps Out Successful Side Hustle
  19. Artistic Duo Sells 8000 T-Shirts in One Year
  20. Aussie Engineer Moves to Farm, Earns Passive Income
  21. Aussie Stretches Out with Online Store for Tall Women
  22. Aussie Student Starts Million-Dollar Bikini Biz
  23. Australian Hacker Creates Passive Income Anatomy Course ...
  24. Auto Employee Earns $100,000 Selling Stickers on Instagram ...
  25. Avid Travelers Turn Finding Deals Into Vacation Planning ...
  26. Bargain Hunter Designs One-of-a-Kind Flea Market
  27. Bartender Brews Up Brewpub Tour Biz
  28. Bass Player Starts BassLayerz Clothing Hustle
  29. Bean-Lover Grinds Way To $4,000/Month Family Coffee ...
  30. Bearded Man Grows $500 A Month Grooming Business
  31. Bearded Man from Finland Cashes In on Holiday Cheer
  32. Beekeepers Build Buzzing Backyard Business
  33. Birds of a Feather Flock to Your Bank Account
  34. Bitcoin YouTuber Earns Thousands in Affiliate Commissions ...
  35. Blogger Earns $140,000 from Beta Phase of Online Course ...
  36. Blogger Turns Leftover Cherries Into $5,000/Month Income ...
  37. Boy Scout Merit Badge Leads to Leatherworking Lifestyle ...
  38. Bring Your Own Cannabis to this “420-Friendly” Painting Class
  39. British Pub Manager Bakes Pork Pies for Profit
  40. Brooklyn Photographer Gets Paid to Throw Confetti at People ...
  41. Business Students Make $125,000 Selling Headphone ...
  42. Busy Marketing Professional Fills Niche with Biking Wine Tours
  43. CLASSROOM: Four Ways to Identify Moneymaking Ideas ...
  44. CLASSROOM: Goals, Agenda, and Your First Assignment ...
  45. Call Center Employee Uses Patreon to Fund LGBTQ Podcasts ...
  46. Canadian Moms Invent Baby Monitors for Active Toddlers ...
  47. Canadian Sports Enthusiast Earns $1,000/Month Selling ...
  48. Car Enthusiast Races Towards Reselling Success
  49. Cat Lover Creates Cat-tivating Portrait Series
  50. Catholic Designer Creates Stylish Apparel Line
  51. Childhood Game Master Earns $1 Million from Nerdy ...
  52. Coffee for Firefighters Brings the Heat!
  53. College Ministry Leader Starts Digital Agency
  54. Colorado Nutritionist Reworks Role to Get Paid Twice
  55. Comic Book Curator Creates Custom Crate Subscription ...
  56. Continuing Education Directory Earns Six Figures
  57. Copywriter Carves 140 Characters into $50,000 in Cash
  58. Corporate Employee Makes $350,000 Selling Mosquito ...
  59. Coupon Code Site Earns Copious Profits
  60. Crafter's Shop for Dreadlock Wearers Unlocks $3,500/Month ...
  61. Creative Illustrator Creates Creative Podcast for Creatives ...
  62. Curated Gift Boxes for Breakups and Baby Bumps
  63. Data Geek Charts Course From Analyst to Author
  64. Data Scientist Turns Teaching Frustrations Into Recurring ...
  65. Designer Earns Extra $5000/Month Posting Logos on Instagram
  66. Designer Illustrates Success with Personalized Wedding ...
  67. Designer Performs Magic, Turns Dream Into Reality
  68. Designer Turns Bad Parking Into $25,000 Per Year
  69. Detroit Women Make Jewelry for Profit and Social Good
  70. Digital Camera Blogger Snaps Into Passive Income
  71. Distracted Coach Creates Accountability Software
  72. Dog Stocking Hustle Earns Husky Payoff
  73. Dutch Personal Shopping Service for Kids Measures Up
  74. EXTENDED CUT #13: When to Let Go of Good Ideas
  75. EXTENDED CUT #14: Start a Service Business in Less Than ...
  76. EXTENDED CUT #5: How to Choose Between Multiple Ideas ...
  77. Electrical Engineer Becomes Romance Novel Cover Model ...
  78. Electrical Engineer Sells $800 Swarovski Crystal Bikinis
  79. Elementary School Teacher Pans for Gold in New Zealand ...
  80. Engineer Codes His Way To $3,700 Per Month
  81. Engineer Earns 7-Figures from “Crowd-Purchasing” Project ...
  82. Engineer Makes $64000 Selling Nerdy Playing Cards on Reddit
  83. Engineer Reprograms Herself, Finds Confidence to Start Over ...
  84. Enjoy an Ice Cold Beverage in a Mug Made from Ice
  85. Equine Lover Makes $5,000; Stables Business to Change ...
  86. Exercise App Encourages Fitness While Helping Sick Kids ...
  87. Farmer Makes “Tater Tats” for All Your Produce Tattoo Needs ...
  88. Fashion Buyer Creates Quirky Comfort Craze
  89. Father and Son Duo Produce Traveling Play
  90. Faux Taxidermy Turns Heads on Home Decor
  91. Fidget Spinner Cookie Sensation Leads to Sweet Profits
  92. Finance Guy Makes Bank With Swimsuit Line | Side Hustle ...
  93. Firefighter Uses Chainsaw for Jumbo-Sized Woodworking ...
  94. Flipping 101: The College Textbook Edition
  95. Florist & Sculpture Professor Make Presidential Lip Balm ...
  96. Foreign Correspondent Launches Career App
  97. Former NFL Player Sells Ice Shakers for $20000/Month Income
  98. Freelancer Starts New Hustle to Help Frustrated Clients
  99. Friends Foster Korean Face Mask Frenzy
  100. Friends Team Up to Deliver Compassionate Tech Support ...
  101. Friends Turn Gift Boxes into Prosperous Project
  102. Frustrated Mom Grows Hair Brush Hustle to Seven Figures ...
  103. Full-Time Mom Ships $35,000/Month in Frozen Bread on ...
  104. Gamer Levels Up Life With eBay Side Hustle
  105. German Funeral Urns Are Not a Dying Business
  106. Guitar Builder Carves Out Woodworking Moneymaker
  107. Guitar Teacher Sells Lessons on Craigslist and Makes $80/Hour
  108. Hair Salon Owner Designs Mittens for Cold Runners
  109. Hand Grippers Make for a $60,000-Strong Hustle
  110. Hand Lettering Artist Upgrades Cheesy Photo Booth Props ...
  111. Handkerchief Side Hustle Becomes Million-Dollar Blowout ...
  112. Harvard Med School Program Manager Gets Paid to Travel to ...
  113. Health Scare Inspires Adventurous Career Change
  114. High School Bootlegger Grows Up
  115. High School Teacher Spins His Way to Profits
  116. High School Teacher Turns Woodworking Hobby Into a 5 ...
  117. Honeymoon in Nepal Becomes Fashion Accessories Business
  118. Husband and Wife Team Pampers Their Way To Profit
  119. Insomniac Dreams Up Herbal Hustle
  120. Insult This! Witty Event Organizer Prepares You to Respond to ...
  121. Introvert Builds Networking Experience to Help Women
  122. Jailhouse Medic Turns House Calls Into Healthy Profits | Side ...
  123. Japanese Designer Folds Profitable Paper Wallets
  124. Jiu-Jitsu Instructor Pins Down Mobile Workout Tool
  125. Job Recruiter Helps LinkedIn Connections with Resumes ...
  126. Junk Removal Service Owner Earns $22,000 A Year From ...
  127. Kids' Books Prove To Be More Than Child's Play
  128. Kiwi Coder Makes Extra $50000/Year from Virtual Paintbrushes
  129. LA Graphic Designer Influences Influencers
  130. Lawyer Moonlights as Needle-Felt Children's Book Author ...
  131. Left-Handed Artist Creates Right-Brained Side Hustle
  132. Librarian Invents Eco-Friendly Dental Floss
  133. Lifelong Girl Scout Earns Her Side Hustle Badge (And $3,500 ...
  134. London Chocolate Tours Lead to Sweet Success
  135. London Clerk Hires Ghosts to Visit Boss, Earns Passive Income
  136. London Photographer Rents Camera Gear 1,100 Times
  137. Lost & Found: How Lost Property Helps a UK Woman Find Her ...
  138. Maine Couple Bootstraps Boutique Fitness Studio
  139. Make $4,000/Month Renting Out Cars You Don't Own
  140. Man Buys 100 Animal Skulls from Bali; Turns $10,000 Into ...
  141. Man Earns $100,000 Serving Clients on $5 Website
  142. Man Earns $85000 Promoting Mexican Avocados on Snapchat
  143. Marathon Runner Earns Full-Time Income Trying On Shoes ...
  144. Marketing Consultant Creates Private Retreats
  145. Marketing Professional Produces Giant Puppet Performances ...
  146. Marriage Inspires Theatre Captioning App & Service
  147. Mental Health Counselor By Day, Headband Artist by Night ...
  148. Millennial Invests Side Income For Passive Profits
  149. Mindful Moms Make $70,000 on Family Affirmation Cards ...
  150. Mindreading Performer Goes from Dorm Room to Paid ...
  151. Miniature Dollhouse Website Pays Full-Size Profits
  152. Mom Finds Love As Dating App Ghostwriter
  153. Money Grows on Moringa Trees
  154. Moonlighting Makeup Artist Earns Extra $25,000/Year | Side ...
  155. Movie Editor Turns 19th Century Art Into Full-Time Job
  156. Multiple-Use Plastics Take Big Bite for the Environment
  157. Museum Educator Improvises From Day Job to Side Hustle ...
  158. Music Graduate Makes Spare Change Filling Spare Rooms ...
  159. Musician Turns Drum Lessons Into Six-Figure Podcast
  160. NYC Banker Launches All-Natural, Drinkable Pickle Brine ...
  161. Nature-Loving Neighbors Create Kids Subscription Box
  162. Networking Success Is Served with a Side of Eggs
  163. New Jersey Blog Earns Six-Figure Income
  164. New Mom Recruits 3,000 Chinese Caregivers
  165. New Mom Uses Pinterest to Launch Parenting Blog
  166. New Mother Gives Life To Self-Care Coaching Business
  167. New Yorker Covers Up With Comfy Underwear Line
  168. No Guts, No Gory: The Hollywood Mom & Pop Prop Shop ...
  169. Nomad Family Cooks Up $40,000 Profit With Houseware ...
  170. Nomadic Designer Profits from Writing About Life in a Bag ...
  171. Oh Snap! Photography Site Turns Into Passive Income Hustle ...
  172. Oklahoman Spreads Light, Sells Candles, and Shares Profits ...
  173. On-the-Go Mouthwash Gets Mini-Makeover
  174. One Man's Trashed Mash is Another Man's Cash
  175. Operations Manager Manages to Make Heavy Furniture Light ...
  176. Organic Loungewear Becomes Sleeper Sensation
  177. Orthodontist Bites Off Solution to Teeth-Pulling Problem
  178. Outdoorsman Sees the Forest for the Trees, Finds Financial ...
  179. Outsource Date Night With This Sexy Side Hustle
  180. PE Teacher Makes $11,000 with Membership Site
  181. PE Teacher Resells Concert Tickets, Earns $12,000/Month ...
  182. Paralegal Takes Flight with Remote Work
  183. Paternal Twins Produce Passive Publishing Profits
  184. Pathetic Triathlete Creates $30,000 Facebook Group
  185. Pay Off Student Loans With Your Spare Change
  186. Philadelphia Foodie Toasts Competition with Sweet Treat ...
  187. Philadelphia Lover Maps Out $35,000/Year Side Hustle
  188. Photographer Visits 30 Countries, Leading Tours & Getting Paid
  189. Physical Therapist Sells 57,000 “Neck Hammocks”
  190. Physician Assistant Earns $12,000 In 10 Months Coaching ...
  191. Police Officer Funnels Frustration Into Six-Figure Hustle
  192. Policy Researcher Offers Private Tours of Nation's Capital ...
  193. Popular Instagram Account Becomes Fashionable Clothing ...
  194. Pottery Barn Commissions Art from Independent Photographer
  195. Proud Mainer Brings Whoopie Pies to the World
  196. Public Health Employee Earns Extra $2,000/Month with ...
  197. Published Author Adds Income Source; Makes Additional ...
  198. Put a Cap in It: Architect Makes the Write Choice; Starts Luxury ...
  199. Q&A: How can I inspire a “Must-Have-This” service?
  200. Q&A: How can I turn furniture repair into passive income ...
  201. Q&A: Is it still possible to profit from a blog?
  202. Q&A: What are your best tips for Etsy?
  203. Q&A: When should I start posting on social media?
  204. Rehearsal App for Actors Earns $500,000
  205. Resistance Is Futile! Brooklyn Fitness Fanatics Sell “No Days ...
  206. Role-Playing Pastor Rolls The Dice On $2800/Month Hustle ...
  207. Romance Novel Expert Teaches Proofreading for $2000/Month
  208. Sales Rep Seasons the Day with “Bad Spanish Tacos”
  209. Savvy Bride Turns Budget Wedding Into Six Figure Success ...
  210. Savvy Sleeper Pillowcases Produce Dreamy Profits for Tech ...
  211. Savvy Stationery Site Offers Cards for Divorce & Diwali
  212. Seattle Developer Takes Flight With Popular Travel Site
  213. Second Grade Teacher Earns Second Income
  214. Serial Business Builder Creates Digital Checklist Tool
  215. Should I hire a lawyer and get a patent?
  216. Side Hustle Turned Full-Time Job Disrupts Car Rental Industry ...
  217. Sisters Find Puppy Love After Launching Dating App
  218. Social Worker Bakes Cupcakes for The Walking Dead
  219. Software Engineer Scavenges For Profits
  220. South African Writer Launches Accidental Acting Career
  221. South Carolina Man Learns to Make Candles by Watching ...
  222. Speech Pathologist Sells Turkish Tea Towels By the Seashore ...
  223. Sports Writer Wins Big Gambling On His Own Book
  224. Squeaky Clean Couple Raise the Bar with Online Soap Sales ...
  225. Store Manager Makes Micro Gainz For Macro Profits
  226. Stressed-Out Mom Gives Up TV to Launch Her Hustle
  227. Student Bytes Into Lucrative Web Host Biz
  228. Student Gets Paid to Help People Rent Adventures
  229. Stylish Clothes Reseller Becomes Fashion Consultant
  230. Super Fan Scores Big in the Football Community
  231. Tailor-Made Teas Brew Steamy Steeped-In Profits
  232. Teacher Hustles to Pay Off $100,000 in Student Loans
  233. Tech Broker Moonlights as Luxury Lifestyle Artist
  234. Teenage Fitness Fan Jumpstarts Athletic Apparel Brand
  235. Tennessean Meets Nepalese Sherpa on Lyft Ride, Sells ...
  236. Texas Couple Turns Test Scores Into Treasure
  237. That's the Spot! Dog Lover's Hustle Becomes Fur-ever Biz ...
  238. The 10-Year Quest for Must-Have Mustard
  239. The Battle of the New Zealand SpeedCubers
  240. The Hero's Journal Helps You Make Progress Toward Your ...
  241. The Paleo Bagel: No Wheat, No Worries
  242. The Rise and Fall of BirdSupplies.com
  243. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Digital Nomads
  244. The Snuggle Is Real: Architect Moonlights by Selling Designer ...
  245. Think Like a Lawyer: An Underground School For Lifelong ...
  246. This Standing Desk Costs Just $37
  247. Toronto Startup Employee Bakes Custom Cakes
  248. Tote-ally Functional Bags for Women on the Go
  249. Trip to Europe Inspires Adventurous Blanket Biz
  250. Turn It Up to 11! Musical Mash-Ups Provide Passive Income ...
  251. Tuscan Vacation Inspires Leatherworking Hustle
  252. Twelve Months of Experiments Leads Coach to Clarity
  253. Two Women Create Swimwear Brand for D-Cups and Up ...
  254. Un-Tours Of Myanmar Offer Adventure and Unpredictability ...
  255. University Director Turns Draining Problem Into Profitable ...
  256. Vegan Food Lovers Sprout Plant-Based Festivals
  257. Vintage Clothing Shop Sells Retro Jeans for Modern Money ...
  258. WEEKLY RECAP: 3 Priorities to Keep You Focused
  259. WEEKLY RECAP: All the Things You Want to Do
  260. WEEKLY RECAP: Barking Up the Right Tree
  261. WEEKLY RECAP: Before Beginning, Prepare Carefully
  262. WEEKLY RECAP: Do You Have to Be Passionate About What ...
  263. WEEKLY RECAP: Does Your Idea Pass the Grandmother Test ...
  264. WEEKLY RECAP: Going from Hobby to Hustle
  265. WEEKLY RECAP: Government Shuts Down, Your Life ...
  266. WEEKLY RECAP: Health Coaches May Need to Be Certified ...
  267. WEEKLY RECAP: How to Design a Profitable Online Course ...
  268. WEEKLY RECAP: If You Ever Feel Insecure, Don't Miss This ...
  269. WEEKLY RECAP: Keeping Up With What Matters
  270. WEEKLY RECAP: Pay Attention to the Ideas In Your Head ...
  271. WEEKLY RECAP: Scavenger Hunts, Bow Ties, & Horses ...
  272. WEEKLY RECAP: The $0 Startup, Sign Hustles, and Ways to ...
  273. WEEKLY RECAP: The Conversion Problem
  274. WEEKLY RECAP: Tiny Houses, T-Shirts, and Romance Novels
  275. WEEKLY RECAP: Understand Your Ideal Working Conditions ...
  276. WEEKLY RECAP: What Prevents You From Making Progress ...
  277. WEEKLY RECAP: Why Do a Product Launch Only Twice a ...
  278. WEEKLY RECAP: Why You Should “Return Every Handshake ...
  279. Wedding App Founder Exchanges Vows for Coding Book Biz ...
  280. Wedding Bells Ring Brighter if the Bride's Not Broke
  281. Weekend “Book Registry” Site Earns Passive Income from ...
  282. Weekly Recap: All You Need Is Luck and a Million Dollars ...
  283. Weekly Recap: Don't Compete with Amazon
  284. Weekly Recap: Find a Community to Support Your Goals ...
  285. Weekly Recap: Food Trucks, YouTube Makeup, and Marijuana
  286. Weekly Recap: How to Identify Side Hustle Ideas in Your ...
  287. Weekly Recap: How to Stop Procrastinating (Really!)
  288. Weekly Recap: Making Time for What Matters
  289. Weekly Recap: Should You Ever Buy Someone Else's ...
  290. Weekly Recap: Starting a Coffee Delivery Service
  291. Weekly Recap: Starting and Ending a Seasonal Side Hustle ...
  292. Weekly Recap: Weekly Recap: Finding a “Hook” as a Dietitian ...
  293. Weekly Recap: What Kind of Profit Margin Should You Have ...
  294. Weekly Recap: Will People Pay for History Lessons?
  295. Weekly Recap: Winning the Side Hustle Lottery
  296. Weekly Recap: “This Time, It's Different”
  297. What's In the Box? Low-Carb, Low-Sugar Snacks
  298. When Fashion Flops, This Designer Follows a Shiny Object ...
  299. Yoga Enthusiast Stretches B-School Education Into Fair-Trade ...
  300. Yoga Teacher Cleans Up with Home Organizing Business ...
  301. Zombie Apocalypse Prevention Podcast Earns $200,000/Year ...
  302. “Bendy Straw” Idea Raises $1.8M on Kickstarter
  303. “Fun Guy” Becomes Spore-Adic Mushroom Farmer
  304. “Random Acts of Kindness” Project Earns Non-Random Cash ...
  305. “SwitchPod” Camera Tool Raises $415,748 on Kickstarter ...
  306. “Teachers Against Humanities” Card Deck Unites Educators ...
submitted by 1913intel to sidehustle [link] [comments]

Snow and Ice Pose a Vexing Obstacle for Self-Driving Cars

WILL KNIGHT BUSINESS02.03.2020 07:00 AM
Snow and Ice Pose a Vexing Obstacle for Self-Driving Cars
Most testing of autonomous vehicles until now has been in sunny, dry climates. That will have to change before the technology will be useful everywhere.
A snowy car windshield
When a Canadian professor used a standard data set to test a self-driving car, it became a calamity on wheels. PHOTOGRAPH: R. TSUBIN/GETTY IMAGES In late 2018, Krzysztof Czarnecki, a professor at Canada’s University of Waterloo, built a self-driving car and trained it to navigate surrounding neighborhoods with an annotated driving data set from researchers in Germany.
The vehicle worked well enough to begin with, recognizing Canadian cars and pedestrians just as well as German ones. But then Czarnecki took the autonomous car for a spin in heavy Ontarian snow. It quickly became a calamity on wheels, with the safety driver forced to grab the wheel repeatedly to avert disaster.
The incident highlights a gap in the development of self-driving cars: maneuvering in bad weather. To address the problem, Czarnecki and Steven Waslander, a professor at the University of Toronto, compiled a data set of images from snowy and rainy Canadian roads. It includes footage of foggy camera views, blizzard conditions, and cars sliding around, captured over two winters. The individual frames are annotated so that a machine can interpret what the scene conveys. Autonomous driving systems typically use annotated images to inform algorithms that track a car's position and plan its route.
The Canadian data should help researchers develop and test algorithms against challenging conditions. But the team also hopes it will prompt carmakers and startups to think more about bad-weather driving. “It’s in the interest of everyone to think about this,” Czarnecki says.
The Canadian driving data set includes lane markings and vehicles that are covered with snow. COURTESY OF JEFF HILNBRAND A few companies, including Alphabet’s Waymo and Argo, backed by Ford and Volkswagen, are testing self-driving cars in winter conditions. But as a whole, the industry is far more focused on demonstrating and deploying vehicles in fair-weather locations such as California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida.
As even optimists about self-driving cars temper forecasts on their arrival, testing in sunnier climates is seen as a way to move the technology out of first gear. But the warm-weather bias could limit where autonomous vehicles can be deployed, or cause problems if it is rolled out in colder climates too quickly.
“It’s a very noticeable blind spot,” says Alexandr Wang, CEO of Scale AI, which annotated Czarnecki’s data and works with other autonomous-driving companies. “Deploying autonomous vehicles in bad conditions is not really tackled, or really talked about.”
Self-driving cars will need to identify obstacles even when their sensors are impaired by snow or rain. COURTESY OF JEFF HILNBRAND Inclement conditions are challenging for autonomous vehicles for several reasons. Snow and rain can obscure and confuse sensors, hide markings on the road, and make a car perform differently. Beyond this, bad weather represents a difficult test for artificial intelligence algorithms. Programs trained to pick out cars and pedestrians in bright sunshine will struggle to make sense of vehicles topped with piles of snow and people bundled up under layers of clothing.
“Your AI will be erratic,” Czarnecki says of the typical self-driving car faced with snow. “It’s going to see things that aren’t there and also miss things.”
Matthew Johnson-Roberson, a professor at the University of Michigan who is developing a delivery robot optimized for difficult weather conditions, believes tackling bad weather may offer a way to gain a competitive edge. Troubling conditions are a major source of accidents, he says, so they arguably should be a priority.
A busy intersection from the poor-weather data set. COURTESY OF JEFF HILNBRAND “The really big players are not focused on this,” says Johnson-Roberson. “There’s still a lot of work to be done on self-driving cars in general, but [driving in bad weather] is going to be a big differentiator, and also important to scaling this.”
Waymo declined to comment, but a spokesperson pointed out that the company’s newest sensors and software are better suited to challenging weather. A spokesperson for Argo said initial deployments of the company’s technology should be able to handle light rain, but “for heavier rains and snow, there still needs to be advancements in both hardware and software.”
When industry players decide to tackle bad weather, they’ll gather lots of training data of their own. But in the meantime, Czarnecki’s data should help the field advance.
LEARN MORE The WIRED Guide to Self-Driving Cars
“Adverse weather presents tremendous challenges for automated driving technology, and I applaud these researchers for releasing a challenging-weather data set,” says John Leonard, a professor at MIT who is also affiliated with the Toyota Research Institute. “Publicly available data sets can have a huge positive impact on research in the field.”
“The complexity of winter weather is going to take an incredible amount of work for automation technology to tackle,” says Bryan Reimer, a research scientist at MIT specializing in autonomous driving. “Ice-weather conditions are incredibly difficult.”
As for tackling the worst conditions on, say, Interstate 70 through the Rocky Mountains, where 24-hour snow crews are required, Reimer thinks self-driving cars won’t be there for a while. “The only way you’re going to drive that autonomously is to heat the road,” he says.
submitted by snowboardnirvana to MVIS [link] [comments]

Guide to getting a H1b cap-exempt job

Guide to getting an cap-exempt H1b job (AKA what to do if you were denied cap-subject H1b on your last year of OPT)

Hi all,
After months of job searching and hunting, I have finally secured a job with a cap-exempt employer. It took 342 applications, 63 initial phone screens, 43 technical phone screens, 37 programming assessments/exercises and 11 on-site interviews leading to 4 offers. The span of time from the first day I started targeting cap-exempt employers to the day I signed my offer was 192 days.
In light of the struggle it took to finally arrive at this stage, I thought I'd share bits of information that I discovered or found useful while undergoing the whole process. Hopefully people who are in a similar situation can benefit from it.

Defining Cap-exempt Employers
Cap-exempt employers are divided mainly into three categories:
  1. Public or non-profit institutions of higher education
  2. Non-profit entities related or affiliated to an institution of higher education
  3. Non-profit research organizations or governmental research organizations
It is important to note here three things:

Why Target Cap-Exempt Employers?
Generally speaking, there are only two reasons why someone would specifically target cap-exempt employers.
  1. You want to work at a non-profit organization, which includes academia/universities.
  2. You're on your last year of OPT and still haven't found a cap-subject H1b sponsoring employer. You either missed the timeframe/deadline in April or you have an employer that has started the petition process but are unsure if it'll get approved in the end and need a backup.

How to Check if an Employer is Cap-exempt
There aren't many online resources that list out cap-exempt employers. The most useful one I found was My Visa Jobs' search portal for H1b employers. Just check the box that says "Cap Exempt" in your search. It'll list out all the cap-exempt employers ranked by how many successful h1b and green card applications they've had from 2016 to 2018. It is important to note that this database is not 100% accurate - I've applied to companies listed as cap-exempt on My Visa Jobs later to find out and be told by the recruiter that they are not cap-exempt and never have been. There are instances where a company WAS cap-exempt years prior but got acquired by a for-profit company or underwent some kind of restructuring and thus are no longer cap-exempt. There are also companies that are just not listed on My Visa Jobs because they are newly founded. In the end, the only way to verify with absolute certainty was to ask the company. Still, from what I could tell, My Visa Jobs accounts for quite a lot of cap-exempt employers and was my go-to source for checking that information.
A few other resources:

Industries to Target - the most common cap-exempt employers are in these industries
University/Higher Education
Obviously the biggest cap-exempt organizations are non-profit universities. But not all universities are willing to sponsor H1b visas for non-academic jobs. For example, I was quite disappointed to hear my alma mater(Purdue University) absolutely would not sponsor H1b for anything other than professorships. Competition for the non-faculty jobs that ARE sponsorship eligible is really really tough. From my experience, it was difficult to even get a phone screen for most university jobs. Of the 117 university jobs I applied for, I received 6 phone screens. I don't want my anecdotal experience to discourage anyone - this could be attributable to factors that are specific to my case. Some of the difficulties of getting university jobs were discussed here on a previous post I made.
National Laboratories and Research Institutes
If you're in a science field this is the way to go. Some of these national laboratories are humongous, well-funded and have thousands of active job postings. Because many of the roles are conducting advanced research in the sciences, you'll find they're often looking for PhDs and Postdocs. Another thing to note is that a substantial number of these research organizations are contractors to the American government or military. This means that sometimes roles require security clearances, which automatically eliminates non-US citizens. So make sure to search for any mention of obtaining security clearance in the job description. There are exceptions where a person of exceptional skill or unique expertise can obtain a lower-level security clearance, but it's rare.
There are also big corporations that have non-profit research arms that are cap-exempt, like Samsung Research America and Mercedes-Benz Research & Development.
examples: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Battelle Memorial Institute, Scripps Research Institute
Healthcare/Hospitals
Hospitals generally tend to be cap-exempt because of their affiliation with higher education institutions. And surprisingly, a good number of hospitals are willing to sponsor H1b visas for roles that fall outside of patient care. I've seen numerous job postings and interviewed for roles that are focused on database management, data analytics, cybersecurity, front-end and back-end software development, etc. I found hospitals to be generally responsive and offered decent salary bands. However, not having previous experience in healthcare seemed to be a consistent dealbreaker for most of the hospitals I talked to.
examples: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Mount Sinai Medical Center, basically any university hospital
Biotech/Life Science/Biomedical/Genomics Research
If you're a biology/life science major with computational skills, you will have plenty of opportunities here. There are a lot of Biotech/Life Science/Biomedical/Genomics companies that are cap-exempt. Most of them are geographically concentrated either in the Greater Boston area or the Bay Area. These companies were the fastest to respond to my applications and generally had the best and most efficient recruiting practices(a lot of the ones in the Bay Area are very well-funded startups). Not unlike the research institutes, because of the focus on science, they get a lot of PhD applicants and competition is stiff.
examples: Genentech(Roche), Amgen, Novartis
EDIT: I was misinformed. I have come to find out that Biotech companies are almost never cap-exempt.

When to Apply
APPLY AS EARLY AS FRIGGIN POSSIBLE. SERIOUSLY. Universities and government-backed research organizations all tend to process applications at a remarkably slow pace. For example, the average response time it took for me to hear back from my initial application submission was 47 days. And they also take their sweet, sweet time interviewing people. In one of my final on-site interviews at a university, in the final wrap-up session, I was told by the hiring manager that they have interviews scheduled for the next 2 months for the position, and that a final decision would take a whopping 3 months.

Be Open to Relocation, Different Job Titles, Lateral Moves, etc.
Here are some relevant numbers(as posted on My Visa Jobs): There are a total of 747,062 visa-sponsoring companies in the US, of which 15,591 are cap-exempt employers. That is roughly 2 percent. It will do you good to be conscious of the fact that your options are limited compared to the average job seeker. Being open and flexible about your requirements will allow you to cast a wider net in terms of job applications, and therefore increase your chances of getting hired. In my case, I was hoping to stay in the Bay Area, but most companies/startups in the Bay Area are very much for-profit and I was basically limited to the local universities and hospitals as potential employers. Those didn't pan out so I applied for roles ranging from the West Coast to the Midwest, and that definitely gave me more interview opportunities.

How to Bring Up Topic of Expiring OPT/Needing H1b to Prospective Employer
I was asked this question by a couple of other fellow cap-exempt job seekers. I was just upfront about it. In fact, it was the first thing I mentioned on the phone screen when I got to ask questions about the job. I see no point in hiding this information. It's a waste of time for both sides if you advance to the latter stages of the application process only to find out that they don't sponsor visas or need somebody with more time remaining on their OPT.

Company Recruiters often know very little about Visas and Immigration, Check with legal counsel if necessary
Sometimes company recruiters will say yes to everything because they need people to refer to hiring managers. If you have a question about that company's policy towards visas or immigration, and it seems like the recruiter knows very little, ask to be referred to their legal counsel or ask the recruiter to check with their legal counsel for you. I had an application go all the way to the offer stage but then crumble unexpectedly because the recruiter assured me multiple times that the company was cap-exempt without really knowing what that meant. After I signed the offer, the recruiter actually checked with legal counsel and found out they weren't cap-exempt so the offer was cancelled immediately.

Have a Backup Plan
The truth is landing a cap-exempt job can be difficult, and it definitely was for me. All the restrictions you face drastically limit the pool of jobs to which you can apply. So make sure to have a backup plan just in case your efforts come up short. For me, that meant two things:
Preparing for Canadian Express Entry
Express Entry is a permanent residence program in Canada for skilled immigrants. It's a point-based system that determines your score and eligibility based on your education, work experience, language skills. It's a really long process so I would recommend preparing everything in advance. In fact, I'd say if you just received your STEM OPT extension, it's good to start the process RIGHT NOW if you want to have it as a backup. If you'd like details on everything that is required, there's plenty of info on ImmigrationCanada.
Applying for jobs in Canada, Europe and Australia.
For me, it was not easy to get far in the application process for companies in Canada or Australia. But I had quite a lot of interviews with companies in Europe. Salaries tend to be lower in Europe compared to the US, especially for science and engineering roles, but working in Europe has its own perks like more paid vacation days and affordable healthcare and lower tuition fees. I was surprised to find a lot of startups in Europe were keen on hiring from abroad and I ended up interviewing for companies in the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, France and Germany. I purposely avoided jobs in the UK because of uncertainty relating to Brexit. If you work in tech, I highly recommend the Netherlands as an option because the companies in Amsterdam had one of the highest salary ranges in Europe(I think Switzerland was highest, especially in banking) and really seem to have a great work-life balance and startup culture.
Another degree?
This wasn't really an option that I considered, but you do always have the option to quickly apply for another bachelors/masters/doctorate program at a university to extend your stay in the US. It would mean having to pay for tuition and waiting a few years to enter the job market again so it may not make the most sense to a lot of people.
J-1?
So the J-1 is also an alternative you might consider to further your stay. This would limit your options to mostly universities and research institutions as it is specifically intended for visiting scholars. But bear in mind that the J-1 has some interesting components such as the 212(e) Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement. It essentially states that you have to return and stay in your country of permanent residence for at least two years after finishing your J-1. It is explicitly meant to prevent you from gaining US permanent residence or switching to an H visa after your J-1 visa expires. This requirement CAN be waived for certain people with specific conditions.

General Advice
Well I hope some of this information has been helpful, especially to those who find themselves in a similar situation.
I'd be happy to answer any questions if you have them. Cheers!
submitted by sayounh to immigration [link] [comments]

Wealthy Affiliate Community Dashboard . Turn your passion into a thriving online business with Wealthy Affiliates.Simply follow their proven process easy to use tools to launch a website, attract visitors, and most importantly, earn revenue.Wealthy Affiliate was created by Kyle and Carson, who in 2005, launched the Wealthy Affiliate platform to help other people succeed online. Pepperjam was the catalyst for quickly expanding our digital footprint in the performance landscape. Their integration expertise allowed us to access their publisher distribution, reporting suite and technology stack efficiently, helping us track to our business goals and doubling our revenue year over year. While an affiliate program is a direct agreement between you and an online advertiser, an affiliate network is basically a directory filled with thousands of affiliate programs. The function of affiliate networks is to manage the affiliate programs for a range of businesses, including things like affiliate queries, payment and payment issues The affiliate program works on a pay per lead structure. To qualify, the lead must link $100,000 worth of investable assets into the Personal Capital dashboard. The top marketers for this program are making over $50k per month. Points worth noting: Pay per lead affiliate program structure. Get paid more per lead as you send more qualified leads. Geared towards measuring, analyzing, and optimizing your affiliate program, this software integrates mobile and desktop data to help you manage your campaigns seamlessly in one platform. It even comes with fraud detection options and link tracking tools to help you ensure the efficiency of your affiliate campaigns. To top it all off, the system

[index] [12620] [3530] [107] [8734] [42] [10411] [15327] [6953] [8350] [12054]