Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why "We Will Not Pay For Facebook" and Gold Membership Scams Refuse To Die

This is a reprint from AOL Tech. Hopefully Facebook users and especially readers of Jimmy's Journal and Jimmy's Journal - The Original will take heed.

Why "We Will Not Pay For Facebook" and Gold Membership Scams Refuse to Die

by: Terrence O'Brien — Feb 23rd 2010 at 10:18AM

Facebook has become an indispensable part of daily life for many people. They use it to keep in touch with friends and family, to play games, and to track down old flames. So, it's only natural that folks would panic at the thought of having to pay for what has been a free service. And, of course, there are plenty of e-con men willing to exploit that fear for profit.

The 'We Will Not Pay for Facebook' Scam

Back in December, a group protesting Facebook and the company's rumored plans to charge users $4.99 a month, amassed well over 100,000 members. Of course, it was a giant scam; Facebook had no such agenda, and the group merely served to distribute links to a site that loaded up visiting PCs with malware. Two months later, the scam is back, this time claiming that Facebook plans to charge $3.99. And it's been even more successful. The three groups perpetrating the hoax have collected roughly 340,000 gullible Facebook users, and the number is still climbing.

A Facebook spokesperson denied even the possibility of such plans to the Telegraph, saying, "We have no plans to charge users for Facebook's basic services. Facebook is a free service..." That's a pretty clear statement, so why does this rumor seem so reluctant to die?

Gold Memberships?

There are other scams that play on, and add to, the confusion. The age-old "gold membership" scam has made its way to Facebook. These "upgrade" groups and pages prey on the unfounded fear of subscription fees, urging users: "GET YOUR UPGRADE WHILE THEIR FREE!!"

The promised free upgrade to the (nonexistent) Facebook Gold account leads you on a wild goose chase in which you spread the scam by inviting your friends, fill out a pointless survey, and ultimately hand over your cell phone number and sign up for a bogus service. The service, of course, does absolutely nothing, and charges your cell phone bill several dollars every month.

Staying Power

First, these are relatively well-constructed scams with believable rationales behind their claims of forthcoming fees. The groups' creators (or creator) claim that Facebook, hemorrhaging cash, is on the verge of being bought out by a nameless corporate entity. The groups even provide links to fake articles about the impending subscription fee. The Gold Membership trick only enhances the believability of the rumors. Users who may have been initially skeptical of the claims that Facebook planned to charge may suddenly become believers at the sight of a Facebook Gold Account logo.

Additionally, Facebook is not doing much to put their members' minds at ease. Not content with Facebook being a social network funded primarily through advertising, founder Mark Zuckerberg has pushed for the site's evolution into a development platform and marketplace. The latest fuel on the fire is Facebook's partnership with PayPal. The deal could allow users and companies to pay for ads, add credits for in-app purchases, and to buy games -- all using PayPal, and all directly through Facebook.

Facebook has also done very little to squash the false rumors; the groups seem to survive without much threat of deletion. The company's denial of the rumors is also vague enough (only stating that "Facebook's basic services" will always be free) to keep the truly paranoid person's mind churning.

None of that changes the fact that these groups are obvious scams. They're loaded with shady links and spam messages, and the administrators of all three groups use the same Cat Eye Promotions logo as their profile images.

How to Avoid the Scams

Just be smart. The gold membership pages are the most obvious. The groups urge you to upgrade "WHILE THEIR FREE." And, as if such flagrant misuse of the English language didn't set off enough alarms, you'll notice that the "comments" on these pages are just static images tied to malicious links.

In the end, the real reason people fall for the ruse is a willingness to believe anything they read, mixed with a palpable financial paranoia. This isn't unique to social networking and malware distributors, though. Less than admirable agenda-ists have been using similar tricks since the dawn of the nation.

This article was an eye opener for many people and hopefully, all of my friends and readers.

That's it for now. More soon.

Stay Tuned !

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Daytona 500 Final Two Lap Finish And Dale Earnhardt Jr's Nationwide Flip And Crash

The 2010 Daytona 500 green-white-checkered finish as Jaime McMurray wins his first Daytona 500 (Note: Turn off the music on located on the left sidebar.)

Now that's a Daytona 500 finish! The following video is from the 2010 Daytona Nationwide race when a misjudged move by Carl Edwards send Dale Earnhardt Jr flipping down the backstretch.

Earnhardt was uninjured in the crash. That's racing at Daytona International Speedway. More soon.

Stay Tuned !

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to all my family and friends. May your day be filled with warmth and happiness. As an afterthought, some red roses and some dark chocolates wouldn't hurt either.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Kevin Harvick Wins The Budweiser Shootout - Danica Shines !

The Nascar Championship season began Saturday afternoon with Daytona 500 pole qualifying and veteran Mark Martin won his first Daytona 500 pole. Dale Earnhardt Jr qualified on the outside pole giving team owner Rick Hendrick sole possession of the front row. The Twin 125 mile qualifying races on Thursday will determine further positions for next Sunday's Daytona 500.

The ARCA 200 was run following the Sprint Cup qualifying and the crowd was buzzing over Indy car racer Danica Patrick's stock car debut, wondering how Danica would handle the switch from the lightweight Indy cars to the heavier stock cars. A record six women started the race and Patrick, along with Jennifer Jo Cobb, both ran very competive races. Lack of seat time and experience was the determining factor for the ladies, but both showed potential.

There were multiple wrecks in the early laps and Bobby Gerhart, a four time Daytona ARCA 200 winner took the early lead of the race. Midrace, Danica Patrick, who was running in an admirable seventh position, was forced into the infield by rookie Nelson Piquet, who evidently was unaware that Patrick was beneath him. The result was a wild, high speed spin through the infield. Patrick handled the spin like a veteran, keeping the car off the wall and running through the infield.

Patrick's car was fairly undamaged and after a series of repairs, she was still on the lead lap running at the back of the field. A later caution flag for wrecks allowed Patrick to catch back up to the field where she remained competitive. Bobby Gerhap held off James Buescher and Mark Thompson to win his fifth ARCA 200. Danica Patrick finished in a respectable sixth position.

The Budweiser Shoutout at Daytona International Speedway kicked off the Nascar Sprint Cup Championship season and the race was very interesting. I expected a little more separation between the cars because of the new rules, but they ran in a very competitive pack right from the start. A proverbial chess game of moves and strategy kept positions two through ten constantly changing, but Kevin Harvick put his Chevrolet in front right from the start and was never headed.

The race ended under an anticlimactic caution flag as Jeff Gordon dumped second place Greg Biffle on the final lap causing a big wreck. Gordon has had a tendency to stick his nose into the flay numerous times in the past, and as usual, he came out smelling like a rose as he was able to avoid Biffle after dumping him.

All in all, it was a tense and interesting race and the Shootout looks like an indication of what will come in next Sunday's Daytona 500.

Laugh Lines: Ole Larson is a farmer in Minnesota. He is in need of a new milk cow and hears about a nice one for sale over in North Dakota. He drives to North Dakota, finds the farm and looks at the cow. He reaches under to see if she gives milk. When he grabs the teat and pulls, the cow farts. Ole is very surprised. He looks at the farmer who is selling the cow, then reaches under the cow to try again. He grabs another teat, pulls, and the cow farts again.

Milk does come out however, so after some discussion with the cow's owner, Ole decides to buy the cow and takes it home. When he gets back to Minnesota , he calls over his neighbor, Sven, and says, "Hey, Sven, come look at this here new cow I just bought. Pull her teat, and see what happens." Sven reaches under, pulls the teat and the cow farts.

Sven looks at Ole and says, "You bought this here cow in North Dakota, didn't yah?" Ole is very surprised since he had not told Sven about his trip. Ole replies, "Yah, Thats right. But how'd you know?" Sven says, "My wife's from North Dakota."

That's it for now. More soon.

Stay Tuned !