Philadelphia Inquirer: Desperate for help, heroin addicts get ‘hijacked’ to Florida. “Targeting vulnerable drug addicts and their families, deceptive marketers have been ‘hijacking’ the phone numbers of drug treatment centers in the Philadelphia area and elsewhere, then rerouting them to Florida treatment centers. The ploy takes advantage of a Google feature that allows people to edit a business’ phone number on the search engine.”
International Business Times: Facebook Is Testing New Tool To Protect Users’ Profile Pictures. “Facebook has announced that it is currently testing a new tool that will protect users’ profile pictures. Called Profile Picture Guard, it prevents others from copying or saving a user’s profile picture.”
Bleeping Computer: Ads in Google Search Results Redirect Users to Tech Support Scam. “The malicious ad used a feature of the Google Ads service that allows ad publishers to display a URL but redirect users to another link. For example, in the rogue ad, the displayed link was “target.com,” but users were redirected to ‘tech-supportcenter.us.’ Surprisingly, this got past Google’s ad quality control service.” Considering that three years ago I had an AdWords ad flagged as a cigarette ad because it had the word “Winston” in it (Hey Google, WINSTON-SALEM IS A CITY) I’m pretty surprised too.
FTC: FTC and Federal, State and International Partners Announce Major Crackdown on Tech Support Scams. “The Federal Trade Commission, along with federal, state and international law enforcement partners, today announced ‘Operation Tech Trap,’ a nationwide and international crackdown on tech support scams that trick consumers into believing their computers are infected with viruses and malware, and then charge them hundreds of dollars for unnecessary repairs. As part of this coordinated effort, the FTC and its partners are announcing 16 new actions, including complaints, settlements, indictments, and guilty pleas, against deceptive tech support operations. This brings to 29 the number of law enforcement actions brought by Operation Tech Trap partners in the last year to stop tech support scams.”
TechCrunch: Facebook downranks News Feed links to crappy sites smothered in ads. “Facebook will bury links to low-quality websites and refuse to carry ads pointing to them in a News Feed algorithm change announced today. Facebook defines a ‘low-quality site’ as one ‘containing little substantive content, and that is covered in disruptive, shocking or malicious ads.’ This includes hosting pop-up and interstitial ads, adult ads or eye-catching but disgusting ads for products that fight fat or foot fungus.”
Artnet News: Company Launches Tool for Weeding Out Fake Artworks Sold on the Dark Web. “As online sales grow, so too do the chances of being conned. But fraudsters beware: a new tool launched by the Washington, DC-based consultancy Art Fraud Insights has been developed to spot fake artworks sold on the dark web, as well as identify those behind the spurious transactions.”
Miami Herald: Republicans want to muzzle database of consumer complaints . “U.S. consumers filed nearly 300,000 complaints last year about their dealings with banks, credit card issuers and other financial services companies. Most of those complaints were compiled and made available for anyone to see as part of a database administered by the federal government. But Republicans working to overhaul the financial regulation law known as Dodd-Frank want to bar publication of information from that database, which industry groups have long criticized as potentially misleading and incomplete.”