Monday, January 02, 2006

New eBay Rules Prohibit StormPay and other processors



New rules from eBay that went into effect Jan 1st 2006 block most all payment processors, with the exception of PayPal. eBay claims these new policies are an attempt to protect users from fraud, but they also limit the choices a user has for which payment processor to use, leaving eBay owned PayPal as basically the only realistic choice for users.

eBay will now close auctions and go as far as suspending accounts for people who even mention the use of these other processors in their auctions. The processors now not accepted include the novel service, StormPay, e-Gold (no surprise), Western Union or other money transfers.
The only other alternative they allow is BidPay, cash and money orders, or credit cards through third party processors that charge a merchant fee (usually around the same or higher than PayPal).

So is this move an effort to keep fraud and chargebacks down, or increase profits for PayPal? You can read more about these new rules at the eBay Safe Payment Policy page.

E-Gold's Offices Raided by FBI




















According to a new article by BusinessWeek (subscription required, bugmenot might have logins), the online payment processor, e-Gold's offices have been raided by the FBI.

Law enforcement officials worry that the little-known digital currency industry is becoming the money laundering machine of choice for cybercriminals. On the evening of Dec. 19, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Secret Service raided the Melbourne (Fla.) office of e-gold's parent company, Gold & Silver Reserve Inc., and the nearby home of its founder, Douglas L. Jackson. Agents copied documents and computer files, but so far no charges have been brought. The Secret Service and the FBI declined to comment on the raid. Jackson has denied any wrongdoing, though the raid isn't the first indication that federal investigators view e-gold as a magnet for online misdeeds. The FBI separately is pursuing about a dozen probes in which e-gold appears as a "common denominator," a senior agent says.
e-Gold is well known as a somewhat seedy payment processor, that supposedly backs its payments in gold. According the article, it is very easy to create an account with phony info and fund it through a variety of exchange services.

One of the many problems with e-Gold is the fact that you cannot reverse transactions. Once you send money, you cannot change your mind, and has lead to a lot of hackers trying to break into accounts to steal funds, including the creation of an e-Gold trojan horse that stole peoples money automatically.

Although e-Gold is one of the few payment processors like this, there is a rumor that another similar payment processor known as IntGold has also been raided by the FBI. If you have an account there, I would suggest getting your money out.

You can read the full story at the TalkGold forums.

How to Resolve Complaints & Get your Money

This is a guide I made a while back for people who were getting ripped off by free site companies who claimed to give out prizes for doing offers. Most of these sites were run by underaged kids who had no clue what they were doing. Although it worked for awhile, the roof finally caved in when one of their major advertisers, SearchCactus, revoked everyone's credit for fraudulent clicks. Many of the people who were doing these sites were teenagers as well and didn't have credit cards or anyway to make online purchases. So, they would end up doing free offers or putting a lot of fake information in. Eventually, these companies caught on and everything went down hill from there.

Now, there are only a couple companies that legitimately work like this. Anyway, here is the guide. It can apply to many situations, but not all.

  1. You want to go up the chain of command and just ask the first person and other employees in company if possible. Ask them 3-4 times, bug them until you at least get a reply or a response. If you get what you're looking for, consider yourself lucky. Email them, call them, write them certified letters - do whatever it takes to try and get a response. Be sure and always save records of what you sent them and what you've received. Print it out and save it somewhere.
  2. Search around forums, newsgroups, and communities dealing with whatever type of company (or person) you're having trouble with and see what other people are saying. Are other people having similarly bad experiences, or are you one of the few? Get a general idea if its turning into a problem, or it could be just you --in which case you would want to give the person more patience. A lot of times there will start to be a lot of excuses adding up on top of each other for delays that start to get very suspicious. Keep open communication with people who are also dealing with the company or individual and see if everyone is getting the same canned responses. Be smart when dealing with this - if a person runs an organization on their own, they might occasionally have backups or problems. Most well run companies will have other employees to take care of problems and delays should be short.
  3. Go into the site in question and take screen shots of every page, copy and paste everything into a Word document or download the site incase it mysteriously disappears out of the blue. ImageShack QuickShot is a tool you can use to take screenshots and upload it to their website easily. Save all conversations, emails, and anything else relevant to whatever you're dealing with. Documentation is important for later verification or if you have to go to court or detail your experience for any other reason. Again, print everything out - even if you have to go to Kinkos and do it. Look up the person's domain registration info through a WHOIS service such as NetSol. Just type in the domain name (ie: freejunk.org) and it should come up with the persons personal info. If it's registered through a proxy, that might be a problem. But, there are still other potential ways on identifying this person. How to find someone is a whole article in itself, but needless to say, there are many ways to do this. Start with the phone books and usual searches and see what you can come up with.
  4. Call the person out on the boards, newsgroups, and/or create a blog about your experience. There are many sites detailing scams for certain industries, such as scam.com Let them know that you haven't been fulfilled in your obligations to get your prizes, merchandise, services or whatever. This has a two fold effect. It's sort of like a cyberdemonstration. You're making the owner mad and you're showing people who might of wanted to potentially sign up to his site that it might be a scam. Demonstrations outside of local buildings usually charge the company they're demonstrating against up to $200 an hour missed work, along with a detailed invoice of all the sheets and stuff they've printed up, along with the hours it took doing it. (According to the Rip Off Revenge) Mention to them again, that you would just like to resolve this matter (be courteous the whole time, even when they're not). Save the chatlogs if the individual threatens you or says weird stuff to you, just don't cross over to their level. This is the best place to negotiate to get your stuff, but you have to make them realize that. Any deviation from this level will result on you (the consumer) charging interest rates and so forth, filing reports with the BBB, FTC, FBI Cyberfraud department, your state attorney general, and possibly state and local governments. Let this person know you are totally serious and they could save a lot of hassle and problems if they would just fulfill their end of the bargain.
  5. Still nothing? Well, it's time to get dirty. File a report through the BBB through this link: http://complaints.bbb.org/welcome2.asp
    Write a Rip Off Report on the company and mail it to them, any other companies that run similar sites. Post it on chatboards, and send it to the admins and moderators. Post it anywhere they post and other sites dealing with cheating like GPT Boy-Cott. You can also report them to the FTC from their form here. The FBI Cybercrime, US Justice Dept. and USPS Postal Inspectors also maintain sites about fraudulent activity and how to report it, but that is really just a last ditch effort and don't expect much out of it unless you've lost a lot of money or it's really a major problem. Don't file reports with them out of anger.
  6. So, this person just wants to play games, so now it's time to play back. You should wait a week or so after complaining to the BBB and you'll either get a contact back showing they got it and replied, or you'll get nothing, indicatating that they most likely have not replied (it takes longer for the BBB to fully say they never replied). But, since the BBB doesn't have any power or authority, it's not much of a big deal anyway.

    Now that you have all your tracked information about the person, saved up logs, pictures, graphics, screen shots, email, html, text, etc about you and the persons transactions and communications - contact a collection agency.

    I contacted Linda Wheeler at Fidelity Collection Management. There website is http:///www.fidelitycm.com/

    Here is there info:

    Fidelity Credit Management
    7290 Navajo Road Suite 206
    San Diego, CA 92119
    Tel. 866-460-2899 Fax 619-464-7283

    Linda's # is 866.460.2899. Otherwise, you can fill out the form on their website to open a new client. They charge nothing up front, and take 30-60% of the fees collected. If they don't collect, they are authorized to report the incident to all 3 major credit bureau which can last from anywhere to 7-10 years, unless they file for bankruptcy.

    Keep in mind that you can charge up to 10% interest per month from the date that it went approving, so be sure and mention that when you file a claim and count up how many months that would be.

    Here's my claim sheet showing how much Fidelity has helped me get back from these companies that owe me money.

  7. Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us


  8. Take them to court. I really don't have much to say on this because I've never done it, but it will usually involve looking up information about how to file a claim in that particular state's small claims court, filing the paper work and etc. This varies by state to state and you can get information on small claims court from Legal Zoom. You can also check at your local library for info on local laws if the case is in your area. You can file quite a bit against a company depending upon the different laws in that state for whatever reason you were wronged. Here is an example of information on small claims court from the state of California. There are also books on the subject, such as Everybodies Guide to Small Claims Court and Winning in Small Claims Courts. You can probably also find some info in the Wikipedia.
The Law

The law is on the side of the consumer most of the time, it can just be a hassle to go after what's owed to you.

The FTC "MAIL OR TELEPHONE ORDER MERCHANDISE RULE"

What Does the Rule Cover?
It applies to most goods a customer orders from the seller by mail, telephone, fax, or on the Internet.

It does not matter how the merchandise is advertised, how the customer pays, or who initiates the contact.

What is the Mail or Telephone Order Rule?
The Rule requires that when you advertise merchandise, you must have a reasonable basis for stating or implying that you can ship within a certain time. If you make no shipment statement, you must have a reasonable basis for believing that you can ship within 30 days. That is why direct marketers sometimes call this the "30-day Rule."

If, after taking the customer'�s order, you learn that you cannot ship within the time you stated or within 30 days, you must seek the customer's consent to the delayed shipment. If you cannot obtain the customer'�s consent to the delay -- either because it is not a situation in which you are permitted to treat the customer's silence as consent and the customer has not expressly consented to the delay, or because the customer has expressly refused to consent -- you must, without being asked, promptly refund all the money the customer paid you for the unshipped merchandise.

FirstGov - How to file a consumer complaint (link shortened)
FirstGov - Consumer Protection/Scams & Fraud (link shortened)

Be sure and get a free copy of The Consumer Action Handbook published by the GSA. It has many helpful tips, advice and contact information for the various organizations you might need to get ahold of to resolve your issue.

More Information


Services


Books

There are suprisingly actually not that many books on what to do if you've been ripped off, or a lot of information that will actually help you directly to get your money back. Most involves just how to file a report with some agency which will probably get filed away and you come away with an important lesson learned, and your money lost.

Where To Report

The most important thing to do is keep at it and don't give up. There is a lot of red tape and time and effort to go through to get whats owed to you, but if you keep at it, eventually you should get some justice. If you have any other suggestions for this page, please feel free to comment.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Interview of the Century - Michelle: American Nymph

Michelle is a hot super-vixen, and self proclaimed "sexpert". Her skills of sexual prowess extend across the world. As many millions of people look for answers to their sexual questions, Michelle has emerged on the forefront of helping others experience sex with more zest and vigor.

Now, for the first time, Michelle has granted an interview to her long time friend, pogue. After many years of work, Michelle has decided to take her sexual crusade to the masses. Now, for the first time, with pogue, she has begun to discuss her extrodinary work.

Pogue himself has been her to say "damn, she's hot [sic]" and "wow, I sure would like a peice of that sweet potato pie" about Michelle, but until now, very little has owned been discussed about sex. This is because pogue has only recently discovered Michelle has been involved in this important work. Prior to this, most discuss centered on mundane topics such as popular music of the day and who makes the best fast food chili.

Now, for our readers enjoyment, pogue has used his interviewing magic to bring Michelle's true wonder to light. We can only hope after this, Michelle will grant us more interviews before she is swept up in the national media limelight and ditches all her small town hick friends and starts appearing on Oprah. So, enjoy!

The names have been changed to protect the guilty.

The Interview


pogue24
: Michelle, you're fantastic, why is that?

MissShell : Well, I mean look at me. I'm young. I'm cute. I have a wonderful smile, great personality and I'm a freak in bed. What more could you ask for?

pogue24: That's true. What advice would you give for other girls who want to be as fantastic as you?

MissShell : It's not possible, but if they absolutely have to try, I recommend plastic surgery and a good dentist. There's nothing anyone can do about the sex part. If you have it you have it. If you don't - you don't.

pogue24: Alright, now you claim that you're great in bed, what evidence do you have to substantiate this claim?

MissShell
: I have a video which is now available if you contact me at 1-800-S H E L L F U K. And I can also give you a list of references.

pogue24: That sounds like a video I would enjoy watching. Tell me more about it.

MissShell: Well, it was filmed in a basement at my friend's house in Austin, TX. Basically, it starts with me playing with myself and then my "roommate" walks in on me because he wants to borrow something but obviously I distract him with my lusciousness and the rest...you will have to buy the video.

pogue24: The plotline sounds thrilling. Being an amateur porn star must have its ups and downs. What are your feelings on being one?

MissShell: I wouldn't really say that I'm an amateur porn star really. I have only done this one video so far. It was more to show people how things are supposed to be done. It's more of an instructional video. I'm not sure if I will do more or not.

pogue24: I see, and how has the response been to the instructions on the tape?



MissShell: It's been amazing. I've gotten hundreds of emails about how I have helped women with their sex life all of the country. And several from men thanking me for teaching their
wives/girlfriends.

pogue24: That's really great. I'm sure that makes you feel very special when you know your hard work has helped so many people. What made you decide that people like this needed your help?

MissShell: Responses I have gotten from past sexual partners of mine. They go on and on about how I am the best they've ever had and how they wish everyone had been as great as I was. It made me realize how uninformed and how out of practice the females are here in the US.

pogue24: Hmmm... I see, and how did you come to have such amazing sexual knowledge? Do you have any special qualifications for the field, or did you have any training?

MissShell: No, no special training. It's just a gift.

pogue24: When did you first realize you had this special gift?

MissShell: I guess it was in the third grade. We were watching a movie so the lights were out and I had on a dress that day so the boy next to me put his hand down my panties and was fingering me. So at recess that day I took him behind the slide and broke him off. That's when I realized how incredible I really was.

pogue24: Most child prodigies do start at a very young age. You obviously realized your gift very early on, like Beethoven or Mozart. But, let's talk more about your sexual prowess and how you work your magic. Is it more important to please you or your partner in bed?

MissShell: Oh definitely without a doubt I am more concerned about my partner, but in doing so I in turn please myself.

pogue24: Does bringing your partner to orgasm give you just a general satisfaction? Or do you actually get off on giving the orgasm?

MissShell: It depends how into his orgasm the guy is. Most of the time it's just a general satisfaction but if the guy is really into having his then it will actually get me off too.

pogue24: Do you have any special tips for the readers as to what can enhance the orgasmic experience?

MissShell: Sure. I'll just make a list. I don't want to go into detail we really need to get back to talking about me, but...

1. heat

2. deep breathing

3.don't think about it just let it happen


pogue24: Alright, I'd also be interested in your preferences on any special types of sexual products you might use, such as different types of lubrication (if any), condoms, toys,
and so forth.


pogue24: But lets see, more about you... What thing most would you want people to know about you when they first meet you?

MissShell: I would have to say that I want people to know that I am a person too. I don't have sex with just anyone who comes up and recognizes me from my video. If you're not a hot Finnish guy in a band then I'm not going to talk to you.

pogue24: Unfortunately for average Joes like me, we're not "hot" and we're not from Scandinavia. What advice would you give to guys like me if they were trying to bed you?

MissShell: *laugh* That is true. Not everyone is to be so lucky. I would say that if you are trying to win my affections I would first dye my hair black, get blue contacts, learn to play the drums
(or lie about it) and act like you own the world. Walk in, grab my ass and say I want this tonight.


pogue24: Hmm, interesting. What is it about musicians that is such a turn on?

MissShell: Their love for their music, their ambition and well of course their fame.

pogue24: So would you consider yourself a groupie?

MissShell: Oh no of course not. I have more respect for myself than that. Plus, being who I am I don't have to sleep with the roadies and those types before i get to the band members. The band members just come to me.

pogue24: Is that because of your incredible beauty? Or your reputation for sexual gratification?

MissShell: I'd have to say both.

pogue24: How hard is it to maintain your beauty? Does it take a lot of work and effort? Or is it easy for you?

MissShell: Oh my, It's so easy. Most models and actresses you hear them say that they don't just wake up looking like that. That it takes hours of hair and make up and such. But that's not the case for me. I really do just wake up looking like this.

pogue24: You must realize that you're very lucky for having to put in little effort for your amazing looks. Since you have so much extra time, what do you devote it to?

MissShell: Blow job exercises.

pogue24: Blow job exercises? Does that involve giving actual blow jobs? Or practicing on penis-like devices or objects?

MissShell: Both. When I have volunteers for my exercises it's always nice to have the real thing, but if I'm just practicing in between sessions or so then I use whatever I can find such as
cucumbers or beer bottles or cans.


pogue24: Fascinating. Well, if you ever need an exercise partner I would be happy to devote my time to your charitable causes.

MissShell: Thank you so much. That's very sweet of you.

pogue24: Now, getting onto another subject... why don't you tell us about your proudest moment and your most embarrassing moment.

MissShell: I would have to say my proudest moment was completing the video and having that first phone call come in to order it. My most embarrassing was probably when I got an e-mail
from a woman who said that the video didn't help her at all. But then I thought about it and realized that some people just don't have any hope.


pogue24: I can understand that. It's truly unfortunate that some people cannot be helped, but it's just a fact of life. Perhaps the woman had more deep seated issues that needed to be addressed. When women come to you that you feel need more help than you can give, who can they turn to?

MissShell: I'm afraid there is nobody. What their problem is is all in their head. They won't free themselves to truly enjoy themselves and there's nothing anyone can do about that except ....themselves.

pogue24: Could it be that they are possibly lesbians?

MissShell: No. I have a video about that too. I always tell them to try that first before giving up. But sometimes it still doesn't help.

pogue24: You tell them to try lesbianism before giving up? What does this video you just mentioned entail?

MissShell: Yes. This video was also filmed in the same place, but with my dear friend Sarah. It shows how to do it with no toys, and with dildos and with strap ons

pogue24: But isn't that just emulating the male sexual experience with a woman? Are you suggesting to would-be lesbians that they need to use accessories to enjoy themselves? What about the "natural" lesbian experience?

MissShell: I said that it shows that too. Are you not listening to everything I'm saying?

pogue24: I'm sorry, I misread

MissShell: yes. indeed.

MissShell: Well as lovely as this has been I'm afraid that I have to go now.

MissShell: I'm a busy girl and I have lots of other interviews to do.

pogue24: Well, thank you very much for the interview Michelle. I enjoyed our talk, I will have to go take a cold shower now myself.

MissShell: *laughs* yes yes of course. It was my pleasure.

Let's hope we'll be hearing from Michelle very soon. Feel free to write in your questions and maybe she will answer them!

pogue recommends Adam & Eve for all your adult and sexual needs.

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