Has this happened to you? You buy something on line and see an offer for cash back on your purchase. You click on the box for the cash back offer and later your credit card is charged a “fee” for joining an Internet discount club.
This type of practice has been done repeatedly for many Internet buyers. Now the New York Attorney General has warned Internet retailers to stop funneling unsuspecting customers into deceptive Web discount clubs. With thousands of complaints to this practice, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has sent investigative subpoenas to 22 prominent merchants that include Barnes & Noble, Priceline and Pizza Hut. These merchants have been affiliated with marketing companies such as Affinion, Vertrue and Webloyalty who have piggybacked their Web sites.
The companies getting subpoenas included Barnes & Noble, Orbitz, Buy.com, Ticketmaster, MovieTickets.com, FTC.com, Shutterfly, 1-800-Flowers.com, Avon, Budget, Staples, Priceline, GMAC Mortgage, Classmates.com, Travelocity, Vistaprint, Intelius, Hotwire, Expedia, Hotels.com, Columbia House, Pizza Hut and Gamestop/EB Games.
Some of these companies said they have already taken action. Vistaprint, Priceline, Expedia and 1-800-Flowers.com said they severed ties with the companies last fall. Affinion, Vertrue and Webloyalty are all based in Norwalk, Connecticut. These marketing companies have been accused of improper conduct many times before.
Next time, carefully read the “fine print” on the discount coupons to make sure that you are not enrolling into an Internet discount club that is charging a fee.
In Buffalo, NY, a 100-year-old pedophile has been jailed again after failing to comply with the terms of his parole. This is the second time that Theodore A. Sypnier, who has more than a sixty -year history of sexually molesting children, has been declared in violation of parole. He was convicted in the late 1990’s of attacking two sisters.
His light sentence for this conviction allowed move to a halfway house and into a place of his own last December. He didn’t show up for a counseling session and was re-arrested. His own daughter, who lives in another state, is relieved that he is back in jail. He raped her and another girl years ago.
A Reverend in charge of the half-way house says whether he’s 100 or 101 or 105, the same person that was committing these crimes 10, 25, 30 years ago still exists today and has an unrepentant heart. He is someone that we as parents, as members of the community, any community, really need to fear.
Sypnier’s convictions dated back to 1987, when he was given three years’ probation for sex abuse. He spent a year in prison for sexually abusing a minor in 1994. His neighbors in Tonawanda never knew of Sypnier’s background because he was convicted before laws requiring sex offenders to register with police.
Now he is back in jail. This time the system must not fail to keep him incarcerated until he dies.
For those of you who enjoy apps for your iPhone, the latest app from CrimeReports can now be downloaded to your iPhone. This app offers information on crime in your neighborhood. Recently, the Douglas County Sheriff’s office in Colorado is partnering with this site by publishing their crime data on the national crime map.
While this is a simple site, it holds important information. The application allows you to
- Filter data by location or address, incident type and date
- View recent neighborhood level crimes
- Sign up for free, automated, email crime alerts
If your law enforcement agency is not involved in this, contact them to join this site to download their crime data on the national crime map.
When given a chance, most criminals want to plead not guilty to charges and plea for less jail time for their crimes. Not for a Utah man who asked to “plead up” for more prison time.
Damon Conrow was sentenced to second-degree felony on a charge of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, heroin. He asked to “plead up” to a first-degree felony because he wanted a longer sentence in order to get off his heroin addiction. He said that within eight weeks of going to jail, he expects the withdrawal symptoms to ease so he can start having normal sleeping patterns.
The judge gave him one more chance to change his mind, but Conrow declined.
Currently, 14 states have approved medical marijuana dispensaries in their states. The most recent state is New Jersey. New Jersey’s out going governor, Jon Corzine, signed legislation granting chronically ill patients legal access to marijuana. According to the new law on the books in New Jersey, these dispensaries will provide medical marijuana to patients with diseases such as cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis to alleviate their pain and other symptoms. Patients need prescriptions from doctors in order to access the drug. Growing marijuana at home, remains illegal as well as driving while high is also illegal.
However, what New Jersey doesn’t know is that these dispensaries can be a breeding ground for crime. Since Denver, Colorado approved medical marijuana dispensaries, there have been 25 related robberies in just seven months. Crimes include 13-dispensary stickups and 12 other pot related robberies. The targets range from medical marijuana growing operations to home invasion robberies of medical marijuana patients. As a result, the Denver City Council and state lawmakers are considering legislation to tighten regulation of the blooming medical marijuana dispensaries whose large amounts of cash and drugs have made them magnets for violent crime.
Denver isn’t the only city facing crime with medical marijuana dispensaries, Los Angeles, California has seen an explosion of dispensaries along with violent crimes associated with the dispensaries. Organized gangs are robbing dispensaries, triggering shootouts with armed dispensary workers and even murder of an unarmed pot shop guard.
Are tighter regulations the solution to this problem or is it the presence of medical marijuana dispensaries the problem? As long as criminals are looking for pot for personal use or for sale, they will continue their crime spree.
Americans are the most generous people in the world. The earthquake tragedy that happened in Haiti brings out the best in all of us to help people in time of need. However, be cautious when donating to Haiti relief programs.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is urging Minnesotan to work with trusted, well-established volunteer agencies. Criminals are out there just waiting to jump on the chance to steal your money. These people have no conscience or moral ethics unlike most Americans who really care about helping people.
The FBI has provided the following guidelines if you are planning to donate cash to any relief fund.
• Do not respond to any unsolicited (SPAM) incoming emails, including clicking links contained within those messages.
• Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.
• Verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group’s existence and its nonprofit status rather than following a purported link to the site.
• Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from know senders.
• Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes.
• Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions. Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.
Remember, you want your cash donations go to volunteer organizations that can quickly pay for response and recovery efforts, and provide direct financial assistance to disaster survivors to meet their own needs. Those interested in contributing to help the victims in Haiti can visit www.interaction.org/crisis-list/earthquake-haiti to obtain a list of credible responding agencies for international emergencies
What was he thinking? A Lebanese man in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian was a major tipper and a real fat cat. He had bundles of U.S. currency of $1 million in $100,000 and $500 notes. But, there is no such U.S. $500 dollar. All the U.S. currency was fake.
What tipped off the police was that he left a tip for a housekeeper in the hotel with a $500 note. When the housekeeper tried to convert it to local currency at a moneychanger, the housekeeper learned it was counterfeit.
The man was arrested and could face up to ten years in jail. This guy is a two-time loser. In 2005, he was charged with cheating over the sale of office supplies. Cheating or fraud carries a maximum penalty of five years.
Just an FYI for would be criminals, the largest U.S. note ever printed was a special edition one for $100,000 in 1934. Bills of $500 were last printed in 1945 and are now no longer in wide circulation according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
Mexico celebrated the New Year with 69 murders in one day. The murders were the result of the ongoing drug trafficking battles.
More than 6,500 drug related killings were committed in 2009. Even though President Felipe Calderon declared war on the cartels in late 2006 with deployment of 45,000 soldiers to fight organized crime, it seems that the drug cartels are ready for the fight.
Now these drug cartels have ramped up the bloodshed in just two weeks into 2010. A victim’s face was peeled from his skull and sewn onto a soccer ball. Another killing included a former police officer whose body was divided into two separate ice chests.
The tally of murders since 2001 was 20,000 but half of these murders were committed in the past two years. Authorities hope that this violence will quiet down soon. It seems that the Sinaloa cartel headed by billionaire gang boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman may now become dominant, thus reducing the deadly power struggles. If this is true, law enforcement hopes that the next six months may be calmer.
Despite major advertising, there were more than 1,600 DUI suspects arrested statewide in Colorado since Thanksgiving. Just over the New Year’s weekend in Colorado arrests of drunken drivers topped 400. In addition, at least nine people were killed on state roads in alcohol related crashes between November 23 and January 4. This is slightly down from the same period when 12 people died in DUI crashes.
Cutting down on the number of intoxicated drivers and fatal crashes caused by alcohol remains top priority for all law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. In Minnesota, the preliminary DWI arrest count is 28,540 but will grow as alcohol-concentration data is finalized. Crash data regarding alcohol-related deaths will be reported later this year. Each year, impaired driving accounts for up to 200 deaths and 400 serious injuries. Last year there were 163 alcohol-related deaths, the lowest death count on record yet still representing one-third of all annual fatalities.
Some of the factors in declining deaths in Minnesota is the slow economy that likely causes motorists to drive at slower, safer speeds to conserve fuel, and there are fewer motorists on the road.
The next “Heat Is On” program is planned for the Super Bowl weekend, Feb. 5-8.
Did you know that iPhone has an application that allows people to estimate intoxication levels? This app has been downloaded 103,400 times since being introduced in December. The “R-U-Buzzed BAC Calculator,” launched by Colorado Department of Transportation site, remains in the “Top 25 Free Healthcare & Fitness” apps since its debut. The free app allows users to calculate blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels based on information like amount of drinks consumed, length of time drinking and body weight.
Recent reports have been issued showing that pot (marijuana) is one of the most popular abused drug among teenagers. In Denver, Colorado, the Denver Office of Drug Strategy found that the rise of marijuana use is due to the large influx of medical marijuana dispensaries and the diminishing stigma about smoking pot. This increase of teens smoking pot is partly because the national debate over medical use of marijuana can make the drug’s use seem safer to teenagers, researchers have found. In addition to marijuana, fewer teens also view prescription drugs and Ecstasy as dangerous, which often means more could use those drugs in the future.
However, smoking pot does have significant health impacts. Marijuana releases 400 chemicals when smoked and is especially harmful to the developing brain and body. Pot can be very detrimental to decision making and impacts rational thought.
Marijuana has surpassed cocaine as the major drug abuse and is the most common drug that is treated in rehab, excluding alcohol. Cocaine now ranks second behind marijuana in substance abuse related hospital discharges. Next comes heroin and methamphetamines are fourth.
In Minnesota, Governor Tim Pawlenty vetoed a measure that would have allowed medical marijuan to be legalized. However, the Minnesota Legislature resumes its work in February and may bring up medical marijuana issue again. The legislature should review the recent reports and think twice before allowing medical marijuana to be legalized.