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Obituary Spam Is About to Get Supercharged

The speed of AI has the potential to make an already upsetting situation worse

(Newser) - Websites that scrape the web for obituaries and repost information at scale (often inaccurately) have met a dangerous friend: artificial intelligence. The Verge's Mia Sato tells the story no one grieving should have to face through the obits of Brian Vastag and Beth Mazur. Obituaries of the friends—a...

Whistleblower: Twitter Has 'Egregious' Security Gaps

Peiter 'Mudge' Zatko, former security chief for the social media platform, has filed a complaint

(Newser) - Elon Musk has been trying to wriggle out of his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, and two new reports from CNN and the Washington Post may help out the richest man in the world in those endeavors. Both outlets have seen a complaint filed by whistleblower Peiter Zatko, Twitter'...

New Elon Musk Threat Has Twitter Stock Falling
Course on
Musk Demand

Twitter Reverses Course on Musk Demand

Company will provide more information to help evaluate 'bot' accounts

(Newser) - Updated: Twitter will relent and give Elon Musk all the information he wants to help him evaluate how many bogus accounts—or bots—are on the platform, reports the Washington Post . The company will give him access to what the Post describes as the full "firehose" of its daily...

$3M Prize in Spam Folder Turns Out to Be Real
Woman Checks Spam,
Finds a $3M Treat

Woman Checks Spam, Finds a $3M Treat

Michigan's Laura Spears was a big winner in Mega Millions draw; notice went to spam folder

(Newser) - Usually when an email in your spam folder announces you've won millions of dollars, it's a scam. Luckily for Michigan's Laura Spears, she believed the email in her spam folder that appeared to have come from the Michigan Lottery and is now $3 million richer as a...

FBI Server Hacked As 100,000 Get Fake Emails

Federal authorities aren't saying much

(Newser) - At least 100,000 emails were sent from FBI servers in an apparent hack of the federal agencies servers. Per NBC News , the emails warned recipients that their information may be under attack from hacker Vinny Troia, who owns the cybersecurity company Night Lion Security. The emails reportedly also referenced...

FCC Slaps Spam Callers With Record $225M Fine

Texas-based telemarketers send out more than 1B calls

(Newser) - Under a bill Congress passed in 2019, spammers can be fined up to $10,000 for a single robocall. The fine handed out to two Texas-based telemarketers Wednesday worked out to less than 5 cents per robocall, but it was still a new record for the Federal Communications Commission. The...

Twitter Locks Devin Nunes' Account After Log-In Flub

Social media site says someone who tried to log on to Nunes' account failed anti-spam puzzle

(Newser) - For a short while this week, Twitter thought Devin Nunes wasn't human—a mistake it has since remedied. The New York Post reports that the California congressman or someone on his staff tried to log on to his Twitter account, but the person attempting the sign-in wasn't able...

Murdered 'Spam Nazi' Linked to Buried Gold

Investigators identify man murdered in 2017

(Newser) - Friends in Squamish, British Columbia, knew Jesse James as a vegan, politically progressive rock climber—which made it all the more mysterious when the 38-year-old was found dead from a gunshot wound in a burned-out pickup truck in 2017. Investigators have now determined that James was actually Davis Wolfgang Hawke,...

Report Confirms It: We Get a Lot of Robocalls

Americans got 26.3B of them last year, up from 18B in 2017

(Newser) - If it seems like you're getting a lot more robocalls than you used to—it's because you are, the Washington Post reports. A report released Tuesday by spam-monitoring service Hiya found that Americans received about 26.3 billion robocalls last year. That's an astonishing 46% increase from...

Watch Out for Strange Google Docs Links

There's a major phishing scam going on

(Newser) - Beware any offer to share a Google Docs file, even if that offer appears to have been sent by someone you know. The Los Angeles Times reports thousands of people were targeted by a phishing scam Wednesday. The scam starts with an email with a link to a Google Docs...

Where Does Spam Come From? This Guy, Allegedly

The FBI raided Michael Persaud's house in April

(Newser) - There's a decent chance Michael Alexander Persaud has sent you some spam. According to the FBI, which raided Persaud's San Diego home in late April, the 39-year-old is able to send a million unsolicited emails in less than 15 minutes, ABC News reports. Authorities have been investigating Persaud...

Writer Checks Spam Folder, Learns She Won $150K
Writer Checks Spam Folder, Learns She Won $150K

Writer Checks Spam Folder, Learns She Won $150K

Who wouldn't think a 'good news' email asking for a phone number was a hoax?

(Newser) - For those of you who blindly delete the emails that get sent to your junk folder, witness the story of Helen Garner. The Australian writer checked the contents of that folder last week and read one that smacked of a hoax: A Yale University employee had "good news" and...

Is That Mystery Number a Scammer? Galaxy S7 Knows

Thanks to partnership with Whitepages

(Newser) - About to buy the new Galaxy S7? Your contact list just got a whole lot bigger. Samsung and Whitepages are announcing a partnership that packs caller ID, spam and scam detection, and even a nearby business search directly into the native dialer, reports Engadget . This means that an incoming call...

Smartphone Spammer Gets 27 Months
Smartphone Spammer
Gets 27 Months

Smartphone Spammer Gets 27 Months

Indiana man was behind millions of messages

(Newser) - An Indiana man who helped send millions of illegal spam messages to US and international cellphones and computers has been sentenced to 27 months in federal prison by a federal judge in Pennsylvania. Phillip Fleitz, 31, of Indianapolis, was handcuffed and ordered Monday to immediately begin serving the sentence, the...

This 'Spam King' Has Likely Sent You a Message

And that's why Sanford Wallace is facing jail time

(Newser) - You may not be familiar with the name Sanford Wallace, but there's a decent chance he's sent you a message a time or two. The 47-year-old self-anointed "Spam King" has pleaded guilty to accessing Facebook servers and sending out more than 27 million messages to users, reports...

Bee Scientist Finds $140K Email—in His Spam Folder
Bee Scientist Finds $140K Email—in His Spam Folder

Bee Scientist Finds $140K Email—in His Spam Folder

The National Science Foundation award for Charlie C. Nicholson was actually real

(Newser) - Maybe you should open up that next "Lucky Winner!" email you get and not automatically dump it in the trash. Because for University of Vermont researcher Charlie C. Nicholson, his spam folder turned out to hold more than the usual dream-job and porn messages. On Tuesday, the National...

Social Media Spam Up 355% This Year Alone

Facebook, YouTube most prone

(Newser) - Spammers are increasingly setting their sights beyond your email account. In the first half of this year, spam on social media has increased 355%, a new report finds. It's not exactly overwhelming (especially in light of the fact that some 70% of emails sent are spam), but spam accounts...

Instagram Under Spam Attack by ... Tropical Fruit

Facebook says it has secured spammed accounts, but you might want to change your password

(Newser) - Instagram has been hit by an attack from spammers promoting a miracle fruit diet. As a result, you may have seen a lot of (artfully filtered) photographs of tropical fruit in your feed today, and if those photos were coming from your account, you're going to need to change...

It's a Rough Day for Papa John's
 It's a Rough Day for Papa John's

It's a Rough Day for Papa John's

Company faces lawsuit, boycott

(Newser) - One large pepperoni, a text-message scandal, and a boycott on the side, please. Papa John's is in the middle of a big mess on two fronts, one in court and one in the media. Here's a look at both:
  • Papa John's is in the midst of a

FTC Hangs Up on 'Rachel' Robocalls

Agency gets court to stop calls from fictional worker in 'cardholder services'

(Newser) - Poor Rachel. The FTC is clamping down on five telemarketing firms it says placed illegal robocalls, often claiming to be from a woman named "Rachel" who had an "important message" about high interest rates on credit cards, reports the Chicago Tribune . Yesterday, a federal court ordered a temporary...

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