Scam artists reportedly stole 19 million worth of iPhones

first_img Tags Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? Mobile Security Aug 31 • Best places to sell your used electronics in 2019 Share your voice Apple 0 Post a comment Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it Aug 31 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors See All • The iPhone XS Max could fetch hundreds of dollars on the black market. CNET A New York crime ring that allegedly stole hundreds of iPhones over the past seven years has been busted, according to Quartz. All told, the group reportedly got its hands on more than $19 million worth of the devices.Six people were charged in the case, which was filed by federal prosecutors in New York state in April. The complaint was just unsealed, according to Quartz. The felony charges range from mail fraud to conspiracy to identity theft.It’s not unusual for scammers to focus their efforts on Apple’s iPhones given the device’s high price tag, which can run as much as $1,450 per phone. Just a couple of months ago, a pair of Chinese engineering students studying in Oregon allegedly conned Apple out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by exchanging counterfeit iPhones for new ones. And last year, another New York group was nabbed for allegedly stealing more than $1 million worth of iPhones.The group that was most recently caught reportedly ran a scam in which some members used stolen identities to pose as cellphone subscribers. With fake IDs and debit cards they’d allegedly go to mobile phone stores across the US and say they wanted to upgrade their phones to a new iPhone. Then they reportedly shipped the iPhones back to the crime ring’s New York headquarters. People there would allegedly sell the iPhones on the black market.The cellphone subscribers whose identities were stolen ended up being charged for the upgraded phones, according to Quartz. The crime ring reportedly signed the victims up for monthly payments, so that they wouldn’t notice the charges right away.  Court filings didn’t specify how many people were allegedly affected and how many phones were reportedly stolen, but in one incident 250 phones were discovered in dozens of packages being sent to New York. The crime ring was ultimately busted by an unnamed person who worked at an overnight shipping service and became suspicious of all of the packages being sent out of state that weren’t addressed to a physical business or home address.A trial is pending for the six people charged in the scam, according to Quartz. They all pleaded not guilty and were released on $100,000 bonds.Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment. reading • Scam artists reportedly stole $19 million worth of iPhones Applelast_img read more

Govs pipeline proposal raises eyebrows

first_imgKeith Meyer took over as the new president of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. in June 2016. Photo courtesy of AGDC.The state is considering a dramatically different approach in its effort to build a natural gas pipeline.After more than two years of working with the big three North Slope oil companies, state officials are proposing Alaska take a larger stake — or take complete control of the project.And that plan is raising some eyebrows.Download AudioThe Alaska LNG project, as currently planned, is massive. People working on it call it a “gigaproject” — a giant gas treatment plant on the North Slope, an 800-mile pipeline down to Cook Inlet, and then a huge liquefaction facility in Nikiski — all to fulfill the decades-long dream of tapping the state’s gas reserves and shipping it to market.Estimates have pegged the cost at $45 to $65 billion dollars.Under the current plan, the state would split that cost with its three partners: ExxonMobil, BP and ConocoPhillips.So the question becomes: if the state takes full ownership, who would pay?Keith Meyer is the new president of the state-owned Alaska Gasline Development Corp. He said, not Alaska.“Just because state owns more doesn’t mean it has to invest more,” Meyer said.The idea is to bring in outside investors to finance the project — anyone from customers in Asia to large pension funds.“It is an infrastructure project,” Meyer said. “If we do this correctly, and put some good contracts in place, this will be very attractive to infrastructure funds and investors.”Meyer said the new approach was prompted by discussions with the state’s partners this winter, when the three companies indicated that with low oil prices cutting into their cash flow, they might not be ready to move ahead next year as planned.Asked Meyer if any company wanted to pull out entirely, Meyer said, “Pull out, I would say no. Change the pace of investment, yes…But everybody, without exception, wants this project to happen.”But the administration sees any delay as potentially fatal.Right now, the LNG — or liquefied natural gas — market is over-saturated, with prices a fraction of what they were a few years ago. Many analysts predict that oversupply will subside by the early 2020s.When it does, Meyer said, the state needs to be ready, or competing projects will fill the void.“We need, as a state and as a project, we need to hit that window,” he said. “We need to be in service in that window.”But the idea has its skeptics.“A lot of people get hurt jumping through windows that aren’t open,” said Larry Persily, an oil and gas advisor to the Kenai Peninsula Borough and longtime observer of the state’s pipeline efforts.Persily said there is some consensus there will be more demand for LNG early next decade. But it’s impossible to say exactly when — and for the state to focus on that window may not make sense.And, Persily said, while many LNG projects do bring in outside financing, the sheer size of Alaska’s project makes that approach daunting.“If you’re looking at $30-, $40-, $50 billion of investment to go out and raise in the market for an LNG project,” he said. “That would be the largest LNG project financing ever put together in the world.”Is the state capable of marshaling that kind of effort? That’s the question raised by Anchorage Republican Cathy Giessel, who chairs the Senate Resources Committee.“The most obvious and first concern is how do we afford it?” Giessel said in a phone interview Wednesday. “The secondary concern is, who has the expertise to step into a greater role?”Giessel said she doesn’t believe that either the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, or its citizen board, have the experience to oversee a project like this.And she says she doubts the Senate would support the plan, from what she knows of it so far. That’s not much — Giessel said the administration hasn’t shared any details with lawmakers.As for companies, ExxonMobil, BP and ConocoPhillips all replied to questions with brief emailed statements. Exxon and BP wouldn’t discuss their negotiations with the state.But ConocoPhillips confirmed the administration has floated the idea of a state-owned pipeline.“We can confirm that the State has proposed a state-controlled project and conversations to better understand the proposal have begun,” spokesperson Natalie Lowman wrote in an email. “Regarding our perspective on these conversations, right now we are evaluating all options.”last_img read more

Report In Harveys Wake Assisted Living Facilities Show Shortcomings in Emergency Preparedness

first_img X 00:00 /01:05 The AARP of Texas issued a report on how assisted living facilities in Texas failed to respond to Harvey and compiled a list of recommendations to improve emergency preparedness. Residents of Houston-area assisted living facilities faced harm, neglect and abandonment during Harvey, according to documents obtained by the AARP.  Sharecenter_img “In at least one instance, there was no staff in the facility and so residents were left to fend for themselves during one of the largest natural disasters this state has ever seen,” said Amanda Fredriksen, associate director of Advocacy for AARP Texas.In response to complaints, the AARP report recommends strengthening emergency preparedness requirements and enforcement for assisted living facilities in Texas. That includes ensuring fines to deter violations, improving requirements for response plans, requiring facilities to alert the Texas Health and Human Services Commission of damages or flooding and requiring inspection from the commission if a facility is, indeed, damaged. Fredriksen said better enforcement and requirements will protect the well-being and safety of seniors living in long-term care centers. “We would really encourage the agency that oversees them, the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), to look at the structure and the fines and enforcement there, and see if that needs to be changed,” she noted. According to Fredriksen, assisted living centers currently face less oversight than nursing homes since they are only regulated by the state. She hopes to work with lawmakers leading up to the next legislative session to beef up emergency preparedness requirements and enforcement. In its annual report, the HHSC also recommended improving emergency responses in assisted living facilities in the wake of Harvey. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listenlast_img read more