11.4.19 USPS address change scams; FDA romaine lettuce debacle; Major issues with Airbnb

ID theft criminals are entering post offices with fake IDs and doing address changes. The USPS gets 37 million address changes each year. An unwitting pawn in ID theft, they say working to prevent false address changes, but determined criminals can get this done. If your mails suddenly stops coming, it’s 5 alarm fire drill time for your finances. Immediately freeze your credit with Equifax, Transunion and Experian. That prevents the crooks from applying from new credit as if they’re you. Meanwhile they get your existing account statements and can engage in account takeover fraud, and buy things as if they’re you. Watch account activity closely. Think through which bills you should be receiving and contact creditors. Go to the post office and make corrections. The faster you do this, the more you limit potential damage.  

The FDA had information months ago concerning an E.coli outbreak in romaine lettuce that sickened people in a dozen states in July, August and September. The FDA kept this secret to protect farmers, because when this happened prior and the info was published, it devastated the farmers. The FDA and CDC were finally able to verify the source in October but still did not disclose until now for unknown reasons. This is NOT OK. We need to have confidence in the watchdogs for our nation’s food supply. Recently there’s been another outbreak of salmonella in 6 states involving ground beef that HAS been announced. We need confidence in our food supply and know there will be quick action when issues arise.

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At an Airbnb CA property last week, 5 were killed and several injured in a shooting at a Halloween party. Airbnb has been under a cloud concerning party house rentals. Individuals will troll listings, rent a house for 1 or 2 nights, and advertise a party on social media with paid entry. Party house rackets have been a problem in many cities, with Airbnb noncommittal on the subject. But now that fatalities have occurred, Airbnb says they will ban party houses. How we don’t know. Airbnb is going through an awkward adolescence, having trouble handling its growth. Vice.com discovered crooked landlords, listing places on Airbnb that are either non-existent or owned by someone else. On arrival day the hapless renter gets notified of some terrible problem and is diverted to what’s in fact the real, far inferior rental to the bogus one advertised. This is happening in cities around the country. Airbnb does not stand behind the renters getting scammed this way. Airbnb needs to protect its platform. If people cannot trust that they’ll be treated honestly, the platform will lose validity in the marketplace. Operators need to beef up their investigative force and customer service operations to deal with problems as they happen and to weed out the crooks. 5 people are dead. Airbnb offers potentially great environments, they’ve got to make it work better. If you’re a renter, be cautious and read reviews thoroughly.
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