FBI warns of COVID-19 vaccine scams

first_imgdomoyega/iStockBy LUKE BARR, ABC News(WASHINGTON) — As the United States inches closer to Food and Drug Administration approval of a COVID-19 vaccination, the FBI is warning Americans of potential vaccine fraud.FBI Washington Field Office Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy Thibault told ABC News that there could initially be issues in distributing the vaccine and that scammers will use this to their advantage.“What we would say to the public is to be leery of and be on guard for scams related to telemarketing, malicious websites or emails where people are taking advantage of the initial supply-and-demand problem,” Thibault said.In October, the World Health Organization found a fake flu vaccine in Mexico, according to EUROPOL, the European Union’s law enforcement arm. EUROPOL worries the same could happen with the COVID-19 vaccine.“The same scenario is also likely to happen when COVID-19 vaccines do become available,” the agency said in a press release. “Similar to the fake influenza vaccine encountered in Mexico, counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines may represent a significant public health threat if they are ineffective at best or toxic at worst, given their production in underground labs without hygiene standards.”Specifically, Thibault stressed that there will “certainly” be bad actors looking to take advantage of people during the rollout of the vaccine.“Bad actors will reach out to people and may take advantage of their desperation to get the vaccine early,” he said.Thibault warned no American should have to pay for the vaccine — and anyone telling them to do so is wrong.He also said that these scams will need to be carried out quickly as more of the legitimate vaccines flood the country.“The fraudsters have to know that these types of scams, with regard to the vaccine, have a time limit on them,” he said.The assistant special agent in charge also mentioned that people are often embarrassed to admit they were the victim to this type of fraud, but he urged victims to tell law enforcement in order to stop future incidents.“These are crimes of greed and opportunity,” Thibault said.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Read More »

Guatemalan Army Fights Transnational Crime with Renovated Armored Vehicles

first_imgShortly thereafter in mid-2013, Guatemala created its Marine Infantry Brigade and the Tecún Umán IATF. The effort received international support, including backing from the United States, which has donated 82 Jeep J8 armored vehicles, 25 pick-ups and nine trucks for the Tecún Umán and Chortí IATF units. Those vehicles have been continuously deployed in the fight against drug cartels, human smugglers and transnational criminal organizations; their speed and maneuverability on uneven terrain in border areas have made them integral to the Task Forces and the Army’s success, according to Colonel Bartres García. International cooperation In the early 1980s, at the height of the internal conflict, the Armed Forces devised and produced their own Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), a 4×4 reinforced vehicle called the Armadillo, which resembles the American Commando LAV-100. Also known as the Cusuco, the Armadillo was ideal for urban warfare and for flat terrains in certain areas of the country. It could be equipped with .50 manually operated turrets, and, more importantly, could resist the guerrillas’ rocket propelled grenades (RPGs). Since then, on January 23, a Tecún Umán IATF-led operation resulted in the interdiction of 12.7 tons of amphetamines valued at nearly $1.2 billion. Troops found the drugs in a shack in the city of La Blanca, in the department of San Marcos, which borders Mexico. In just a few months after its creation, the Tecún Umán IATF, which has a fleet of 42 J8s, dismantled nine criminal structures in the northern part of the country before dealing several more blows against international smugglers and drug traffickers in 2014. From 1996 — the year the Guatemalan Civil War ended — until 2014, the use of armored vehicles by the Guatemalan Army declined considerably, Colonel Bartres García said. Guatemala’s Marine Infantry Brigade, the Tecún Umán Inter Agency Task Force (IATF), and the Chortí IATF have used a fleet of modified light armored vehicles and Toyota pick-up trucks to strike several major blows against organized crime groups that traffic drugs and humans through the country’s borders with Mexico and Honduras. The Guatemalan Armed Forces armored and modified the trucks. “The monopoly of force that the State has accrued with these vehicles has significantly contributed to our mission,” Colonel Ader Bartres García, Commander of the Armed Forces’ Marine Infantry Brigade, said on July 1 during a presentation at the 4th Annual Latin America Armored Vehicles Conference, in Bogotá, Colombia. Use of armored vehicles declined after civil conflict ended By Dialogo July 23, 2015 What use are armies? To provoke underdevelopment in countries, kill innocent people, now for drug traffickers, how nice, isn’t it. Crime in Latin America is a dangerous reality for those who are healthy and productive. The problem in Venezuela is not related to war, what bothers us is the lack of food. The Guatemalan Army, working together with the Navy, Air Force, and National Police, is using a fleet of renovated armored vehicles to combat transnational crime and guard the country’s borders. Meanwhile in southern Guatemala, the Chortí IATF, whose fleet is made up of 46 J8s, has teamed with their Honduran counterparts as part of the binational Maya-Chortí Task Force. The collaboration reaped success in April 2015, about a month after it was formed, when forces captured 15 suspects and identified 62 drug and human-trafficking routes used by criminal organizations in the border region. The Army used Armadillos until the end of the Civil War, when the government reduced its budget and Troop numbers; it didn’t need armored vehicles again until around 2012, when drug-trafficking organizations, including some Mexican cartels such as Los Zetas and La Familia Michoacana, increased their operations in Guatemala, using the country as a transshipment point for drug loads from South America. The new threats posed by these transnational criminal organizations prompted the government to considerably increase the Army’s size and budget, and to create inter-institutional groups capable of guaranteeing public security in border departments such as Petén, San Marcos, Huehuetenango, Quiché, El Progreso, Chiquimula and Izabal. last_img read more

Read More »

5 reasons Americans are not saving money

first_imgAmericans are having trouble saving.Two recent studies carried out by independent pollsters say that more than 60% of adults have no emergency savings or less than $1,000 in their savings account. And among those who had savings prior to 2008, 57% said they’d used some or all of it in the Great Recession, according to a U.S. Federal Reserve survey of over 4,000 adults released last year. Those surveys don’t include automatic savings vehicles like a 401(k) or an IRA, but financial experts say consumers should try (if they can afford it) to make automatic payments into a savings account too.Personal savings rates as a percentage of disposable income dropped from 11% in December 2012 to 4.6% in August 2015, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and have hovered at 5% since then. “It’s possible that the gains in net worth are going to high-income households, which could be consistent with the lack of savings for middle-income households,” says Mark Perry, a professor of finance and business economics at the University of Michigan-Flint. One way to keep your savings rates stable: Set-up automatic deposits and save part of your tax refund, says Signe-Mary McKernan, an economist at the Urban Institute, a think tank.Here are 5 reasons why so many American savings accounts are bare: continue reading » 47SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Read More »

Weathered Thread hosts Christmas showcase for vendors

first_imgThe showcase will be taking place every Saturday and Sunday from now until Christmas. Since the shop wasn’t able to hold the showcase this year due to the pandemic, the Weathered Thread wanted to find a safe way to accommodate everyone, both vendors and shoppers alike, who wanted to take part in shopping local. WHITNEY POINT (WBNG) — The Weathered Thread held a Christmas Creator Showcase for some of their vendors this weekend to support local artists and just in time for Small Business Saturday. Usually, The Weathered Thread hosts a Christmas Showcase featuring a number of vendors who sell their products for the holidays. The Weathered Thread is a shop in Whitney Point that sells home decor, furniture, and unique gifts. center_img “We have six in house folks who do various things for us: furniture, soaps,” Peterson said. “They’re all locally based and as part of our general business plan that was always super, super important.”  This year, the updated showcase includes about five to six different artisans that create candles, signs, and furniture.  Owner of The Weathered Thread, Aubrey Peterson, says it was important to still have the showcase in some capacity because her business is built on the foundation of supporting other small-business creators. last_img read more

Read More »

Ajit Agarkar, Venkatesh Prasad, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan among appliants for National Selector post

first_imgAdvertisement 6mNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vsa8wdWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E7dj5p( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 35f4v8Would you ever consider trying this?😱64Can your students do this? 🌚pekRoller skating! Powered by Firework On Friday, former Indian speedster Ajit Agarkar, confirmed that he has joined the race for the national selector’s job and according to multiple reports, the erstwhile pacer is currently the front-runner for the chairman’s post. Meanwhile Venkatesh Prasad, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan have also applied for the senior selector’s post.Advertisement After national selector MSK Prasad’s tenure ended this week, the BCCI set January 24 as the last-date of application for the vacant position. But with 26 Tests, 191 ODIs and 3 T20 Internationals under his belt while picking 349 wickets across all formats, it appears that the 42-year-old Mumbaikar is definitely one of the favourites to land the job.Advertisement Agarkar, who has seen his fair share of success with the ‘Men in Blues’, remains India’s third highest wicket-taker in ODIs (behind Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath) with 288 wickets. He was the quickest Indian to reach 50 wickets in white-ball cricket, taking only 23 games to achieve the feat. Agarkar also holds the record for the fastest half-century by an Indian in ODIs (50 in 21 balls), and also for scoring 5 consecutive ducks (including two pairs) in tests against Australia. However, for the latter ‘rare feat’, Agarkar earned himself the nickname “Bombay Duck”.“Ajit entering the fray is an interesting development. He is someone who would have put in a lot of thought before applying. If anyone thought that Siva’s nomination as a chairman of selectors is a given, will now think again. It will be every interesting to see who all are short-listed,” a BCCI official stated.Advertisement Here’s a list of some high-profile candidates who have applied:Ajit Agarkar (Mumbai)Venkatesh Prasad (Karnataka)Chetan Sharma (Haryana)Nayan Mongia (Baroda)Laxman Sivaramakrishnan (Tamil Nadu)Rajesh Chauhan (Madhya Pradesh)Amey Khurasiya (Madhya Pradesh)Gyanendra Pandey (Uttar Pradesh)Pritam Gandhe (Vidarbha) You may also like:David Warner tells why India lost to Australia in the ODI series Advertisementlast_img read more

Read More »

High School Sports Is His Business

first_img“It never gets old, it’s great,” said Chrampanis, whose passion comes through in the video narration. “I get as much satisfaction watching some of these best kids in the country as watching a local team win its first game in two seasons.”He enjoys documenting the early starts of the up-and-coming players, raising their profiles and introducing them to working with the media. He was among the first to hand a microphone to Ranney School basketball superstars Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine, and has enjoyed watching them grow in the past three years. “These kids from Ranney are going to be household names across the world in about four years,” he said. He was also there to watch Frankie Tagliaferri of Colts Neck grow in her soccer career. He expects she could make the World Cup team.As for what comes next, Chrampanis is close-lipped but hints there are initiatives in the works.“We want to perfect the Jersey Sports Zone model and see what happens,” said Chrampanis. He said the site would always remain fee-free and advertiser supported.He said he won’t forget the athletes, fans and sponsors who gave his fledgling idea its boost in the beginning, citing support from The Two River Times’ publisher Domenic DiPiero, and the Red Bank Catholic and Rumson-Fair Haven communities.“I’ll be forever indebted to the kids in this area for supporting us before we were a household name,” said Chrampanis. “The kids at RBC and RBR, I certainly am not going to turn my back on them. We’ll be at their games,” he said.This article was first published in the Sept. 21-28, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times. By Christina Johnson |LITTLE SILVER – For three years, broadcaster Rich Chrampanis and a small team of multimedia journalists have been documenting high school sports in Monmouth and Ocean counties for his online startup, Shore Sports Zone.Now his unique brand of professionally produced scholastic sports coverage is going statewide, thanks to an investment from a new partner. Jersey Sports Zone announced on Sept. 1 it will now cover the high school sports scene everywhere in New Jersey, including the often overlooked southern and western sections of the Garden State.“We’re going to be the most dominant digital media in the state, when it comes to high school sports,” said Chrampanis, 47, of Little Silver. “On Sunday, we had 110,000 organic Twitter impressions in one day. That’s a lot of people looking at your website – and we’re only 17 days old.”Covering all of New Jersey is an ambitious goal for Chrampanis and his roving team of three fulltime multimedia reporters and a roster of freelancers who brave the heat, rain and snow hoping to capture great moments in sports. There are more than 500 school districts, and a multitude of different varsity sports, and nearly all of those sports have a girls’ and a boys’ team. But for starters, Jersey Sports Zone will be focusing on where the most interest is, and that means football, soccer, hockey, basketball, wrestling, baseball, softball and lacrosse. Other sports, like field hockey, swimming, golf and others will also be covered, he said, as well as coaches and college recruiting news.The new principal owner of Jersey Sports Zone is Dale J. Florio, an attorney and well-known Trenton lobbyist, who serves as an assistant basketball coach at the Hun School in Princeton. Chrampanis is the company’s chief operating officer. He is also the sports editor at The Two River Times, where he oversees the newspaper’s high school sports coverage for the Monmouth County weekly.Jersey Sports Zone’s immediate goal is to tell the story of what happened at the game last night, narrated with video highlights of the most talked-about plays, crowd reaction and post-game interviews. The stories are produced directly after the game, in sessions that can last until the early hours of the morning so the recaps can be posted by 6 a.m. on YouTube.There also are the feature stories, where reporters capture the players off the field to learn more about their motivations, hopes and dreams. The company slogan is “Go Beyond the Score.”For Chrampanis, his job is a dream come true, and the natural result of his career path. He grew up in Middletown, attended Christian Brothers Academy, and graduated from St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, New York. For the past 20 years he has been a TV sports director and on-air sports anchor for network affiliates in places like Iowa, Maine and South Carolina. Unlike here, high school sports were covered in those TV markets. Chrampanis produced a popular Friday night high school football show in Myrtle Beach that rounded up results from 15-20 games and actually pre-empted “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”“They take it very seriously. It’s a very big part of their communities,” he said. Nothing like that exists on air in New Jersey, due to the traditional dominance by and priorities of the New York and Philadelphia markets, he explained.As digital media grew, Chrampanis took stock of his role in TV broadcasting and realized things were changing fast. He and his wife, Dianne, and kids, Luke and Carly, decided to take a risk to move back to Monmouth County and build their own high school sports news digital media company. His local competition was Shore Sports Network, which has since been purchased by Townsquare Media, and the Asbury Park Press.“We found an audience immediately,” said Chrampanis. In the first year, Chrampanis, his wife and a few helpers hustled to cover six to eight games on a Friday night, and four to six games on a Saturday. The athletes shared the videos on social media; parents were excited to see the shows and word of mouth grew. By its third year, Shore Sports Zone has earned 3.5 million views on the website, and 2.5 million on YouTube. Local and corporate sponsorship supports the site.last_img read more

Read More »