Hello, this is a Robot calling..

Over the last week I’ve received a numerous of calls from a local 416/647 number and every time I pick up thinking it is someone of importance calling me and then I hear this;

“Hello, this is Julia calling, your business has been pre-approved for a business to hear more about this opportunity…”

It wasn’t until I was so sick of picking up either a silent call or a robo call from Julia that I finally decided and listen all the way though. And when I finally listened to robot Julia finish talking about my pre-approved business loan that I figured out I could have pressed 2 to be placed on the “Do not call list”. Personally, I don’t know how much I trust this “Do not Call” list but I pressed 2 anyway, hopefully robot Julia will stop calling.

I’m sure I am not the only one receiving robo calls or even those “CRA” scams trying to get me to buy iTunes or Amazon gift cards to pay off the money I owe to the government from back taxes. I’ve even received emails from a unknown person(s) that I’ve been caught on webcam “Self Abusing” myself and that if I don’t send 333 Euros in Bitcoin (BTC) to 1PGaSS3iew4EbS4vnb6iGDrYDiCyXqLXSD that video will be sent to my social and work contacts.

I knew this is a full on lie and scam since I have electrical taped over my webcam on my Macbook Pro. When I first got that email I’ve checked the BTC address and it had 0 activity and no transactions but as I am writing this post I checked again and it had received a total of 0.07034538 BTC worth $592.79CAD.

What I’ve noticed is that the surge of spam emails and robo calls starts after I purchase new domain names. The first time I’ve noticed this was when I brought a domain name for my brother and then afterwards I was getting a ton of emails from India asking about the new domain name and if I needed any assistant in building a website or if I need any SEO work for my new website. This is also the time I started getting those robo CRA scam calls and the email asking for bitcoin or he’ll share a video of me abusing myself. Now I understand why the domain privacy up sell is so important when buying a domain name and how hosting companies must be making a killing off this up-sell.

So what can you do to protect yourself and your privacy?

The most common option people do is not picking up from a number they don’t know and letting it go into voicemail, but that is really not a solid solution to this problem. What happens if you are waiting on a call for an job interview or a call from from a delivery? (Both in my case).

The worst part of this is that scammers use a method called ‘spoofing‘ where they use a local number so it looks like regular number. I have received calls I let go to voicemail only to call back and have the person on the other line tell me that they did not call me.

Here are some ways you can protect yourself from annoying robo calls

1. Register your number to the Do not Call list
Add your number if you had not done so already on Canada’s National Do Not Call List. It won’t solve all the calls but it helps reduce the number of calls.

Your number will be removed from telemarketing lists but if you are still getting calls you can file a complaint with the CTRC.

You can also forward spam texts to 7726 (or SPAM). This will report the SPAM number to your wireless provider, you will also receive a response thanking you for reporting it.

2. When buying a domain name, purchase domain privacy
Most hosting companies and domain name registrars offers a domain privacy up sell with the domain name, this protects your personal contact information on the whois database which can be crawled with bots for contact information such as emails and phone numbers

3. Don’t provide any personal information when speaking over the phone
When someone says they are from a company and starts asking for personal information, don’t tell them anything. Instead call the company directly and ask for whatever was being said, better yet go in person.

If you do answer a call and hear a recording such as “Hello, can you hear me?”, just hang up.

4. Download a Call Blocking App
You can also download a call blocking app which has a list of known spam and fraudulent number and will tell you if the number that is calling you is a known scammer. I’ve previously spoken with my wireless provider (Rogers) and they responded that they don’t currently offer service natively.

CTIA.org has a comprehensive list of robo blocking apps for Android, BlackBerry, iOS (Apple) and Windows.

The most popular ones available in Canada are: True Caller & Hiya

I’ve downloaded True Caller and I got to say the number of calls has dropped dramatically, I won’t say it has stopped 100% but I do see an definite improvement.

Bonus. Check HaveIBeenPwned.com to see if your email has been compromised
Visit HaveIBeenPwned.com and enter your email to see if your email has been compromised in any data breachs

31-10-2018 Update: CBC MARKETPLACE| Police raid Indian call centres linked to ‘CRA phone scam’ that have victimized Canadians

Storyboard Project: Treasures of Secrets

His eyes glimmered with joy and exciting as he celebrated in silence, barely able to contain the excitement inside. The room was pitch black he could barely see but was able to make out the room as his eyes has adjusted to the darkness. He had traveled in the middle of the night south through the thick northern forest, maneuvering over fallen branches and countless streams of water heading towards the fortified castle of the most ruthless ruler of the lands.

The first time he had heard about the hidden treasures of secrets that has been kept hidden for centuries pass down through generations and nearly lost and forgotten, he had been so intrigued and excited he feel asleep thinking about the treasures and dreamed of the joy of finding it.

He had spent the next few months dedicated to researching and surveying locals gathering whatever information he could about the treasure and it’s whereabouts. Most of the information he received was folklore and stories told by elders to the children. No one was excited about the treasure or had thought of about retrieving it; most didn’t even believe that there was a hidden treasure. Most of locals just went about their day, farming, doing their daily chores, attending to their children, and taking care of their family.

Our hero had explored every lead he possible could follow, he was not even a bit closer than when he first set out to find the treasure – just more confused of the truth surrounding the secrets of the hidden treasure. It wasn’t until a strange traveller set afoot in the small mountainous village looking to have some of his equipment repaired and to resupply his food stock. The traveller was really strange looking among the villagers; he had an extremely large beard, wearing strange foreign clothes as if he had traveled from a different time into this world. Oddly, he spoke the naïve language of the locals, that’s how he got what he needed from the villagers, or else no one would have known what he needed and would have assumed he was a treat, but he spoke the same language and was quite polite and nice to the locals.

Our hero had almost given up his research for the hidden treasures, speaking to himself looking downwards all bummed out about not having a solid lead to the treasure, he walks into back of the travellers caravan dismounting the travellers belongings as the traveller was setting to leave. Our hero laid on the floor, going in and out of consciousness, he had thought he was dreaming as the water poured down on his face. His eyes awaken to the sight of the strange traveller looking over him. The traveller asks our hero “Where are you heading? Has no one told you to look ahead while walking?” Our hero embarrassed he quickly gets up and walks towards the direction he came from, the strange traveller curious about the hero turns his caravan around and follows him. “Tell me, little boy…would you know where I would be able to find some clean spring water for my horse here?” the traveller spoke as his rode on his caravan next to our hero, asking a series of questions trying to spark conversation with him. “Not a speaker I see, that’s fine…maybe you could point me in the direction of some water, you see my horse is really thirsty and might get sick if he doesn’t get some water soon.” “Maybe I would interest you in some of my belongings in trade of your knowledge of where I may find some water?” The traveller scuffles through his belongings pulling out everything he thinks might get our hero to speak. “How about this really cool thingy majig? No?” The traveller going through his belongings once again “What is this?” the traveller looking at a old piece of rolled up paper with a strange random drawings on it. Just as the traveller was about to throw away the strange piece of paper our hero stops and turns towards our traveller. “Ah! A thing for the arts, I see” the traveller looks over the paper again, dazed with a confused look on face. “I don’t even know what this is? It’s just some strange doodles and markings” Our hero reaches out for the piece of paper, as the traveller pulls back and said “Not so quickly, first you have to tell me where I can find some water for my horse” Our hero hopeless and really wants to see what is on the paper the traveller is holding on too, he quickly hops onto the travellers caravan and points him towards the direction south of the village down the mountain towards the stream that cuts through the mountain from the ocean.

The night dark and only lite by the moonlight, the village was silent as the villagers slept. Our hero dressed in all black – looking like a ninja spy, looks over the map once more before putting it in his pocket as he sets out towards the castle south of the mountain. He had travelled down the mountainous region stepping over fallen branches, trying not to make a sound; our hero finally reaches the edge of forest, he sees the lights in the town with the massive fortified castle in the heart of the town.

Almost waist deep in water, our hero finds himself behind the castle crawling through tiny enclosed space heading into the dark cellar of the castle. There was only sounds of the water swooshing in the darkness, our hero had to feel his way through the small tunnel until his eyes had adjusted to the dark and he was able to make vague shapes of his surroundings. He had reached the fortified castles cold cellar; luckily for him it was unguarded. Unable to look at the map, which sat in his pocket, our hero tries to visualize how the map looked like in his head. After a feel moments of thinking endlessly, going over and over the map in his head – he begins searching for the treasure. From one end of the cellar to the other, from the tunnel where he came in from to the other end where the stairs were, around and around he went searching for the treasure. Frustrated not being able to see and a tad bit paranoid of being caught and thrown in prison for life or worst, our hero hurries and begins searching franticly until he walks into a strange looking chest laying on the floor. After rubbing the feeling back into his foot, our hero opens the chest and his eyes widen and glimmer with excitement, just as he was about to reach and grab what was inside the treasure chest the cellar door creeks open and someone begins to walk down the stairs…

The Script

SCENE 1

INT. LONG SHOT of DARK CELLAR
A dark figure is searching around in a dark cellar shuffling items around until he walks into a strange heavy box…

EXT. LONG SHOT of OUR HERO traveling in a forest

NARATOR

He had traveled south in the middle of the night, through the northern forests, maneuvering over fallen branches and countless streams of water heading towards the fortified castle of the most ruthless ruler of the lands.

INT. CLOSE SHOT of OUR HERO’S facial expression
He stops and opens the strange box, his eyes widen…

NARATOR

His eyes glimmered with joy and excitement as he celebrated in silence, barely able to contain his excitement inside.

CUT TO:

SCENE 2

EXT. HIGH ANGLE/LONG/ESTABLISHING SHOT of the SURROUNDING WORLD

NARATOR

The first time our hero had heard about the hidden treasures of secrets that have been kept hidden for centuries, passed down through generations and nearly lost and forgotten, he had been so intrigued and excited he fell asleep thinking of the treasures and dreamed of the joy of finding it.

EXT. LONG SHOT of a small mountainous village doing their daily activities. OUR HERO asking the villagers of their knowledge on the hidden treasures

NARATOR

OUR HERO had spent the next few months gathering as much knowledge as he could about the treasure. He had followed and explored every possible lead he had found, but he was no closer or had uncovered than new information about the whereabouts of the hidden treasure or of the secrets hidden inside. OUR HERO had nearly given up his search for the hidden treasure till one day a mysterious looking traveller came into the small mountainous village looking to restock his food supply and repair some of his equipment…

CUT TO:

SCENE 3

EXT. MEDIUM SHOT / PANNING UP from feet of TRAVELLER to the head of TRAVELLER

NARATOR

The STANGE TRAVELLER stood out among the villagers; he had an extremely thick and long beard sporting strange foreign clothes as if he had traveled from a different time into this world. Oddly the TRAVELLER spoke the villager’s native language.

CUT TO:

SCENE 4

EXT. LONG SHOT of street on village where the TRAVELLER was setting up his caravan to travel.

NARATOR

OUR HERO had nearly given up his search for the hidden treasure, looking downwards and walking quickly OUR HERO walks right into the TRAVELLERS caravan dismounting the TRAVELLERS belongings. OUR HERO laid on the floor going in and out of consciousness, he had thought he was dreaming as cold water was poured over his face. His eyes awaken to the sight of the STRANGE TRAVELLER over him…

EXT. CLOSE UP of the TRAVELLER in the position of OUR HERO

TRAVELLER

Where are you heading? Has no one told you to look ahead to where you are walking?

EXT. LONG SHOT of street with the caravan on the left, OUR HERO lying on the floor off center

NARATOR

OUR HERO embarrassed, quickly gets up and walks in the direction he came from, the TRAVELLER curious about OUR HERO turns his caravan around and follows him.

EXT. MEDIUM SHOT of the TRAVELLER on his caravan / OUR HERO walking

TRAVELLER

Tell me little boy, would you know where I would be able to find some clean spring water for my horse here?

EXT. MEDIUM SHOT of OUR HERO walking
OUR HERO does not look at the TRAVELLER and continues walking

TRAVELLER

Not a speaker I see – that’s fine, maybe you can point me in the right direction of where I can find some water. You see my horse is really thirsty and might get sick if he does not get some water soon.

TRAVELLER

Maybe I could interest you in some of my belongings in trade with your knowledge of where I may find some water?

EXT. CUTAWAY SHOT of the TRAVELLER shuffling through his belongings

EXT. MEDIUM SHOT of the TRAVELLER holding a random item

TRAVELLER

How about this cool thingy majig? No?

STRANGE TRAVELLER throws item over his shoulder, and he digs through his belongings again

TRAVELLER

What is this?

The TRAVELLER is holding an old rolled up piece of paper, as his unrolls it, the piece of paper has strange drawings and markings on it. As the TRAVELLER was about to crunch up the piece of paper and throw it away, OUR HERO stops and turns towards the TRAVELLER

EXT. CLOSE UP of OUR HERO face as he stops and turns…

TRAVELLER

Ah! A thing for the arts!

EXT. CUTAWAY SHOT of the piece of paper with mysterious drawings

EXT. CLOSE UP of TRAVELLERS face
The TRAVELLER looks over the paper again, dazed and confused look on his face

EXT. MEDIUM SHOT of TRAVELLER on caravan

TRAVELLER

I don’t even know what this is. It’s just some stand doodles and markings.

OUR HERO quickly reaches for the paper, as the TRAVELLER pulls back

TRAVELLER

Not so quick, first you need to tell me where I can find some water for my horse.

EXT. LONG SHOT of caravan as OUR HERO gets on caravan

NARRATOR

OUR HERO hopeless, and eager to find a new lead that would lead him to the hidden treasure quickly hopes on to the TRAVLLERS caravan and points the TRAVELLER south of the village down the mountain towards the stream that cuts through the mountain from the ocean.

CUT TO:

SCENE 5

EXT. LONG SHOT of the village at night

NARRATOR

The village was silent as the villagers slept, the night only lite by moonlight. OUR HERO gets ready, dressed in all black looking like a ninja spy.

EXT. LONG SHOT of OUR HERO travelling down the mountainous forest quickly…

NARRATOR

He heads south down the mountain trying to stay as silent as possible until he reaches the foot of the mountain at the edge of the forest and

EXT. LONG SHOT of OUR HERO at the edge of the forest looking outwards

EXT. LONG SHOT/POV SHOT from OUR HEROS POV of the lights in the town and the castle

NARRATOR

sees the lights from the town and the fortified castle in the heart of the town.

CUT TO:

SCENE 6

EXT. MEDIUM SHOT of OUR HERO in a small dark tunnel heading towards the cellar of the fortified castle

NARRATOR

Waist deep in water, OUR HERO is crawling through a small dark tunnel heading towards the cold cellar of the fortified castle

INT. LONG SHOT from inside the cellar of OUR HERO coming out from the tunnel into the cellar

INT. various MEDIUM SHOTS of OUR HERO searching for the treasure

NARRATOR

As OUR HERO eyes adjusted to the darkness he is able to vaguely make out his surrounds, luckily for him the cellar was unguarded. Unable to see the map, which was in his pocket, he tries to visualize the map in his head, after going over the map over and over OUR HERO searches the entire room for the treasure.

INT. MEDIUM SHOT of OUR HERO walking into the treasure chest

NARRATOR

Frustrated by not being able to see clearly OUR HERO searches franticly until he walks into a strange looking chest laying on the floor.

INT. LOW ANGLE/MEDIUM/POV SHOT of OUR HERO finding the treasure from the chest’s POV

INT. LOW ANGLE/MEDIUM CLOSE UP of OUR HERO facial expression

NARRATOR

OUR HERO eyes widen and glimmer with excitement after opening the chest and seeing the hidden treasure for the first time, just as he was about to reach in and grab the treasure the cellar door creeks open and footsteps are heard coming down the old wooden stairs…

BLACK OUT

TO BE CONTINUED?

Storyboard Project: The Showdown

The air is dry as tumbleweed blows past the saloon in a small old run-down town of Skeleton Canyon; a loud argument begins to arise from within the old saloon. The furnishings inside the dusty old saloon is typical in the Wild west, two overly drunk cowboys are starting to get restless as one is claiming how the other has mistaken stolen his stool and drank his shot of whiskey. “You know you done sat on a stool that don’t belong to you” said Curly Bill, an outlaw on the run, wanted for murder in Arizona. “Well, I don’t believe this stool belongs to you, because I’m sitting on it, and if this stool belongs to me, than this whiskey here, belongs to me too” replied Thomas Coleman, a lone gunman wanted by county sheriffs for bank robbery. As the two drunk men continue to converse, the amount of alcohol rushing through each vines gets the best of both of them as calm words turn to anger, and anger into violence. As Curly Bill takes his dueling glove from his back pant pocket, as his slaps Thomas Coleman he utters with slurred words “I, Curly Bill challenge you, sir – to a duel to the death!!” Without even a slightest flinch, Thomas Coleman downs the shot of whiskey he had lined up and began to walk towards the door, just before he walks out, Curly Bill was about to speak as Thomas Coleman says “I accept your challenge for a duel to the death” The saloon was dead silent for a brief moment, as soon as the moment past and reality settled in, the entire saloon rushed past Curly Bill as he drank one last shot of whiskey to go outside for front row seats of the gun blazing showdown that was about to go down.

The old tow of Skeleton Canyon had a small population, the word had spread across town like wildfire, as it seemed that every last soul in the town had turned out to the showdown between Curly Bill and Thomas Coleman. The tension in the air was felt by everyone there, dead silent as the wind breezed through the street crowded with folks from the town. Thomas Coleman stood in the middle of the street still like a painted portrait; he stood there smoking a cigarette while he was practicing drawing his revolver. People began to whisper among themselves but then became silent as Curly Bill stepped out of the old saloon with a cigarette in his mouth and walked into the street as his pushed his way through the crowd that was gather in front of the saloon. As Curly Bill walked into the middle of the street a couple yard away from Thomas Coleman, Coleman spoke “Curly Bill, what took you so long? Afraid to die on a beautiful day like this one?” “Afraid? Why would I be afraid when it’s you who’s going to die today!” replied Curly Bill.

Both outlaws stared in each other’s eyes with a cold stare of death, each with hearts that is blacker than coal and souls that’s has been lost on a bet with the devil. They stool still in dead in the heart of the town with all eyes on them with their hands to their sides hovering over their side arms ready to draw and put a few rounds of bullets into the others chest. As the two outlaws stand in the middle of the street the sun was beginning to set over the horizon, the temperature still dry and hot, the street packed with all the folks of Skeleton Canyon awaiting to witness the death of one of these men. As the sun sets multiple gunshots are heard from afar.


The Script

SCENE 1

EXT. ESTABLISHING SHOT OLD WESTERN TOWN 1850
In an old run-down torn of SKELETON CANYON, a small but well-known town located northeast of Arizona. A loud argument arises from the town’s old saloon.

CUT TO:

SCENE 2

EXT.INT. SKELTON CANYON OLD SALOON
Two drunken outlaws, CURLY BILL and THOMAS COLEMAN are becoming unsettled after CURLY BILL accuses THOMAS COLEMAN of sitting on his stool.

CURLY BILL
(Drunkenly, slurring words)

You know you done sat on a stool that don’t belong to you!

THOMAS COLEMAN
(Smirking)

Well, I do not believe this stool here belongs to you, because it is I who is sitting on it. And if this stool here belongs to me, than this whiskey here belongs to me too!

MEDIUM/TWO SHOT: CURLY BILL and THOMAS COLEMAN argument slowly gets louder and louder, slight pushing and shoving slowly turns into violence.

CURLY BILL
(Takes dueling glove from back pant pocket)

I, CURLY BILL challenge you sir! – To a duel to the death!!

Without flinching, THOMAS COLEMAN downs one last shot of whiskey and proceeds walking towards the door slowly and just before he walks out he stops and turns to CURLY BILL

THOMAS COLEMAN
(Straight/serious face)

I accept your challenge to duel to the death; I will be waiting for you.

The saloon went silent for a brief moment, as soon as the moment pasted and reality settled in, the entire saloon rushed pasted CURLY BILL throwing over chairs and tables to get front-row seats of the gun-blazing showdown. CURLY BILL takes one more shot of whiskey.

CUT TO:

SCENE 3

EXT. OLD WESTERN TOWN of SKELETON CANYON
It seemed like the entire town of SKELETON CANYON poured out into the main street outside the old saloon to witness first hand of the showdown between CURLY BILL and THOMASE COLEMAN. Everyone felt the tension in the streets, dead silence; nothing was heard but the wind that breezed through the streets.

LONG SHOT: THOMAS COLEMAN stood still in the middle of the main dirt road that stretched across the town, motionless like a painted portrait, smoking a cigarette while practicing drawing his revolver.

CLOSE UP: People began to whisper among each other and then became silent.

MEDIUM SHOT: As CURLY BILL stepped out the saloon smoking a cigarette as his pushes pass the crowd gather in front of the saloon and walks into the middle of the road and faces THOMAS COLMAN.

LONG SHOT: Saloon is in the background with a full crowd in front and both outlaws are seen across at each end of the screen.

CLOSE UP:

THOMAS COLEMAN
(Joking)

CURLY BILL, what took you so long? Afraid to die on a beautiful day like this one?

CURLY BILL
(Overly confidant)

Afraid? Why would I be afraid when it is you that who is going to die today!

CUT TO:

SCENE 4

EXT. OLD WESTERN TOWN of SKELETON CANYON
LONG SHOT: The town is seen on screen, the saloon, the crowd gathered to witness the showdown, both outlaws staring straight at each other.

EXTREME CLOSE UP: The eyes of THOMAS COLEMAN.

EXTREME CLOSE UP: The eyes of CURLY BILL.

EXTREME CLOSE UP: The right hand of THOMAS COLEMAN hovering over his revolver.

EXTREME CLOSE UP: The left hand of CURLY BILL hovering over his sidearm.

HIGH ANGLE/LONG SHOT – OLD WESTERN TOWN of SKELETON CANYON zooming out
The showdown is seen on screen, the streets are jammed packed with people. As the camera slowly zooms out and the back scenery is seen as the sun is beginning to set and dusk is slowly setting in. As the world is seen, multiple gunshots are heard.

FADE TO BLACK

THE END.