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AS HEARD ON - The Jim Polito Show - WTAG 580 AM: Fake People and their Impact and Shopping Securely Online This Holiday Season

Craig Peterson - America's Leading Technology News Commentator

Release Date: 12/01/2020

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Good morning, everybody. I was on WTAG this morning with Jim Polito.  We discussed the Fake People Phenomenon and some of the positive and negative impacts it is having.  Then we got into Online shopping and how to do it securely. Here we go with Jim.

For more tech tips, news, and updates, visit - CraigPeterson.com.


Automated Machine Generated Transcript:

Craig Peterson: [00:00:00] One of the ways that people get scammed, and this isn't just our more senior citizens, but it's all the way down into their thirties and forties. By people who put up fake profiles on these dating sites.

Hey, good morning, Craig, Peterson here. I was talking this morning on the air with Mr. Jim Polito, and we spoke about some of the major changes this year because of the lockdown that we have seen in the online business.

What can small retailers do? What should you be doing when you're shopping online? Then we got into the whole "designed to deceive" thing with pictures. There's some, this crazy website out there that lets you create completely fake people. So all of that and more here, right now with Mr. Polito.

Jim Polito: [00:00:56] One of our favorite guys, I'm talking about our tech talk guru, Craig Peterson. Good morning, sir.

Craig Peterson: [00:01:04] Hey, good morning.

Jim Polito: [00:01:06] How are you been?

Craig Peterson: [00:01:08] I've been doing pretty well. Not sleeping so well the last couple of nights, but it might be all of that Turkey, I think.

Jim Polito: [00:01:15] I thought that was supposed to make you sleep with that L-tryptophan, but maybe not.

Craig Peterson: [00:01:20] Yeah.

Jim Polito: [00:01:20] Maybe not. Listen you celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving and then this Thanksgiving, maybe it's just too much Thanksgiving.

Craig Peterson: [00:01:28] That's true. It is a Thankful time. I'm so glad to be here. It's this crazy. We've got a great family and even though some of them were remote, it was still, it was a really nice day.

Jim Polito: [00:01:41] I'm glad to hear that. All right, let's get a look at, well, first of all, let me just ask you off the cuff, cyber Monday.  Black Friday, they were really the same thing. There was a great increase in retail shopping, but it all came online, I guess.

Craig Peterson: [00:02:00] Yeah. Yeah, no, it really did. This year. Their stores were down depending on the store, their traffic anywhere from about 60% to 75%. So it was online, but there wasn't the emphasis this year on those two days, you mentioned of course, black Friday, which has been historically where businesses make their money.

They finally go black. And then cyber Monday for the online businesses, but that emphasis now is over the entire season. We saw a week or two weeks beforehand of these stores offering great deals or at least what appeared to be great deals. As we've talked about before, You really gotta shop around.

Jim Polito: [00:02:45] To make sure that you're getting the right deal.  I would imagine that you feel this trend will continue right through the holiday.

Craig Peterson: [00:02:53] Yeah. I've mentioned that a couple of times in my show as well, but yeah, the bottom line is this is just going to keep going.

These retailers have to make the money. There are a few like Amazon, for instance really profited. More than that it's like half a million new employees roughly over at Amazon right now. They've really profited from this whole lockdown thing. Many other businesses, particularly the small ones have really suffered.

It's hard for people to shop. For instance, when I talked about what are the things you should do or look for when you're shopping online? One of the things is to really look at the retailer. Can they be trusted with your data? I hate to say that because it's the small guys that have a hard time with it, at least so you'd think right. Equifax, TJX, and all these other big ones aside. It's difficult for them to come up in the search engine results. It's difficult for the small guys to be able to really compete on any sort of an even footing. Then you get these search engines like Google that really do weigh things towards some of their own properties.

You get Amazon who weighs things. There've been suits that I believe Amazon just lost a suit over in Europe because when you do a search for something on Amazon, they will steer you towards their own products. And I've seen this before and you may not be aware of it, but they have dozens and dozens and dozens of their own private-labeled products.

So when you're buying something, it could well be an Amazon thing and not from some small company.

Jim Polito: [00:04:42] Hey, I bought it, but this wasn't like a private label. It was actually the Amazon label. I bought Amazon batteries because I needed some and they had their D cell batteries, the real big ones. Amazon. I don't know why had a limit on the number you could buy. So I bought some Rayovac and some of theirs, I maxed out on both of them cause I needed a bunch of batteries. It was for,  these window candles, you know? It was Amazon made.

It wasn't like them being sneaky or it wasn't made, I'm sure it was made under license, but it was the name Amazon on it and it was a battery.

Craig Peterson: [00:05:25] Some of those are really good. And I've done that before, too. I've got an Amazon power strip and I use these batteries that are rechargeable. It's a new generation. You can recharge them a thousand times. It's just incredible.

They perform as well as a regular battery. So I use those very, very frequently and they're Amazon branded. I used to buy, what is it, Sanyo? I think was the original company Panasonic.

Jim Polito: [00:05:55] Yup.

Craig Peterson: [00:05:56] Rechargeable batteries.

Jim Polito: [00:05:57] Interesting. All right. So the trend continues. Amazon will be sneaky. Speaking of sneaky, you sent me some stuff in the notes that was incredible. It's actually the first story in the notes. It's about designed to deceive making fake people. Now, why would I want to make a fake face? Not my face, but a fake face.

Craig Peterson: [00:06:25] Well, I can tell you, I, you know, I've been doing internet for Oh, since 83, I think was I first got started in it. Wow. But here's the problem I've seen. Cause I started making commercial websites back when it was legal to do it. And that was September of 91. And we built some of the biggest properties. You might remember Big Yellow or Superpages, you know?

Jim Polito: [00:06:54] Wow.

Craig Peterson: [00:06:55] I put together the team and we wrote all of the software and we built the data center. We ran it, absolutely everything.  I've built websites for the last count it was over 5,000 businesses over the years. Not something I really do anymore. One of the problems we had with those websites is that people would say, okay, well either I need a group of people on my website here, or I want this face, or I want that face and you can go and you can buy these pictures of people and it's a model and they have to assign the release. Then once they've got that release signed, you can use it, but you still might get sued.

I had more than one occasion where they came back to me and said, we have to change the picture because we were contacted by that person and that did not cover this type of usage of the picture. So it's very legitimate reasons.

If you're going to put a face-up on a website, So now we can go to a website called generate photos, and you can buy a big person for as little as a buck, depending on how many you want. And you can go right now to a website for free called this person does not exist.com and get a completely computer-generated person. And you know what? It looks like a real person. So there are legitimate reasons for this, but as you can guess, Jim, there's illegitimate too.

Jim Polito: [00:08:29] Uh, yeah. And you know, this is like that whole thing I see on Tik Tok.

Like people actually themselves superimposing the face of say, Arnold Schwartzenegger. Over them. And it's like a combination of their face and Arnold, and it looks really reall.

Craig Peterson: [00:08:51] Let's talk about another side of this. That's bad. It's very similar to what you're talking about, and that is people are being scanned all of the time, and one of the ways that people get scammed and this isn't just our more senior citizens, but all the way down into their thirties and forties. By people who put out fake files on these dating sites. And they started a relationship back and forth. And then, you know what?

Jim had turns out that their mother needs surgery. It turns out that it's going to be like $5,000 and they just can't afford it. And this is part of a conversation they're really working with these people. These are crazy good Grifters, nowadays. And that's where we're concerned because now you can take one of these pictures.

You can put it up on one of these websites, you can now start a conversation and this is going to lead to even more people being scammed. And I'm very worried. You're in the holidays is there's so many of us out there that are lonely and looking for. I have a little bit of companionship, even if it's just online the way they've dealt with it before is, and I'm sorry, I'm going on and on here, but this is something that really irks me, but the way they've dealt with this type of thing before is.

You, you have someone who sets up a new profile. So there are people, usually volunteers at these dating sites who take that photo and use Google's reverse image search to see if that's a legitimate person, or if they took the picture from some other site out there. And then they'll say, okay, well, this is obviously not a real person because we found this picture on 50 other sites, and doesn't look legit.

Well, there's something like this. They're not going to find a picture anywhere because it only costs them three bucks to buy one picture.

Jim Polito: [00:10:48] Wow.

Craig Peterson: [00:10:49] That doesn't exist. It's not a real person. Right. So I'm getting worried.

Jim Polito: [00:10:54] Yeah. So I do that reverse image search. Right. Which I always do. And nothing comes up because it's unique.

Craig Peterson: [00:11:05] Yeah. This is AI now. The other people that should be worried about this, and you mentioned the videos is Actors, right. Who are out there because now they can really take anybody who physically can move around and do all of the actions that they want, and basically do it in a green suit and then paste any base they want to on it, including these types of faces.

So you'll see, in the future, these movie companies having fully computer-generated people from every angle, everything about them. There will be I don't know if they're going to copyright and trademark it patented. I don't know what they'll do, but now they don't have to worry about that. Actor or actress aging.

Because they can always use them and they can generate that say says at 80 years old and that same face at 20 years old. It's really going to change everything.

Jim Polito: [00:12:09] Yeah, I know. I mean, the set, the difficult thing is, um, For politicians too, cause somebody could ruin your you're running for a race and somebody could, uh, put you, um, as a politician, into a compromising situation, release that video.

And as Mark Twain said, you know, what is it? A lie makes it all the way around the world before the truth gets up out of bed. Um,

Craig, this is fascinating. So you've got the show on Sundays. From 11 o'clock great show, um, that everybody should watch on and listen to on TAG and HYN. And then, uh, if people want to reach you, what do they do?

Craig Peterson: [00:12:52] Well, the easiest way is go to my [email protected]. I answered questions every day that people just email me.  I'm more than glad to do that. Just email me [email protected].

Jim Polito: [00:13:06] Craig, always a pleasure and thank you so much, sir. We'll talk to you next week. I hope you get some sleep.

Craig Peterson: [00:13:12] Thanks. Bye-bye

Jim Polito: [00:13:14] All right. A final word. When we return, you're listening to the Jim Polito show, your safe space.

Craig Peterson: [00:13:20] You guys might be interested to know that I was on WBZ. They started making some little news things with me, as well as WRKO too. The big powerhouses in the Boston market. So that was fun yesterday. Hopefully, we'll be able to just a little bit more of that, get this word out to people, but what they should be doing.

I got a great little note too, from one of our listener's Guy, and he was saying, okay, after yesterday, Monday, I'm going to have to check off of the pictures in the office, make sure their firmware is up-to-date.

So another note, really good thing here, hoping to raise awareness and telling people what they can do in order to get. A little bit safer in this online world.

Take care of everybody and we should be back tomorrow. Bye-bye.


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