Mr Medved

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Everything posted by Mr Medved

  1. I don't have a sh*t-ton of money so am less concerned. I actually feel quietly comfortable holding cash in a Russian bank account. A far cry from 1998! I don't think it matters what you think is overvalued, it's where the masses/"dumb money" run to, and getting there first
  2. The government wants cold hard cash!
  3. Apparently Aussie ones are popular: Cyber Criminals Can Buy Passports On The Dark Web For As Little As $15, Study Finds Are you a convicted felon who has dreams of traveling abroad? Or a cybercriminal looking to set up a legitimate bank account into which you can deposit your ill-gotten funds? Then buying a passport off the dark web is an option that you should consider! But while in the past forged or stolen passports would fetch a hefty sum on the black market, thanks to the modern marvel that is the dark web, prices have fallen significantly. Last month, Comparitech analyzed listings on a handful of illicit marketplaces to try and determine exactly how much a passport or passport scan can fetch in the seediest corners of the Internet. Their analysts scoured marketplaces like Dream Market, Berlusconi Market, Wall Street Market and Tochka Free Market, among others. During their search, they discovered that passport scans, which are often enough for a scammer or criminal to set up a bank account in another person's name, can be purchased for as little as $15. For slightly more, an aspiring criminal can purchase a passport and drivers license scan - which would be enough to open an account on a cryptocurrency exchange or - better yet - hack into the account of an unsuspecting trader by exploiting password recovery tools. However, real passports still fetch a hefty sum, and even forgeries can be prohibitively expensive for some. Here are Comparitech's key findings: The average price of a digital passport scan is $14.71. If proof of address or proof of identification —a selfie, utility bill and/or driver’s license—is added to a passport scan, the average price jumps to $61.27. Australian passport scans were the most common, and yet, the most expensive ($32). The average price of a real, physical passport is $13,567. The average price of a counterfeit, physical passport is $1,478. Real or forged, passport scans are typically accompanied by other forms of identification - a utility bill, selfie of the ID card owner holding up their ID or a driver’s license. But they cost significantly more than the passport scan alone - often upwards of $60. But scammers get what they pay for: Because multiple forms of ID are usually required to bypass proof-of-address and proof-of-identification controls on websites. But if a user has one, they can seize control of the account of another individual, assuming the documents are in the correct name. The bulk of Comparitech's analysis focused on digital scans and images of real passports. The site's researchers found 48 unique listings for real passports scans, 38 of which were not sold with any accompanying proof of ID or address, spanning 20 countries. While they found no discernible pattern in pricing relative to supply or the power of the country's passport, they did discover the Australian passports were the most common and the most expensive. And while a wide range of vendors appeared to sell passport scans, only a small handful specialized in providing them. Passports sold on the dark web came in a few forms: Editable Photoshop templates used for making fake passport scans. These cost very little and are available for almost any Western country. They make up the majority of marketplace listings when searching for “passport”. Digital passport scans. These real scans of actual passports cost around $10 each and are often sold in bulk. They are available for several countries and are fairly common. Physical passport forgeries. We found listings for counterfeit passport forgeries for a handful of European countries. They typically cost north of $1,000. Real, physical passports. These are the real deal (according to the listing), so they are not common nor cheap. Most of them cost more than $12,000. Dark web vendors accept payment exclusively in cryptocurrency, typically Bitcoin or Monero. (all pricings in Comparitech's research were based on conversion rates on Sept. 24 and Sept. 25). Most of the physical passports that Comparitech found for sale on the dark web were from European countries, with physical passports coming in two forms: genuine and forgeries. They can be used in fraud-related crimes as well as illegal immigration, human trafficking, and smuggling. Authentic passports from Europe are hard to come by and cost a lot, with prices ranging from $8,216 for a German passport to $17,116 for the UK. Forgeries are about one-tenth the price of real ones - but they still cost in excess of $1,000. Criminals who purchase passport scans typically target one of three venues for fraud-related crimes: cryptocurrency exchanges, payment systems, and betting websites. Here’s an example of how a passport scan might be used in an account recovery scam (summary courtesy of Comparitech): The target has an account with a cryptocurrency exchange. They’ve set up two-factor authentication on their account, so a code is sent to an app on their phone to verify logins. Through some other means, the scammer steals the user’s password (perhaps through phishing or a data breach). But because 2FA is enabled on the account, they can’t get in. Instead, the scammer poses as the victim and approaches the cryptocurrency exchange, saying they’ve lost access to their phone and cannot get the authentication PIN, and thus cannot log in. The cryptocurrency exchange requests the account holder send a scan of their ID to prove their identity before resetting the 2FA on the account. In many cases, companies will require the person take a selfie while holding the ID, hence the higher price for passport scans with selfies. The scammer modifies the scans from the dark web as necessary to match the victim’s personal details, then sends it to the exchange, still posing as the victim. Upon receipt of proof of identity, the cryptocurrency exchange resets or removes the 2FA on the account, allowing the hacker to access and drain the victim’s crypto assets. Hackers routinely change the passwords and email addresses associated with accounts to make it harder for the account owner to regain control. Cryptocurrency exchanges and individual wallets are becoming popular targets, with more than $1 billion in crypto stolen last year. And as cryptos become more widely adopted, this type of fraud is only going to spread.
  4. The guy I met had a profession on the "highly skilled migrant list". His relative is a dentist. It's a point-based system, age is a factor so it costs more (the dentist is in his 50s). If you're willing to buy a few million dollars worth of government bonds you'll get residency regardless of professional background.
  5. I met a friend of a friend on the weekend, who moved from Russia to Australia as a skilled migrant a few years ago. He said it cost him 10,000AUD a visa for himself and his wife. Her parents are looking to move as well now (her step-father is a medical professional). Apparently because of their age it costs 60,000AUD each to get residency - 120k for a couple. This is the kind of thing that is propping up a weak economy - capital inflows from migration. Not just from visa fees but the capital they bring with them. I recall reading an article in the year where it stated Australia has the most millionaire migrants in the world (that is net, not per capita). It's why immigration levels is a taboo topic and no major political party will touch the subject. The Australian economy is in terrible shape and turning off the migration tap may trigger a deep recession.
  6. I would like to be abducted by perky young cheerleaders but hasn't happened yet!
  7. The only thing that could drive a boom is massive influx of capital (unlikely? who knows) or China/central banks stimulus (they've done it before). Maybe a world war would be a positive outcome economically if Australia was not directly involved (safe haven, provider of supplies, etc.). IMO the country is already in recession regardless of what statistics are being trotted out by government officials. The macro indicators out of China are not positive either. It sounds like the banks have essentially brushed off the Royal Commission so they may get back to their old habits if left unchecked... that may provide additional stimulus. The AUD continues to tank, I'm actually on the positive side of holding Russian Rubles! Good thing I'm holding USD and XAU too. I know I'm an old fart, but remember when gold was less than $1,000AUD/ounce - it is now $2,200. A crack-up boom is possible, but I think she's dead, Jim!
  8. Looks like Tor has been taken by a band of ninjas. Must have left is bayonet at home...
  9. Gold has been a nice hedge against a declining AUD. I don't see the AUD recovering until the next commodity bull market... which may coincide with a major war cycle, so nothing to celebrate. I'm still bullish on the USD. The trade wars and what's going on in Hong Kong is not good for global trade or for China. I spoke with people in a company that deals internationally, particularly in Latin America, and said business was down quite a bit in the last year - Australia was actually the strongest for them. Swaize - want to be my hedge fund manager? I don't have time to keep up with what's happening in the markets. I was actually thinking of contacting Marty to see if he'd like me to organise a WEC in Australia for him... I'm just a bit disorganised at the minute.
  10. I stumbled across videos of Count Dankula recently. He made the news for training a pug to make a Nazi salute to piss off his girlfriend. He's been making a series of videos called Absolute Mad Lads which is based on true crimes. I highly recommend it, the one on Shoko Asahara is mind-blowing. One that I liked was on Simon Mann who was a mercenary in Africa in the 1990s. The first video is on Mann, the second is an interview with Mann! Very interesting if you like this kind of thing. Absolute Mad Lads - Simon Mann Interview with Steven Mann
  11. Just quietly I think Australia is in a recession and global recession is not far away. I spoke to a recruiter about a role and there were 686 applicants! Looks like the RBA wants a Japanese-style zombie economy while the government continues to import hundreds of thousands of migrants and over ten thousand millionaires every year! ( I read an article that said Australia imported 12,000 millionaires in a year, second was USA at 10,000 - but can't find the article) Which leads to: Ponzi nation. Not going to be pleasant when things start falling apart.
  12. I haven't spoken to him in years. Lost track of him when he stopped posting. I started buying USD when it was 0.80, now it's around 0.70. I think it's going lower, which means gold will go higher in AUD (most likely).
  13. Maniaxe was a local support band I saw last night. Liked them!
  14. I saw Tank last night with a few other bands - Raven, Girlschool and Maniaxe. They were awesome live.
  15. I have forgotten about gold until the last week. An ounce retails for around 2,000AUD (about a 50% increase since I started buying ten years ago, I should have bought property!). But it jumped from under 1,000 to about 1,500 during the GFC and I think we're heading for a global recession, so now is the time to buy in Australia IMO.