Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Bay Area man must pay $136,000 in tech-support scam against elderly (mercurynews.com)
181 points by newman8r 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 119 comments

This judgement has no teeth:

>Under the settlement, Brar — who operated Genius Technologies and Avangatee Services and does not admit or deny the allegations, according to court documents — “is permanently restrained and enjoined from advertising, marketing, promoting, or offering for sale, or assisting in the advertising, marketing, promoting, or offering for sale of Technical Support Services.”

This guy is being made to pay 136,000 despite:

“The cost to consumers ranged between several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars,” the FTC said of the scam, which appeared to begin in 2015.

This is not justice, and this judgement does not serve as a deterrent. This is grand larceny and needs to be accompanied with jail time for perpetrators.

Paid to the FCC, and not the victims? It appears that the government is not interested in the victims, rather just wants a cut of the scam for themselves.

Well, congress has only granted them the power to collect fines. The FCC has not been empowered to dispense compensation. However, now the victims have a pretty good piece of evidence for a small claims court filing. Andnof course, the justice department at several levels could bring charges.

How exactly would you propose a settlement of a criminal proceeding be paid out to a large number of victims? This is what class-action is designed for: it qualifies claimants, unifies proceedings and operates in civil court where the barrier is much lower. I'm probably like most in that I think most class-action suits are ambulance chasing lawyers cashing in vs. justice for the true victims, but this seems to be a textbook scenario for class action.

This was not a criminal proceeding.

> I'm probably like most in that I think most class-action suits are ambulance chasing lawyers cashing in

That's not "most people", that's the big business lobby's propaganda. Yes, it's often the case that the costs to prosecute a case are a large fraction of the damages. The defendant doesn't escape punishment just because their payments go to legal fees instead of customers.

GDPR fines also go to the governments and not the victims. The reason this is relevant because there wasn’t any discussion of the potential cash-grab incentives for governments because of GDPR. Violations against a person should have fines paid to the person and not the government, thus the government becomes a neutral party and not a beneficiary.

FTC, although to be fair it doesn't say what will be done with the funds.

I seriously doubt that, unless otherwise stated, the FTC would do anything other than appropriate the funds for itself.

> I seriously doubt that, unless otherwise stated, the FTC would do anything other than appropriate the funds for itself.

The money goes to the Treasury. Congress holds the purse strings.

FTC fines are not designed to make victims whole; fines are inherently punitive. In our current system, restitution and civil damages fill that role; i.e., victims who want to be made whole should sue Mr. Brar individually, sue him as a class, and/or find a prosecutor who will go after criminal charges with restitution and make sure they're included as victims.

The good news for victims is that the FTC settlement generally makes civil suits easier for victims to win. The settlement significantly increases the probability of success and significantly decreasing the cost of each individual victim's lawsuit. In particularly egregious cases, FTC settlements will require an explicit admission of guilt. Those admissions make victims' cases even easier to win (the victim only has to prove that they were defrauded; the question of whether the interaction was fraudulent is already settled).

IMO the most appropriate structure for an FTC fine would be ${some multiple of the money you made scamming people, AFTER paying back all victims who decide to file a civil suit}. I think the ordering is exactly the opposite, though, unless the civil suits include punitive damanges. We'd have to find a bankrupcy lawyer to be sure.

It sounds to me like each individual he scammed also has a case. Which means there's hope for a more just outcome.

That is what I was thinking as well, a civil case from each person scammed, perhaps put into a class action which would result in a some justice for the folks who were scammed, and perhaps create a permanent garnishment on all of his wages from now until he dies where a percentage of anything he makes in any job goes to his victims.

All a class action will do is make one firm 80% or more of the judgment. And it appears the defendant is judgment proof as this is a low single digit percentage of the original award.

Class actions are worthless as a form of justice to the victim. They might get a $30 check.

I wasn't clear in my communications ;-).

In cases like these (non-violent economic crimes) there is often a call for "justice" which includes incarcerating the perpetrator. I am of the opinion that locking them up furthers the damage of their crime by costing tax payers to pay to lock them up, house, and feed them. Because of that opinion, I lean toward justice solutions whereby the perpetrator is allowed to live in the 'outside' world but a percentage of all their earnings going forward is paid into a victim's restitution fund. This is analagous with "mortgaging their life", think of it as a student loan debt for criminals that can't be discharged through bankruptcy.

The idea being that "justice" means impacting the rest of the perpetrators life with an economic cost equivalent to the economic impact they had on their victims lives. And doing so with a minimal increase in tax cost to enforce.

What kind of useful work can a fraudster do? You can't trust him with money, and I'd rather unskilled labor jobs go to honest people.

How many of those individuals will come to realize this particular guy is the one who scammed him? Has there been an effort by the government to reach out to each of his victims and notify them of the identity of the man who scammed them?

If it becomes a class-action suit, you can guarantee the lawyers will find every last victim.

And then some.

Just for those with the knowledge and money to pursue a case against him.

Completely agree. These scum definitely need to go to jail, to send fair warning to would-be scammers that it's simply not worth the risk.

>The judgment was for $7.6 million, but it was partially suspended because of Brar's inability to pay the full amount, according to the FTC.

Pushover justice system, weak.

Unless I'm mistaken, the data suggests that harsher punishments do not work as a form of deterrent. It seems inappropriate to cage someone for a non-violent offence.

In fact many claim that harsher punishments don't work too well for violent offences. Violent people don't think of consequences.

But for premeditated large-scale economic offences, they certainly work, because the punishment is part of the calculation that the criminal makes.

Non-violent, victimless offense, yes.

This appears to have been premeditated with a number of victims, all of whom were disadvantaged relative to the perpetrator.

perhaps for a single non-violent offenses.

But for theft by deception practiced at scale? Absolutely should be jailed for a significant amount of time.

I'd argue for significant amount of jail time simply for the waste and violations of law involved in needlessly ringing so many phones and violating Do Not Call laws.

these people create a real cost for society, and the penalty needs to be bigger than "oh, just give back some of your criminal gains". If you think that caging someone is inappropriate or doesn't work, you can go for lashing, or something else. What would you actually suggest as a deterrent?

I don't think the argument here is against jail time. Just that the reasoning it will work as a deterrent is flawed.

Unfortunately, we/I don't have a good answer to your question what to use as a deterrent. The problem is a) people do not act rationally in a universal way b) people are bad with statistics c) arrest precision (Pr[you get arrested|you commit a crime] is not that great.

(c) is subjective so let us forget about it. If the criminal was rational then they would think as follows:

Pr[caught]Cost-Pr[not caught]Pr[succeed|not caught]payout >0 => commit crime. Humans are pretty bad at underestimating probability of events against them and overestimate their chance of success (people buy lottery tickets for instance).

If a criminal is irrational, deterrents will not really work by definition -- you might be able to make due in a per case basis.

You can view this as a different version of lottery ticket. No matter the risk of wasting your money, people are going to keep buying them. It really baffles me too.


Consider now an extreme version tried in the past -- you commit even a simple crime, you are executed. First, this is a waste of resources (you could still use these individuals). In any system of law, yet in particular in a common law system, where the weight of precedence and law interpretation is much greater, every single one of us has almost surely committed a crime by some interpretation, obscure law etc.

Second, as a criminal at that point you are going to escalate. The damage a single individual can cause to society on average has increased dramatically over time. Do not think about gun ownership. A man can just run over a busy intersection in their attempt to escape.

To give some weight to my words, here is a personal story. My car was hit by an individual in a car a couple of years back on my way home. The driver drove the wrong way on a one way street, panicked and crushed into me. Instead of pulling over the they attempted to escape. In the process, pedestrians had to jump for their lives, while another car was hit also.

That person endangered the lives of several people, damaged one more car, to avoid a DUI (my opinion from their erratic behavior and appearance). So only by luck, a possible DUI/crash did not upgrade to mass murder.

Yes, people are not strictly rational, and I generally consider a lottery an innumeracy tax.

The ideal deterrence, based on psychological studies, is small penalties reliably and immediately handed out, but the only way to implement that is a massive surveillance society and penalties without the delay of trials.

This could work with speeding, instead of being an infraction, would just be taxed, maybe $0.01 per [mph over the limit] per mile. So I could go 100mph in a 65 zone for $0.35, but it'll add up real fast, and cruising at 79 in a 65 for your 20 mile commute would cost .14202=$5.60/day or $1400 per year. Actually higher penalties than now, since most people wouldn't get caught even once per year, and a 79mph ticket might be $200 in comparison. So it'd provide a solid deterrence.

Yet, prison does still serve purposes. First, while people rarely calculate the exact rates of [getting caught] and [getting convicted] and then calculating the odds vs the payoff, the general concept of wanting to avoid the criminal justice system is enough that many people act to avoid it. So, it's a general. nonspecific deterrence, and it needs people getting imprisoned to maintain that.

Perhaps more importantly, it does a very specific type of deterrence. For the sample of people who have been convicted of a crime, it ensures that they won't be out and available to do it again while imprisoned, and will have paid disproportionately for their previous venture. So, this select group who have already demonstrated probability =1 for this crime, will be strongly deterred.

for that reason alone, I'd vote for keeping this perp off the streets for half a decade.

edit: error, clarity

It’s not as simple as violence = jail and non-violence = no jail. A person could still inflict a great deal of harm without physically administering it. Punishment is circumstantial.

If a person swats another person on a livestream should they go to jail? What about if a scammer wipes out the bank account of someone who is already poor and the anxiety causes them to commit suicide? What if someone’s life gets ruined by identity theft and it takes them years to recover? There’s lots of ways a person could ruin the lives of other people and inflict tons of damage while “non-violently” sitting behind a computer screen.

Why isn't it appropriate to "cage" someone for a seriously harmful, non-violent offense?

not saying I agree with these, but here's a couple of reasons:

* prison is part punishment - lose your freedom as a consequence of your crimes. Most probably relate to this.

* prison is to protect society from the individual - for non-violent crimes is this the optimal solution?

* prison is super expensive - will you pay extra taxes to keep this guy in jail?

* prison has a mixed record at best (and sometimes the opposite impact) at keeping people from re-offending or rehabilitating them - do you think there are programs in most/any prison tailored for white-collar tech crimes? Should there be when so few would benefit?

* Prison hurts society as a whole if the opportunity cost for the individual is high - Could this guy get a legit job, pay taxes, participate in the community?

I see the job of the legal system as weighing these factors (and more) to determine punishment. Every jurisdiction does that differently...

I'm certainly not suggesting that jailing people is always (or even often) the right course of action, but that some non-violent crimes are arguable more serious and harmful than some violent crimes, and ought to be punished accordingly.

The only lesson learned here is:

If you're going to pull a scam like this one, be sure to spend all of the money or hide it really well before you get caught.

Good job, FTC. That'll show 'em.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Brar was a crypto 'pioneer'.

If you hit the paywall, here's the story https://outline.com/GS6Yz8

Kitboga on twitch [1] calls these scammers and pretends to be various characters and waste their time. He puts funny moments on youtube [2].

At the "end" of his calls he confronts them and tries to talk to them about scamming old people. Most don't take it too well...

[1]: https://www.twitch.tv/kitboga

[2]: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm22FAXZMw1BaWeFszZxUKw

There's a very interesting two part episode of the podcast Reply All[1] where they delve into one of these tech support scams. Worth taking the time to listen to.

[1] https://www.gimletmedia.com/reply-all/long-distance

This one's great because they actually fly to India and meet the scammers! Definitely worth listening to both parts!

Thank you for linking this podcast! I just listened to the two episodes, and man, that was some awesome journalism.

[Edit]: Styling and phrasing

These streams are great and kitboga is a great person. My theory on the matter is that many of these people go into phone support where they deal with very rude people (often westerners), so when they leave to do something else, the act of scamming people through tech support doesn't faze them as much.

Those people should find a new line of work that doesn't involve dealing with customers... Then they should go fuck themselves.

Not sure if he is part of it, but there is a large amount of people faking this kind of content on YouTube for those juicy views and clicks. Kind of amazing to be scamming with an anti-scamming vibe.

It surely seems impossible to fake at the scale he does it. I'm going to assume you have not seen much of it.

Not really would only take a few friends willing to play scammers to fake his content, and he had a lot of monetary incentive. Does he have long spurts of scammers not answering or ignoring him? Seems fishy if he never does and seems risky to base his streaming career on something he can't control. It's the same reason "prank channels mostly became faked since it's a safer income stream.

Even with all these high profile settlements, it's still not stopping the problem.

Just today, we (Nomorobo) see 25 different numbers pushing Windows tech support scams. It's like that every. single. day.

This is an emergency call from Windows Microsoft. Your Windows license key have been expired all services are suspended on your computer. To renew call our toll free 1-877-231-6134.








(edit: formatting)

I hadn't heard of your service and just looked at it. If you're willing, a few questions I didn't see answered on the website:

From what I can tell, every incoming call rings simultaneously on the user's phone and Nomorobo's systems. If Nomorobo detects a blacklisted number, you pickup the call, play a 'you've been blocked' message, and hangup. Is that basically correct?

So Nomorobo ends up with a log of all my incoming calls. What happens with that data? Nomorobo is free for landlines (which I think means VOIP lines); is data collection the tradeoff?

Also, can I submit a whitelist, to prevent important numbers from being blocked? And is that list confidential?

Finally, do you work with old-fashioned POTS landlines? I'm interested in Nomorobo for an elderly couple who still have POTS.

Happy to talk about the landline product. Just for clarification, the mobile product works completely differently.

1. Yes, pretty much. Here's a more in-depth answer to what happens when the call is answered - http://www.6083716666.com/

2. Yes, we do get a log of the incoming calls. We use that to analyze the high frequency calling patterns across millions of phone lines and build the blacklist. The more people that contribute, the better the algorithm gets.

3. We globally manage the whitelist and good robocalls (school closings, pharmacies, doctors offices, etc)

4. We don't work with POTS lines yet. The older technologies are tougher to protect than the modern ones.

2. Is the data used for anything else? Who has access to it? How long is it retained? Is it anonymized?

Pretty sure this guy got my mother. I remember her describing exactly this trying to get her computer fixed. I had to explain to her it was a scam, help her replace all her credit cards and wipe her machine to factory since computer was compromised with remote access. It was a huge headache, this guy deserves jail.

I realize this is constrained somewhat by what the prosecutors can actually prove... but it seems like the person in question should go to jail for outright fraud and identity theft.

I don't think the FTC can prosecute someone for criminal charges, regardless of proof. They would need the DoJ or an US Attorney to follow up on those. AFAIK, IANAL.

I think the DOJ could potentially build off of this case, though.

Amateur question : would that fall under double jeopardy ?

IANAL but no, double jeopardy only applies to criminal cases

Are there ways we as citizens can push them to follow up on this?

$136,000? He probably won'e even stop running his "business." Sounds like he was making bank - just pay the fine and keep going. The problem with a lot of illegal telemarketers/advertisers is its super easy for them to just pretend to be someone else after they get caught and continue on their way.

$136,000 plus an injunction against ever practicing tech support again, whether legally or otherwise.

If he tries it again, and gets caught, then the next judgement will involve serious jail time.

But how would he get caught again? Let's say he starts a legitimate tech support business. I don't think there would be any connection between his new business license and the FTC. Nor his tax returns. I think the ONLY way he could get caught is to break ANOTHER law and end up before the FTC again.

Otherwise, I can't see how the FTC would have any idea what he's up to. It's not like businesspeople register with the FTC.

Real talk. $136,000? That's just "the cost of doing business."

That fine is so small it's almost like, nice to the guy they're fining.

anyone find this a bit funny?

   "...and can never offer tech support again."
I've never heard of a non licensed profession being barred from "practicing"

  Brar Mom: Hey Brar, can you help me setup my new iPhone.
  Brar: Not under my parole conditions..
Does that mean that an illegal street food vendor can be barred from cooking, ever? hehe

> I've never heard of a non licensed profession being barred from "practicing"

Kevin Mitnick.

From the Wikipedia article about him:

> He was released on January 21, 2000. During his supervised release, which ended on January 21, 2003, he was initially forbidden to use any communications technology other than a landline telephone. Mitnick fought this decision in court, eventually winning a ruling in his favor, allowing him to access the Internet. Under the plea deal, Mitnick was also prohibited from profiting from films or books based on his criminal activity for seven years, under a special judicial Son of Sam law variation.

> In December 2002, an FCC Judge ruled that Mitnick was sufficiently rehabilitated to possess a federally issued amateur radio license. Mitnick now runs Mitnick Security Consulting LLC, a computer security consultancy and is part owner of KnowBe4, provider of an integrated platform for security awareness training and simulated phishing testing.


> Does that mean that an illegal street food vendor can be barred from cooking, ever? hehe

Someone in the UK was given an Anti-Social Behaviour Order for being too loud when they had sex, so in some jurisdictions probably yes.

That's the rag Daily Mail so take it with a grain of salt. They may have made it up.

While true, they were far from the only reporter of this case: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wear/8413974.stm

I imagine the barrier is on offering the service for payment

Although I guess the sort of person that provides this expensive "service" to confused elderly people might be the sort of person that would charge their own mother for setting up their iPhone anyway.

AFAIU, he is only banned in a commercial sense. He can still help his family solve their IT problems, and that street food vendor could still cook dinner for his family

> Does that mean that an illegal street food vendor can be barred from cooking, ever? hehe

I think a court can make arbitrary sentences. It's powers aren't really limited by the rest of the system. Doesn't matter that licenses don't exist for the thing it's trying to stop.

Doctors can be barred from practicing medicine. CEOs can be be barred from running a company.

You need a license to practice medicine so that's not a good answer to the original post

True. I overlooked the word "non" in " I've never heard of a non licensed profession being barred from "practicing"".

But there have been cases of people not allowed to use computers and whatever. I think the judges have pretty broad discretion in some cases.

CEO and Directors can be and you don't have to be licenced to be one.

Like E. Holmes for the next ten years.

Barred only from being a CEO of public companies :|

After Dade Murphy crashed the stock market in 1988, part of his sentencing included being barred from using a touch-tone phone for seven years.

Dade Murphy, the fictional character?

Yes, yes... sigh.

Seems like it

Well, it wasn't a problem for him. He was still a super hacker on his 18th birthday when he was allowed to touch it again.

> The judgment was for $7.6 million, but it was partially suspended because of Brar’s inability to pay the full amount, according to the FTC.

Seems unlikely anyone else will be deterred from running these scams and I'll still have to be helping my grandparents every few months do chargebacks on scammers.

Agreed but to be fair if there is a judgment awarded that you cannot reasonably pay, the entire thing will get kicked out. It's better to hit them with a crippling amount that they can pay than to try to get what is actually owed but they end up paying nothing.

Why are they calling a scammer a "businessman"?

What else could that title mean?

Slightly off topic, but the "Reply All" podcast did a great episode on the foreign IT phone support scams about a year ago.


This guy should be in jail though

This misunderstanding of the US Legal system seems to come up frequently on HN. Most recently about Theraos I believe.

The FTC cannot press criminal charges which means they cannot put people in jail. Those types of charges fall to the Department of Justice who can continue pursuing these cases if they believe a criminal offense has taken place.

Fraud is still a crime punishable by jail time. So, even after the FTC get's involved he can and should still be sent to prison.

There's no misunderstanding. This guy should be in jail. Parent poster didn't say the FTC should put him in jail.

Beyond that, the burden of proof in a criminal trial is much higher. So it wouldn't be unheard of for the DOJ to not pursue criminal charges if it doesn't think it can pass that higher bar.

So I'm wondering if they did any work to find out who was on the India side of this so our law enforcement could work with theirs and maybe, I don't know, capture them, extradite them, and you know, punish them for their international crime? I can dream.

Extradiction would be unlikely for such crime(even cases of terrorism can take years for extradiction, or may not even take place). But it would be possible to get them arrested in India.

That said, there are literally millions of people in India who have graduated with whatever degree/certificate, can speak English, and are willing to work in any kind of scam, as long as they get money to buy food. You can setup a office in Noida/Mumbai/Pune/Bangalore etc, and hire these people for dime a dozen. Things getting risky? Close everything and start anew in another city.

Problem lies in poor law enforcement in India, and lack of awareness among old americans.

last year a family friend got her whole identity stolen and gave the guys a few hundred dollars.

Last week (!) my father ended up on the phone with someone before realizing he was being scammed. He is going to just throw his computer in the trash and buy a new one.

Get your father a chromebook -- the tech support scammers don't know how to work them yet, and it's easy to "powerwash" them back to stock if they do get taken over.

It's not true, they do know how to install a bunch of extensions and stuff. Happened to a family member. Fake search bars, etc.

It was easy enough to wipe though.

I buy him refurbished windows desktops. They are the same price. :)

This is stupid :)

Our measurement study on understanding the threat landscape of Tech Support Scam across multiple Online Social Networks (http://precog.iiitd.edu.in/pubs/shadow-sunshine-characterizi...)

This guy should get the max punishment, but come on—it’s 2018! Who on earth is still falling for this crap? If you haven’t yet had “the talk” with your parents and/or grandparents, consider taking a half hour today and doing it. End user education is the only way to stop these obvious (to us) scams.

You're on hacker news so it is easier for you to say that who falls for this crap. Ground reality is completely different. Lot of young and mature people can fall for this crap. It's like saying who falls for fake news these days. It is gonna be a learning curve for normal people to understand nuances of these scams.

American prisons are scary places and I believe we lock people too easily. In this case however, this guy should serve the time and not get that easily off the hook.

Unable to read article due to “ad-blocker.” Can anyone please summarize?

Switch to uBlock Origin. The site loads fine with it.


This is not an appropriate sentiment. Advocating the death penalty for what is essentially larceny is barbaric.

“Barbaric” is largely a matter of opinion. What I find barbaric is that someone press on some of the most vulnerable people in society, ruins their lives, and is allowed to proceed with just a library fine. It doesn’t create any negative incentive for the next person thinking about doing this, which the needle certainly would.

Bankrupting an elderly person can kill them.

> "what is essentially larceny"

Quantity has a quality all of it's own.

Years ago when wifi first became a thing my friends and I would drive around with early Wireshark and a Pringles can antenna and change all the open SSID's we could find to "Call [some number] to secure your network". All the routers back then were open by default so we could easily do a few dozen per day.

When they would call (and they always called), we would then show up and charge the person between $50-$250 (or however much we thought we could get) to change the SSID and setup WEP.

When times got desperate and we needed a new flat screen TV we returned back to our previous victims, and, having their WEP passwords we setup, changed it back to the original message:

"It's a good thing you called us -- the hackers got in again, but we have some new defenses against them. Stick with us. We'll protect you."

As a bunch of tech-savvy poor kids, it was very satisfying taking money from rich, old (mostly white) people. We were able to quit our jobs working fast food with our new found venture. That somehow made up for the unethical nature of it all in the youthful minds of late teen and early 20's punks.

Why would you share this story? It really is horrible. Anyway, glad you changed.

From GP's "about me" on HN:

> most of my comments are designed to provoke a response

Nothing to see here. It's likely a bs story.

That's... If I ran a forum that was supposed to be moderated like HN I'd ban someone like that. This is Reddit-tier copy-pasta or YouTube "Social Experiment" garbage.

All my content is my own and original, not "CopyPasta". Thanks for your value judgement on my creative works in calling my content "garbage".

Why don't you go start your own forum that will be as dull and devoid of any dissenting opinion as yourself?

Wow you certainly read into that. Just because I post provocative things doesn't make them untrue.

What is the indication that this person has changed? OP ran an extortion scheme against non-technical folks, and then extorted the victims again. Its a horrible horrible story and the OP should be ashamed with themselves, and rethink their life.

I just kind of assumed they did. Also the sibling indicates this might be a troll so I'm taking the whole thing with a grain of salt.

Why should I rethink my life? What is the difference between what I did, and what Symantec does on a massive scale? Or even Equifax? Or Facebook?

We changed the names of the SSIDs, which were publicly open at the time and there was no legal president set as to if it was legal or not to do so, since we were on public property. We were providing a service to the community, letting people know there is someone who can help them secure their network.

I do admit the changing them back part was a bit evil, but don't act like you're some saint who hasn't done anything wrong especially as a teenager or in your early adulthood.

> When times got desperate and we needed a new flat screen TV

You and I have a very different definition of "desperate times".

I was being sarcastic. I'm sorry you and I don't have the same definition of humor.

I think you have a misunderstanding of what you did.

> the illegal nature of it all

Fixed that for you.

Can you please provide appropriate legal precedent at that time? I did do research at the time, more out of curiosity to see what the punishments would be if I get caught, but could not find anything. All I did was change the name of the network.

And fraudulently sell a service designed to secure said network from future intrusions. And when you were short on money, went back and set up a situation where they needed to give you more money. How are you rationalizing this as "kids will be kids"? This is Extortion.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact