Monthly Archives: July 2014

Chicago-based Warrior Dash Stomps Back into Genesee Township, Attracting Thousands

Athlete running road silhouetteMichigan’s Genesee Township is preparing once again for the return of the Warrior Dash. Last year, the event attracted upwards of 26,000 people. Started in Chicago in 2009, the 3.25 mile run and obstacle course gives endurance athletes the chance to slog through mud and dash over jets of flame, all for a shot at glory. Needless to say, everyone involved in the event is required to sign a liability waver up front, lest the Chicago organizers have to foot the bill for roasted flesh.

Spots are filling up fast for the two-day event that will see more than 50 waves of people launch themselves at the Warrior Dash’s varied horrors. Only a few hundred spots remain between the July 26 and July 27 events, with the organizers in the Windy City estimating a 50% increase in attendance over last year’s battle.

Some Come for the Workout, Others for the T-Shirt
Just about everyone takes part in the Warrior Dash and similar events to test their mettle and earn some bragging rights. A big part of those bragging rights is getting the t-shirt. Printed t-shirts have long been used to bring groups together, to keep track of children on field trips, and to make family vacations extra memorable. In the fitness community, however, their viewed as functional trophies.

In fact, racing shirts are so important to the fitness community that rules of etiquette have sprung up around them. As¬†Runner’s World¬†writes, running in the event t-shirt before you’ve completed the race is a big no-no, as is wearing a shirt for a race you never lined up for. For many runners, unless you registered for the race and injury kept you from competing, you volunteered to keep things running smoothly, or you were supporting a runner, even owning a race t-shirt is considered blasphemous. In other words, the Chicagoans responsible for Warrior Dash better make sure they have some sweet shirts ready to go.

How important is the race t-shirt to you? Let us know in the comments below!

Chicago Targeted by Mobile Scammers

smartphone in hand with blank screenWe all love to use our cell phones, mobile devices and search engines; at work, in class, while out with friends — but scammers love it when we use them, too.

Phishing, which is the attempt by both people and machines to collect personal information, has been a more prevalent issue of late. Since mobile carrier companies like Verizon and AT&T have opted for unlimited SMS, more spammers and scammers are targeting cell phone users.

Neil Cook, the CTO of messaging security vendor Cloudmark Inc., has watched the increase in the trend very closely. The security company broke down its data in order to show how phishing affected consumers:

Back in April, they found that 39% of Chicago-bound phishing messages were centered around banking schemes because April is tax month. Cloudmark watched as the number of messaging scams grew from 0% on April 9, to 85% on April 10, then coming to rest at 92% on April 15 — tax day. The company was able to determine that the scammers were targeting those who chose to put their refunds on an Achieve prepaid debit card.

According to the Internet Crime Complain Center, which collaborates with the FBI, found that about 70% of fraud victims were scammed through websites, such as online auctions, while 30% were scammed via email. These numbers are expected to climb exponentially over the next few years.

For businesses large and small, this is a major concern for their employees and their profits. To prevent scamming, companies might want to first begin looking at the more common communications tools in their offices and the threats that challenge these systems — spam and phishing.

Cook explained that event-based scamming (such as the April 15 trend) is quite common, and is most concerning because the scams can look real. Scammers have become so sophisticated as to create faux sources, and are timed in a way that people believe they are legit. The rabbit hole goes further: You may be a member of a bank that is in good standing and respectable and uses a trusted broker, but the broker may be using a less than ideal company.

“Safeguarding personal information is key to surviving in a cyber-security world,” said Cook. “The more infor they know about you, the more they’ll spam you.”

Since 2012, the monetary loss of scam complaints has exceeded $300 million annually, with identity theft being the number one internet scam complaint. To curb this number of complaints, Cloudmark launched a Spam Reporting Service nearly two years ago that many companies are now operating under. When the companies receive a spam email or a phishy-looking message, they simply send it to Cloudmark which will filter out the scams and figure out where it came from. Since the implementation of the program, millions of messages have been received from their customers.

To prevent getting scammed, don’t send money to someone you don’t know, don’t agree to wire money overseas, and never reply to a message asking for personal information.

Gages Lake Watering Hole Invites Dozens of Bikers in Out of the Rain, Likely Saving Lives

Vector Cartoon MotorbikeA watering hole in the north suburbs area of Gages Lake, near Waukegan, extended shelter to dozens of local bikers as the skies opened up last week, bringing a deluge down on their heads. Jesse Oaks, the sports bar in question, not only invited bikers to take refuge from the rain under the roof of their popular establishment, they also allowed them to bring their bikes inside the bar, keeping them safe from the torrential rains outdoors. Nearly two dozen people took the bar’s offer. The group was part of a memorial K-9 police ride held earlier in the day, which saw approximately seven dozen bike riders meet at Jesse Oaks afterward.

Jesse Oaks Employees May Have Saved Bikers’ Lives
While the staff members at Jesse Oaks were just trying to be nice to their hog-loving customers, they potentially saved two-dozen lives with their actions. Motorcyclists are 35% more likely to be involved in a deadly accident than their car-driving counterparts. Heavy rains make the roads that much more treacherous for bikers, reducing tire grip on the road and the likelihood other drivers will see them. Rain is such a danger that many services have cropped up over the last few years to teach drivers how to stay safer on the roads when the rain starts falling. All of this to say that by letting bikes and their riders into their bar, Jesse Oaks did much more than keep a few dozen people dry.

Are you a motorcyclist? Is driving in the rain really as bad as they say? Share some of your experiences in the comment section below.