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Bitcoin scams steal at least $11 million in virtual deposits from unsuspecting customers; First empirical study of its kind identifies fraud on seemingly legitimate web sites purposely designed to steal customers’ funds

February 2, 2015 Comments off

Bitcoin scams steal at least $11 million in virtual deposits from unsuspecting customers; First empirical study of its kind identifies fraud on seemingly legitimate web sites purposely designed to steal customers’ funds
Source: Southern Methodist University

Fraudulent schemes have scammed at least $11 million in Bitcoin deposits from unsuspecting cyber customers over the past four years, according to new cyber security research from Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

Bitcoin is the digital world’s most popular virtual currency, with millions in circulation.

In the first empirical study of its kind, SMU researchers found that hucksters used four different types of schemes through authentic-looking web-based investment and banking outlets to lure customers and heist deposits, said computer security expert Marie Vasek, lead researcher on the study.

“Our calculation of $11 million is almost certainly at the low-end,” said Vasek. “The amount of Bitcoin that depositors have lost to these scams is probably many millions more.”

Typically the scams succeed by exploiting not only people’s greed, but also the urge to “get rich quick,” coupled with the inability to judge the legitimacy of web services to decide which financial sites are good or bad, said Bitcoin and cyber security expert Tyler W. Moore, co-researcher on the study.

Identifying the Effect of WIC on Infant Health When Participation is Endogenous and Misreported

April 20, 2012 Comments off

Identifying the Effect of WIC on Infant Health When Participation is Endogenous and Misreported

Source:  Southern Methodist University (Manan Roy)
The existing evaluations of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) agree on a beneficial association with birth weight but not necessarily gestation age. Regardless, considerable doubt exists over whether these associations represent a causal relationship. Endogenous selection into WIC, lack of valid exclusion restrictions, and rampant under-reporting of participation are to blame. Here, I utilize the nonparametric bounds method in Kreider et al. (2011) to address both identification problems simultaneously to assess the causal effect of prenatal WIC participation on birth outcomes. In addition, I complement the partial identification approach by reporting instrumental variable estimates following Lewbel (2010) to circumvent the need for a traditional instrument. Using data from the ECLS-B, I show that ignoring misreporting and only accounting for self-selection, WIC improves birth weight and, sometimes, gestation age. However, if only one percent of eligible women misreport their participation, well below the expected level of misreporting, the effect of WIC on birth outcomes cannot be signed.

+ Full Paper(PDF)

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