Aviation Companies Beware

As fraudsters grow more daring with scams targeting businesses we thought it might be a good time to highlight what to be aware of so you can take precautions and not become a victim of this scam.  Understanding how some of these scams work is your first line of defense in not falling for the deception. These scammers have gotten very tricky and very smart, but hopefully by reading this you can be one step ahead of them.

One of the more prevalent scams that has started to become very popular with these criminals is a fraud scam involving quotes and large orders for products that originate from a university. It goes like this:

  • The scammers find the purchasing contact for a major university and assume his/her identity. This can easily be found on the Internet.
  • They set up a fake website to create an online presence and obtain a fake email address that mimics the university, usually ends with something like xyz.edu.net.
  • They call and email companies to place an order for random products and identify themselves as being from that university.
  • They create fake purchase orders that resemble an authentic university purchase order.
  • Ask for Net 30 terms by sending false bank & credit references as well as fake W-9 (all the while using university contact names & addresses.)
  • Lastly they request shipment to a location that is somewhere in proximity to the university location.

After what appears to be a legitimate request and order, businesses fill the requested PO only to find out that they have been scammed and will not be getting paid for the products they provided.  Having been given Net 30 terms for payment, the scammers have at least a 30 day head start on any investigation that may arise, making it very difficult to recover the businesses money or product.

Here are a few things you can do to try and avoid being scammed when you receive PO’s from universities (or any institution for that matter):

  1. In the case of a university, if the email address or website URL does not end in .edu, it is likely fraudulent.
  2. Question the shipping address if it is not the same as the university or business address.
  3. Verify the phone number calling actually matches the purchasing agent at the university. Then call that person and verify they have or have not requested an order.
  4. Do your research! Legitimate companies are going to have some kind of history or “digital footprint” on the Internet. If you can find little or no information on a company that should raise red flags.
  5. Be extra diligent with unusually large orders from new customers.
  6. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Confirm and verify all the info and then verify it again.

If you do become the victim of one of these scams it is very important to contact your local authorities and the FBI as soon as you find out. You should also report the crime to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

The Great American Eclipse

27 years ago as a young boy, I remember seeing my first solar eclipse at the Buehler Planetarium at Broward College in Davie, Fl. At the time I can remember thinking, what’s the big deal? Why are my parents dragging me to this open field on a college campus in 100 degree heat to watch the Moon pass in front of the Sun? I would much rather be playing or swimming or doing anything else except looking in the sky with these weird, ugly glasses on.

2017 Total Solar EclipseFast forward to this past Monday, August 21st and I find myself standing outside, wearing those same ugly glasses, in complete awe of what I am witnessing. I understand now why my parents made such a big deal about it all those years ago. It is an experience I will never forget. Now being a parent of 2 small children, I can’t help but think to myself that I cannot wait for the next solar eclipse so that they can witness this truly amazing celestial event.

2017 Total Solar EclipseThis eclipse was called “The Great American Eclipse” because it was the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in nearly 100 years. The eclipse followed a 67-mile-wide path across the United States and millions of Americans witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime event as the Moon passed between the Earth and the Sun and day turned to night for up to almost three minutes. The next coast-to-coast total solar eclipse will be August 12, 2045 and will travel on a course starting in northern California and exiting the United States in central Florida. There is also another pretty great eclipse occurring on April 8, 2024 being called “The Great North American Eclipse.” It will cut a path from Mexico to Texas to Maine and the maritime provinces of Canada.latest409601712copy

Make sure you don’t miss the next total solar eclipse, it’s a must see event and make sure to get your kids outside looking skyward. It is a great big universe out there and you never know what you will see. They will appreciate you making them wear those funny looking glasses and one day they will thank you for it.

Listed below are a few great websites for information on this eclipse and future eclipses.

 

Photo Credits:  Top Image: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani – Middle Image: NASA/Rami Daud – 2nd Image From Bottom: NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory – Bottom Image: Hinode Internaational Solar Observation Satellite

 

 

 

 

 

Drone Rules for the Recreational Operator…Part 2

As the drone or UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) industry continues to flourish, the publicdrone1 continues to eat up everything drone related. The FAA estimates the number of consumer drones stands at over 1.1 million and by 2021 they are expecting that number to increase to 3.5 million. With that many drones in the sky, UAV’s are a very hotly debated topic right now. Many people and government agencies have several concerns when it comes to recreational drone use, such as:

  • Privacy
  • Unmanned Aircraft vs. Manned Aircraft
  • Skill Level of Pilots

So in Part 1 of this blog we listed several rules to follow so that you can stay out of trouble and fly safely. We are going to re-list those regulations to refresh your memory, because there have been some changes to those rules. The biggest one being that you no longer have to register your drone with the FAA, as long as they are operated in compliance with section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act. If you already registered your drone and you wish to delete your registration and receive a refund of your registration fee, access the Registration Deletion and Self-Certification Form.

Here are some of those regulations to abide by:drone2

  • Always keep you UAV in your line of sight
  • Fly below 400 ft at all times
  • Never fly above a group of people
  • Make sure your drone is under 55lbs
  • Always avoid manned aircraft and never operate in a careless or reckless manner
  • Understand airspace restrictions and requirements. Know your TFR’s (Temporary Flight Restrictions)
  • Never fly within 5 miles of an airport without previous permission from both the airport operator and air traffic control tower
  • Do not fly near emergency response efforts such as fires or accidents
  • Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol

These are just a few of the rules that you should be following when you are flying your drone. It seems like a daily occurance where we are hearing of another drone operator not following the rules. Close calls with manned aircraft, flying in restricted areas, or causing damage or harm to people or property are the most common regulations broken. Listed below is a list of links and their descriptions that will give you all the information you could ever want about flying drones. These links are there for you to educate yourself before flying. The more you know, the less likely you are to have an issue with the regulations. Fly safe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media in Aviation…Are You Missing Out?

Social media in the aviation and aerospace industry has been particularly conservative over the last decade. Social media in the aviation industry is only getting more popular and the sky is the limit. Companies that are behind on the times or are just afraid to start using social media will soon be left behind and will start having to play catch up. This is one bandwagon you are going to want to jump on.

Here are a some facts pulled from an article on www.business2community.com by Jomes Gregorio titled “6 Hottest B2B Social Media Marketing Trends in 2017.” This year there will be 219 million new users and social media accessed by mobile devices will have grown by 283 million users. Social media advertising is projected to generate $11 billion in revenue in 2017. The top platforms used by businesses in 2016 ranked by usage were LinkedIn 94%, Twitter 87%, Facebook 84%, YouTube 74%, and Google+ 62%. The Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs reports that the top 3 tactics used that B2B Marketers say will be most critical to success in 2017 are Blogs 52%, Email Newsletters 40%, and Social Media Content 40%. If your company is not involved in some kind of social media, these numbers should be a wake up call for you to consider getting on board.

What are some of the reasons these aviation companies might be capturereluctant to dive into the social media world? Here are a few of the most popular.

  • The average age of employees at aerospace and aviation companies is older than a lot of other industries. These guys have been at these companies for a very long time and seem to be set in their ways, ways that have always worked for them in the past. Social media is seen as a thing that the younger generation does to connect with friends or follow celebrities.
  • They just dont understand how it works or dont feel like it will work in this industry. The lack of understanding or vision keeps some of these companies in the dark ages marketing wise.
  • Companies think it is too risky. They might not want to risk technology, data or pictures of their products or work getting out.
  • Companies feel that is will take to much time and effort to be consistent with social media. They think that it may not be productive to have one person or a group of people working on social media day in and day out.

The pros of social media far outweigh any cons companies may be concerned about. It helps get your brand recognition out to other people or companies that might otherwise have never known you existed. It is an extremely inexpensive form of marketing that has a very far reach. It can drive more traffic to your website, which in turn can spark interest in your company and create new leads. Another good reason, and an often overlooked one, is the advantage it can give you when recruiting new associates. There are a lot of very smart, qualified young candiates out there and they are getting jobs by word of mouth or searching for them on some kind of social media platform.

Social media is no longer just for finding long lost friends or keeping in touch with friends and family that live long distances. By taking the time and putting in the effort required to be successful at social media, it will payoff in the long run for your company. Social media is now a sophisticated marketing machine. Use it to your advantage.