The employee, who asked not to be named because they still work in the industry, also recalled the agency’s owner bragging about the ability of its digital advertising to find an elderly person who had broken a hip. That injury, the employee reported the owner saying, is effectively a 60-day countdown to death — and, possibly, a deal.


A HomeVestors spokesperson admitted that the company had used such ad-targeting technology but said it only did so once, more than four years ago. A spokesperson for Imaginuity said the pilot project did not target rehabilitation centers.

Still, HomeVestors’ franchisees are taught ways to find people moving into a nursing home.

Source: The Ugly Truth Behind “We Buy Ugly Houses” — ProPublica

We once lived next door to a distressed home (a messed up family – Dad was legally separated but for a period when they lived there, he was likely serving jail time, Mom was an alcoholic, the kids were nearly abandoned and the property was trashed). A local buyer/fixer upper gave them a cash deal that let the residents exit their mortgage and move out with cash in hand. The buyer than fixed up the property before re-selling it, including removing the trash piles, replacing the roof, rebuilding the front balcony, cleaning up and repairing the interior, and so on. That seemed like a legitimate deal unlike the scammy practices described in the above news story.

The Role of Target Ads

Interesting use of target ads to find people in distress. Ever look up a health issue online? You are now a target.

Furthermore, judging from the stream of ads I now see on Facebook, 90+% are scams. And they have likely been targeted at you because of a FB group membership, an online search, or based on web pages you visited at some point.

Some ads have also been used to trick viewers into downloading malware.

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Coldstreams Skeptic