Afternoon Edition: July 2, 2021

Afternoon Edition: July 2, 2021

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Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

Today will be mostly sunny with a high near 75 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 57 degrees. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 88.

Top story

‘Painful lesson’ on payment apps: It was a lot easier to be scammed than Chicago business owner realized

A week ago, Chicago business owner Brinda Gupta received a seemingly legitimate text message warning her Zelle account had been compromised.

That was followed up by a phone call appearing to be a Bank of America number that went to her voicemail. When she called back, she went through the automated menu, and soon received another call from a man identifying himself as a fraud officer from the bank.

Unknown to Gupta at the time, he was a scammer who had spoofed real Bank of America phone numbers in his text and calls to make it appear they were legitimate.

And while he was talking Gupta through steps that supposedly would protect her accounts online, he actually was gleaning information that allowed him to set up a parallel Zelle account — and transfer more than $6,000 from her account to his in two transactions that took a few minutes to complete.

With peer-to-peer digital payment apps increasingly popular — it’s estimated that four of five Americans use them as a way to quickly and easily pay a bill or transfer money to a friend — they’ve become a growing target for scammers.

The nonprofit U.S. PIRG Education Fund consumer watchdog organization says complaints about the apps have surged during the coronavirus pandemic.

The payment apps — which include Zelle, Venmo, Square and others — can be more convenient than a credit card. But they don’t offer the same protections as credit cards, for instance, to go to the credit card company and dispute a fraudulent charge.

Stephanie Zimmermann has more on the scams and how you can protect yourself and your accounts.

More news you need

  1. A 1-month-old girl and six other people were hit by gunfire in Englewood last night when three gunmen jumped from a Jeep and began firing up and down the street. The attack came just days after two mass shootings killed two women and injured 15 other people in the city.
  2. In a rare move, the Illinois Prisoner Review board revoked the parole it gave to Ray Larsen, who killed a teen boy in 1972. The board voted in April to free Larsen, then he went on the lam twice.
  3. Workers at the Chicago-based Portillo’s chain restaurant walked off the job this week, demanding safer working conditions and fair wages. Employees marked five days off the job today with a demonstration and press conference at Portillo’s flagship River North location.
  4. Oak Brook teenager Jui Khankari received the highly acclaimed Diana Award last week for her nonprofit AInspire, which strives to diversify the field of artificial intelligence. AInspire services over 7,500 students in 58 countries with virtual workshops, videos and educational curriculum she created.
  5. Researchers here and around the Midwest have developed an app to better understand the prevalence and danger of ticks — and offer advice for those hoping to avoid them. So far, the app has been downloaded by thousands of people who have logged their experiences with the tiny critters.
  6. The owner of La Catedral in Little Village says business is finally good again after dropping off by 75% during the peak of the pandemic. Stefano Esposito caught up with Ambrocio Gonzalez about his restaurant’s recovery and what’s next for the beloved eatery.

A bright one

Rare meteorite offers insights into the birth of planet Earth

About the size and shape of a lopsided softball, the lump of rock was not much to look at.

It didn’t glitter or shimmer, like objects in the Field Museum’s nearby Hall of Gems, which perhaps explains why few visitors took a detour to see what all the fuss was about Wednesday.

You perhaps have to be a scientist to get really excited about this kind of thing — the way Maria Valdes is, spending months this year examining — inside and out — this tiny chunk of rock, which plummeted through Earth’s atmosphere and plopped down in Morocco.

Maria Valdes, a Field Museum research scientist, holds samples of a meteorite that broke away from the asteroid Vesta.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

“A meteorite is a window into — not only the history of the asteroid it came from but into our solar system as a whole,” said a giddy Valdes, a Field research scientist.

When the rock was donated to the Field last year, Valdes and other scientists at the museum knew it was a meteorite, in part, because it had a glassy black crust — a telltale sign that it had at one time entered the atmosphere.

But it was Valdes’ research that revealed it was especially rare space debris because it had come from Vesta, the second-largest asteroid in the solar system and often visible in the night sky. Of all meteorites found on Earth, only about 4% come from Vesta, Valdes said.

Stefano Esposito has more on the rare rock and Valdes’ research here.

From the press box

When two Blackhawks players were allegedly sexually abused by the team’s video coach in 2010, where were their teammates to speak up for them, columnist Rick Morrissey asks.

And after dealing with a series of injuries over the last few years, top White Sox prospect Jake Burger finally will get his shot in the big leagues.

Your daily question ☕

What song sounds like summer to you? Tell us why. Reply to this email (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: With the Fourth of July weekend almost here, we want to know: What will you be cooking this holiday? Here’s some of what you said…

“Bratwurst and dijon red potato salad.” — Katy Stevens

“My son is making smash burgers with bacon and sautéed onions with roasted potatoes and rosemary, grilled corn on the cob, tomato, cucumber and onion salad with a vinaigrette.” — Victor Balata

“Puerto Rican Shish kabobs AKA Pinchos.” — Antonio Cruz

“Barbecued pork, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, taco salad, cookies and cake.” — Linda Gillock Tinkham

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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