‘Tis the Season of Scams
Ah yes, the holiday season is upon us. Time to open our hearts and wallets to show our love and charity. Also, the perfect time to get ripped off. Scammers are very aggressive around the holidays because they know how to play us against ourselves. In the digital age it has never been easier. In this post I’ll go over a couple of the most common ploys to separate you from your money, your data, and your sanity. Here is my scam naughty list.
You open your social media and as you mindlessly scroll through the run of the mill boring photos of friends and family, you come across something you have been looking for your whole life! A coupon! A coupon that someone found from the department store that you absolutely NEED something from. It is one of those holiday miracles you hear about but it’s really right there in front of you. All you have to do is share it with all your friends, like, comment, subscribe, and scream from a mountain top how much you love XX department store.
The path then splits here, you may go to the store online on your own and try the coupon code with no luck. Or, even more sinister, you might click the link under the coupon trusting in the “Good will towards all men” that is the internet only to find that you have just given access to your social media account.
I’ve said this 1,000 times, and you know better than that. DON’T CLICK ON LINKS if you’re not sure where they actually go. So how do we find out where they are trying to take use without clicking? Simple, right click on them. You will then see an option to Copy Link Address then take that link and paste it into a notepad or something to examine it. Does the link code for $500 off Amazon and free bedtime tuck-in from Steve Bezos Coupon not actually point to Amazon? Does it want to take you to amazon.ninja.tv? If it does, run away young padawan. Steve is not coming over tonight.
Kind of along the same line as the coupon posts, there are also discounts and coupon apps that you can install as a plug in for your web browser. You might even see a campaign or add on social media about how these apps have saved people hundreds of dollars. These apps “scan” shopping sites and find the best coupon for what is in your cart. Sounds like a dream come true! While you might get some valid coupon codes from time to time the real magic is happening behind the scenes. By installing these plug-ins you are giving them the right to your data.
Who cares, right? Have my data, I have nothing to hide. Well let’s sit down and have a talk about that. Every item you look at is reported to them. Do you ever go to a website and see an ad for something you only looked at once? And now you are bombarded with ads for that thing? Even worse, every keystroke on your computer is reported. Giving them information about all the sites you log into, all the usernames you use for those sites, and all of your passwords. How do you feel about securing your data now friend?
I do want you to know that there really are some good coupon code and shopping cart assistant apps out there that millions of people are using every day. I have used them from time to time with great effect. So, I want to make it clear that not all of these are bad, but stick to the ones that have long online history and plenty of information. Beware of the new, best app ever, your shopping will never be the same without it, apps. As always, do your homework kids.
You know what I am going to say here.
Be wary of any too good to be true promotion emails you get.
Do not click links impulsively in emails.
Check the senders address. Is it from email@example.com? See the problem there? I hope you do.
Be safe out there
The main thing here is do not let your impulses get the best of you. Approach every deal with a skeptical eye. There are some great deals to be had out there and I hope you find them. Using the info I’ve shared here I hope it takes a potential stressful season into a less stressful one. Happy Holidays!