Charlotte’s Blog

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Online Shoppers Beware

We all think that we could never get scammed, right?  We all think that only other people can be fooled into giving away personal financial information of access, right?  Well, this week I came as close as I want to being taken by on-line scammers.  You perhaps cannot see very clearly the picture insert on this post, but two giveaways are highlighted, and one is not.  This email came to me this week, and it took some close examination to see that there was a grammar error – the part that says “within 1 days” and a suspicious address – Amazon calls Seattle home, not “Knoxville, Tennessee.”  The part you cannot see is what tipped me off, though; I don’t have an Amazon Prime account.  If I had the account, I might have clicked through to update my credit card information, and you can guess how that story would have ended.

I have said it before in other posts, but the bad guys are quite inventive, so we have to be on the alert for the next new thing, and these suggestions are some that you should share with your older loved ones as well as yourselves.  Let me share some of the advice that Google offers:

  • Don’t Click on the button until you hover your cursor over the button to see the address to which it will direct you if you do click;
  • Check Reviews to see if you are dealing with what should appear to be a legitimate business-everybody gets reviewed;
  • Contact Details should be present and verifiable – like the example that I just shared with you;
  • “Whois lookup” is a site you can go to as a way to check that the website referenced is an actual, registered domain;
  • Too Much is too much – your health care provider and purveyor of spirits may ask for your birth date, but no one else should be requesting it;
  • Check Grammar, because a lot of the bad operators may not be operating in this country; English will not therefore be their first language;
  • Go Offline and check your credit card statements each month for any charges that may come from web domains that you don’t recognize;
  • Trust Your Intuition, because chances are that if the story does not sound right or the offerings don’t seem quite right, then you may be on the verge of being taken.

Of course there is more, but a fair bit of it gets into the more intricate elements of web site construction and such.  I think the last is probably the bedrock of safe online commerce…listen to your feelings.  It sort of makes me miss the days when I just had to worry about holding my purse close to me so that it wouldn’t get snatched.  Be careful.

Charlotte Bishop is an Aging Life Care Advisor, Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago.  She also is the co-author of How Do I Know You? A Caregiver’s Lifesaver for Dealing with Dementia.

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