Beware of Fake Apps, Copycat Websites & Unsecure Payment Sites This Holiday
If you have a long holiday gift list, sometimes it's easier to buy online rather than shop at local brick and mortar stores.
This season, I've read that we'll spend close to $91 billion over 61 days, according to Adobe's 2016 Digital Insights Shopping Predictions. The company report claims that Black Friday, which I took part in, sold $3 billion in online sales. It's terrific news for retailers, but there's a group of folks who love the heightened gift buying season too; the rip-off and scam artists behind devious shopping swindles.
AARP offers good suggestions that I echo in order to keep your credit cards and money far away and safe from the hands of con artists.
Bogus apps flood Apple and Android stores imitating familiar retailers like Dollar Tree and luxury brands including Christian Dior. A few have phishing methods that steal personal information and hijack mobile devices until a ransom is paid, says the New York Times.
How to avoid: Before you download, check the logo and description for misspelled words or titles, omitted letters, or poor English, since many originate in China. Avoid the ones with few customer reviews, new apps, or links to apps from other retailers.
The ones that arrive via email, text messages and social media posts and promise a generous reward like a coupon or a product for giving your opinion about future purchases. The links that lead to the survey often hide computer malware that attempt to retrieve personal or financial information.
How to avoid: Be leery of generic "Dear Customer" inquiries. When legitimate companies ask about customer experiences, they personalize using your and the product you bought, along with the date and time of the purchase. You can expect to receive legitimate review emails within 30 minutes after the online transaction. Also, don't fall for expensive reward items just for answering a few questions. Before clicking on any link, hover your mouse over the URL and if the address doesn't display the company's name before the dot com, assume it's a scam.
Beware of copycat websites
Those that mimic well-known retailers. The counterfeit online sites may look like the real deal, but carefully observe the domain address in the URL. It may be off by a letter, or variation of a company name like Walmartco.mn, indicating the website was registered in Mongolia, or walmart.cm for a site in Cameroon.
How to avoid: Pay attention to the product description text and URLs not ending with .com or .org. Check out the Contact Us page to find the business address and verify it by looking up the company on the Internet, or a phone number. If a number is listed, call it to make sure it's working and doesn't lead you to just voicemail. Credible companies have live operators.
Unsecure Payment Sites
If you're buying online, never provide credit card information on any page without an https://. The "s" means it's secure. To stay tuned to current scams, sign up to receive Fraud Scams at AARP: http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/fraud-watch-network/.
Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: April 17-21
Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on IRIS.xyz, April 17-21, 2017
Click the headline to read the full article. Enjoy!
Like so many others in the industry, I was wrong. For years, I was certain that the bull market was nearing its end. I thought the market was over-extended, and that, surely, the wild equities run was coming to an end. But everyone else was bullish, and perhaps rightfully so. And while I’ve watched equities continue on their spectacular rise, I do think now is the time (really!) to put a hedge in place. Here’s why. Here’s how. — Adam Patti
The realities for fixed income investors have changed. How is this being reflected in markets? Bond investing has become increasingly difficult over the past decade. Markets have been heavily distorted by ultra-low interest rates and quantitative easing, as well as by extreme risk aversion in response to the global economic crisis and the eurozone debt crisis. — Nick Gartside
Is being a financial advisor worth it? I am an optimistic person and I encourage other people to keep a positive mental attitude (shout-out to Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone). However, by taking a good, hard look at the negatives in life, we can successfully pivot towards the positive aspects that will help us achieve our goals. — James Pollard
How do you treat one of your most valued, existing clients? Here’s a list of some things that come to mind. — Andrew Sobel
According to many advisors I speak with, the only clients that leave are those who have died. And while attrition may not be a big problem in this industry, I have to assume that at least a few clients change advisors without doing so via the funeral home. — Julie Littlechild
I was talking with an advisor last week about how to get into conversations about what he does. He was relaying the story of going jogging with a friend who could be a good client but is, more importantly, connected to a large network of people who fit this advisors ideal client description. — Stephen Wershing
Big picture thinkers are not unicorns - rare and mystical. And they were not born with the innate ability to think big. They do, however, pay attention to the broader landscape and take the time to think, analyze and evaluate. — Jill Houtman and Danny Domenighini
Your reputation is who you are and how you show up, Monday to Monday®. Many of us take our image and reputation for granted. Give careful thought to the kind of reputation that you would be proud of Monday to Monday® and that would resonate with your purpose and priorities. — Stacey Hanke
The generational changing of the guard is a fact of life as old as time. Young replaces old in responsibility, importance, control and culture. Outside of the family, the workplace is perhaps where this is seen most regularly by most people. — Shirley Engelmeier
Next time you hear your prospects give you price objections, it’s not because of the price. The give price objections because they don’t know the full value proposition that they’d be paying for. And it’s not based on their need, or your features and functions. It’s based on the buying criteria they want to meet internally. — Sofia Carter
Last week we wrote about the economic rationale behind going independent vs. moving to another major firm as an employee. As a follow-up topic, we thought it prudent to analyze transition packages attached to big firm moves and peel back the layers of the onion to show the components of these deals. — Louis Diamond
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