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For the Internet (somewhat) savvy — Part two

Why does my phone keep ringing with deals, offers and prizes?

Where do these people get my email address — Nigerian princes, Viagara samples, financial tips?

As promised last week (in the history portion), here is the answer portion.

One of the primary reasons that print media faces rough times is the increasing reliance on technology. Specifically, on computers, smart phones, the Internet, etc. Retail, too, struggles with the likes of Amazon, eBay and other sit-in-your-living-room-and-shop providers. When computers incorporate McDonald’s Big Macs into a delivery port, even the fast food joints will have to re-think their futures.

The march of technology adds words to our vocabulary almost daily. Face Time, Blue Tooth, selfie, Hashtags, tweet, torrent, apps, and more. If you’re under 40, these are everyday words. If you’re over 40, many of them leave you scratching your head. In many ways, the very operation and function of a computer has the same effect. The neuro pathways are just not there to enable full understanding by the senior sector.

It is for you that I write today’s column.

Among the biggest Internet threats is the “click here for more information” option that often appears next to or on top of an alluring advertisement. What is even more invasive is that these same seemingly innocent clicks will lead you to a secondary site where the sole purpose is to collect your personal information or (worse yet) your financial information. The purpose of this? Lead list sales! Once they have your contact information — phone, email, physical address, whatever — they share that information. FOR A PRICE.

The worst of all these scams occur when a lead generator website hooks you into divulging financial information. The most common way this takes place is to offer you something for either an amazingly low price (there is usually misrepresentation of the item) or something that is FREE. The hook is that they request a very trivial “handling charge.” Once you willingly share your credit card number for the $1.97 charge to get the free stock tip, the free diabetes information or testing kit, the free anything — you are an affiliate and they can share/sell your information with/to marketers galore.

If you really think about it, what entity would be willing to send you a FREE White Paper valued at $495, however require a trivial “handling fee? Watch for buzzwords like “free,” insanely reduced “deals,” “last chance” claims and “ticking clocks.” If it expires at midnight, let it!

The moral of the story? Computer “literate” or not, “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.”

Drop by the Pahrump Valley Times offices, 2160 E. Calvada Blvd., for a copy of Leslie Kim’s latest book “123 Main Street … the Scamming of America.” Only $19.95 while supplies last.

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