Tag Archives: Christmas
Any place thee is money – there will people there trying to steal it. Recently ran into two scams, one being based on the old Nigerian, “there is money left in your name, just send us money to get it to you” ruse, a second by a Internet employment board requesting $40 a month to access nonexistent executive level jobs. Most real companies have a Jobs board on their website. If they do not it is a red flag that something isn’t quite right. If the job isn’t listed on a company website, and is listed on an online one requiring you to pay membership fees…It 90% of the time is a scam. The most effective scams are based around playing on the victim’s greed and avarice.
Any website, that isn’t the US Government IRS or Social Security that asks you online for your SSN, or credit card number online…Is a Scam. Period.
In general – if it sounds to good to be true..It’s a scam.
Here’s a list of 12 scams from the Better Business Bureau and law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for as you hit the malls or shop online.
Fake shipping notifications: These can have attachments or links to sites that will download malware on your computer to steal your identity and your passwords. Don’t be fooled by a holiday phishing scam.
E-cards: Electronic holiday cards can be used to steal your data. Two red flags to watch out for are: the sender’s name is not apparent; you are required to share additional information to get the card.
Letters from Santa: Several trusted companies offer personalized letters from Santa, but scammers mimic them to get personal information from unsuspecting parents. Check with bbb.org to find out which ones are legitimate.
Temporary holiday jobs: Retailers and delivery services need extra help at the holidays, but beware of offers that require you to share personal information online or pay for a job lead. Apply in person or go to retailers’ main websites to find out who is hiring.
Unusual forms of payment: Be wary of anyone who asks you to pay for holiday purchases using prepaid debit cards, gift cards, wire transfers, third parties, etc. These payments cannot be traced and cannot be undone. Use a credit card on a secure website; look for https in the address (the extra “s” is for “secure”) and the lock symbol.
Social media gift exchange: It sounds like a great deal; buy one gift and get 36 in return. But it’s aa variation on a pyramid scheme and it’s illegal, says the BBB.
Deceptive Advertising — Just like fake websites, fake apps are built at this time of year to target people who prefer shopping from their phones. Be especially wary of phone shopping apps; even those marked with an Amazon or Ebay logo could be fake. And, dangerous links, phony contests on social media, and bogus gift cards allow scammers to steal your personal information, says McAfee.com. Watch out for URLs that use the names of well-known brands along with extra words.
Bogus Charities — The holidays prompt us to donate to charities, but scam artists take advantage of this by sending emails for fake charities or sharing viral promos. Before donating, do your homework. Groups such as the Better Business Bureau, Charity Watch and even the Internal Revenue Service have tips to safely donate to charities.
Promotional Emails —The International Business Times says to treat all promotional emails that aren’t coming from a trusted retailer as dangerous material. Even if you open the email, do not click on any links inside.
Gift Card Scams — The popular gifts can be an opportunity for thieves, who copy the numbers off cards in a store, then check online or call the 1-800 number to see if the card is activated. Once a card is active, the thieves spend its contents online, and the rightful card holder has no money, says the Better Business Bureau. And never buy discounted gift cards sold online; scammers will keep your cash, and use the gift cards.
Use a Credit Card — Using a credit card is safer than swiping your debit card when shopping. Credit cards have more security features than debit cards and credit companies are more willing to replace your stolen money than most banks, according to IBT.
Package Theft — The internet is full of videos of thieves stealing packages left by delivery services on doorsteps. Police believe the criminals follow delivery trucks into neighborhoods, say Annapolis Police. To thwart thieves, require a signature for all packages. If nobody will be home to accept a delivery, have the package held at the nearest service location for you to pick it up.
One of the hottest “Santa Pleases” of the year is the Hoverboard. Looking like a cross between a Sedgeway and a skateboard, the item is high on the list of the Tweenie and teen set.
About 80-90% of these devices are manufactured in China, by 10 and possibly as many as 30 different “factories” with stolen and pirated look alike designs. There is virtually no quality control. and the devices often do not meet minimum safety and electrical standards such as UL in the US. As is usual in China’s overheated manufacturing industry, concerns about quality and safety go by the wayside in the rush to produce a cheaper product, typically by lowering standards and using cheaper parts. This is a good product idea turned into a nightmare.
This article recommends checking for as UL Type sticker…They must be joking.
Concerns over exploding batteries leads retailer to remove self-balancing scooters, demanding proof from manufacturers that products meet safety standards
Amazon has begun to pull some hoverboards from sale after fears about fires caused by the self-balancing scooters.
A number of hoverboards that had been sold on Amazon have now disappeared, including all five models once reviewed by consumer affairs site BestReviews. That site now warns would-be buyers that “for the time being, we are not recommending any hoverboards until they are proven to be safe”.
According to one hoverboard seller, Swagway, the online retailer has required manufacturers to provide documents proving that their vehicles “are compliant with applicable safety standards”, with particular focus on the battery and chargers for the units.
Like last Christmas’ must-have electronic gift, selfie sticks, most hoverboards are manufactured in bulk in China before being purchased in bulk by resellers who apply cosmetic retouching and branding. Unlike selfie sticks, however, hoverboards contain large batteries, which can be a serious hazard if they misfire.
Last week, a hoverboard exploded in a shopping mall in Washington state, sending shoppers into panic. Although no one was harmed, the explosion made headlines worldwide.
In early December, Britain’s trading standards authority warned buyers to beware, and revealed that 88% of the hoverboards imported from outside the EU,that it had tested, had failed basic safety checks.
At the time, Leon Livermore, chief executive of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: “Criminals and irresponsible manufacturers will often exploit high demand and attempt to flood the market with cheap and dangerous products. Some products that are made abroad, principally for the overseas market, are not fitted with the correct plug and fuse for use in the UK. As a minimum, consumers should check that the three-pin plug on the device states it is made to BS1363. If it doesn’t include this information, then don’t buy the product.”
One of the common themes shared by both Christians and Muslims is martyrdom for religious belief. While the Islamic world has certainly seen that twisted by a number of radical, violent groups… So have christians in the US. Faced with a rapid erosion in membership, some elements have come up with the “Christian persecution” meme. Since their particular version of Christianity is “infallible” and empowered by whatever version of God they wish to believe in…The fact that all Americans, and especially Millennials are leaving the faith must have something to do with “evil liberalism”, and couldn’t possibly be because of their own rigid, and increasingly reactionary belief sets.
As we have seen with Uncle Ben Carson and other grifters on the right since Sarah Palin, the imaginary persecution of christians is big business. Christian Victimization as a hustle raises big bucks.
This leads us to the dang near ubiquitous Starbucks franchise – a popular target due to their logo.
Joshua Feuerstein, on the left side of this video, is an opportunistic grifter who has latched on to this rich vein of money. Often peddling anti-gay rants, the narcissistic grifter seems to have hit a rich gold vin in attacking Starbucks. Never mind the fact that Joshua Feuerstein appears as a Chaz Bono impersonator as a sideline.
Now they want to add a tax to live Christmas Trees? I don’t know – the Dept of Agriculture hasn’t ever paid the black farmers – now they want to hit up the public at the corner tree lot…
The U.S. Agriculture Department, after debates that pitted one U.S. region against another, approved a new industry-funded Christmas tree promotion plan.
The 15-cent per-tree fee on growers will help fund the industry’s ad campaign promoting the merits of real Christmas trees over artificial ones, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday.
Growers estimate the fee will raise $2 million.
“As demographics and buying habits have changed, we have watched the market for real trees shrink drastically, requiring us to spend much more time and money on promotion,” said Don Cameron, past president of the California Christmas Tree Association.
Similar to programs that promote milk, beef and cotton, the Christmas tree program imposes a fee of 15 cents per tree on U.S. domestic producers and importers. A panel directs the money into ads, other promotions and research.
“We have good reason to believe it will be successful for our industry,” Betty Malone, an Oregon tree farmer and Christmas Tree Promotion Now president, told the Tribune. “We looked at what other industries have done, and how successful they’ve been.”
After three years, growers and importers will vote on whether to continue the program.
Michelle Obama payed a surprise visit to NORAD last night, to help out with the little ones calling in to find out where Santa was…
While President Barack Obama took his daughters to the beach, the first lady played the role of Christmas elf, surprising little girls and boys inquiring about the whereabouts of Santa.
“Hello, this is the first lady, Michelle Obama, with NORAD, tracking Santa. How can I help you?” she said, taking a call from an 8-year-old boy named Max from Los Angeles.
It was a decidedly different greeting than other families across the country got after some confusion about which was the proper number for NORAD in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“Sorry, they gave out the wrong number,” the man informed one caller before giving out the correct number.
The first lady took a dozen calls over 40 minutes from inside the family’s vacation rental in Kailua. She reminded the kids to put out cookies — and vegetables — for Santa and his reindeer and warned the kids to get to sleep or their houses might be skipped.
She also answered a few questions about what it’s like to be first lady — and to be married to the president — from an inquisitive little boy named Austin.
“Is it a hard job?” Austin asked.
The first lady said it’s not as hard as being president and can be fun because she gets to work with kids.
“Is it hard to have all that security around you?” Austin wondered.
It’s not, the first lady said. The Secret Service are very nice and professional, she added.
“They’re good with the girls,” she said, referring to her daughters, Sasha and Malia. “It’s almost like they’re family after a while. So it’s not that hard having them around. And they’re there to keep us safe, right? You can’t be mad at that, right?”
Last but not least, a salute to American consumerism –
To those of you who celebrate such, a Merry Christmas. To those of other persuasions, may your Holidays be Joyous, and may the road after the New Year lead you to good things.
We’ll resume posting after visits with friends and family.
Found this one on YouTube. This young man has quite a voice. Check out what he says at the end in terms of what the song means to him –