Thinking and Meaning

The thinking man's guide to creating connections.

Is Your Teen Sexting?

Sexting teens

 

Teens love their phones so much that they are rarely without them. They connect with people all around the world, sharing personal insights, information, photos, and more. Caught up in the moment, they often make choices that aren’t smart and can have long lasting consequences. Sexting is one way in which an impulsive decision can changes their lives today and for years to come.

“Everyone sends sext messages.” Teens tell each other that it’s not a big deal but they’re wrong. Kids give in to peer pressure or participate because they think it’s funny. What they don’t see is that sexting can carry serious consequences.

Research Shows Consequences

Drexel University published a report stating as many as 50 percent of all teens engage in sexting before age 18.  The study also shows that most teens are unaware of the legal consequences of underage sexting. Parents must educate their kids on the risks and the following consequences.

Sexts are Forever

Teens love Snapchat. They post pictures and know that they will be gone in a matter of seconds, so what’s the harm? Teens operate social media channels better than the tech savvy experts that created them. They have learned to save and store images, regardless of where they are posted. Servers store everything that is posted on the Internet. The images can come back to haunt your teen, preventing them from getting into a good school, landing a good job, or running for office. Messages sent via text can also be retrieved, even if the number is blocked on your iPhone.

Sexting is Child Pornography

People posting nude or compromising pictures that involve a minor are guilty of child pornography in many parts of the country. Sharing the pics is considered a felony, even if the minor has agreed. People receiving the photo can also be charged. Any of the people involved, even those underage, may also be considered to be a sex offender and would have to register with the sex offenders’ registry. A recent study showed that 61 percent of teens said if they had known the facts, they probably wouldn’t have sent the photos.

Ruining a Reputation

People use photographs in many ways. The teen loses control over the image once it is sent. The photo can be used to embarrass the teen, suggesting that he or she is an easy mark for sexual conquests, i.e. “slut shaming.” Teens manipulate photos to create memes, write mean comments, and more. “Frenemies” may blackmail the teen in the photo and, too embarrassed to tell, the teen will give into demands to retain privacy.

Invitation to Sexual Predators

Sext messages are usually sent to one person, with the hope that the photo will remain private. There are no guarantees that will be the case. The recipient can show the photo to friends or post it online. Photos posted online are public domain and no one can control who will see them. A sexual predator can find the photo and, using public information, find the person in the photo.

Conclusion

Parents must teach teens about responsible texting the social media use to protect them from the risks involved today and down the road.


Should I Keep My Landline?

Landline Phone

The whole world loves cell phones. However, many people use a good old-fashioned landline. Businesses and homes use landlines for many reasons. Landlines have a real connection to a cable or a fiber optic system that links to a dispatch system, making them more stable. Cell phones use radio waves, which can make them less reliable in areas where the signals are blocked or are non-existent. People buy cell phones because they are convenient, mobile, and have Internet and text messages. Both phones have a place in our culture.

Making a Connection

Businesses need a stable source to connect with clients and vendors. They install or keep their landlines to have a link to the outside world. Landlines also support multiple handsets and phone lines.

Accessibility

Cell phone users may have trouble in rural areas. Cell phone towers don’t exist in some areas due to geography. Radio wave interference drops phone calls. Landlines can be used wherever there is a telephone pole. Landlines also offer accessibility features such as oversized keys, the ability to attach touch screens, extra loud ringer settings, voice activation for the vision impaired, flashing lights for the hearing impaired, transcription units, Braille-based devices, improved clarity, etc.

Comfort

Many people, especially seniors, say that their old fashioned phones are more comfortable than the much smaller cell phones. The handsets are much larger, which makes it easier to use while taking notes, such as typing, cooking or washing the dishes.

Cost

Landlines are cheap. You can buy a phone at a yard sale or thrift store and it will work. The cost of local service is about $30.

Security

Many homes keep landlines for security. Older people may have had their landlines for many years and the thought of changing phone numbers means notifying a lifetime’s worth of friends, family, and businesses.

Everyone worries about security. In the age of hackers, using a landline is a lot safer than using a cell phone. Landlines send data through a fixed system, where cell phone data is sent through radio waves. Hackers can get data from cell phones. In order to tap into a landline, a device must be attached to the phone and/or the line.

Cell phones introduced an important security feature with the ability to trace a phone number. Landlines now offer the same feature.

Emergency Services

Landlines make a secure, traceable connection to emergency services that cell phones and VoIP phones don’t, depending on the service and location. Callers using 911 connect to the dispatcher. The dispatcher has immediate access to your location, even if you get cut off. Cell phone users must give their location and phone number before reporting the emergency. Poor call quality can cause important information to get lost, wasting precious time in an emergency situation.

 

 

 


How Spammers Make Money

Spam can be dangerous

People who send spam emails and text messages are in it for more than simply irritating the average person. They make money by sending fake messages or ones that encourage you to buy products – legitimate or otherwise. By law, spammers must honor all “unsubscribe” requests, but many do not. If you receive the requests on your phone, you can block the phone number, but even that may not stop the messages.  You can report the activity to the appropriate authorities but it may not help much.

Creating the Bankroll

Spammers make money in several ways. The spammer collects a large number of emails to use as targets. Some send out a million or more messages per day, through email or text message. Spam artists that make the most money are often creators of scams, getting people to buy products that will never arrive. Many people will simply forget about small purchases, so the thief keeps the money. The money adds up fast. The most notorious spammers have made millions of dollars before being caught and fined or jailed.

If you think spammers are making small paychecks, consider this: Current reports show that spammers and other internet con artists make more money than drug dealers. The crooks have less chance of getting caught, especially if they use email services like Gmail or fake Internet phone numbers.

Spammers who use bot-nets or hacker-controlled systems, charge $300-$700 or more per hour.

Selling Information

Spammers also make money by stealing and selling personal information. Some spammers can get people to give out credit card numbers and social security numbers by phishing. They might pretend to be someone who works for a real company like Amazon or a government agency like the Social Security Administration. The email contains links and asks for information such as your username, addresses, password or credit card information. The spammer may use the information in order to sell it to third parties.

Spammers use a common trick to get people to enter their information. You will receive a link to a site that appears to be a legitimate site. Once you click on the link, your computer is infected with spyware, malware, or viruses. It’s an easy mistake to make because the fake site looks like the real site, except that the name is misspelled. For example, you think you’ve clicked on a link for www.amazon.com, but the fake address is www.anazon.com. Your account gets charged for any purchases you make. Unless your bank or credit card has anti-fraud protection, you may not get your money back. The spammers are smart and are usually untraceable.

Protecting Yourself

You should act as if every text message or email you get could be from a scammer or spammer. Type information into your browser instead of clicking on the links sent to you. If you receive any suspicious messages, delete them completely from your phone or computer. You should update your anti-virus, spyware and malware programs on a regular basis.


How to Recognize a Dating Scam

Online dating targets lonely hearts

Online dating is the number one way in which people enter into romantic relationships. Countless sites are devoted to people seeking love. People using the sites to find romance claim it’s a convenient way to meet someone, particularly if you live in a rural area. However, it can also mean making yourself a target for scammers.

The Target

Scammers are savvy when it comes to tricking their targets into sending money to line their pockets. Some ask for money right away while others work up to it, starting with iTunes or gift cards, eventually asking for credit card or bank account information. Regardless of the method, it always comes down to money.

Victims of online dating scams are often embarrassed when they are duped, but it doesn’t mean that they are foolish or stupid. Scammers know what to say and when to say it to pull on a person’s heart strings. Many will talk on the phone or text to develop a relationship. Some will go as far as to make wedding plans with the intended victim. The story always ends the same way – the scammer takes the money and runs. The thief leaves the victim poorer and often heartbroken.

Spotting an Online Romance Scam

Scammers give telltale signs that they are not legit. They will insist that you leave the site and talk in person, text or email. Written messages use poor English with misspelled words and strange language, e.g., “I will love meeting you and having our life as one.” Red flags include messaging or texting in the middle of the night, sending pictures that are taken in a professional studio, or offering a sob story about the death of a spouse or some other tragedy. Common ploys also include claiming love a first site, or the fact that while s/he lives in the U.S., she is working overseas. This also includes people portraying themselves as members of the military. A planned visit suddenly goes awry, there is a medical emergency, a bank or credit card has been hacked, or a phone has been broken.

What You Can Do if You’re Suspicious

  • Online daters should use a reverse image search on any photos received. The reverse search will show if it’s a commonly used picture or one of a celebrity.
  • Ask for identification.
  • Run a reverse phone search on the scammer’s phone number. You will see if it is a VoIP phone number, legitimate, or registered to someone else.
  • No matter how much the person begs or threatens, do not send gift cards, money in any form, or send/receive packages. The stories can be convincing but, in the end, the person will take the money and leave the site. If the identity is fraudulent, there is a slim chance the person will ever be identified or caught.

Reporting Online Dating Scams

Victims of online dating scams should make a report to their state Attorney General as well as the Federal Trade Commission and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

 


Computer Tech Support Scams

Tech support scammers use pop-up ads

Computer tech support scams are on the rise. The scammers use the consumers’ fear by alerting them to security breaches, viruses, or ineffective software programs for malware and spyware. The target buys into the scam, worried that his identity will be stolen or worse. Scammers contact targets through phone calls, text messages, email, and pop up ads. Savvy consumers can spot the scam with the following information:

The Lead        

Tech support scammers notify targets that there is a problem with their computer, such as a virus or damaged hard drive. They tell you that they can fix the problem for a fee and ask you to wire money, buy a gift card or prepaid card. They choose those methods of payment because they are difficult, if not impossible, to get back or trace.

Spotting the Scam

Con artists have different ways to trick people into believing their stories. Here are the most common ways they fool consumers.

Phone Calls

Tech support scammers make random phone calls and claim to work for a well-known company like Microsoft or Apple. They say that your computer has informed them of a serious problem and offer to run a diagnostic scan if you give them remote access. If you agree, the scammer pretends to run a scan on your computer and then tells you about a problem that isn’t real. The Federal Trade Commission has recorded one of the calls made by a computer tech support fraudster. You can listen here.

Legitimate companies will not call you to discuss an alert or ask for payment for tech support. Most companies use online support systems. If the problem cannot be solved, you can call tech support directly. If you do receive a call, use a reverse phone search on the number that called you. Write it down so you can report it to the authorities.

Pop-up Ads

Pop-up ads are a nuisance and can often be avoided by using a pop-up blocker. However, scammers are smart and can sometimes work around the block. The ad will pop up on your screen, alerting you to a problem on your computer, due to a failing operating system or virus. The ad might show a logo from a well-known company. It lists a phone number for you to call to get help.

Online ads for tech support are always suspect. If you haven’t had any problems with your computer then ignore the ad. If you think that your software might be outdated, run an update on your system and then perform a scan.

Improve Security

Scammers love weak passwords. Change your password on a regular basis. You can create a complicated password or use a password generator to improve your computer’s security.

Reporting a Scam

Consumers don’t always report scams because they are embarrassed. They may not know that they have been scammed. If you suspect you might be the target of a computer tech support or other scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Assistant.

 


Tips for Avoiding Business Scams

Business scam warnings

 

Scammers target businesses as much, if not more, than individuals. One of the biggest scams is charging businesses for items they did not order, or unordered sending items along with an invoice. The scammers count on the fact that in some businesses, the person ordering the items isn’t always the person handling the invoices. The scam goes unnoticed and the scammer receives a fat check. If the order is not refused or returned, the scammer will go in for the kill with a bigger order and matching invoice. People operating small businesses have the advantage since they usually know what was ordered as well as which invoices are legitimate. A one man show may use his personal cell phone to conduct business which allows him to use an app for unknown number look ups and to reverse search calls from suspicious vendors.

The scams target many different types of business and non-profits, including mom and pop businesses to churches to corporations. The Federal Trade Commission has reports on various types of scams, how to avoid them or report the persons responsible for the scam. Their website reports one company that had paid out over $20,000 for supplies they never ordered – light bulbs, cleaners, hand sanitizers, etc. Some companies refuse to pay for unordered products, which is legal; otherwise they would have to pay to return them to the sender. If your business receives products or merchandise that no one ordered, the law says the vendor cannot charge or legally collect on it. You don’t have to pay for it or return it, even if the products were used.

Protecting Your Business

Business owners can protect themselves from merchandise scams by doing the following:

Train Employees

Scammers may target more than one employee in a business. Train employees to direct calls to a purchasing agent or manager.

Checks and Balances

All purchases and invoices should be checked upon arrival. If an item arrives that was not purchased, it should be investigated.

Verify Invoices

Business owners should always verify invoices and requests for payment. Any unknown person that offers to pay by personal check could be suspect. If someone requests payment via wire transfer, gift card or reloadable gift card, it’s almost certain to be a scam.

Be Tech-Savvy

Scammers are clever. Don’t trust your Caller ID. Thieves can obtain fake phone numbers and emails that are usually untraceable. They may send messages that appear to be from clients or colleagues, so you should always verify. Keep your organization’s financial information, passwords and files in a secure location. Avoid opening emails with attachments as they may contain viruses or spyware. The FTC has more tips on keeping your business safe at Small Business Computer Security Basics.

Beware of “Consultants”

Before hiring a business consultant, research the company. It is a trend for fake consultants to demand upfront payment and then not show up or offer advice you could have had for free.

While it may seem impossible to stay 100% safe, being vigilant can certainly help to protect your business.

 

 


Why Are the Police Calling Me?

Police officers protect and serve

When you receive a call from the police, the first instinct is that something is wrong. You’ve done something wrong, someone needs bail money, or there has been an accident. Secondly, there may be a solicitation from a police charity such as a fundraiser. Someone may request support for the local Sheriff’s department or Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). While all those things are legitimate, some are not typical. For example, if you have broken the law, the police are not going to call you. They will come to your house and arrest you. If bail money is needed, the person needing the money would call, not the police. Fundraising efforts do take place, but you should insist on supporting local organizations only, ones that can be verified.

Here are some common scams related to law enforcement:

Arrest Warrants

Police issue arrest warrants if someone has broken the law. Law enforcement refers to is as a “bench warrant.” It is a document stating that you must go to jail immediately. Police never call criminals to let them know they will be arrested. Victims of arrest warrant scams are told that they must pay a certain dollar amount or be sent to jail. The scammer requires you to send money via Western Union or another wire service. Don’t do it! Call your local police station immediately.

Jailbird Relative

Seniors are common targets of this scam, often referred to as the Grandparent Scam. The caller contacts a senior to say that a relative is in jail, usually in a foreign country. They require the victim to pay a large sum immediately or the relative will be held without bail. The caller never offers proof of the arrest. They may say that a bondsman will call shortly to arrange for the bail to be paid. If the caller presents himself as an officer, ask for his name, rank and badge number. Call the local authorities immediately if you receive this type of call.

Police Charity

Police and fire departments are sometimes underfunded. As a result, they will solicit funds from the public. Citizens may receive a call asking for donations for a specific event or to support the Fraternal Order of Police. Police will never ask for credit card information over the phone. If you are suspicious of the request, contact the organization directly.

Detecting a Phone Scam

It may be difficult to identify a phone scam but it’s not impossible. Scammers use fake names and a spoofed caller ID to hide their real phone numbers. Also, scammers can tap into phone numbers used by police so that they appear legitimate.

Ask for Information

If a police representative asks for money, ask questions. Callers should give you their full names and the organization’s address. If the caller says they are collecting for a specific chapter or precinct, call to verify before opening your wallet. Scammers usually can’t answer any questions, get defensive and/or hang up.

 

 

 


Who is Texting Me?

Scammers use texts to steal identity

We live in a society of convenience – convenience stores, online shopping, and sending text messages. Scammers use conveniences to find and trap new victims. Thieves steal information from people through a technique known as “smishing.” Smishing is a scam like email “phishing” scams – receiving fake emails from your bank, phone carrier or other companies. Smishing is sending the same type of message – one that you are likely to answer – via text message. If the person receiving the text answers, it is easy for scammers to steal identity or other information. They can plant viruses or worse from that one simple reply.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that identity theft scams are on the rise. Their advice to consumers is to ignore and delete the messages without a reply. If you receive a text that seems suspicious, it is also wise to block texts on your iPhone from that number.

Scare Tactics

Scammers use fear and intimidation to lure their victims. The text messages could revolve around anything from unauthorized use of a bank account to account activation. Other tactics include contests, prizes, or fake job offers. A scam message may look like:

A transaction has been processed on your Bank of America account. If you did not make this transaction, reply “unauthorized” to this message.

Or

New jobs at Amazon.com located in your area! Reply “interested” to receive more information.

The scammer relies on the reply to be able to get your information.

What Can They Do?

Hackers are dangerous. They can access your personal information including bank account and credit card numbers. They can also install viruses, or worse, keylogging software. Keylogging software is a type of malware (virus) that can be installed on a phone or computer. It keeps track of every keystroke or entry made into the device. It can track every message sent, every password, and all account information. The software is installed in the system and can be extremely difficult to remove.

Unsolicited Text Messages Aren’t Always Illegal

It is illegal to send unsolicited text messages, unless the texting party has a relationship with the recipient. Companies such as your bank, phone service provider and other businesses you use can send messages unless you opt out of the service. Political campaigns and charities soliciting funds are exempt from the rule.

Federal law states that “robocalls,” services using computers to call random numbers or mass auto-dialers are illegal.

Text Safety Tips

Text safety tips include:

  • Users should not reply to the text – even if it gives you an option to be removed from the list.
  • If you feel the text is legitimate, check it out before responding. Call your bank or other company directly. Scammers require an immediate response.
  • Never click on links or phone numbers.
  • Delete the message immediately.
  • Report the message to your phone service carrier.

Medicare Scams Target the Elderly

Medicare Scams 

 

Medicare, like most health insurance plans, has an annual enrollment. When the time draws near to that date, it is not uncommon for people to receive phone calls. The calls, legitimate or otherwise, regard upgrading or purchasing insurance. The bad thing is that insurance can be confusing to the insured. Scammers like to target the elderly who may not understand their benefits.

Four Parts of Medicare

It can be difficult to understand the four parts of Medicare. However, it’s fairly plain unless someone is trying to confuse you. Before talking to anyone about Medicare, be sure to know what parts you have. Educating yourself in that way will make spotting a scam that much easier.

Part A: Coupled with Part B, this is often referred to as “the original Medicare.”

  • Inpatient care in a hospital
  • Inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility (not custodial or long-term care)
  • Hospice care
  • Home health care
  • Care in a religious non-medical healthcare institution

Note: Part A does not offer full health care coverage.

Part B: Considered a necessary partner to Part A.

  • Includes regular doctor visits
  • Covers medically necessary services (e.g., wheelchairs or surgeries)
  • Preventive health care services, like lab tests

Part C: Medicare Part C, aka “Medicare Advantage” combines Medicare Part A and Part B. Plans commonly offered:

Part D: Medicare’s Prescription Drug Plan (PDP):

  • Helps to cover the cost of prescription drugs
  • May help lower prescription drug costs and protect against higher costs in the future

Scare Tactics

Scammers are ruthless. They will say anything to get your information, including your bank account or social security numbers. Many prey on seniors who need Medicare to survive. Some common scare tactics:

  • Caller states that you will lose your coverage unless you join a specific plan.
  • You must pay to receive a new Medicare card. This isn’t true. Medicare cards, even temporary ones, are free and are sent automatically.
  • Don’t share any information with a caller who threatens to cancel your benefits.
  • Don’t give out bank information in return for a deposit or rebate.

Are You a Target?

If you suspect a scam or receive a call by someone stating to be a Medicare representative, use an iPhone app to search by phone number. If the number is blocked, restricted or unavailable, hang up immediately.

Block calls on your iPhone to cut down on annoyance or the urge to answer.

If you suspect Medicare fraud, report it immediately to StopMedicareFraud.gov, or call Medicare directly at 1-800-633-4227.

 


Is Your Partner Cheating?

How to Tell if Your Partner Is Cheating

How to Tell if Your Partner Is Cheating

 

There is a theory that technology has made it easier for partners to cheat. People can meet via social media, texting and dating websites, and have little chance of getting caught. That is, unless the other partner is savvy. There are dozens of ways your partner’s fidelity can be verified if you are willing to invade his or her privacy.

 

Caller ID

Checking the caller ID on a person’s phone is the easiest way to find out who has been calling (or is being called). If the person’s name does not appear on the screen, you can use an iPhone number tracer app to get information.

 

GPS Trackers

GPS trackers are an efficient way to find out where your partner is going and when. You can hide a tracker in a vehicle or you can use a phone app. The person is unaware that he is being tracked.

Spy Apps

There are dozens of spy apps on the market. The free apps make more promises than they can deliver but it depends on your needs. Several sites tout these at the top 3 spy apps for Android and iPhone:

  1. mSpy – offers Geo-fencing (targeted “safe zones”), keystroke logging, web and app activity, ability to block specific websites from the user’s phone.
  2. Highster – the most budget-friendly. Highster offers tools to monitor children and employees. It allows users to perform GPS Tracking, Call Tracking, Access Photos & Videos, View Browsing History, Social Media & App Tracking, SMS Text Messages, and Phone Camera Control.
  3. Flexispy – works on both iPhone and Android. Offers the most powerful features including: Track and Intercept Calls, Record Phone Calls, Ambient Listen Mode, Remote Camera Control, Spy on Text Messages, Spy on iPhones, Androids, Nokia, and Blackberrys.

 

Statistics About Infidelity

  • 2% to 3% of all children are the result of cheating.
  • 30% to 60% of all married people in the U.S. will cheat
  • 33% of marriages have one or both partners having an affair.
  • 35% cheat on a work trip
  • 36% of men cheat with a coworker.
  • 40% of online cheating turns into real life cheating.
  • Cheaters are 3 times more likely to cheat again.
  • Cheating usually occurs 2 years into marriage.
  • Infidelity is increasing among people under 30. Many experts credit this to opportunity, being away from home and early sexual activity.
  • Men are more likely to cheat, however, that is changing as women continue to become more financially independent.
  • Cheating is rarely uncovered.
  • Polyamory, being romantically involved with more than one person, is increasing in popularity.
  • Technology increases the opportunity to meet someone else.
  • People may cheat when they are bored.
  • Emotional infidelity can be as damaging as physical infidelity.

 

Keep in mind that while these apps can give you the proof you need of infidelity, the information is not generally admissible in court.


Are You Being Catfished?

Watch Out For Catfishing

 

You’ve probably heard the term “catfish,” especially if you are on any form of social media or dating website or app. Catfishing is the act of pretending to be someone else, real or fictional, to trick an unsuspecting victim. There is more than one reason for catfishing someone online. Perhaps the other person is jealous, trying to catch a cheating partner, or doing it as a form of cyberstalking or cyberbullying. However, the one doing the catfishing is most likely trying to scam his or her victim.

How It Happens

Social media sites are rife with people on both sides of the catfishing scheme. While dating sites are most often the trolling place for scammers, other social media sites like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram are also possible sites for the tricksters. For argument’s sake, let’s use an example from a dating site.

Sally signs up for a dating website. She posts her picture and some information about herself. Soon, Sally starts to get messages from people interested in talking to her. At first, Sally is excited. She looks through pictures, at information and answers a few messages. Then she notices some of the people are behaving in a strange manner. Here are some of Sally’s red flags:

No profile picture.

Several of the men contacting Sally don’t have a profile picture posted. A small percentage may have a legitimate reason for not having a picture, such as a high-profile job, but more often than not, the poster may be married or not who he claims to be.

He looks like a movie star

He just might be. If a photo looks over done or professional, chances are it’s not real. Use a reverse image search in Google to uncover the user’s true identity. Some of the most popular services include Google Reverse Image Search or TinEye. Upload the person’s picture and search. Try more than one service to make sure that the picture isn’t located elsewhere on the internet. You may find it linked to other dating websites as well.

Bad English

Scammers are typically non-native English speakers. It becomes obvious quickly when chatting via message. They often use incorrect words, the wrong tense, or confuse things such as there, they’re and their. Also, non-English speakers tend to not use contractions. The lack of good grammar is a glaring sign that someone is not who he claims to be.

The Same Old Story

Scammers aren’t very creative. Sob stories generally include the person losing his entire family, being stranded overseas, or having lost his wife to cancer and left with a child to raise. If a story sounds familiar, enter some of the text into a Google search. You might be surprised at what appears on your screen. The same can be said for overly produced poetry he uses to profess his love.

From 0 to 60 in a minute

Scammers aren’t patient. They want to gain your trust and get your money as soon as possible. For that reason, they tend to go to any length to win your trust and affection. Poetry, gifts, words of affirmation and love are just some of the ways in which a scammer will try to win you over. The more you accept those gestures, the harder the scammer tries.

The Ask

Once a scammer feels he has your trust, he will ask for something. It usually starts as something small, a small token of your affection. He may even send the first gift to get the ball rolling. Perhaps it’s simply a phone call or video chat. Rest assured that it’s only the beginning of something much bigger.

Common requests:

  • Airline ticket. He tells you that he is stranded overseas or wants to visit you, but is short of cash. He says he has had a medical emergency or has been robbed. You have to pay for his ticket and as soon as he arrives, he will pay you back. The problem is that once the ticket is sent, he never arrives, and the money is gone.
  • Financial emergency. There has been an accident. The rent or insurance is past due. He was wrongly terminated from his job. He only needs a small loan.
  • Make a trip. He can’t visit right now, but you can make a trip to see him. Risks include being stood up at the airport, stranded in a strange city or country or being accosted by a stranger. The least of it is being out the money for the airfare.
  • Send money/packages. Some scammers benefit by convincing their partners to send money to a third party or forward a package. While it may seem harmless, it could land you in legal trouble.

Take Steps to Protect Yourself

Follow these steps to protect yourself as much as possible.

  • Use a VoIP phone number or email set up specifically for the dating site.
  • Download an iPhone app to find a name by phone number that will allow you to record, block and/or trace phone numbers.
  • Never send money to a stranger.
  • Insist on seeing a picture. Use an image search to verify identity.
  • Approach the situation logically and discuss it with a trusted friend before making any decisions.
  • Beware of sharing personal information about yourself, your job or your family.
  • Always meet in a neutral, public place.
  • Get to know the person in real life situations before giving your complete trust.

Trading Cash For Love

Catfishing Scams

A great deal has been written about online dating scams. What it boils down to is scammers trying to trade cash for love; convincing lonely hearts that they will live happily ever after – for a price. Most schemes aren’t so blatant but as the availability of marks increases, the less time a scammer is willing to spend to get inside your wallet. There is no way to calculate how much money a short con can generate, but it must be good enough to avoid getting a real job.

The Set-up

The beginning is almost always the same. Person X receives a flirt or message from Person Y on a dating or social media site. Contact is made, and the dance ensues. Make no mistake – the scammer may be male or female. From what my male friends tell me, females are much worse and not shy about making up front demands.

Within a short period of time, you will know the scammer’s story. The one thing you can be sure of is that the story – and persona – are almost always fake. Catfishing, i.e., posing as someone else, is almost a given in these cases. Almost immediately, the scammer begins to profess admiration and love for you. The more lavish the attention, the more likely the target is to fall for the ruse, eventually opening his/her wallet, bank account or credit card. The ending is never happy.

Lonely Hearts

Most of the scammers have a sob story.  My spouse died; I’m deployed overseas; I was left at the altar; and so on. They will say anything to tug at your heartstrings.

Emergency Cash

Inevitably, there will be an emergency in which the scammer needs fast cash: hospital bills, eviction, and broken-down vehicles are examples.

Catfishing Scams

Travel Expenses

Some make grand promises to visit, if only they had cash for travel. A good friend works for an airline and will offer to cover the expenses. The scammer never accepts and wants to purchase her own ticket on his dime. My personal favorite is the scammer who is overseas and cannot access his bank account until he gets back to the States. It’s true that there are banks and credit cards that place travel bans on accounts but they aren’t going to leave you stranded in some third world country.

Business Deal

An offer of a business deal or employment is a savvy way to get someone to shell out cash. Pay now, play later. The scammer may offer a partnership or a scenario of building a future together.

Protect Your Wallet

How to Protect Yourself

The first thing I do when interacting with someone is to search online. An app for unknown number look ups, reverse image searches, and social media accounts are a good way to start. If the scammer regales you with a sob story or flowery poetry, copy part of it and Google the words. Chances are you’ll find a matching entry. In the end, there’s nothing wrong with online dating. Most of us do it. But no matter what he or she says, keep your wallet firmly closed until you’re convinced it’s the real thing.


Top 5 Packing Hacks For Your Next Trip

Sometimes you just need a vacation for your mental health, but the logistics aren’t always so easy. One hard part can be packing your bag.

Wether you’re taking a weekend trip or heading on a 6 month journey it’s important to pack right. Nothing is worse than getting to your destination and realizing you forgot an essential.

Here are the top 5 packing hacks for your next vacation.

1. Make a list.

This one might seem obvious, but it’s important to make a list before you start packing. Not only will this allow you to plan what you’re going to wear ahead of time, but it will also prevent you from overpacking. The less you pack, the more room for souvenirs.

2. Roll, don’t fold.

Rolling your clothes when packing them will give you more room, and prevent them from getting wrinkled while in your suitcase.

3. Bring functional clothes and layer.

Choose to bring clothes that you can layer and wear in different ways. Check out this women’s shawl wrap that can be styled as a wrap, poncho, scarf, or shrug. There are also wraps that can be worn as dresses or skirts and pants that convert to shorts. 

4. Wear your heaviest pieces on the plane.

No one wants to pay overweight bag fees. If you’re going somewhere cold and need boots or a heavy jacket, wear them with you on the plane. Don’t wear your lightweight sneakers and check your hiking boots.

5. Skip the personal items.

Shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and other creams and liquids will weigh down your suitcase. Instead of bringing them, buy them at your destination. You can oftentimes find these things at airport drug stores in travel sizes.

With these 5 tips you’ll be able to avoid bag fees the next time you fly and you’ll remember all the essentials.


Holiday Phone Scams: What You Need to Know

The holiday season is completely upon us, and if you’re like most people you’re probably feeling a bit stressed. It’s important to not let your guard down as scammers up their activity around this time of the year. These are the holiday phone scams that you need to watch out for.

Romance Scams

Online dating is popular during the holidays. It’s cuffing season after all! If you’re using online dating and feel like you’ve met a special someone, make sure they’re not out to scam you! Romance scammers are quick to profess their love and then they’ll claim to be in trouble.

If your new love interest won’t meet you in person, or even Skype with you, this is a red flag. Don’t trust them, and definitely don’t share your personal and financial information with them.

Utility Scams

Imagine having no heat over Christmas. For many people in the U.S. this would not only be a nightmare, but potentially very dangerous as temperatures in the northern parts of the country go well below freezing.

Scammers, knowing this, will call pretending to be from local energy companies and they will threaten to cut the power or heat if a payment isn’t received. Many victims will panic and share their credit card information without a second thought.

Charity Scams

Many people are in a giving spirit during the holidays. Scammers will call posing as charities and soliciting donations from people during the Christmas season. These charities can range from cancer foundations to children’s organizations.

Whenever you want to donate money you can check to make sure that your donations will go towards what you want it to. You can use Charity Navigator to check charities ratings and what they use their donations for.

How to Protect Yourself

The best way to protect yourself is to user an iPhone phone number tracker tool to protect yourself from receiving these unwanted calls during the holidays. This time of the year is often stressful enough, so there’s no reason to make it worse by adding the extra aggravation of these annoying calls!


How To Protect Yourself From The IRS Phone Scam

One of the most common types of phone scams that affect millions of Americans each year is the IRS phone scam. You might not think that you could ever be tricked by this scam, but you could! Find out how to identify and report this scam, as well as cut down on the amount of calls you receive with a caller ID app.

What Is The IRS Phone Scam?

There are many variations of this scam, but the most common variation is as follows. You receive a call or an automated message from someone claiming to be an IRS agent. The caller or message will say that it’s very important that you contact with them immediately in order to resolve an issue with back taxes.

They will threaten you with legal problems saying that you will be brought to court, or in some cases even arrested. The scammer will demand that you pay the taxes that they claim you owe immediately.

Why Is It Successful?

It’s no secret that taxes are complicated! Scammers know this and they take advantage of it. It’s also no secret that many Americans pay their taxes late or don’t even pay them at all. This scam also frequently targets immigrants and threatens to deport them because they owe taxes.

Many people fearing deportation or legal problems will panic and pay the scammers what they are asking for without questioning the legitimacy of the caller.

To make the scam more believable scammers will often use caller ID spoofing to make it seem as if they are calling from the IRS.

How To Protect Yourself

The best way to protect yourself from the IRS phone scam is to know your rights! (And try to pay your taxes on time!) You should know the following:

  • You’ll always receive a notice of owed taxes via snail mail before you ever get a phone call.
  • You always have the right to dispute what you owe with the IRS.
  • You’ll never have to pay owed taxes via wire transfer or pre-paid debit/gift cards. This is the most common way in which phone scammers request money be sent.

By keeping these things in mind you can protect your information and your money. If you ever have any doubts about a phone call you’ve received consult an iPhone cell phone number look up app. These useful apps will help you identify whether or not a number has been associated with a scam.

Additionally, if you ever think you might have been contacted by an IRS scammer you should contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and report it.


Why You Need to Try Online Dating and Reverse Phone Lookup Apps

Almost everyone who is single has used online dating or a dating app at least once. Nowadays it’s very common to know couples who met off Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Match.com or any of the other dating sites and apps. The only drawback to online dating is that you don’t know who you’re talking to. Are they catfishing you? This is why you also need to have a reliable reverse phone lookup app on your smart phone if you’re dating.

Why Try Online Dating?

It’s possible that you’ve just gotten out of a relationship or maybe you’re shy. No matter what your situation is you can meet new people that you normally wouldn’t meet via online dating.

No matter what your interests and tastes there is probably an online dating site or app for you. What’s important though is that you remember to stay safe while meeting new people.

Ways To Stay Safe

You might have heard people say that online dating isn’t safe, but that’s not the case as long as you are smart about it. Here are the best ways to stay safe when using online dating:

  1. Be cautious of people who tell you that they are falling in love with you after only a short time speaking. Romance scams are very common and a tell-tale sign of a romance scammer is someone who professes their love after only a few days of knowing each other.
  2. Don’t share personal or financial information with someone you’ve just met. This one seems like a no brainer, but studies have shown that we are much more likely to be open online. The online disinhibition effect is a real thing!
  3. Only meet with someone for a date in a public area the first time you are seeing them. Doing so will allow you to see what the person is like in real life.
  4. Use a reverse phone lookup app or do some other form of research before meeting anyone in public.

Why You Need To User A Reverse Phone Lookup App When Dating

As mentioned above it’s important to stay safe when dating and using a white pages iPhone app to verify the identity of the person you’re meeting is the best way to do so. By using an app like this or running a quick Google search you’ll help yourself avoid catfish, romance scammers, and even violent criminals.

 


How To Stop Telemarketers

Nothing is more annoying than telemarketers. Americans receive 2.4 billion robocalls every month. How annoying! Thankfully there are ways that you can stop telemarketers. We’ll go over all of the ways in which you can reduce the amount of unwanted calls you receive. Including how to use phone number tracing apps to identify and block these types of calls.

How To Stop Telemarketers

Though there’s no way to stop telemarketers completely there are a few different ways that you can reduce the amount of unwanted calls you’re receiving. Follow these steps to cut down on the calls you receive:

  1. Make sure your phone numbers (home and mobile) are on the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry. Once you’ve added your number to the list telemarketers can’t call you legally after 31 days have passed. There are a few exceptions though, these include political, charity, debt collection, informational calls, and telephone survey calls. Unfortunately, you’ll still receive these types of calls, but unwanted sales calls are illegal.
  2. Stop giving your number out to retailers. Stop giving your personal phone out to retailers when they ask for it. It’s unnecessary information that is usually sold to third parties.
  3. Stop using your number on surveys. Similarly, we’ll often participate in survey that request a phone number. Again, these survey companies will sell information to third parties.
  4. Don’t post your phone number in your social media. So many people have there phone number publicly displayed on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Fix your privacy settings on your social media profiles so that your phone number isn’t public.
  5. Check what information is available on you online. It’s always smart to run a quick Google search on your phone number every now and then to see if there is any information available on it. If there is you can contact the website and request that it be removed.

Using Phone Number Tracing Apps To Stop Them

You can also use an iPhone phone number lookup to filter your calls and cut down on the amount of spam calls you receive.

The more you interact with unwanted calls, i.e. answering them, pressing buttons when they call, getting angry and yelling at them, the more they will call you. Trust us. It’s not worth your time to talk to these people.

Instead, use an app to look up phone numbers and see what other people are saying about them. Chances are that they will be calling a lot of other people and annoying them from the same number. Additionally, many of these apps have spam blocking features that will automatically block unwanted calls.


Top Productivity Apps

We don’t just use our cell phones to make calls nowadays. Instead our phones are now small devices packed with features that helps many individuals maintain their lifestyle. Here are the apps (includes tasks management, apps that blocks calls on your iPhone and more!) that we think will save you time in finishing your daily tasks.

block calls on your iPhone

Clear

That satisfying feeling of crossing out a task is now available in a simple but powerful app. Clear is a task organizer app that lets you segment your to do’s into whatever order you prefer. Work, family, personal, friends – name it. It is customizable and all you have to do is swipe right once you’re done with a task.

Google Drive

For the most obvious reasons, Google Drive is one of the best cloud storage options for your files and a great tool for collaborations as well. This app will let you finish work even without a PC!

Connect

Connect is perfect for those who regularly meet other people. All you need is the email address of a person, and the app will look for its public profile and details with photos. When the time comes that you need to reconnect with this person, you don’t have to go through tons of business cards and worry if it’s the right person or not.

CallerSmart

Who’s ever received an unwanted call from an unknown number? Everyone. Aside from these calls being annoying, it also wastes your time! Callersmart will help you block calls on your iPhone so you don’t have to worry about getting scammed or receiving pesky spam calls.

Snowball

Let me guess, you have Facebook Messenger, Skype, Whatsapp, Viber, and all the other instant messaging apps there is. The stream of notifications must be difficult to keep track of at times. Snowball curates all your messaging and emails in one inbox, makes it easier for you to read and reply. Instead of clicking on several apps, Snowball saves your time and energy because everything is in there.

Go check out these apps today!


Features Of The Best Phone Tracer App For iPhone

Ever wonder what an iPhone caller ID app is or what is the best phone tracer app for iPhone? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

This type of app is crucial if you are a parent and you would like to monitor who’s calling your child. It also comes in handy if you receive a lot of spam calls. It will help you reduce the amount of nuisance calls you get by helping you identify which calls you should be taking and which ones you should ignore.iPhone caller ID app

How The Apps Work

A good phone tracer app for iPhone should be able to identify the majority of phone numbers that you search in it. These numbers are usually going to be a mix of landline numbers and cell phone numbers. The apps will typically use feedback from their users, plus exclusive databases to identify a phone number.

The type of information that you will receive when looking up a number should include the owner’s name and a location. This might be an exact address or a location based off of the phone number’s area code and exchange. Some apps will give you information like a picture and the social profiles associated with a phone number.

How To Use The App

The app should be easy to use. There is no need to be a tech genius to use a reverse phone lookup app. When you get a call from an unknown number copy and paste it and open up the app. The app should automatically start a search on the phone number.

After the search, the app will show you if there are any free results. Most apps will let you leave your feedback on a phone number. This helps others in your community to identify and avoid unknown calls. You will find a lot of feedback on phone numbers in a good phone tracer app.

Is The App Expensive?

Most of these apps are free, but will offer in-app purchases. It’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to pay for information on a phone number.

 


Phone Trace Apps and 5 Other Apps You Should Download

Apps make everyday tasks so much easier. Whether it’s getting somewhere, ordering food, dating, or finding a place to stay, there’s an app for it. Life would be much different if we didn’t have apps like Uber and Tinder. Below are the most important apps to have on your iPhone. Including an often overlooked group of apps – phone trace apps!iPhone number tracer app

Social Media Apps

Social media apps are much easier to use compared to the original websites. The apps let you post updates, share pictures, record live videos, and chat with friends. Therefore, if you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram you need to have the app too!

Streaming Apps

You can now catch up on your favorite TV show while commuting to work thanks to streaming apps like Netflix and HBO Go. Of course you’ll need an account for these services, you could also steal your friend’s password too.

Messaging Apps

If you’re still sending SMS texts you need to download a messaging app like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, or Kik. These apps make it easy to set up group chats between you and your friends or family.

Dating Apps

If you’re single and not using online dating your putting yourself at a disadvantage. Online dating has come a long way in recent years and now it’s more common than ever to meet your soul mate via a screen. Try out dating apps like Tinder or Bumble.

Sharing Economy Apps

Don’t have a beach house, but want one for the weekend? Rent someone’s place. Need a ride someone, but don’t have a car or someone who can drive you? Hire a ride share. It’s the 21st century and we’ve been overrun by the sharing economy. Apps like Uber and Airbnb have changed the way we get from point A to point B and take vacations.

Phone Trace Apps

You would think the problem with annoying calls would be solved with modern day technology, but it’s still a problem. Today annoying calls are worse than ever and made worse by the fact that we carry our phones everywhere with us.

You can cut down on the amount of annoying, unknown calls you receive with an iPhone number tracer app. They’ll help you identify the good calls you want to answer and avoid the bad ones.