Grandma got run over by a scammer….
Another holiday has come and gone. The crowds gathered on Black Friday and today the techies drain bandwidth for Cyber Monday. With most readers of Collective Thoughts being tech savvy, I don’t have to break down the dangers of online shopping and scams. However, I would like to encourage everyone to pass on the knowledge.
For example, your grandmother or mother (depending on your age), how much do they know about these scams? A lot of baby boomers are taking to the Social Web and think they are beginning to get an idea of how it all works. However, in most instances, this is not the case.
Are you familiar with the old saying about “knowing just enough to be dangerous?” Well, in today’s Social sphere, that statement rings truer than ever. Technology has accelerated at such a significant rate, catching up isn’t so easy for a less tech-oriented generation. They want to use sites like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter to stay connected to their friends, and let’s face it; these sites, security-wise, have become a hen-house of sorts, and there’s no farm dog there to look after them. Weasels and foxes abound.
I, as well as my colleagues, have noticed GenX and GenY are starting to step in and police their family’s actions. Not only in Facebook posts, but also in online shopping, and gaming apps. With all the gaming apps like Farmville, Mobsters, and the hundreds of others, the tech-educated have noticed a lot more scams and virus outbreaks. The problem is that the users of these apps have no clue what they are doing. These apps are addicting and annoying to non-users. I have actually un-friended people on Facebook for being app addicts. I really don’t care how many pigs you raised, or how awesome of a hitman you’ve become. I am concerned for your well being aunt Kim. How many offers did you sign up for to get “FREE” Farmville upgrades? Watch your credit card statement Aunt Kim.
TechCrunch did a great piece on these scams that I highly recommend you read and share with your families. In case they are not techies, direct them to the Washington Post article as well. It really is up to us to watch out for them and educate them.
Speaking of education, in the TechCrunch article they target Video Professor. Apparently Video Professor has some special offers in the game apps to get upgrades for the game. The offer claims that you pay only $10 for shipping up-front. But then there’s always the fine print. Apparently, the $10 is for shipping all of the Video Professor’s library and you have to send them back or get charged $189. A lot of people have fallen victim to this scam. They have seen Video Professor on TV and therefore assume he has credibility and that they’d not get taken by the guy. Video Professor said it’s all clear in the fine print.
If Video Professor wants to show you how to do things correctly on the internet, then why are they doing things wrong? Should you not protect your brand? The web is buzzing about the article where Video Professor was called out and they have even made it a point to go after anyone who criticizes them. Here is my guidance Video Professor, from someone who I dare say has gained an Associates Degree from the Social Media “Community” College but is not an “Expert” or “Professor” in Social Media: Accept the fact that what you are doing is wrong. Do it on as many blog posts and Social Networks as possible. Then, set up a means to refund EVERYONE you have done wrong. Make the refunds as public as possible. Also, engage — not aggressively — but engage your critics. Find out what your critics have to say and ASK them how you can make things better. Additionally, make sure all offers are CLEAR. Not just in fine print. This would absolutely improve your image.
People everyday are taken for a ride, be it online shopping scams, 419 scams, gaming apps, or viruses. Let’s all pass our knowledge on to the less fortunate, and have a great and safe Holiday Season.