This is Week Five of Six in my 12 Scams of Christmas countdown and this week, the scams are getting personal. Whether you’re looking for ways to win the battle of the buldge despite the forthcoming feast aplenty, or find a special someone to curl up with for the holidays, I’ve got two ever-popular scams in the lineup. Number 4 on the list is Dubious Diets, and Number 3 is Looking for Love in All the Wrong (Online) Places.
I’m one of the worst possible targets for those lose-weight emails. I’ve never been overweight and, thanks to a fidgety metabolism, will probably never be in the category. But, what about those who aren’t always moving or have a tendency to put on pounds just by looking at food?
Unfortunately, most of us don’t like the answer the doctor’s give. Eat less, exercise more. How boring, right? Instead, we go in search of miracle cures. Or the tricks the celebrities use. This email from my inbox foretells the end of Jessica Simpson’s career. All because she revealed how she recovered her figure.
“Jess S tell us all
After this her career could be over
Jessica Simpson was hiding the method she used to get her body back in shape
How did she really do it?
She breaks down with Matt – All told”
Maybe the Jess S. plan doesn’t interest you. Then how about the “Dr. Oz diet” emails, or the probiotic diets, or…or… Yes, the list goes on and on. Please, don’t trust the email box to deliver sound diet advice. Do the research, and never trust those online testimonials. Even Dr. Oz had to recant his endorsement and admitted he lent his name to a diet to make money. Imagine that.
Looking for Love in All the Wrong (Online) Places
I’m currently writing my next McKenna Mystery, “Maui Magic.” I’m working on the chapters where McKenna realizes he’s about to throw away everything in his life because of a mistake. A wrong move will cost him the woman he loves. If things go badly, he’ll be alone for the rest of his life. McKenna’s possible aloneness is an all-too-common occurrence. And a condition the scammers are willing to take advantage of.
I’m not sure why the “hot Russian women” emails, but they do. A bit too savvy to fall for that one? Then how about Facebook friend requests? This scam is, quite literally, as old as the hills. It’s just become a bit more sophisticated.
The Facebook love scam begins with a simple friend request from someone new. Then, there’s a message. It’s simple, something like, “Hi, how are you?” Things progress from there to more frequent conversations, possible exchanges of photos, and maybe even a personal meeting.
I’m not suggesting to never accept another friend request. Instead, be judicious. Look to see how many friends the sender has before accepting the friend request. Also, how long has their profile been active? A brand new profile should be a huge red flag.
Approach any messages from a new friend with skepticism—are they asking leading questions? Are they (or you) over sharing? Are they talking about money before you really know them? The solution is to be cautious. Also, remember that new love of your life might be an overweight, middle-aged doofus in Cincinnati.