Sunday, September 24, 2023
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    Convenience and scams

    The scam era is upon us. Aided by AI, borderless currency and the internet of things, there are more people than ever before making a living hustling to steal, impersonate, defraud and otherwise violate our trust.

    When the world was inconvenient, this was difficult. The banker met with you in person, so did the charitable fundraiser and your second cousin.

    The very convenience we’ve leaned into–digital interactions, quick logins, caller ID–are now being used against us.

    Here’s a quick checklist to keep in mind:

    –if someone calls you from an institution, don’t assume they’re calling from that institution. Call them back on the main switchboard. Caller ID isn’t real anymore, not when it matters.

    –if someone emails you about something urgent, get their phone number and call them. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and don’t send money. The ‘sender’ field isn’t real anymore either.

    –it’s now cheap and easy to impersonate someone’s voice and to create digital photographs and videos that seem real.

    –don’t use Paypal’s friends and family button to buy things online.

    –Don’t buy gift cards (period) but especially… don’t buy gift cards for someone who reaches out to you.

    Of course, this all leads to a degradation of trust. When we began to trade for convenience, we also threw away some of our community and our humanness as well.

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