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How to avoid credit fraud in 6 steps

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I was home on a lazy Sunday recently when the panic started. Someone was trying to use my credit card details to place a $1,300 order from the Apple website.

This was flagged as possible fraud, my credit card company immediately texted back, and the transaction went up.

I knew I wouldn’t be held responsible for bogus purchases, but the experience was still unpleasant and stressful. And we all pay the price of fraud. The cost to businesses of making unauthorized purchases or falsely reporting legitimate purchases makes everything you buy more expensive.

Financial experts tell me it’s impossible for Americans to completely prevent unwanted payments. It’s not your fault. Scammers are clever, and our financial system puts you at risk by being too complex in some ways and oversimplified in others.

But these six steps can reduce your risk of getting bogus charges or keep you in control when scammers come for you:

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1. Subscribe to alerts. They are pain. Do it anyway. Financial professionals say vigilance is your best protection. Subscribe to notifications by email or phone when your card is used – ideally for every transaction or for purchases like e-commerce orders that skip the physical card draw.

Notifications don’t prevent bogus purchases, but at least you’ll know something’s wrong right away and you can take action. (Signing up for notifications isn’t easy. Try looking in your card account’s profile or security settings.)

One of the dangers of these push notifications is that most of the time the transactions are legitimate and you start to get caught.

Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist for The Washington Post, said she made the mistake of only setting alerts for charges on her card over $25. She missed a small fraudulent purchase until her card thief moved on to larger purchases.

2. Try card locks. Another option for at least some credit and debit cards are controls that let you lock your card from use if something looks suspicious, or to prevent any purchase over a set dollar amount.

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Card controls are hard to find. It would be best if card issuers make big SOS buttons on their websites and apps so you can quickly freeze your card if it’s lost or unlock it when you want to buy something, said Emmett Higdon, director of digital banking for financial industry advisor Javelin Strategy & Research.

3. Be careful about payment apps like Zelle. Money transfer apps like Zelle and Venmo don’t have the same protection as payments you make with a credit or debit card. Think of them like paying someone cash.

Try to only use it with people you know or merchants you trust rather than strangers who want to buy your TV on the Facebook Marketplace, said John Buzzard, principal analyst for fraud and security at Javelin.

was the cell A favorite of scammers. If you send money by mistake or get scammed, it can be difficult or impossible to get it back. It is said that the banks that participate in Zelle will start compensate people who are being deceived by certain types of scams. Don’t count on it.

Early Warning Services, which operates Zelle, said, “Over 99.9 percent of Zelle payments were sent without any report of fraud or scams.”

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4. Beware of scams designed to manipulate your fears or desires. If you see a great sale on Instagram or in your email, think twice before clicking what could be a bogus link that might try to steal your card details. If you receive a text message claiming to be an emergency from your bank asking for permission to pay, beware.

Being paranoid is stressful but also a smart defense, said Michael Reitblatt and Gunnar Peterson, executive directors at fraud prevention firm Forter.

5. Nail the basics. Keep your computer and phone software updated. Try to create strong passwords on your accounts, and don’t use the same password more than once. (Here are more tips for securing your digital accounts.) Keep tabs on your financial transactions.

This advice is boring, but it works. Peterson said you should best imagine security not as “james bond hacking through the air vents”, but instead as “brushing your teeth” defensive measures.

6. Save your card company information in your phone contacts. This is smart advice from Michelle. That way, if your card isn’t on hand, it’s stolen, or the phone number on the back is gone, you can still contact the company quickly if you notice suspicious activity.

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The first step to my credit card creep was charging about $60 at a restaurant. I got an email notification about the transaction, he freaked me out and lunged at my account to freeze my card. While I was searching, I got a scam alert about Apple’s huge order. I have now taken Michelle’s advice.

Also, make sure your card issuer has your current contact information, including a phone number, to get in touch with you at the earliest.

Is it better to pay with card or similar like PayPal or Google Wallet? I’ve heard mixed advice about it. Some financial experts have said that digital options or credit cards that create a one-time account number for each purchase are useful protections when buying online. Others said it didn’t matter much.

Also, know that you have stronger legal protection against bogus purchases with a credit card than with a debit card.

Yes, it is a scam. Simple tips to help you spot online fraud.

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Scammers are coming for you. Here’s how to protect yourself.

My colleague Tatum Hunter recommends an app called Splitwise if you’re planning a vacation with family members or splitting up a restaurant with your friends.

Splitwise allows you to easily share expenses – you can create a category for individual expenses like “theme park tickets” or create a group for regular monthly expenses among your roommates.

The app keeps reminders of what you owe or owe, and prompts your cousin to pay for the hotel room you shared on the beach.

One downside is that you all have to use the Splitwise app to share expenses. Another is that Splitwise may show you ads based on your collections and payments.

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Read more from Tatum: The best payment apps for privacy and low fees

Brag about your only small win! Tell us about A tech app, gadget, or trick that made your day just a little bit better. We may feature your tip in a future edition of The Tech Friend.

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Smartphone scams are dead – Android Authority

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Robert Triggs/Android Authority

Ten years ago, the 2013 Samsung Galaxy S4 was a technological marvel. Android phones had only been around for a few years at that point, and it seemed like the Galaxy S4 could do a lot despite its small size. As consumers, we were delighted. So much so, that to this day the Galaxy S4 remains the best-selling Android phone of all time, with over 80 million units sold.

However, that was ten years ago – an eternity in the tech world. Things have changed dramatically since then. The smartphone tricks we saw in the Galaxy S4 — like the Smart Scroll, which let you scroll the contents of your screen by moving your head up or down — would be completely ridiculous to see in a 2023 phone.

Today, smartphones are ubiquitous gadgets, not technical marvels. Consumers are using their phones more than ever before, yes, but that has faded the shine. Modern smartphone buyers don’t want gimmicks. They want a phone that fixes the basics and hides in the background.

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In 2023, if a smartphone manufacturer thinks that some cool new trick will be the backbone that sells its phones, it will be in a world of disappointment. Not only will consumers care, but investing in research and development for this trick could do more harm than good.

What are the tricks of the smartphone?

Google Pixel 4 XL Long Range 2 review

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The term “gimmick” can be used broadly. In general, when it comes to smartphones, we think of gimmicks as features that are only applicable to very specific situations, appeal to a limited subset of users, or offer no real value (or some combination thereof).

One of history’s most egregious examples of smartphone scams was the Soli radar system in the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Soli was a set of front-facing radar sensors that could track your hand movements. They let you do things like pause the music simply by waving your hand near the screen. While Soli performed as advertised, consumers simply didn’t care, and the Pixel 4 series was the biggest failure in Pixel history.

If your star phone feature only appeals to a few people, it’s probably a gimmick.

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A more recent example came with the OnePlus 10 Pro last year. This phone was equipped with an ultra-high resolution camera with a field of view of 150 degrees. This was essentially a fish-eye lens, creating highly distorted images that looked unreal. Although software trickery helped fix images in post-processing, critics and consumers alike saw no need for such a bizarre lens. OnePlus eliminated the lens on this year’s OnePlus 10T and OnePlus 11.

Here are some other smartphone tricks we’ve seen:

  • foreign matter: OnePlus recently announced the Jupiter Rock Edition of the OnePlus 11. It has a back that is basically made of rock. Who asked for this?
  • Macro lenses: While a great telephoto lens can be an interesting addition to a solid lens collection, most of the time that’s not the case. Often, OEMs will throw in cheap 2MP macro lenses to make a phone look more premium than it is. In other words, the thought process is that more lenses = better cameras, which consumers are no longer fooled by.
  • Super fast charging: While it’s crazy to see 240W charging speeds on a smartphone (that’s fast enough to charge from empty to full in about ten minutes), who really needs that? These speeds are also said to be detrimental to the health of the battery, thus shortening the life of your phone.
  • Cooling systems: Lenovo Legion Duel 2 – a gaming phone – had a cooling fan built into it. While this is practical for a phone designed for gamers, it also made the phone unwieldy, prevented an IP rating, and made wireless charging impossible. It solved one problem at the expense of basic smartphone features. Likewise, OnePlus’ latest concept phone has a liquid cooling system that didn’t even work.

These gimmicks don’t help sell phones because they don’t give us what we really want: a great overall experience.

But what about phones in specific niches, like rugged phones? Is the rugged phone a gimmick? I’d argue it isn’t, but they also don’t sell in the numbers we’d see with something like the Galaxy S series. These phones exist for specific purposes for a specific consumer, so they get a special pass.

The current smartphone successes are all the evidence you need

Google Pixel 7 Pro camera housing

Robert Triggs/Android Authority

We know why smartphone manufacturers invest in these kinds of tricks. They obviously think they’ll help sell the phones or, at the very least, help their products stand out from the crowd. This is an odd strategy because the most successful phones tend to be relatively gimmick-free.

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Here in the US, the iPhone is by far the most popular smartphone. For the first time ever, Apple has more than 50% of the market in the US, leaving the other half to Android OEMs (mostly Samsung). The iPhone doesn’t have a lot of tricks. One could argue that Dynamic Island is a gimmick, but it’s one that consumers seem to enjoy, so it doesn’t really count.

Unsurprisingly, the most successful phones are also some of the most gimmick-free.

In second place, Samsung’s Galaxy S series also stands out as being gimmick-free. The Galaxy S23 Ultra’s S Pen may be a bit gimmicky for some. However, it’s also incredibly popular and a calling card for a premium Galaxy experience, so we’ll be happy to let this feature slip. Despite this, the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus are pretty boring with how functional and no-nonsense they are. And guess what? The Galaxy S23 line is selling better than the Galaxy S22 line.

Of course, we can’t forget about Google’s pixel font. The Google Pixel 7 Pro doesn’t have any weird tricks up its sleeve, and was voted the best Android phone of 2022 by both Android Authority And our readers. It’s interesting that when Google gave up the tricks, it ended up selling more phones than ever before.

Obviously, phones can reach consumers without gimmicks. However, Dynamic Island and the S Pen show that there is still room for fun and doing things differently.

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However, phones can still be fun

None Phone Number 1 graphic on the back

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

We’ve already discussed plenty of examples of stupid smartphone tricks that get in the way of a good experience. However, some tricks work.

Take Nothing Phone 1, for example. The lights on the back of the device — officially known as The Glyph — appear to be a ridiculous gimmick. Once you use the phone, you will realize that it is actually an Android smartphone with a strange light show added. In other words, The Glyph can be ignored, and you’ll still get a great Android experience with a very fair cost-to-value ratio.

I’m not against the trick. There is plenty of room for fun features.

This is a great example of how doing tricks properly can be beneficial. Nothing crammed into The Glyph comes at the expense of wireless charging, a premium feel, or a decent camera system. Use the trick as a light garnish on top of a satisfying meal. It’s a beautiful detail that highlights an already well-done dish.

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Google’s Magic Eraser is another example of a gimmick that works. With the Pixel’s camera experience already being one of the best (if not the best) phone camera experiences available, the Magic Eraser feature exists as a useful tool for people looking to fix otherwise great photos. It was not Need Magic Eraser, but it’s practical and fun when you want it to be.

That’s all to say that smartphones don’t need to be boring. There’s plenty of room for fun gimmicks, cool aesthetics, and thought-provoking twists. But gimmicks can’t be the phone’s selling point. They must be side players.

OEMs will need to shift focus — or dump

Lenovo Legion Duel 2 1

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

Remember Lenovo Legion Duel 2, the phone with an integrated cooling system? Unfortunately, this trick didn’t work out very well for Lenovo. Recently, the company confirmed this Android Authority He shut down the Legion’s smartphone arm.

We’ve also mentioned OnePlus several times in this article. This company is not doing well either. There is a rumor that it could pull out along with sister brand OPPO from the European market either this year or in 2024. OnePlus has lost all carrier partnerships in the US, and its latest flagship — the OnePlus 11 — hasn’t gotten strong reviews. Again, tricks don’t seem to have helped here.

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What do you think of smartphone scams?

146 votes

This all supports my central argument: scams don’t sell phones. We’ve settled on wanting phones that excel at the essentials: battery life, camera, screen, usability, performance, and so on. I could also argue that design is just as important here, though it’s more subjective than something like battery life. What doesn’t matter are the extra lenses, radar systems, cooling fans, rock-solid backboards, and all the other tricks we’ve seen.

Companies that are stuck in 2013 and think cool gimmicks will sell a lot of phones will need to wake up from that dream sooner rather than later. Apple and Samsung eat your lunch and do so without relying on gimmicks. Make your phones awesome at a competitive price and we’ll buy it. Simply.

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All of my favorite games this year are old

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I also installed the original version Final Fantasy, the game that debuted when I was three years old, on Sony’s most advanced console yet, I came to a realization: everything I played this year was outdated. Between remakes, new releases, and vintage collections, there’s been a flood of nostalgia. I personally welcomed it.

These kinds of releases aren’t new, of course. What was different during the early months was the huge amount of classic releases. Two of the biggest movies so far this year – dead space And Resident Evil 4 – is a remake of titles from more than a decade ago. Both are slick, slick updates that don’t look out of place among recent big-budget releases, but part of what makes them so attractive is how straightforward they are. There are no open worlds filled with endless quests or live service items to keep you coming back. And most of these design decisions date back to their ages, as these games were made at a completely different time with very different expectations. In my review of Resident Evil 4 A remake, I called it “a video game like this,” and I meant that as a compliment.

Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp.
Image: Nintendo

But they can also be a lot of work, frequently setting in to be all-consuming experiences that keep you hooked and never let go. Oh I love Fortnite Like everyone else, but that’s not all I want from my video games. Whether it is as complicated as RE4 Or simply put a scene from the opera Final Fantasy VI On my PS5, these games have returned a simplicity and focus I often find missing from their modern contemporaries. vampire And Final Fantasy They are very different experiences, but they give me the same feeling of a whole solo journey that I’m supposed to play through from start to finish. Same goes for the other old games I’ve been playing.

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Playing—and in many cases, replaying—these games was an exercise in reminding myself of what could be so great about a medium. The largest modern versions tend to imitate each other to the point where they are almost indistinguishable from one another. That’s what makes a lot of indie releases so exciting, and likewise, what keeps me coming back for all these new releases of old games — so it’s good to me that this trend shows no sign of stopping.

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NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell leaves Comcast due to ‘improper conduct’

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NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell will leave Comcast, effective immediately. The telecom giant made the surprising announcement in a brief press release Released on Sunday. After an investigation prompted by a complaint of improper conduct, Comcast says it has reached a “joint” decision with Shell that he should resign from his position.

“Today is my last day as CEO of NBCUniversal. I had an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, which I deeply regret,” Shell said in a joint statement. “I am really sorry that I left my colleagues at Comcast and NBCUniversal, they are the most talented people in this field and the opportunity to work with them over the past 19 years has been a privilege.”

Comcast has not named a successor to Shell. in a note obtained diverseComcast CEO Brian Roberts and President Mike Kavanagh told employees they were “disappointed” to share the news. “We built this company on a culture of integrity. Nothing is more important than how we treat each other. You must count on your leaders to create a safe and respectful workplace,” they wrote. “When our principles and policies are violated, we will always move quickly to take appropriate action, as we have done here.”

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Shell joined Comcast in 2004. He became CEO of NBCUniversal in 2020. That same year, he oversaw the launch of Peacock. Shell leaves NBCUniversal without making the streaming service profitable. At the beginning of the year, Comcast told investors that it had done so Added five million paid subscribers During the last three months of 2022. However, over the same period, the company lost nearly $1 billion while operating the service.

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