Category Archives: Scams

Still Using Windows XP? Worried? Stay Secure with PC Matic

New virus leaves Windows XP users vulnerable

Microsoft’s discontinuation of its Windows XP operating system has left XP users running the Internet Explorer web browser vulnerable to all sorts of nasty things, like viruses and malware. Changing web browsers could help protect you to a degree, but experts warn that you shouldn’t be accessing the Internet on an XP computer at all. PC Matic is a bold and innovative product that can give you piece of mind—and save you from having to buy a whole new system or trying to update to a newer operating system on an outdated device.

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Watch for These Infomercial Red Flags

Fitness Couple

As part of their New Year’s resolution, many people are turning to fitness regimes such as P90X3 and machines like the Bowflex MAX Trainer and the Tour de Force Centennial. While they can be effective, you have to watch for a few red flags in fitness pitches.

“Lose weight without exercising.”

While it is possible to lose weight without exercising, “you will end up sacrificing your health, energy and metabolism,” writes Libby Norris of Canada AM. “The number one reason we gain weight as we age is loss of lean tissue. Not using and losing your muscle mass as you age reduces your resting metabolic rate . . . which is your fat-burning furnace!

“Burn 1,000 calories in one workout.”

Read the small print, and you’ll find that this calorie-count represents the extreme top-end count that possible. Several factors affect the number of calories that can be burned, including age, weight, gender and workout intensity. The infomercials, Norris points out, make high-intensity workouts look like a breeze.

“Studies show…”

Studies that aren’t from recognized health authorities often hold no weight. Ads citing studies from disreputable sources often take a dubious claim and run with it.

“See results in just minutes per day.”

You can get results by working out just five minutes a day, but it’ll take a lot longer to see those results than with a lengthier, higher-impact regimen.

As Norris writes: “How quickly you get results is directly related to the balance of changes you may need to make in a variety of areas related to weight and fitness – eating, activity, body composition, health, sleep and stress. Quick results are most often short-lived!”

Visa Protects Consumers By Restricting Web Loyalty Programs

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Credit card giant Visa is placing restrictions on a marketing practice widely used by online merchants, and almost universally used by marketers of As Seen On TV (DRTV) products. This affects what is known within the industry as “loyalty” programs, where shoppers are offered a gift card or other financial incentive when completing their online order. From Visa’s press release:

The misleading practice, called “data pass,” usually involves a consumer shopping at a familiar retailer. At checkout, the consumer receives an offer for a discount or reward and does not realize it is from a different merchant and comes with unexpected monthly membership fees or recurring charges. Such deceptive marketing can result in high levels of consumer disputes and degrades the efficiency, reliability and security of the payment system. According to a 2009 U.S. Senate Commerce Committee staff report, 35 million consumers have paid $1.4 billion for “data pass” marketing offers (1).

“Visa’s priority is protecting our cardholders and the integrity of the electronic payments system. Consumers who shop online using their Visa cards should be confident that they will only be charged for the products and services they legitimately intend to purchase – not those that are foisted on them through deceptive data pass schemes,” said Martin Elliott, senior business leader, U.S. Payment System Risk, Visa Inc.

Visa’s rules already prohibit merchants from sharing a cardholder’s account number and other Visa transaction information with any entity that is not directly involved in completing the transaction, preventing fraud, or as required by law. To address the data pass practice, merchants will now have to prompt consumers to re-enter their card information to accept a subsequent offer from a third-party merchant. This provides a clear signal to cardholders that a second purchase is being initiated and protects them from questionable marketing practices.

Your Savvy Shopper applauds Visa’s action as a much needed step to buttress consumer confidence in online shopping.