Opinion: A click in time saves … expiring scams?

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Mary Ellen and I promised each other that during our recent vacation we would not check our emails. At dinner each night, we conversed and learned a great deal about each other — things that have happened to each of us since we got our first cellphones in 1990.

When we returned home, we eagerly retrieved our messages.

“Mary Ellen, while we were away, I won a DEWALT Power Station!”

“Hey, that’s great. So did I. What’s a DEWALT Power Station?”

“No clue, but now we have two.”

Actually, we didn’t. We hadn’t won anything. But we did have a “chance” to own a DEWALT Power Station, and a DEWALT Drill. Also, the “opportunity” to win a Yukon Stove Fire Pit, a gift certificate to Walmart, Ultimate non-stick cookware, and a Yeti Cooler. And we were “in the running” for a Samsung Neo 8K QLED Smart TV. I didn’t know where not to click first. Walgreens was thanking me for being a loyal customer, but I have never been in a Walgreens in my life. I am a loyal CVS patron, but all they ever gave me for free was a 2-foot-long receipt.

Wait: Incoming! I just received a “shipment pending” notice for a Keurig Coffee Maker and I have “won” a Ryobi Lawn Mower.

I’m no expert in this area, but there are several clues to determine scams. Here are some real examples I received. Read each one carefully:

  • WIN AN GOLF CART
  • THEIRS A PRIZE WAITING OR YOU!
  • YOUR A WINNER!
  • YOU HAVE WON A FREE GIFT

The phrase “Free Gift” is not only suspicious, it’s redundant. Clearly, it introduces a fake scam — which I know is also redundant.

True, some of these language goofs are because the scammers are not English-speaking, but other mistakes are intentional, to either get your attention or to avoid detection by anti-spam programs. I tried using those last two excuses on my proofreader, Heidi, to justify some of my spelling and grammar blunders. She didn’t fall for them.

The rip-offs often include an additional method to motivate you, like a countdown clock that tells you how much time you have left to click on the link or the offer goes away.

“Honey, I know you’re breastfeeding the twins, but please drop what you are doing, or we are going to lose out on that free sump pump from Ace.”

My favorite come-on is:

  • YOU HAVE BEEN SELECTED TO TRY CANNABLISS CBD

                                                 CONGRALUATIONS

Yes, and congratulations to all who have wisely avoided these bogus offers. I never click on questionable links, but I’m tempted by this CBD product, which is shaped like a gummy bear and has a similar texture. Before I decide, I am going to have to chew on it for a while.

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