Corner Copy

By Mike Austreng, Editor

For over half our readers it’s probably really hard to imagine we would have ever seen the day that a phone would cost $1,000, but that day has arrived.

How many of you remember the days before cell phones? Before texting? Before the internet? The days when we still talked to each other. In our younger days if we wanted to talk to one of our friends we hopped on our bicycle and pedalled our way to his house, if he wasn’t outside doing something we’d knock on the door to see if he could come outside. We spent more time running around in the wooded areas (ironically very near where our home stands now) finding things to do.

Not so much true anymore for today’s youth. In the days of computers, the internet and texting on $1,000 phones you’ll see more and more youngsters sitting on their bicycles with two hands on their phone while they text away – sometimes the ones texting are within a few feet of each other but they don’t bother looking away from their phones and talking.

One day we sat down at a restaurant to eat. Shortly after we sat down a young family (mom, dad and two daughters) sat down at the table next to us. Before anyone said anything they all had their phones out and the only words spoken were to the waitress when they ordered their food. If not for that exchange, not a single word was spoken at that table. Kind of sad if you think about it.

Granted, we’ve become “attached” to our phone too. If we forget it at work when we’re home, or at home while we’re working, we make the extra trip to get our phone back in our pocket – being honest, if our trip to and from work were more than the 1.5 miles it is, we’d have to leave our phone where we left it. The fact remains that if we forget our phone we feel a little lost. Kind of sad too, if you think about it.

Cell phones today are pretty amazing. If you need an answer to almost any question, all you have to do is touch a button and ask your question and in a split second the lady in the phone tells you she found your answer. Cell phones serve as a great GPS for driving directions, sometimes better than the GPS in your vehicle (which most have in our current day).

It’s amazing where cell phones have gone. With access to the internet, answers to your questions, the ability to text (and call), and cameras that will take photos or record a video, it’s hard to imagine a life without our cell phone – we just hope the one we have lasts a long time because we also can’t imagine paying $1,000 for a phone!

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Computers, the internet, emails, social media, etc., etc. can be great tools for gathering information, but it turns out they are also great tools for people who are too lazy to get a real job and have taken to finding ways to cheat hard working people out of their money.

Undoubtedly, if you watch any news, you’ve heard over the past few years about stores like Target getting their computer systems hacked and having personal information about customers stolen. Recently you may have heard about Equifax, a credit score reporter, having its computers hacked and therefore having up to 143 million Americans at risk of having their social security and addresses stolen.

Nearly every company will brag about the security of the information they gather, but something to remember is that a human being had to write (create) that security and therefore that security can be breached by someone else with enough knowledge and skill.

There will always be lazy people who will consider their job is to cheat someone. We’ve all heard about the IRS scams, construction scams, phone scams. There’s a new scam of some sort that we need to be aware of. It’s gotten to the point where you really can’t trust anyone – not even people you know! Why? Just last week a reader brought us an email thread to show us a new scam. The scammer uses a legitimate email address and sends you an email that asks you to purchase iTunes Gift cards for (whatever – in this case it was for subscriptions).

The email appears to be from someone you know and trust. If you fall for this you are asked to purchase five $100 gift cards, scratch the bar where a code is concealed and snap a photo with your phone to send to the writer.

The person who received the email was suspicious, but played along for a while. He asked some personal information questions, things only the real person might know. Here’s the kicker . . . the scammers are using social media to gather personal information. Now, we don’t go to Facebook very often, but those of you who do know that people post almost EVERYTHING on social media, now dishonest people are using that information to cheat others out of money.

This too is very sad because the day has arrived when you truly can’t trust anyone, even if it looks like the request has come from someone you know.

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Have A Good Week!

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