Friday Night High School is Back - stream safely!
COVID-19 pandemic changed the way many families watched Friday night high school games. Many schools turned to the online streaming of games. Now, many restrictions are lifted, yet many schools still offer online streaming, free, as a way to watch the game and scammers are watching too.
The scam works when people search online for the site where the game is scheduled to stream. A link is found, allegedly posted by a fan claiming the game can be watched for free. Once the link is clicked, personal information such as a name, email address and financial information is asked to gain access to the game.
Social media feeds are infiltrated with fake streaming services. Posts are often tagged with the school names, mascots or anything related to the high school to make it more believable to families looking for these services.
BBB recommends the following tips:
Use the high school’s website directly for the link to stream the football game.
Take note of the account name, photos, followers, and the number of followers on the site offering the alleged free streaming services. The lower number of followers, the more likely the account is not legitimate.
Be cautious before clicking through to links included in social media posts, unsolicited text messages, or emails. Clicking on unfamiliar links can place the user at risk for malware or identity theft. Research the business offering the service by checking the company’s BBB Business Profile at BBB.org.
Find additional information about how to avoid scams on BBB.org/spotascam and BBB.org/onlineshopping
It’s September. Have you started your holiday shopping?
Consumer budgets are tight and there are concerns about staffing levels at businesses, thus people are a little worried about the holiday season not in relation to the cost of buying gifts but if there will be gifts to buy because of supply chain issues.
Financial experts are saying that rest assured, yes there will be a holiday season of gift exchanging, however, expect consumers to be extra careful with the dollars they have to spend because of inflation. Many items are much more expensive than they were last year, deals and discounts will only slightly help to pull the cost down. To help alleviate the pinch at the wallet and on the budget, consider the following:
Shop around – Sometimes chain stores and big box stores may not have what’s on the holiday gift list, but local mom and pop stores might. Think small and local for unique items.
Conserve – If the budget looks a little tight because of expenses, take a hard look at the holiday list.
Maintain – Instead of going into debt over the holidays, balance gift giving with average household essentials. Set aside enough for emergencies such as an automotive repair, appliance replacement or some other unexpected expense.
Express gratitude – Thank the person stocking grocery shelves for their hard work. Show appreciation when you get seated at a restaurant, even if you had to wait longer than usual. Kindness is a gift that keeps on giving. Another way to show gratitude is to check out a charity on give.org and make a donation.
BBB can help people make informed buying decisions by searching BBB business profiles, file a complaint when businesses don’t deliver on their promises, search ongoing scams and resources on BBB.org/Consumer HQ.
Business Tip: How to avoid contact form spam
The contact form on your business website allows customers to get in touch with you. However, it also opens the door for spammers to flood your inbox with fake messages filled with abusive or obscene language, and perhaps malicious links that put your personal information, your website, and your contact lists at risk. BBB recommends the following tips to help reduce the amount of potential contact from this type of spam and the issues that come with it.
Build a multi-step form. Multi-step forms require users to answer questions one at a time. Because they don’t display all fields at once, they are harder for bots to attack. Manual spammers are less likely to want to spend time filling out fields one at a time too.
Use a reCAPTCHA form. reCAPTCHA forms work together with your contact forms and ask users to prove they are human. They are easy for website visitors to use and will block any spam coming from bots. Not sure how to use one? Consider reaching out to a web developer for assistance.
Implement geo-fencing. If it makes sense for your business, restrict access to your forms based on a person’s physical location. For example, this might be a good solution if you are a small business offering service only to a limited area. It can help you focus on relevant leads and cut down on spam messages.
Disallow links. Set contact forms to not allow links. This is especially useful if there is a comment section where spammers love to leave unauthorized links.
Confirm email addresses. Reduce the potential for spam by making users confirm their email addresses. They receive an email as soon as they submit a form asking them to confirm their address. Bots won’t usually complete this extra step, nor will a manual spammer using a fake email address.
Exercise caution even when a message seems legitimate. Avoid embedded links and watch for common spam messages offering investment opportunities, increased web traffic or purchasing a miracle product.
Visit BBB.org/BizScams for more information.