‘Tis the season for scammers

Many of us let our guard down during the holiday season. It’s just so cheery and bright and sparkly, that our attention turns elsewhere. Unfortunately, because of the hustle and bustle, we overlook the red flags that are usually so obvious. Here’s a quick round up of 7 top holiday scams: (Swans-a-Swimming not included) 1) Giftcards Nearly every major retailer (even supermarkets) offers gift cards at checkout stands and even on “virtual mall” racks. Most of these cards have scratch off codes to prevent information theft. However, if cards are not protected, those codes can be written down for later Read More…

“But I didn’t order that!” Scam

Dear WAHFAQ, I got this email that I bought these bracelets, and I didn’t! These people are scammers! I don’t know if I should contact them or not. I’m afraid that if I do, it’ll dig me into a deeper hole. What do you think?   I think you are very wise 🙂 Yes, this is a typical “BUT I DIDN’T BUY THAT!” scam. Scammers and spammers will send out tons of emails like these, (moreso during the holidays!) hoping that someone will take the bait. The email is disguised as an invoice or receipt saying that you ordered something Read More…

How to Avoid Charity Scams

Dear WAHFAQ, I am SO SICK of getting calls and solicitations from charities this time of year. And it’s not because I don’t want to donate…I do! It’s just tiring because it’s hard to figure out what is real. I’d prefer to donate to some of the smaller charities that don’t have the budget to advertise. Do you have any suggestions?   Holidays are ripe with scammers trying to tug on our heartstrings. Be very aware of people standing outside of stores, in parking lots, and yes, even at your front door. Wearing costumes, using props, donning fireman or police Read More…

The “Letters from Santa” scam

Dear WAHFAQ, I was talking with some mom friends the other day and they told me about this service that provides letters from Santa for your kids for the holidays. It seems sketchy to me. Have you heard of it? I search the web fairly frequently for any new scams that may be making the rounds. During the holiday season, the “Letters from Santa” scam is prevalent in various lists of seasonal scams. But what is it exactly? There are various companies and individuals who will charge you, (probably around $19.99) to receive your kid’s letter from Santa, and send Read More…

How Real People Earn Extra Money for the Holidays

Dear WAHFAQ, I’m a student heading home for the holidays, and was wondering if you have any ideas on how to make some money during the month or so I’ll be at home. Any suggestions? Getting temporary jobs can be challenging because sometimes it takes a month or two just to get an interview with a company! Of course, I have my own favorite ways to make extra money (like Mystery Shopping!) but I wanted to see what others had to say. So, I put a call out for real people to offer their advice on how to earn holiday Read More…

Resources for Military Spouses and Vets

Dear WAHFAQ, I’m a career counselor that recently moved to a military town, so many of my clients are military spouses and vets transitioning back to civilian life. Do you know of any resources that will specifically benefit them?  Veterans can face challenges entering the civilian workforce. They may have difficulty translating their experience into terms that companies can understand and find useful, or they may not be aware of how to leverage common technology, like social media, to grow their own personal network. Likewise, military spouses have a challenge of finding consistent income when they may have to move Read More…

Facebook Data Study Job Ad: Is it real or a scam?

Dear WAHFAQ, I saw this ad, and I know you’ve mentioned focus groups before. Is this a legit job? First of all, I want to make sure that you understand that this isn’t a job. It would be considered a gig. You won’t be hired by Facebook to work continually on this project. It’s a one-off type of thing. Market research companies are continually looking for new participants in a variety of studies. This one just happens to involve Facebook. If a market research company has local field offices — where you actually have to show up at a specific Read More…

Have you Googled yourself lately?

Dear WAHFAQ, How can I make sure that my private info isn’t online? Thanks! You would be amazed at the amount of information that is available online. In just a few simple clicks you can find out so much information about a person including their family, where they live, and even their purchase history on Amazon or eBay. It’s creepy, so I recommend a few steps to make sure your personal information STAYS personal! First and foremost: Check all three major search engines: Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Not only the main web results, but also look through their image and Read More…

Do I need a separate email address for Mystery Shopping?

Dear WAHFAQ, I just started Mystery Shopping…got your training program…love it! And I was wondering if I really need a separate email address to do mystery shopping with.  I already have so many, it just seems like a hassle! Thanks for the kind words! I’m glad you liked the Mystery Shopper Training Program 🙂 Y’know, it’s totally up to you if you want to use another email address specifically for mystery shopping.  I guess it depends on what you use the others for. For me, personally, I like to keep it separate from even my business account simply because I Read More…

What are Reward and Revealing Shops?

Dear WAHFAQ, I’ve been mystery shopping for a little over a month now and yesterday I got an offer for a “reward” shop.  What is this? Reward shops can also be called Revealing shops.  They are when you are required to give up your identity as a Mystery Shopper and reward an employee on the spot for doing something fabulous. For example, you could go into a movie theater and purchase something at the concession stand to see if the employee up-sells you to a larger drink or popcorn size.  If they do, you say, ‘Congratulations!  I’m a mystery shopper Read More…

Will a company still contact me if I ignore their emails?

Dear WAHFAQ, I have signed up with a lot of the mystery shopping companies you recommend, and I’m getting a lot of job offers but I simply don’t have time to answer all of the emails.  I’m concerned that they will stop sending me offers if I ignore them, but it’s a little overwhelming.  What happens if I can’t shop for awhile?  What do I do? Don’t worry about it.  Seriously. Mystery Shopping companies play the numbers game when they send out emails and they don’t expect you to respond unless you’re interested in the job.  Actually, they prefer that Read More…

Should you pay for a work at home job?

Dear WAHFAQ, I’ve been going through the application pipeline of a company that (potentially) hires people to do customer service from home. I’ve had one phone interview, and it looks promising, but now they want me to pay fees for a background check? Is this legit? Should I be worried? Should I pay? Some may think that the general rule of thumb when it comes to work at home jobs is, “If you have to pay…stay away!” but even that phrase needs some clarification, as it’s a bit simplified within the complexities of the work-at-home industry. If you follow these Read More…