Things to think about…

A new scam… Courtesy of Cedar Brook Financial

If you received an email update on an order from Amazon you did not place, beware, it’s likely an attempt to steal your credit card information. Unlike emails from Nigerian royalty and other obvious scams, this fraudulent email contains none of the telltale spelling or grammatical mistakes. It’s not yet filtered by Microsoft and span protection software. It is a new and sophisticated financial fraud threat.

The fake Amazon Prime email order is billed to you but shipped to a strange name and address unfamiliar to you. A toll-free number is provided. “Thank you for calling Ama-
zon,” says the person who answers and gives you his name. “How may I help you?”
This is where the sophistication of the fraudster is most frightening. With the din of a call center in the background, the fake Amazon representative never asks you for your account password after you explain why you are calling. Adding credibility, the fake rep tells you to check your email because he is sending you a one-time password.

Even a skeptic now is likely to believe this is a real Amazon representative. The fake Amazon rep is careful to never ask for your full credit card numbers but eventually connects you to another department to cancel the fake order. To be clear, the fake email and fake representative was all a setup. The final stage of the fraud is still to come. To generate the one-time password, the fake Amazon rep simply used your email address to request a new password for your Amazon account. That generates an email to you,
but makes it seem legitimately sent by the fake Amazon rep you are talking to.

The bad guy will hang up the phone if you ask questions about his location or seek to verify his identity, but it’s easy to see how many consumers could fall victim to this scam.

And an interesting one concerning 2020 and our ‘reactions’ to it. Courtesy of

No one could have foreseen the events of 2020. The pandemic overshadowed everything. Fires, hurricanes, protests, and the election dominated headlines. So did Tiger King, toilet paper shortages, major events held over Zoom, and everyday heroes. One of the biggest standout memories of 2020 has been being able to spend more time with family at home.

Even though you were not able to do everything you had planned or spend holidays with everyone that you expected to it was awesome to spend more time at home with loved ones. What moments from the last year stand out for you? Whatever they are—and whatever your verdict on last year may be—we can all agree 2020 was disruptive and unforgettable.

It’ll be fascinating to see how history looks back at 2020 and what big lessons future generations take away from the past year. As we embark on a new year, here are some life lessons we can take away from 2020. Bringing these lessons with us into 2021 can help make life better and happier this year and beyond.

1. Accept That We Can’t (& Never Will) Know Everything. Lack of information, misinformation, and disinformation became polarizing themes in 2020. They shined a light on how important facts are. They also showed us the facts aren’t always available, accurate, or complete when you look at just one source. No one has all the answers. And no one ever will. It’s the not knowing that keeps us curious and thirsty for knowledge. And trying to quench that thirst can be a deeply enriching experience.

2. Expect the Unexpected. Planning gives us a sense of control and helps us work toward goals. But if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the best-laid plans often go awry. Plans for weddings, graduations, vacations, careers, and much more were shattered in 2020. After a year like that, it’s natural to feel out of control, anxious, or even threatened. Yet the unexpected can be good. It can force us to pay more attention, think more critically, and even engage more deeply. And the better we get at going with the flow in the face of the unexpected, the more satisfying our lives can be.

3. Be Thankful for the Blessings in Your Life. For many, 2020 came with profound losses. Some of us will have to live with those forever. As painful as that may be, we are still here to talk about it. That is a gift. Finding those gifts in our lives and acknowledging them can make us happier. It can help us build deeper connections and stronger relationships. And it can make us better at dealing with the big challenges life throws our way.

4. Live in the Moment. Research says at any given time, close to half of us are not living in the moment. With everything that 2020 threw our way, is that really a big surprise? Probably not. But this may be good. A wandering mind makes us unhappy. And the more our minds wander, the more unhappy we are. The reason why is when minds wander, most people think about negative things, like what they’re worried about. And that gets in the way of enjoying the good moments that can be happening right in front of them.

5. Ask for Help. Last year, so many people made sacrifices to help others and keep things going. That showed how people are willing to make big sacrifices to help each other, even total strangers. Yet, even with all of that help, most of us won’t ask for it—even when we really need it. We’re hardwired to be independent. Sometimes, that can make us hard-headed when it comes to asking for help. Being able to ask for help can deepen our connections with the people around us and allow us to lift each other up when we need it.

6. Value Relationships. 2020 tested many relationships. It put new distance between some and made it impossible to get distance in others. That ended some and strengthened many others. With those shifts, 2020 affirmed just how important relationships are. It showed we truly can be stronger together and our relationships can be a source of support, strength, and deep fulfillment. Last year also showed how the quality of relationships matters more than the quantity.

7. Invest in Self-Care. 2020 wasn’t just stressful. It was exhausting. The burden of shelter-in-place orders, working and studying from home, and social isolation took a psychological and physical toll, though most ignored that. In times of stress, we tend to focus outward, on the source of our stress. When we do, we ignore our needs, like the need for quality sleep, and we make things worse for ourselves. That’s when self-care is most important. We tend to think of self-care as something indulgent, like taking a bubble bath. But self-care is more fundamental: making sure we’re getting rest, move-
ment, connection, fresh air—it could even be taking time to plan meals for the week or setting up automatic bill payments so we’re less frazzled by daily decisions. It gives us the chance to relax, step away from our stressors, and get some clarity. It’s refreshing and reenergizing. And it can make us more resilient.

Granted, most of these fall under common sense approaches to things, but I think they did a good job of enumerating them and putting them in context (which has been sadly lacking for a LONG time). We are all guilty of one or more of these, especially letting the stressors drive our lives, to our detriment. THAT is, to me, one of the biggest issues each of us deal with on a daily basis, and it can just flat run us into the grave worrying about things that we literally have NO control over.


Things to think about… — 14 Comments

  1. For me, 2020 reinforced that we can’t rely on the government and that they WILL misuse the power that they have, so the biggest lesson for me was to continue working to be in a place where choices and changes in government and society have the least impact possible.

  2. #1 lesson- Yuri Bezmanov was right, C.S.Lewis was right, Orwell was right, Solzhenitsyn was right, and P.T.Barnum was right.

    Never in the course of human history have so many, been so conned, by so few, for so long, despite the direct evidence of their own experience.

    Get ready, the curtain will soon lift for the second act.

  3. an email update on an order from Amazon you did not place

    That happens a lot. I ignore them because they feel scamish. I never followed up and checked, so thanks for the heads-up. I was right.

    The world is a mess – of our own making, Old NFO.

    • Really. All you have to do is go to your Amazon page and check. Takes less time than replying to the e-mail.

      • Beans – an even better way is to not have an amazon account to begin with! Seriously, do ya want to give even one thin dime to that bezos character?

        • If you buy retail from Amazon, especially alot of small packages through Prime, Amazon loses money…

  4. A good tactic is something I call ‘counter contact’.

    If you get an email like that, DON’T call the toll free number, and DON’T use any links in the email. Instead, go to the Amazon website and contact customer service directly. You can hate Jeff Bezos all you like (I do) but Amazon’s website is actually pretty intuitive. You can also access past orders to your account.

    Chances are good that order won’t be in your ‘past orders’ file, and customer service will be asking you to forward them the email and not to contact these creeps.

    Speaking of email links, always make sure your browser has the option set to popup where a link points to (most do this anyways). If you mouse over a link that says it goes to Amazon but the link points to some rando server? Don’t click it.

    • Yep. If I’m on the fence, I do the counter contact thing. It’s much safer than trusting the contents of your inbox.

  5. And then there’s the robo call scam from across the country that says you have a warrant for your arrest because if a (fictitious) item you bought at so in so location. I suppose there was a number I was supposed to immediately call, but I hung up. Hell, I don’t even have a membership to Sam’s Club.

  6. All- Thanks and good points. Mike, I got one of those AT WORK at the SO one day…LOL Handed the phone to my LT, they promptly hung up. 🙂

  7. A coworker fell for that – almost. At the last minute she balked, hung up, and had the credit card canceled. She’s not as tech savvy as a lot of people, and the people were “so polite and so concerned . . .”

    • Of course. That’s how they work.

      Mark Rober has an -excellent- video about how these lowlife SOBs scam people (and his quest to nail some of them with glitterbombs). They have a whole arsenal of psychological tactics to sucker people in.

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