Another holiday, another online scam. This time, there is a video game scam aimed at the kids, so make sure you have an eye on your electronics-wanting children. Which is anyone over the age of 5, right?
Consumer safety expert Jeremy Gin of SiteJabber explains the new scam draws kids in with promises of a free Xbox or PlayStation once you've earned enough "points" to get the goods. Kids play games, enter their email information, phone numbers, address, and personal information about their shopping habits (that can be sold to other parties) to earn points.
For kids, it sounds like a win-win. Play games = win games. But in the case of a site called Lockerz, not only did they gather all of this sensitive information, they never delivered on the components.
While you can find other sites that have pulled a fast one on SiteJabber, Gin explains there is a bigger problem.
You can imagine the following: The economy is not so good. Johnny wants a PlayStation but mom says, not this year. He finds a site and says "I can get my own video games!" By investing his time, maybe he's not doing schoolwork, and he's putting in information about himself. This site can sell this information, and not deliver the goods.
The trouble is, it's not just one site, and it's a broader trend. There are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of sites out there which are doing dodgy things that can expose our children to activity that we wouldn't want them exposed to.
Gin also points out that the Department of Homeland Security is even getting involved with their own campaign to "Stop, think, and connect." Not unlike the mantra of our youth when you suddenly find yourself on fire (stop, drop, and roll), the DOHS is rolling out a campaign over the next 5 to 10 years to teach kids how to be wary of giving out private information about themselves when they've grown up being public about everything.
The consumer expert explains that even safe sites like Neopets have people pop up and send a phishing link to your child to lure them away to a not-so-safe site. The stop, think, and connect campaign is very necessary for this new generation of social media experts, Gin explains:
We support that and encourage parents to have three ground rules with their kids:
1) We believe that all parents should tell their children to never give out their personal info online -- including photos, names, email, and phone numbers -- without the parent being present.
2) Children should not chat or interact with people online that they don't know. Just like in the real world: Don't talk to strangers.
3) Tell your kids not to click on links without parents present.
Check out SiteJabber for more information on keeping your kids safe from fraudulent websites.
Has your kid been a victim of this scam?
Image via Dave_B_/Flickr