Shopping online is easier than ever and with the pandemic, more Americans are shopping at home. That’s also creating a perfect haven on online scammers. Plus, on this season of giving thanks, our film critics have some movies to be thankful for.
Speaker 1: 00:00 Online shoppers need to watch out this season for online scammers
Speaker 2: 00:05 Be so foolishly frugal that you make yourself a victim of a scam.
Speaker 1: 00:11 I’m Maureen Kavanaugh with Alison st. John. This is KPBS midday edition. Our midday movie critics share some movies and TV series. We can all be thankful for this holiday season. I was so grateful for it during this pandemic. And I was saving every episode and rationing it like good food. Stay with us for midday edition coming up next.
Speaker 3: 01:00 Today’s the day we traditionally turn our attention forward to the Christmas gifts we’re going to buy for our loved ones. If you’re like me, you’re being inundated with catalogs full of Christmas gift ideas and shopping online is certainly easier than trekking around moles. And this year, the appeal of ordering from your couch is even greater than usual because of the pandemic. Avoiding virus. Risks is good, but here to help us avoid the perils of online viruses and scammers is Michelle Singletary who writes about personal finances for the Washington post. Michelle, thanks for joining us. Oh, it’s my pleasure. So now Christmas shopping online should be safer than going out all masked up and you know, searching the stores. But do you suppose that scammers are getting old set up to take advantage of the rush? This Christmas,
Speaker 2: 01:47 Absolutely more people are shopping online as they should be. You know, we’ve been cautioned to stay at home and not be out with crowds. And so the scammers know that the scammers follow the news events and they customize their scams to what’s going on. And so people probably have seen their email boxes, even follow them before with, you know, get this discount, get this $10 off, get this free gift card. And I’m just going to tell you, ignore every single one of them assume that every single one is a lie. Even if it’s from a company that looks legit, just if you see it in the subject and say, okay, and then go to that website. Don’t click on anything, nothing from anybody, because lots of it is scam and it’s become so sophisticated. It’s hard to tell, which is true, which is not so assume everything is a lie.
Speaker 3: 02:44 Wow. So don’t click on anything in your email, but go to the website first,
Speaker 2: 02:48 That is correct. Email or text messages or phone calls, everything. Whenever you see something, that’s what I do. That’s my practice and it’s companies I’ve dealt with. I actually ordered something from, but if they send me for example, and I’m expecting a delivery and I get that notice, I don’t click on anything in there. I go to the website where I know it’s safe. And then look, when the delivery is coming, now what’s the
Speaker 3: 03:11 Best way to check on a website’s legitimacy.
Speaker 2: 03:15 You know, that’s a good question. If you, you type in, uh, as best you can and look for the website that you’re used to dealing with, be very careful about typos because you misplace a letter. They know that they know people do that. So just be very careful when you type it in. So I type it in, even whether then just doing it from the search, that’s what you want to do. And you always want to look for signs, you know, misspellings and the web things like that. That’s a key, but most of the time, uh, if you go right to the site that you normally go to, maybe you bookmarked it in the past. You, you should be safe. Yeah.
Speaker 3: 03:50 What are the benefits of, of having just one email just for shopping? Is that a good idea?
Speaker 2: 03:54 Yeah. Yeah. I was talking to a security expert and I never quite heard it like this. He said you should have a burner email, which I love. Uh, so it’s just, it’s just like, it sounds like this is an email you can dump if it gets spammed or something funky goes with it. And so you created, and you use it just for shopping online. So you, you wouldn’t use it for example, for your bank accounts and things like that. And I love that idea that you have an email just for that, because you know, the fact of the matter is how data is hacked all the time. And our emails are compromised. And if you have one that’s not connected to all your important accounts, that makes it a little bit safer.
Speaker 3: 04:35 Now, one of the main tips that you give people I understand is that we shouldn’t use our debit cards for online shopping. Why is that?
Speaker 2: 04:42 Yeah. So debit card is like when you fly and there’s like coach, and then there’s first class. So your debit card is like, coach. It doesn’t have all the luxury of a credit card. So when you ha when your character credit card is compromised, there are many more consumer rules that protect you. For example, if someone charges something up your credit card, you’re not liable for all those charges, except for about $50. And most of the credit card companies will wait even that. But if you use your debit card, that money comes directly out of your bank account, and then you have to negotiate or file a claim with the bank. And that can take 30 to 60 days. So if someone wipes out your bank account and your mortgage is due, or your rent is due, you know, the bank is not necessarily going to put that money back in time for you to make those payments.
Speaker 2: 05:33 So you should absolutely not be using your debit card, particularly if it’s connected to your main household account, where you do your billing. If you feel like you don’t want a credit card, or you don’t have one, create a bank account that only has enough for the things that you’re going to be shopping for online, or as the security experts advise. And the FTC, the federal trade commission recommends get a prepaid debit card. So you can put money on there that you need to shop with. And then you can save safely, shop that or use one of the cash apps or pay pile or Apple pay. You don’t want to use anything that’s connected directly to your cash money.
Speaker 3: 06:09 Now, what about when you found the perfect gifts and it’s on a site that you may not have used before, but you are invited to become a member. Do you recommend customer loyalty? You know, it avoids having to fill out all your details every time. What are the pros and cons of signing up with companies as a member or a standing again,
Speaker 2: 06:29 There’s some places where you want to be a loyal member. I shop at a certain grocery store. And so I have the loyalty card cause I’m there every week. But if it’s just a one-time thing where you sing something and you want to get it and be sure that you check that site out, the MTC suggests that if you see a site, Google, that name of that company or the site, and then put in like scam or complaints or something that might come up with, people’s like, don’t use this site, check them out on Yelp. I just do a lot before I go to a site that I’ve never been to. I do a lot of research and I actually tend not to, unless it’s been recommended to someone who’s used them like small retailers or people who are, you know, running their own business.
Speaker 2: 07:10 If somebody says, Oh, this is a good company, then I’ll do that. But just blindly searching on the internet for company. And you see something, for example, like you want an Apple watch and you see a site that says it’s like a hundred dollars. What? It is no hundred dollars Apple watch. That is a, I mean, this is particularly those people who are frugal and I’m frugal as well. Don’t be so foolishly frugal that you make yourself a victim of a scam. So if it looks cheaper than normal for other sites, then just don’t do it. It’s not worth the risk.
Speaker 3: 07:45 It looks too good to be true. It probably is. Yeah.
Speaker 2: 07:48 You know, it is. And you know, people say that, but I don’t think that house people, because what happens is if you were got a certain mindset, you kind of in your head think, Oh, well, this is good. Um, and so that’s why I sort of do absolutes. Like, you know, if I’m shopping for something I’m going to comparison shop and many of the major retailers do price matching. And so if you know that other companies are price matching and you see some other company that is way below that, then that is a red flag because the other companies are already doing that. And if they’re not going that low, then it’s very likely that that is a scam. Uh, so don’t let your frugality, uh, make you a victim of a con. Just don’t do it. There is no free $50 Amazon card out there. Okay. It just is a don’t click on anything. I cannot stress that enough folks. You have to be careful about all those things out there. And when it comes to loyalty cards, if you’re not going to use the store again, there’s no point in giving them all your information. Um, because that information is
Speaker 4: 08:56 There. Then they get hacked. Now it’s out there for other people to take advantage of you. So just stick to the stories that you absolutely are truly going to be visiting regularly. And the rest of them, just check out as a guest. It’s okay to just be a guest on those sites.
Speaker 3: 09:12 Well, you’ve given us a lot to think about Michelle. Uh, we’ve been speaking with Michelle Singletary, who is a personal finance is columnist for the Washington post. Michelle. Thanks so much.
Speaker 4: 09:22 You’re so welcome.
Speaker 3: 09:33 You’re listening to KPBS midday edition. I’m Alison st. John with Maureen Kavanaugh, since this is the month for giving. Thanks. Our midday movie critics have come up with films and shows that they are thankful for. Joining us are KPBS, cinema junkie, Beth Huck, Armando, and movie waters. Yazdi Nevada. Welcome to you both. Thank you. Thank you. Now I know that you were both big movie fans and it must be difficult to limit yourself to just a few titles, but we’re going to limit your choices to just three things. An old time movie. You’re thankful for during this pandemic, a new movie and a binge-worthy series. So let’s start with the old movie and Beth, what’s an old movie. You are grateful for.
Speaker 4: 10:17 Well, during this pandemic, Sean Connery recently died and I grew up loving his bond movies. But as I got older and saw more of his films, I began to appreciate him as an actor in films like the Hill and the man who would be King. But the film that just brought a swell of emotions during this time was Richard Lester’s, Robin and Maryanne. It’s a beautiful bittersweet, often funny film about these legendary characters late in life. It was made in 1976. So the first time I saw it, I was a teenager. And I remember it made me cry, but seeing it again now at 60, it’s really making me face my own mortality and reflect on my life. So it was really a, a wonderful experience to have right now.
Speaker 3: 10:59 Yeah. Huh? Yeah, no, Yazdi your older film to be thankful for is a Japanese film that you say brings you joy and keeps you sane, which is important at this time.
Speaker 5: 11:10 Yes. Uh, my favorite, uh, one of my favorite films of all times is still walking a movie by Hirokazu creator. The movie came out in 2008, and it’s about a family in a little town in Japan, which comes together for an annual ritual to rim to remember the son who died a few years ago. And in many ways it belongs to the John Dre, Thanksgiving movies, where families get together and secrets get revealed and so forth. But I really liked the movies of coriander because as a filmmaker, he refuses to make anyone a bad guy in his movies. And in this film to every single person in the family has good intentions, but cannot
Speaker 4: 11:54 Help being who they inherently are. And that’s where the conflict comes from. It’s a beautiful film that I keep going back to again and again, there’s something deeply universal about it. And it’s like a self, uh, in, in our current time.
Speaker 3: 12:07 Well thank you for that recommendation. Yes. Now, Beth, you are a fan of horror movies, of course. So I’m not surprised that you’re tuning into a film that is in this genre to be thankful for. And that’s his house, which is streaming on Netflix. Here’s a clip from the trailer
Speaker 6: 12:28 In the doc. Them send us back quickly. You forget everything we went through to get to
Speaker 3: 12:47 Amazing sound effects. What appealed to you about this movie called his house?
Speaker 4: 12:52 Well, I’ve always liked to highlight smaller, lesser known films because I’m so thankful for fresh cinematic voices that reveal new perspectives. His house is the debut feature of a British director Remy weeks. And it focuses on a refugee couple from South Sudan who come to England and get asylum. They’re given a house, but the thing is, they’re not supposed to leave it. And the house is kind of haunted and they bring their own ghosts from their past. So the film recalls last year’s Atlantics, which also dealt with African refugees and ghosts. And what’s refreshing about both those films is how African culture and folklore give a different flavor to the supernatural elements and weeks create some stunning and haunting imagery and mix a social commentary with the horror. The film also has two rising stars in one may Masako and xAPI does a Ru and he’s in the show, uh, gangs of New York and she is in Lovecraft country. And it’s just a remarkable film and really just a wonderful take on the supernatural that is fresh.
Speaker 3: 13:59 Okay. And yesterday your pick for current movies coming up, uh, is sound of metal, which will start streaming free on Amazon prime in December. Here’s a clip from that trailer featuring Riz Ahmed as a drummer, losing his hearing.
Speaker 6: 14:13 Your hearing is deteriorating rapidly. We’ll come back till then Lou, and just keep going. Okay. Now we’ll see what it’s like. Okay. I’m going to be like a click track. You complain to me. I tend to hear you. Do you understand me? I can’t. Do you, what made you pick this film?
Speaker 4: 14:45 What I really like about this film is that it puts you in the shoes
Speaker 5: 14:52 Of this person going through what can possibly be, um, one of the first worst events in a person’s life, uh, in this particular case, it’s about a person who is told that, um, he’s going to be losing his hearing in a matter of days. And, um, you know, with the use of exceptional sound design, you hear what he is hearing, or rather you start losing, um, the audio perception that he’s starting to lose. And for me, this is a definition of a horror movie in that if we were to find out that any one of our faculties, particularly one which define us, he happens to be a metal drummer. That’s who he is. Um, if you suddenly were to lose it, how do you deal with it? And on the, you know, on the surface, it’s about, you know, the post-traumatic stress, you know, that you have to, you have to manage, but, you know, we often hear of people who wake up in an accident, having lost a limb or, you know, Beethoven, uh, famously lost yearning in the last couple of years of his life. How do you move on and how do you get past your own rage and kind of find a new normal, and this movie treats its main character plays chair, uh, played your virus, Ahmed in a exceptional performance, um, you know, plays it with a lot of honesty. And, um, I just liked how human the film is.
Speaker 3: 16:15 Mm. And as someone who loves radio, I appreciate how important hearing is. Yes. So as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, we’re being urged to stay home. And many of us find that the best thing to do has been news on a show. So Yazdi, you are grateful for a show that you feel is just what we need in our current troubled times. And that’s Schitt’s Creek on Netflix.
Speaker 5: 16:37 Yes. So shit’s grief, uh, swept through the Emmys earlier this year and hardly needs more recognition, but I’m still recommending Schitt’s Creek, particularly because the last and final season of the show has dropped on Netflix. Now, and this, the show started as a very silly inane, almost one joke, um, kind of a story about a Kardashian like family, which loses all their wealth and status and is forced to live in a really small town. And it started two dimensional. And over the last six seasons, it’s been very stealthily, adding more and more depth to each of these characters so that now there are fully, fully well-rounded and you know, them and love them for who they are builds and all. And again, this is a show which, you know, through its progression has managed to bring a lot of humanity to what would have been otherwise a very tired show. So I was so grateful for, uh, during this pandemic and I was saving every episode and rationing at, um, like good food
Speaker 3: 17:43 And Beth, the binge-worthy show that you’re thankful for also offers us some humor, some escapism as well as more ghosts. And it’s the British show truth seekers on Amazon prime. Hello?
Speaker 6: 17:57 Okay. Yeah. Why don’t you record a quick intro to compare before we go live or rolling. Call it action. Uh, welcome Tracy, his guns. Robin’s here to take his channel. We’re about to go live a former teacher of the criminally insert.
Speaker 4: 18:23 Yes, the stars and was co-created by Simon Pegg and Nick frost of Shaun of the dead and hot fuzz. And I love those guys. And this is a comedy about part-time paranormal investigators. Each episode is an easy to digest, 30 minutes, and there are great supporting stars in Malcolm McDowell and Kelly MacDonald. It’s funny, quirky, sweet natured, and a perfect anecdote to any quarantined anxiety you might have. Well,
Speaker 3: 18:50 Well thank you so much as always we’re, we’re grateful to the two of you for the tips that you bring us for. What’s worth watching this holiday season. So thank you so much. KPBS, cinema junkie, Beth commando and movie wallers, film critic. You deep pit Tavella. Thank you both.
Speaker 4: 19:05 Thank you. Thank you.