As a teacher and parent, I am most focused on teaching digital citizenship skills to my students and my children. But let’s face it: adults need help learning about how to effectively read and understand technology, too. I was reminded of this the other day when my wife told of a friend of a friend who fell for one of those email scams (“I need $40,000 and a plane ticket to America.” — man in Nigeria). And then, I had another reminder when I saw that my state (Massachusetts) had put together a new website resource to teach residents about Internet business scams and how to protect yourself from them.
Hosted by the Massachusetts Consumer Affairs Division, the website (Top Massachusetts Deals) lets folks know that the links are all fake websites, but if you stumble on one of them (such as the one about weight loss, or medical billing, or great Internet deals) and click on any of the “pay links” or “free stuff” links, you get a nice, large alert that THIS IS A SCAM. The scam part of the site also provides very details explanations of why it is a scam, and what you need to be looking for before you pull out your credit card.
I love that our state is doing this, and I hope it becomes part of a larger campaign to educate people about the need to be literate in many ways, including the ability to “read” a website, determine its origin, think about the legitimacy of product and owner, and make an informed choice based not on the flash and graphics, but on the content of the material.
Peace (in the know),