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Top Five Online Scams to Avoid

How to recognize them, and what to do when they come your way.

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Scams have been around for centuries, but with the advancement of technology, it has become easier for scammers to reach a wider audience and deceive more people. In this article, we will discuss the top five scams to avoid, how to recognize them, and what to do when they come your way.

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are one of the most common types of scams that people fall for. This type of scam involves a scammer sending you an email, text message or phone call pretending to be a legitimate company, such as your bank, PayPal, or Amazon. The scammer will then ask you to provide your personal information, such as your username, password, credit card number, or social security number.

How to recognize a phishing scam:

The email, text message or phone call will usually have urgent language, urging you to take immediate action.

The email or website may have poor spelling or grammar.

The website link provided may look similar to the legitimate website, but it will have a different URL.

The email may come from an unfamiliar email address.

What to do if you receive a phishing scam:

Do not click on any links or download any attachments from the email.

Do not provide any personal information.

Contact the company directly using the contact information on their legitimate website.

Forward the email to the company’s fraud department.

Investment Scams

Investment scams are designed to make you believe that you can make a lot of money quickly and easily. These scams can be found in many forms, such as Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, or high-yield investment programs. These scams often require you to invest a large amount of money upfront and promise high returns in a short amount of time.

How to recognize an investment scam:

The investment opportunity promises high returns in a short amount of time.

The investment opportunity requires you to invest a large amount of money upfront.

The investment opportunity is not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The person offering the investment opportunity is not licensed or registered with the SEC.

What to do if you come across an investment scam:

Do not invest any money.

Research the investment opportunity thoroughly.

Contact the SEC to see if the investment opportunity is registered.

Report the scam to the SEC.

Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams

Lottery and sweepstakes scams are designed to make you believe that you have won a large sum of money. The scammer will then ask you to pay a fee or provide personal information to claim your prize. These scams can be found in many forms, such as email, text message, or phone call.

How to recognize a lottery or sweepstakes scam:

You are notified that you have won a prize, but you have not entered any lottery or sweepstakes.

You are asked to pay a fee or provide personal information to claim your prize.

The email, text message, or phone call is from an unknown source.

The prize amount is much larger than the entry fee.

What to do if you come across a lottery or sweepstakes scam:

Do not provide any personal information.

Do not pay any fees.

Do not respond to the email, text message, or phone call.

Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Tech Support Scams

Tech support scams are designed to make you believe that there is something wrong with your computer or device. The scammer will then offer to fix the problem for a fee or by gaining remote access to your device. These scams can be found in many forms, such as pop-up ads, phone calls, or emails.

How to recognize a tech support scam:

You receive an unsolicited phone call, email, or pop-up

The caller claims to be from a well-known tech company, such as Microsoft or Apple.

The caller will usually use scare tactics to make you believe that your device has a serious problem.

The caller will ask for remote access to your computer or ask you to install software on your device.

What to do if you come across a tech support scam:

Do not provide any personal information.

Do not allow remote access to your computer.

Do not download any software.

Hang up the phone or close the pop-up ad.

Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Romance Scams

Romance scams are designed to make you believe that you have found love online. The scammer will often create a fake profile on a dating website or social media platform and start a conversation with you. The scammer will then ask for money, either for travel expenses, medical expenses, or other reasons.

How to recognize a romance scam:

The person’s profile may have very few details or photos.

The person will often profess their love very quickly.

The person will ask for money.

The person may claim to be in a foreign country.

What to do if you come across a romance scam:

Do not send any money.

Do not provide any personal information.

Research the person’s profile and ask for proof of their identity.

Report the scam to the dating website or social media platform.

In conclusion, it is important to be aware of these top five scams and how to recognize them. By following the tips provided and taking the necessary precautions, you can avoid falling victim to these scams. Remember to always be cautious when providing personal information and never send money to anyone you do not know or trust. If you do come across a scam, be sure to report it to the appropriate authorities. Stay safe and stay informed.

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Business

Work-Life Balance in Your Life

It the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home-life

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Work-life balance (WLB) is the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home-life with sufficient leisure. WLB, also referred to by some as work-life harmony, work-life shift, work-life blend, work-life effectiveness, or work-life integration, requires focus and awareness despite seemingly endless tasks and activities competing for our time and attention.

Work-life balance entails having what I call “breathing space” for yourself each day, feeling a sense of accomplishment while not being consumed by work, and having an enjoyable domestic life without short-changing career obligations. WLB is rooted in whatever fulfillment means to you within the course of a day and a week, and however many years you have left in your life.

Supporting Disciplines

Several disciplines support work-life balance though, individually, none are synonymous with work-life balance:

1) Self Management

Sufficiently managing one’s self can be challenging, particularly in getting proper sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Self-management is the recognition that effectively using the spaces in our lives is vital, and that life, time, and available resources are finite. It means becoming captain of our own ship; no one is coming to steer for us.

2) Time Management

Effective time management involves making optimal use of your day and the supporting resources that can be summoned – you can only keep pace when your resources match your challenges. Time management is enhanced through appropriate goals and discerning what is both important and urgent, versus important OR urgent. It entails understanding what you do best and when, and assembling the appropriate tools to accomplish specific tasks.

3) Stress Management

By nature, societies tend to become more complex over time. In the face of increasing complexity, stress on the individual is inevitable. More people, noise, and distractions, independent of one’s individual circumstances, require each of us to become more adept at maintaining tranquility and being able to work ourselves out of pressure-filled situations. Most forms of multi-tasking ultimately increase our stress, while focusing on one thing at a time helps decrease stress.

4) Change Management

In our fast-paced world, change is virtually the only constant. Continually adopting new methods, adapting old, and re-adapting all methods is vital to a successful career and a happy home life. Effective change management involves offering periodic and concerted efforts so that the volume and rate of change at work and at home does not overwhelm or defeat you.

5) Technology Management

Effectively managing technology requires ensuring that technology serves you, rather than abuses you. Technology has always been with us, since the first walking stick, spear, flint, and wheel. Today, the rate of technological change is accelerating, brought on by vendors seeking expanding market share. Often you have no choice but to keep up with the technological Joneses, but rule technology, don’t let it rule you.

6) Leisure Management

The most overlooked of the work-life balance supporting disciplines, leisure management acknowledges 1) the importance of rest and relaxation, 2) that “time off” is a vital component of the human experience, and 3) that one can’t indefinitely short-change leisure without repercussions. Curiously, too much of the same leisure activity, however enjoyable, can lead to monotony. Thus, effective leisure management requires varying one’s activities.

Entirely Achievable

Achieving work-life balance does not require radical changes in what you do. It is about developing fresh perspectives and sensible, actionable solutions that are appropriate for you. It is fully engaging in life with what you have, right where you are, smack dab in the ever-changing dynamics of your existence.

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Business

Work-life Balance: The Enduring Quest

Organizations today recognize the importance of supporting employees’ well-being while maintaining productivity

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Thank goodness that organizations today increasingly recognize the importance of supporting employees’ well-being while maintaining productivity. As such, the corporate quest for work-life balance, harmony, and integration has gained great prominence.

Key Aspects

Here are 12 key aspects of this pursuit gleaned from a variety of programs:

1. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements: Offering flexible work schedules, remote work options, and part-time opportunities allows employees to better balance their professional and personal lives.

2. Have Clear Policies: Establishing clear policies and guidelines regarding work hours, overtime, and expectations helps employees manage their time effectively.

3. Support Mental Health: Providing access to mental health resources, counseling, and stress management programs can address employees’ emotional well-being.

4. Give Leave: Offering generous paid time off, including vacation, sick leave, and parental leave, allows employees to address personal and family needs without fear of repercussions.

5. Prevent Burnout: Encouraging employees to disconnect from work-related technology after hours helps prevent burnout and supports work-life separation.

6. Support Workload Management: Ensuring that employees have manageable workloads and realistic deadlines prevents excessive stress and long working hours.

7. Provide Wellness Programs: Implementing wellness initiatives, such as fitness facilities, nutrition programs, and health screenings, promotes a healthier work-life balance.

8. Enable Employee Assistance Programs: Such programs provide confidential counseling and support services for employees facing personal challenges.

9. Promote a Culture of Balance: Company culture plays a significant role in work-life balance. Leaders should model a balanced lifestyle, and the organization should celebrate accomplishments beyond work.

10. Maintain Continuous Communication: Engaging in open dialogues with employees about their needs and concerns regarding work-life balance fosters a supportive and responsive corporate culture.

11. Empower Workers with Training and Education: Providing training on time management, stress reduction, and resilience equips employees with the skills to better balance their lives.

12. Leverage Remote Work Policies: Crafting clear remote work policies and expectations ensures that remote employees have a structured work-life balance.

Bringing in the Hired Gun

As the world’s only holder of the title, “The Work-Life Balance Expert®,” as issued by the USPTO,  I am often summoned by organizations to enhance work-life balance for their troops. In all, I’ve delivered programs and spoken to 960 groups. Below depicts an encounter with a company who shall remain nameless for reasons of confidentiality. See if this squares up with your experience in your organization.

The following responses were derived as a result of my sending a questionnaire to the conference meeting planner where I was to be their keynote speaker. I requested the names of 10 people who would be in the audience. I called each of them to discuss their current challenges. Here are their actual replies to three of my questions:

1) If you could magically resolve a work-life balance issue, what would it be?

* Have more breathing room between high-level projects.
* Accomplish more during the workday and leave mentally free.
* Hire more staff!
* Take vacations and time off with no big pile ups when returning.

* Be allowed to take some Fridays off and catch up on much needed appointments.
* Reduce the number of pop-up requests and questions flying at me all day long so that I could ACTUALLY do what I need to do each day.
* Be approved to work from home or adjust my hours. My personal time isn’t respected.

2) What do you seek to derive from attending a session such as mine?

* Manage my time more effectively.
* Gain tools to embrace life while living it
* Develop stronger skills.
* Make work-life balance a reality in our company’s work-first culture.

* Acquire strategies, tips, or ideas to re-think my approach.
* Learn to change my focus, to be more productive, balanced, and focused.
* Be able to balance the few things that I do control during my day.
* Discover tips for keeping my staff in balance.

* Gain a realistic expectation of what we can achieve or experience.
* Develop a more positive outlook for the group.

3) Are there any observations you could offer?

* Work-life balance is a huge topic organization-wide. We are high performers who want to do a good job. We compromise our personal lives to meet work demands. We have to keep pace with the leaders and teams we support. If we don’t, we’ll be deemed unresponsive.

* A frenetic pace seems to be inherent in this company. Our team does a good job of emphasizing work-life balance; the problem lies with the surrounding divisions that thrive on working all the time, for no good reason. Yes, we are in a global space, working in different time zones, but some of these people are beyond the pale.

* What I love about this organization are the people. They are dedicated to the cause and truly want to deliver reliable, affordable, dynamic, and versatile solutions to our customers. However, our frenetic pace isn’t necessary. Not every project is the most vital. Not every problem is an emergency. Not every request has to be filled now.

* If in charge, I’d implement a more efficient, logical pace organization-wide. If we all took a breath and reevaluated how we work, in a more focused environment, we might find that we could produce better results with less stress.

Resonates Strongly

As you can see, the topic of work-life balance resonates strongly among today’s career professionals. Going forward, may more organization recognize and acknowledge the critical role that employee wellness and work-life balance has on the organization’s overall effectiveness.

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