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Old advice that is still valid in the digital world

Those of us who did not grow up with technology may struggle less with the hazards that accompany its use if we look back at some lessons from our own childhood. I was thinking of a few of this past weekend when reading another article aimed at senior citizens warning about email fraud. (Why DO these keep popping up in my Facebook feed?)

So for my senior colleagues, remember...

If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
My guess is that the majority of scams perpetrated are successful because there is some kind of unearned financial or emotional gain involved. Neither Nigerian bankers nor Russian supermodels want to give you something for nothing. These are the carnival hucksters of the digital world. More subtlety, "wealth managers", Medicare advisors, and trip planners all expect compensation for their guidance.

Face to face meetings get things done. With few exceptions, getting all parties together physically rather than virtually, is more effective in planning, problem-solving, and resolving disagreements. Second most effective is real-time virtual meetings where participants share a webcast or a conference telephone line. When attempting to move a multi-participant task forward, these "come to Jesus" meetings are essential. You wait for someone to return that email or support ticket, you may find yourself waiting a very, very long time.

Consider the source. Amazon is not a reference source - it is a sales tool. Fox News, Huffington Post, etc. are deliberatively provocative. The wilder the headline, the more likely the sucker who clicks the link, generating revenue for somebody. 

If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too? I suspect kids are more likely to do foolish things on line (or off) when they see their peers do them. But we "mature" individuals may be suseptible as well. That new gadget everyone seems to have (Fitbits, Echos), that newest investment opportunity (BitCoin), or health practice (quinoa, fasting, low-carb, high intensity exercise) are tempting just because its seems everybody's doin' it, doin' it.

I feel fortunate that somwhere during my misspent childhood I picked up a few good rules of common sense that seemed to have mostly served me well. You can't go too wrong with the advice given by your grandmother.

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