Monday, February 06, 2023

Bumble Reveals Dating Trends to Expect in 2023

You can say in 2022, dating has been a stormy ride. So what is in store for our love lives in 2023?

Photo by Abdullah Alsaibaie

Over the past year, relationship priorities have shifted, with people favoring increased vulnerability and mindfulness, as well as giving sober (curious) dating a whirl. A new trend called Winter Coating has emerged, whereby people reach out to former partners and exes to rekindle an extinguished flame so they will have someone to keep them warm during the winter. The cost of living is also having a major impact on dating habits, with many opting for "cash candid dating" — increased transparency over their finances (and money worries) in the early stages of dating. Environmentally conscious singles are opting for "green dating" and eliminating potential matches not aligned with their views on climate change.

 

Dating app Bumble has released its annual predictions for what we can expect in the New Year. Warning, emotional needs are high on people's list of priorities.

 

Photo by cottonbro studio

Naomi Walkland, Bumble’s vice president for Europe, said, "2022 was a formative year with the return of travel, the drastic increase in our social lives and commitments, and several turbulent global events." She added it left many people feeling exhausted and overwhelmed in response to these changes. "In response to this, we’ve seen that people on Bumble are now prioritizing, identifying, and clearly articulating their boundaries. These boundaries can be emotional, like being upfront about what they want or recognizing red and green flags, physical, like ensuring they don’t over commit themselves, or financial, encouraging candid conversations about previously taboo topics." 

 

New Year - New Men - In a survey of 14,300 Bumble users around the world, seventy-four percent of men say they have looked inward and analyzed their own behavior more than ever and have a clearer understanding of toxic masculinity. The term toxic masculinity refers to a set of beliefs and behaviors, including hiding your emotions or distress, using violence or "tough-guy" behavior as a way of showing power, and exhibiting an appearance of "hardness". Fifty-two percent of people on Bumble are actively trying to challenge the gender stereotype men should not show emotions out of fear of seeming "weak". Over a third (thirty-eight percent) of people now talk about emotions more openly with male friends, and half of the men think that dismantling gender roles in relationships and dating will benefit them.

 

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Guard Railing - Setting boundaries is essential in all kinds of relationships — whether you have just started dating, you are at work, or in any other situation involving interactions with other human beings. Sixty-three percent of daters say they are clearer about emotional needs and boundaries, and fifty-nine percent are more thoughtful and intentional about how they put themselves out there, with fifty-three percent aiming to not over-commit to socializing.

 

Love-life Balance - Many people have been redefining what work and professionalism mean to them in 2022. It makes sense, therefore, that people are also inspecting the values they seek in romantic partners. Looking good on paper and prioritizing professional success are not at the top of everyone's list these days. In what people are looking for in a partner, fifty-four percent of people surveyed care more about their work/life balance than their career status. One in ten people will no longer date someone who has a very demanding job, and fifty-two percent of people are actively trying to make more space for rest in their life.

Photo by Kampus Production

Open Casting - One in three daters is now more open to considering dating beyond their "type". In the UK in particular, fifty-two percent of daters are expanding their horizons beyond what they would typically go for. One in four people is less pressured when meeting other people's expectations of whom they should date.

 

Ethical Sex-ploration - Let us talk about sex. Forty-three percent of daters are navigating sex and intimacy in a more exploratory and open way, while fifty-three percent believe it is paramount to express sexual wants and needs early in a relationship. Over the past year, twenty percent of daters have explored their sexuality more, and one in eight people are considering ethical non-monogamy. These figures do not mean people are having more sex. However, in the UK, forty-two percent of daters surveyed are currently not having sex, and they are fine with that, and globally, thirty-four percent said the same.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Wander Love - Thirty-three percent of people on Bumble is now more open to having relationships with people not in their current city. With more jobs allowing for flexible work arrangements and even "digital nomad" arrangements, fourteen percent of daters have explored the prospect of becoming a digital nomad and dating people from far-flung destinations.

 

Dating renaissance - Many of us know someone who had a pandemic breakup. Per Bumble's data, thirty-nine percent of people on the dating app ended a marriage or serious relationship within the past two years. These individuals are not entering a second chapter — a renaissance if you will — and some of whom (thirty-six percent) are using dating apps for the very first time.

 

If 2022 was anything to go by, we are in for more changes in 2023 — hopefully positive ones, like those listed above.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Women Share What Made Their Valentine’s Day So Memorable


St. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. If you are still wondering how to make this holiday memorable for that special person in your life, we got you covered. The following women share what made their Valentine’s Day unforgettable:

Photo by Michelle Leman

“People normally want to go all out for Valentine’s Day, but my favorite dates ever have been the simpler ones. We made dinner, watched some movies, and talked about how much we cared about each other. I even got him to take the Love Languages test!” Ariti, age 32.

 

“A few years ago, my now-fiancé and I were planning a trip to Montreal, leaving the day after Valentine’s Day for a long weekend to celebrate. Since we were young and broke, we did not have money to go out to a nice dinner, so instead, we went to Burger King. Now it’s still our tradition to get fast food every year on February 14th.” Caitlin, age 25.

 

“My first actual date with my high school boyfriend was on Valentine’s Day! Obviously, we did not really plan for it to be a V-Day date—it just happened that way. However, he still showed up that night with a single red rose for me. Some might call that a little over-the-top, but I thought it was incredibly sweet.” Alexandra, age 26.

 

“My boyfriend and I rarely celebrate Valentine’s Day because our anniversary is only a week later. But one year I wanted to do something special, but still keep it low-key, so I ordered in a bunch of sushi and surprised him with a little at-home V-Day date.” Elizabeth, age 25.

 

“My ex and I both loved going out to eat. However, since we went out to pleasant restaurants regularly, it would sometimes feel even more special to spend a night in. On our first Valentine’s Day together, he cooked an amazing meal for us at his place and we just enjoyed a romantic evening in.” Elissa, age 28.

 

“I have a major sweet tooth, which means my favorite V-Day tradition is the post-Valentine’s Day candy sales! Regardless of what I do and/or who I happen to be dating on the actual day, I always plan a full day of me-time for the 15th, featuring as much discount chocolate as my heart desires.” Julia, age 32.

 

“We went to my favorite band’s small little venue concert, picked up fish tacos on the way home, and baked cookies together that night.” Jaylon, age 21.

 

Photo by Tim Samuel

“This was, like, ultimate bougie, but my girlfriend and I went to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. We told the hotel that we were recently engaged (we were not), but they decorated our bed every night with rose petals and a bottle of champagne. Go big or go home, right?” Alyssa, age 28.



“I found myself in a bit of a Situationship with this girl around Valentine’s Day a couple of years ago and was not sure if we were official or not, so I was not really expecting to celebrate V-Day with her. (I did not want to get my hopes up.) Well, she ended up surprising me by not only making plans with me but also cooking a very fancy dinner with pasta, bread, salad, and some of my favorite desserts. Like, she did not cook regularly, so this was a Big Deal. It was so sweet because it was her way of showing me she cared, and we became official that night.” Michelle, age 25.

 

“My favorite Valentine’s Day was cooking a new recipe together (Louisiana chicken pasta, which was just as good as it sounds), drinking a little too much wine, and falling asleep in their arms on the couch. Sometimes it’s the little things.” Haley, age 26.

 

“My best Valentine’s Day ever happened last year when I was single. I had the ultimate ‘treat yourself’ day and got my favorite lunch, a mani-pedi, and then bought my favorite coffee. Instead of being sad that I was alone, I created an opportunity to celebrate the love I had for myself. I even made it a promise to myself to do it every year. Even though I have a boyfriend this year, I will still do it!” Catherine, age 25.

 

“My boyfriend jokingly used to complain how men don’t get the same treatment as women on Valentine’s Day by receiving cards and chocolates, so I surprised him by making an edible arrangement of bacon roses and gave it to him in the morning before waking up so he could have breakfast in bed. I also gave him a card where I wrote the biggest surprise of all: tickets to a helicopter tour of our city. Ten years later, we are still together, got married, and that is still one of the best Valentine’s Days we’ve ever had.” Rachel, age 29.

 

“Several years ago, my boyfriend at the time (now husband) earned major points on Valentine’s Day. First, he dropped me off at a salon to get my hair and nails done. Then he picked me up, brought me to his place, and made me dinner. From there, we went to a comedy club and laughed the night away. It was such a thoughtful date that I will remember forever.” Jacqui, age 28.

 

“The cutest Valentine’s Day idea that I had was making a time capsule for our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple. In three years, we get to open it up and we’ll get to relive so many glorious memories.” Alyssa, age 31.

 

“My partner’s birthday is the day after Valentine’s, and our anniversary is just two weeks later, so for our first Valentine’s together, I wanted to do something special. I am a firm believer in more is more, so I surprised her with a trip to New York. I booked an incredible dinner at this cute Japanese place in Brooklyn. We hit MoMA, had Sunday brunch; it was really fun. The only bad part was it was below 10 degrees the whole time, but the rest was a blast!” Elizabeth, age 29.

 

Photo by Marko Klaric 

“Last year, for Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend and I celebrated a little differently than most. We are both individually very serious about getting out of student loan debt in one to two years, so we added an extra couple hundred dollars onto our February debt payments so we could get that much closer to becoming debt-free. To me, it was so sweet because it’s so us!” Joanna, age 23.

 

“In college, my boyfriend went out and bought a bottle of champagne, two glass champagne flutes, chocolates, and flowers for me. I got him cigars and chocolate cigars. We still lived in the dorms, but his roommate had moved out, so we took both mattresses and put them side by side on the floor to make one giant super-bed. We drank champagne, ate lasagna, and watched A Walk to Remember from the floor on the super-bed. All these years later, I still have the boyfriend, the champagne flutes, and the cork from the bottle that night. We use the flutes every Valentine’s Day.” Rebecca, age 26.

 

“We’re broke and in our early 20s, and we do not spend much money. However, on Valentine’s Day, we like to go out to eat for dinner, wherever we want, and buy whatever TF we want. Our normal $30 to $40 bill is about $120 with multiple drinks, apps, main courses, and desserts. We just treat ourselves, and I love every minute.” Santina, age 22.

 

“My girlfriend at the time surprised me with a staycation in our own city. She booked a hotel downtown, reserved seats for us at the rooftop bar, and had our bed decorated with rose petals and champagne when we returned.” Alicia, age 36.

 

“The guy I was casually hooking up with—not even really dating—surprised me by making a reservation at a trendy restaurant in our city. The weather that day was extremely cold, but we layered on coats and went out, anyway. When we got to the restaurant, they lost our reservation and did not have any available for a few hours. We went to a dive bar around the corner, shared some beers, and had a super-laid-back dinner at a restaurant with a prix fixe menu and open seating. It was all super, unexpected, and just being together, even if we were hungry and freezing, made me realize this was significantly more than a hookup thing.” Caitlin, age 25.

 

“One of my favorite Valentine’s Day memories is when my boyfriend made a home-cooked meal. He surprised me with a dozen roses, a giant fuzzy heart with chocolate inside, and a handmade card. We had little money back then, and he still lived with his parents, so he brought up a bunch of chairs to his room and used his nightstand as our table. He also lit candles, put on Frank Sinatra, and opened a bottle of Moët. We spent the rest of the night watching the first movie we ever saw together and playing video games. It was the best.” Riley, age 20.

 

“One year, my girlfriend surprised me with a super-romantic wine-tasting tour. It was such a shock because I never even thought about wineries being open during the colder months, but many are! We had such a fun time getting tipsy and drinking delicious wine together, and then we took the train home, watched a movie on our laptop, and had a nice dinner together. And I got to be in bed early, which is honestly my favorite thing.” Sarah, age 27.

 

“You really can’t go wrong with breakfast in bed, which also is the best Valentine’s Day I ever had. My husband makes me chocolate chip pancakes with extra chocolate chips just the way I like them, and I do not get up until noon. I look forward to this day literally all year!” Tina, age 30.

Photo by cottonbro studio
 

“The best Valentine’s Day I’ve had was the first one with my boyfriend. We knew it was supposed to snow later that day, so we had to alter the plans we had previously made to go to an extravagant dinner at a fancy restaurant, instead went out to brunch, and spend the rest of the day at home. We exchanged gifts after brunch and spent the afternoon simply being together and enjoying our uninterrupted time. That night, we made a delicious dinner at home and watched many corny Valentine’s Day movies. It was perfect because it was simply us spending time together and enjoying the love between two people.” Rachel, age 21.

 

“We started the evening by cooking a meal together and it was amazing. Getting to create something romantic together was beautiful. After we finished dinner, he brought us to the same place where we had our first date, Hyde Park, and we held hands while we walked around. At the end of the night, he surprised me by booking a hotel room. When we got there, he had my favorite chocolates lying out on the bed. It was so simple, yet so perfect. Best Valentine’s Day ever.” Isabel, age 20.

 

“My long-distance boyfriend was too busy with his new job to visit me regularly, but on Valentine’s Day, he mailed me a plane ticket and told me to come and visit him. He even rented a hotel, so we could be alone without his roommates. When we got there, he had laid roses all over the bed and there was champagne and a fluffy robe. We ended up ditching dinner reservations and staying in all night with room service. It was like a movie.” Amanda, age 21.

 

Photo by RODNAE Productions

“My girlfriend surprised me with a downtown tour of our city. It is hilarious because we have both lived here our whole lives, but we got to see the city from a tourist perspective and learned things we never knew. It was cheesy, but that’s what made it so freaking fun.” Russia, age 28.

 

“My boyfriend at the time had left the cheesiest teddy bear in front of my dorm room on Valentine’s Day along with a note that said, ‘I’ll pick you up for dinner at 6. Dress warm!’ We ended up having a super-romantic peanut butter and jelly sandwich dinner with a bottle of wine on this giant hill that overlooks our campus. It was probably the sweetest date ever!” Kelly, age 20.

 

“My high school boyfriend asked me to come over to his house on Valentine’s Day weekend to help him with chemistry homework, which I thought was really weird because he was taking chemistry classes and I was obviously not, but I didn’t hesitate to come by. I went to knock on his front door and there was a note saying ‘walk in’ on it. I walked into his house and heard my favorite sappy love song playing, and [there was] a huge trail of rose petals leading into his living room, where he was sitting with all my favorite things. There were candles, and Disney stuffed animals, and it was so romantic. Even though we’re not still together, it will definitely be in my top Valentine’s Day memories!” Jessica, age 21.

 

Photo by Lisa Fotios

“I was out of town on business for Valentine’s Day and it really bummed my boyfriend because he had this whole big thing planned. When I came home a week later, he ended up making a whole Valentine’s Day meal and celebration, anyway. He cooked steak and even bought a super-sweet cake that said ‘Happy (kind of) Valentine’s Day.’ He also got me flowers and chocolate. It was so sweet, especially because he sucks at keeping secrets and I did not know he was planning this.” Sally, age 23.

 

“Last year was the first Valentine’s Day my long-distance boyfriend and I got to celebrate together in person. He came to visit me on Valentine’s Day and we went on an amazing hike. When we got to the top of the mountain, it had a beautiful view and we got to sit down and eat a late lunch together while watching the incredible sunset. Before we hiked back down, he grabbed my hand and told me he wanted to be together forever and gave me a promise ring. I was so surprised!” Lauren, age 21.

 

“My boyfriend and I had made plans to go out for dinner, but we waited too late to make reservations. He told me to leave it up to him and that he would find us a place. The morning of Valentine’s Day, he showed up at my house with roses, and bags full of groceries, and told me he was making me dinner instead of going out. I was hesitant about his cooking because he had never done it before, but it turned out pretty well. He made some yummy enchiladas, and best of all, I did not even need to get dressed up. Afterward, we cuddled and watched a movie. It wasn’t the most extravagant date, but it was the sweetest.” Michelle, age 22.

 

“The most memorable Valentine’s Day was when I showed up at my boyfriend’s house and he led me downstairs to his basement, where he’d prepared an indoor picnic. He knew I was tired from my week and did not feel like going out, so we stayed in. He does not really cook, so he went around buying all my favorite foods from different restaurants like chicken and beef skewers, Indian bread, and chicken Caesar salad. I was so surprised because I had never actually told him my favorite foods, but he had figured it out from the times we went out to eat. Then for dessert, he made chocolate-covered strawberries. We ended the date by watching the movie we watched on our first date. It brought back memories of when we first started dating and we were both so nervous that we did not hold hands until the very end. There were no dimly lit mood candles or expensive presents, but it made a lasting impression on my heart.” Kim, age 21.

 

“My boyfriend’s birthday is only a couple of days before Valentine’s Day, so usually we skip celebrating V-Day. A couple of years ago, we went up to the Hudson Valley for the weekend to celebrate. There was a big snowstorm, and we were trapped inside, but the house was beautiful and we got to snuggle and escape from the world. It was magical. I tried to surprise him by wearing some new lingerie too, but when I came out of the bathroom wearing it, he had fallen asleep! It’s been an inside joke of ours since.” Emily, age 25.

 

“I know it sounds so simple, borderline tacky, but the most wonderful Valentine’s date I ever had was spent in a dorm room. We picked a movie we both loved, and to surprise each other, we each ordered a Seamless delivery with the food we thought the other would love most. It was lazy and comforting, but still cute and romantic!” Tara, age 23.




Monday, January 23, 2023

News for Travelers

 

Photo by Quintin Gellar

News from Travel Noire

Delta Air Lines Teams Up With Starbucks to Launch Epic Loyalty Benefits Program - Learn More

American Airlines No Longer Offering First Class On International Flights - Learn More

Here Are 6 Safe Countries Where You Can Retire For Under $2,000 Per Month - Learn More

 

Photo by Magda Ehlers

News from Travel Awaits

7 Unique Foods to Try In Northern Australia, And Where To Find Them - Learn More

This Secluded Laguna Beach Resort Is Perfect For A Romantic Getaway - Learn More


Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko

News from Travel Divas®

Book Your Trip to Turkey 2024: Istanbul & Cappadocia - Learn More

Book Your Trip: Couples in Maldives - Learn More 

Book Your Trip to Egypt 2024: Cairo, Aswan, & Luxor - Learn More

Monday, January 16, 2023

High Road Restaurants - Promoting Equity, Fairness and Fair Wages

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto  

We have all heard the expression, “Take the high road” when selecting the most ethical and fair way of dealing with people who have wronged others in the past.

Photo by ELEVATE   

High Road Restaurants is a national network of restaurant owners dedicated to taking the high road to success by providing equality, fair play, fair wages, and racial and gender justice when staffing their restaurants, as well as serving their patrons cordially.

Photo by RODNAE Productions 

The network offers resources, programs, events and so much more. To see how you can make a difference when eating out, please visit their site. 

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Photo by Mark Stebnicki 

Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, January 09, 2023

Monday, December 26, 2022

What Shellz Homestyle Kitchen prepares on Christmas Day

Shellz Homestyle Kitchen shares the scrumptious food that she and her family have on Christmas Day.


Have a Joyous, Healthy, and Safe Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2022

It is That Time Again - Thank You for Your Continued Support

Photo by Adrienne Andersen

Where does the time go? 2022 went by quickly.


We would like to thank you again for visiting our site and sending us your feedback. We also want to thank our contributors who have submitted some great articles.


Whichever holiday you observe, have a joyous, safe, and healthy celebration.

Photo by cottonbro

Even though strict guidelines are being lifted regarding COVID-19 and other variants, please continue to wear a face covering when you are in close quarters, practice social distancing, and wash your hands. When you protect yourself, you are also protecting others.


Our staff is taking a well-deserved break and will return on January 9, 2023, with more amazing posts. If you want to write for our blog, please read our Submission Guidelines. 

 

Peace and Love,

One World Singles Blog Staff 

Monday, December 12, 2022

Safety tips for Women Who are Traveling Alone

Photo by Element5Digital

I traveled alone for the first time to the island of Jamaica. That was back in the late sixties. I was in my early twenties. People always say that God protects children and fools. I am not a religious person, but I never considered myself a fool. But there were things that never dawn on me when traveling to an island I knew nothing about. I was lucky. I met wonderful people and faced no dangers while learning about the people and their culture. Of course, there were no internet or social media back then. To learn about a country, you could rely on friends, relatives, travel magazines, or travel agents.

 

Traveling solo is on the rise, with more and more women opting to go it alone. There is just something about taking a bold step out of your comfort zone, setting you on the path to learn and experience a different place and culture. Traveling can make you feel more contented by relieving stress and anxiety while exposing you to new things or unique ways of thinking.

 

Following are some tips that I never thought about, as a woman, when traveling to Jamaica. These recommendations will help make your traveling alone more enjoyable and memorable:

 

Photo by Dini Ilham Aulia

Plan and research - Before you get on a plane or ship, always do your due diligence and do research on the place you are going to visit. Read reviews on the place and basically, Google the place to have a fair picture of the people, their culture, and local cuisine. That will lead you to make the plans and travel arrangements. In addition, a lot of fear and insecurity about traveling alone comes from not knowing what you are doing and where you are going.

 

Plan your day - Where are you staying, and how will you move around? If you are visiting a foreign country, plan to arrive during the day and not late at night.

 

Be subtle - It is important to remain as inconspicuous as possible. Stay under the radar. You do not want to draw unnecessary attention to yourself or make yourself an easy target.

 

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Read - Study the laws and regulations of the country you plan to visit so you do not find yourself in trouble or doing what is foreign to locals. If the country is conservative, respect the laws and cover-up. The main point of this is to blend in with the locals.

 

Be vigilant - Successful solo travel as women hinges on common sense and trusting your gut or intuition. Stay vigilant, especially when you are out partying. Leave expensive jewelry at home and do not flash your cash in the streets. It is also important not to trust strangers so easily.

 

Photo by Godisable Jacob

Do not compromise your safety - By trying to save a quick buck, you may put your safety at risk. An example of this is electing to walk a small distance at night instead of paying for a cab. It is also important to be in a sober state; always be aware of your surroundings. Try to limit your alcohol intake.

 

Purchase travel insurance - When traveling, anything can happen, so try to be prepared.

 

Keep friends and family informed - It is always a good idea to keep your friends and family updated on your whereabouts. Send them your travel itinerary, where you will stay, and important numbers on how they can contact you or trace your whereabouts. Have the contact information of your embassy in case things do not go according to plan. If you are staying at a hotel, keep your passport, credit cards, travelers’ checks, cash, and other valuables in an in-room safe.

 

Photo by jasmin chew

Take copies of prescribed medications - If you are on medications prescribed by your doctor, get a note from your physician showing the names and dosages you have to take. Medications that are legal in the USA may be illegal in other countries. Check to see what drugs are illegal in the country you plan to visit and discuss this with your primary care physician or seek advice from a lawyer who specializes in international law.

 

USA laws - USA laws do not follow you once you leave the United States. Whatever trouble you get into, you are on your own.

 

COVID-19 - Even though strict guidelines for COVID-19 have been lifted, some countries still have firm rules before entering their country. Check with the country you plan to visit for their policies. 

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Monday, December 05, 2022

Scammers Never Take a Break during the Holidays

Regrettably, the holiday season is not just a time of giving. It is an opportunity for identity thieves, computer hackers, and fraudsters to take what they can from unsuspecting victims.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki

Many of the swindles are cyber-driven, says Bill Kowalski, a former FBI agent, and director of operations for corporate investigative services at Rehmann. “But thieves also use less-sophisticated tactics to steal money or personal information from consumers while they're shopping in stores or looking to give to those in need,” he says.


Following are several frauds that will be popular this holiday season and tips on how to avoid them:

Photo by Anna Tarazevich

Bogus Shipment Notifications

Be aware of e-mails notifying you about package shipments. Kowalski says that scammers send out bogus notifications that prompt people to click on links to track packages and those links contain computer viruses. If you are not expecting any shipments, it is easy to recognize these e-mails as fakes. However, if you have made purchases online, Kowalski recommends going directly to shipping companies' sites to track your packages rather than clicking on links - even those that appear to be legitimate.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Used Gift Cards

Many retailers display gift cards at the checkout -- and thieves take advantage of this, says Rip Mason, the CEO of LegalShield, a legal services and an identity-theft-protection-provider. They take cards, copy the numbers on them, then put the cards back on the rack. The thieves can assess when the cards are purchased and activated and will drain the cards of all their funds -- leaving the consumer with a card that cannot be used. Therefore, Mason says that if you buy a gift card, ask the salesperson to give you one from behind the counter.


Malware e-cards

Scammers are taking advantage of the fact that more people are sending holiday greetings by e-mail and are sending e-cards with malicious software embedded in them, Mason says. If you receive an e-mail from someone you do not know, do not let curiosity get the best of you. Just delete the e-mail.

Photo by cottonbro

Special Offers

If you receive an e-mail or text message claiming that you have won a prize or gift card, resist the temptation to respond. The sender likely is a scammer trying to get your personal information or money. Kowalski also says scammers will send texts or e-mails prompting recipients to click on links to access information about a retailer's sale or special offers. Go directly to the retailer's Web site or Facebook page to see if it is having a sale.

Photo by Anastasia  Shuraeva

Phony Web Sites

If you do a Google search for a popular toy your kid wants for Christmas, there is a good chance that some of the results will link to fake sites or images that have viruses or malware. That is because scammers build sites based on popular search terms. When doing your holiday shopping online, stick with sites you know. Scammers also create sites with Web addresses similar to those of legitimate retailers, Kowalski says. The Better Business Bureau reports that several Web sites have cropped up that include the word “overstock” in the domain name, hoping to fool consumers into thinking they are shopping with Overstock.com, a legitimate online retailer. Always type the Web address of a site you wish to visit directly into the browser rather than clicking on links in e-mails or social media sites. Make sure you have the most updated version of the browser you use, which can flag suspicious sites, and updated virus software on your computer. Look for "contact us" information on sites you visit and make sure "https" appears at the beginning of the URL on the payment page.


Malicious Apps

Be wary of the apps you download on your phone or Facebook page -- especially free ones that you're prompted by anonymous text messages or Facebook posts to download. Be wary of any app that asks for access to your e-mail account or for any personal information because it likely will be malicious. Even legitimate apps might ask permission to access your personal information, from your birthday to your current location to your list of friends. So before you click install, read the list of permissions being requested by an app to make sure it is not asking for information you do not want to provide.


Fraudulent Charities

Scammers hope to take advantage of people's desire to give to those in need during the holidays by sending e-mails or texts asking for contributions. Kowalski says that some are even using copied logos from legitimate charities in e-mails or on fraudulent Web sites. Often you can hover over links in such e-mails and see Web addresses that point to fraudulent sites instead of a legitimate charity's site. Rather than respond to those pleas, visit CharityNavigator.org for reviews of charitable organizations to find a cause that will benefit from your generosity. Do not make large donations in cash and always ask for a receipt.


Eavesdropping

Cyber thieves are not the only ones taking advantage of consumers. Kowalski says you can easily become a victim if you provide personal information to a sales clerk and someone is listening to your responses. Avoid giving out your e-mail address, phone number, or other similar information that is not necessary to complete a transaction.


Bait and Switch

It may be tempting to get a hot product at a super low price. However, if someone approaches you in a public place offering to sell you, say, an iPad for cheap, you will likely end up with an inferior product, Mason says. Scammers also use e-mail or online auctions to promote products at low prices and often ask to wire payments. The Better Business Bureau warns against sending cash to strangers. In these situations, the consumer sends money but never receives the merchandise. Only purchase from trusted retailers to ensure you are getting what you pay for, Mason says.