NetSafe

Cost of online dating scams soars.

The amount of money Kiwis lost to online dating scams has doubled in the past year and now makes up almost two-thirds of all reported online fraud losses.
NetSafe said New Zealanders reported losing a total $982,000 from online fraud in 1500 separate incidents in the past year.
Reported losses from romance and online dating scams, often a source of major frauds, almost doubled to more than $674,000. Fraudsters usually befriend vulnerable women online and later claim to urgently need large sums of money for an overseas financial emergency.
NetSafe operates a website, theorb.org.nz, in partnership with the police, the Consumer Affairs Ministry and other government agencies which lets people report frauds by clicking on an “online reporting button”.
The charity claimed in June that cyber-crime cost the country “as much as $625 million” in financial losses once the time and expense in sorting issues, such as removing malware, was included.
The estimate was extrapolated from international surveys carried out by Symantec, which sells security software.
NetSafe consultant Chris Hails acknowledged Symantec’s figures had been questioned and said there was no single source of reliable figures. But he said the losses reported to its Orb website would be the “tip of the iceberg” because it could be assumed many people suffered in silence.NetSafe executive director Martin Cocker said online scams and fraud made up a large proportion of the 1500 reported incidents.
“There has been a decline in reports about cold calling technical support companies and a rise in the number of people having their online accounts hacked,” he said.
“As well as suffering financial losses, many people are struggling to deal with the emotional turmoil and stress caused by online break-ins to their email and social networking accounts.”
In additional to rising losses from dating scams there had also been a marked rise in the number of complaints about online trading, including penny auction sites, Cocker said.
“With more people now shopping online and looking overseas for bargains, many people have fallen victim to fake websites that never deliver the goods they’ve paid for.”
Cocker advised people to use strong, unique passwords for important online accounts and to be suspicious of spam or phishing messages which directed them to malicious or fake websites.
“If you’re looking to buy online always be cautious of websites you haven’t dealt with before and if the price seems too good to be true take some time to research the company. Google their name and the words ‘review’ or ‘scam’ to see if other customers have had problems in the past.
“Lastly, avoid sending money by wire transfer to people you don’t know and if you buy online use a credit card and discuss any problem transactions with your bank.”
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Relationship

Dating Girl: Our relationship has come to an end.

Dear Dating Girl: I’ve been seeing this guy for a couple of months and I thought things were going quite well. We’re both extremely tentative about getting into a relationship, so we took it very slowly and all seemed well. He even told me he was really enjoying the way things were going. Then suddenly, out of the blue, he tells me in a very cruel way that he no longer wants to see me. No discussion. Just, “It’s over. I don’t want to see you anymore.” I’m completely floored. What the hell happened?
Shocked and Shaken.
Dear Shocked and Shaken: I’d say the guy is suffering from the old fear-and-flight reaction. Maybe things were going a little too well and he’s not ready for that. But you can forget trying to find out. And no blaming yourself. Both are futile exercises. I mean it. You must also resist all urges to call up your mob connections and have him taken out. And repeat after me: I deserve better, I deserve better. As far as I’m concerned, all humans deserve respect, even when they’re being dumped. Someone who can’t be decent about breaking up with someone can’t be decent in a relationship. Now get out there and buy yourself a hot new outfit and go dancing with your best girlfriends. Right now!
That was my first Dating Girl letter and response back on July 12, 1999, just over 13 years ago. Wow – that’s longer than I’ve been married.
Like the young woman in this letter, I was tentative about getting into a relationship with The Gazette. After all, I was writing my slightly more risqué weekly column My Messy Bedroom over at the now sadly defunct Hour magazine when The Gazette approached me for a more, shall we say, family-friendly version of a relationship column. Could I be as honest, as frank, as bold in a daily?
Ultimately it didn’t matter. Sure, maybe I couldn’t use the word booger back in 1999 (ed: can I use that word yet?) and I couldn’t advise you when it came to the more X-rated aspects of your relationships, but there was so much to explore without even getting into any of that, from how to meet someone to how to get over them.
Some letters were less universal in theme than others (I’ll never forget the guy who wanted advice on sleeping with his cousin), but I tried my best to make my advice such that anyone might be able to call upon it when needed. I didn’t always succeed, but just as with relationships, there is no reward without risk.
And when it comes to relationships, just as I wrote in that very first column, “as far as I’m concerned, all humans deserve respect, even when they’re being dumped. Someone who can’t be decent about breaking up with someone can’t be decent in a relationship.”
Now I’m getting dumped. Thankfully, I didn’t get dumped like the poor woman in the above letter. There was no, “It’s over. I don’t want to see you anymore.” It was completely respectful. I’m sad, but not floored. I am well aware, as someone who has been in the media for over two decades now, that the times they are a-changin’. I am thankful for my years in this space. I am thankful for all the love, support, criticism and genuine gratefulness I have received from you for helping you navigate your way through the weird, wonderful and sometimes painful experiences of love. Not all relationships are meant to last forever. It’s been a good one. Thanks.
Now I think I’ll go out and get a hot new outfit and go dancing with my girlfriends.

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Dress

Rich toddlers draw fashion designers’ eyes.

NEW YORK – Juliet Sandler dresses in the latest $650 dresses and $400 shoes from Parisian fashion house Lanvin. Juliet is 3.
Her mother, Dara Sandler, says she dresses her daughter in the latest fashions because Juliet is a reflection of her — even though her daughter can’t spell the names of the designers, let alone pay for their clothes.
“I dress Top fashion designers are pushing more expensive duds for the increasingly lucrative affluent toddler demographic. This fall, Oscar de la Renta, Dolce & Gabbana, and Marni launched collections for the pint-sized. Luxury stores Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman are expanding their children’s areas to make room for the newcomers, many of them with higher price tags. Late last year, Gucci, which launched a children’s collection two years ago, opened its first children’s store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.
Some designer houses like Oscar de la Renta and Marni say they’re careful to keep the clothes appropriate for kids. But there are plenty of miniature versions of the adult looks that raise eyebrows because of their eye-catching prices and sophisticated styles.
American households are expected to spend an average of $688 outfitting their children for school, says the National Retail Federation, and that includes supplies like pencils and notebooks.
That’s most families. Some will spend $795 on Gucci backpacks or $1,090 on leopard print puffy coats from Lanvin.
Sasha Charnin Morrison, fashion director at Us Weekly, admits that some of the clothes are outrageously prices. But, she says, things like $200 Gucci sneakers make her kids happy.
“They’re a walking billboard of you. They’re a reflection of who you are, so if you are someone highly stylized, then you want to make sure your kids are the best-dressed kids out there,” she says.
Critics say the trend promotes elitism.”This creates a class system of the haves and have nots,” says Dr. Alan Hilfer, director of psychology at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City. “It creates a culture of envy.”

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