Are Christmas Hampers Worth It?

Emails are turning up offering Christmas Hampers and of course TV adverts and you see them in the supermarkets and department stores.

There has been a lot of publicity in recent years about how the contents of a typical store hamper can be bought much cheaper separately so it’s more difficult than previously for the big supermarkets in particular to get away with exorbitant prices.

Money Supermarket looked at a Waitrose Cracker Hamper and found

– Italia Collezione Prosecco Brut 750ml (Waitrose.com £11.99)
– Buiteman Parmigiano Reggiano Biscuits 75g (Amazon.co.uk £11.51)
– Linden Lady Handmade Luxury Chocolates x 15 (Waitrose.com £6.99)
– Linden Lady Handmade Toasted Coconut Marshmallows 125g (Yourhamper.com £3.49)
– Maxwell & Franks Christmas Pudding with Cider 454g (Yourhamper.com £3.74)
– The Original Cake Company Round Top Iced Fruit Cake

– 6 Waitrose All Butter Mince Pies (Waitrose.com £2.50)

Total cost bought separately £59.09 or £100 as a Waitrose hamper. That was in 2013 and things have improved since then.

Bargain supermarket Aldi got into hampers a few years ago and theirs sell from £29.99 to £99.99.

Bargain supermarket Lidl don’t ye do Christmas hampers.

The makers of hampers point out that you also get the hamper and the benefit of someone having chosen the items and packed them for you. However, the actual hamper baskets are quite cheap on Amazon so you can make your own.

The days of huge sales of hampers at Christmas seems to have gone, especially since the largest of the monthly savings hamper clubs Farepak went bust 4 years ago.

Are Hampers worth the money?

If you’re buying as a gift for someone then maybe it makes sense to pay significantly more than the value of the contents. But if you’re buying for your family – then It depends on

how much you like the actual hamper box it comes in and how much you like someone picking the items on your behalf.

Basically it’s usually much cheaper to buy the items separately and if you want a hamper basket to put them in then buy one on Amazon or eBay and fill it yourself.

Don’t be taken in by the emails – check the cost of the contents for yourself.

Aldi £30 hamper contains £27 worth of goods plus the gift box.

Aldi £100 hamper contains £83 worth of contents plus the hamper basket

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The Extent of Spam Messages

Around 45% of all emails are spam i.e. they are messages you do not want, have not signed up to receive and would stop if you could. But spammers send out billions of such unwanted messages every day in the hope of getting your attention and probably also wanting to make money out of you.

Spam is very wasteful – it clogs up your inbox, takes up your time and is almost entirely pointless.

Messages you don’t want to receive very little attention and nobody wants to buy from a business that has annoyed them.

Spam messages are most commonly some form of advertising (36%), finance (26%), social media notifications, reminders you don’t need, hoaxes, fake warnings, people trying to get attention and so on.

This does not include scams which is where the sender is intent on defrauding the recipients in some way.

There are millions of people and businesses sending out spam messages but around 80% of world-wide spam comes from about 100 scam groups that treat the sending of such messages on behalf of their clients as a viable business.

The cost of such time-wasting to business is estimated to be somewhere between ten and twenty billion dollars world-wide per year. This includes the cost of anti-spam services, employee time identifying spam messages and technical staff.

More spam emails originate in China than anywhere else, but vast amounts also originate in America and Europe.

Most spam is harmless but increasingly it is used to carry malware and that can be dangerous as thieves seek to copy your identity or infect your computer.

Q. Why is spam called spam?

Spam is a cheap tinned meat product that has been around since the 1930s. Some claim that the name Spam meaning unwanted emails comes from a 1970 Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch in which a group of customers in a Spam-themed restaurant sing about Spam and everything on the menu is full of spam.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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Stupidest Spam of the Week Fountain of Youth

I think this scammer must have been watching an old movie such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or maybe an old book.

The email title is “The Truth About the Fat Burning Fountain of Youth”.

They do like to be dramatic in their claims to attract attention, although you would expect that to turn off anyone with more than 2 brain cells.

So, the email goes on to claim that a simple 2 minute ritual at bedtime will shrink fat away and reverse aging.

Hhmm – see what I mean about that movie.

Then it gives examples such as John who melted away 54 pounds of belly fat in no time.

No supplement or diet can possibly target fat in one place on the body – it just doesn’t work like that. You gain fat overall and you lose fat overall.

The fountain of youth is a nice fable and so is the idea of losing fat with no effort – but they only exist in stories. Real life is much harder.

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Macs Scambaiting Tips

Mac loves to bait those evil scammers – playing them at their own game. You can read about Mac’s exploits at http://macsbaitstore.com/tips.html

Here are his tips:-

  • Make a fake persona for yourself before you start scam baiting (name, address, phone, etc.) – this will prevent you from making mistakes that will give you away later to the scammer.
  • Use a free email account for your scambaiting – Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, Live.com, etc.
  • Don’t give scammer any real information – for obvious reasons…
  • Consider using a Virtual private Network to disguise your IP address. If you have a floating IP address from your broadband supplier then this is not an issue as floating IP addresses only resolve back to your supplier – not to you
  • Do not give them your home phone number – try a service such as k7.net for messages or a mobile – I use a number that always rings, then make some excuse why I never answer (at work, store, etc.).
  • You can set-up a “catcher” account to receive scam emails, and a “baiter” account to carry on the bait. This is sound advice, but not always necessary – you can actually copy a scam email you find on the web or bulletin board and paste it to a new email to “reply” to a scammer. They send out so many emails, they will never know that they never actually sent an email to you.
  • Scambait with your eyes wide open – remember, these are criminals you are dealing with and everything that comes from their mouth is most likely a lie. In the course of the scambait, you will be sworn out, insulted and even threatened.

Treat the Scammers the Mac Way

  • Make their lives difficult! Remember, they will have certain documents already prepared, so ask for other documents as proof. They will send you a “Certificate of Deposit” for a bank account – ask for a current Account Statement instead. Explain that a Certificate of Deposit only shows what was deposited in the account years ago, but not what is in the account now. They will waste valuable computer time making a fake document…
  • If they send you a Passport ID, ask for a Driver’s License and vice versa. Notice that the picture on both is usually the same…
  • Ask many stupid questions and make sure they answer every question you have. They will try to stick to their script – get them off it.
  • Poke holes in all of their ideas, theories, and routines. The typical scammer knows nothing about business or banking, so correct them, question them, suggest other methods, etc.
  • Question every spelling error – even if you do understand what they meant. This will also waste their valuable time.
  • Point out all of their mistakes in documents – scammers don’t bother about details so pick them out and demand explanations.
  • Scammers are constantly getting their free email accounts shut down. Don’t let them get away with this without a fight! I like to tell them ‘that I contacted Yahoo when the mail came back undelivered, and Yahoo said the account was shut down for fraudulent activities’ – make them explain that one!
  • When a bait starts to peter out or if you haven’t heard from the scammer in a while – send them a message ‘that you sent the money via MoneyGram, did you get it yet’. Nothing revives a dead bait like the promise of money!
  • Never, ever let them get in the last word! Remember, one of the main goals is to keep them busy – if they keep replying to your insults, they are not scamming someone else!

For more information, have a look at http://macsbaitstore.com/tips.html

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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