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The Subtle Catch

Everyone in the modern world has developed the art of the scan. We scan e-mails, texts, app notifications, social media feeds and other digital messaging requiring our attention daily.

Who reads these carefully word for word with the focus of a 1st grader learning this skill for the first time? We don't even read instructions and need that reassuring voice of a navigation app to direct our every turn in an unfamiliar place and a YouTube video to show us how to do something.

My husband bought a new stone floor shine that didn't dry well. He threw it out thinking the quality was poor. I picked up the bottle and read the instructions. I asked him if he did the final step after applying it to the floor. We didn't throw it out so he can continue to do great things like this around our house and yard that I never think of, and I'll continue to read the instructions.

Why don't we read like a 1st grader? We don't have time. We assume having lived life this far we know what we are doing. We get distracted. We hate the fine print and legal disclosures. We get bored and need something new for our inattentive mind.

Hackers and scammers know this and have developed what I call, "The Subtle Catch." They are taking advantage of our modern-day inability to recognize subtleties. Every day we are inundated with e-mails, texts and the endless urge to scroll the enticing first line hooks and click-bait that we just skim right over the important nuances that should be red flags.

We've become immune to truly paying attention.

They've angled the "Catch" much like a fishing expedition of catch and release where they go "phishing" for information of unsuspecting targets luring them in for the deception and not releasing them until they have surrendered their password and money.

If you're still reading and paying attention, this was posted on the Sioux County Sheriff's Facebook page. It's where I grew up and is very much worth resharing. Even I missed the subtleties at first glance and would change the wording from "An average Internet user" to "Any Internet user."

It also reinforces this isn't only happening in large cities, it's happening everywhere. And it's not a certain demographic or age group. It's relevant to all ages. The difference is that the younger generations are more inclined to admit and report it. Who experiences scams? A story for all ages | Federal Trade Commission (

So, if you don't want to fall hook, line and sinker and want to stay one step ahead, here are some guidelines. (Right click to download and save)

Technology has changed how we notice, recognize and read subtleties in whatever form it is delivered in. We can't go back to 1999 and how we used to pay attention, but we can revive the dying art of subtlety and our observant eye in new ways to keep our treasures secure and smart.

This is a great resource including a well-done video. How Not to Get Hacked |

The Better Business Bureau is also a great resource. BBB Tip: 10 steps to avoid scams How to Spot a Scam (

These are even more advanced, and you truly need to pay attention (and a big screen) to spot the difference. Learn How Scammers Are Using Weird URLs to Impersonate Real Websites (

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