Finance

Online Shopping: Are You Being Tricked By These 15 Dark Patterns?

MyMoneyBlog.com - 12 hours 59 min ago

During these stressful times, many of us are doing a lot more shopping online (unfortunately for local retailers). The competition to get you to spend as much as possible has evolved to take full advantage of all of our psychological weaknesses. This Wired article discusses The Subtle Tricks Shopping Sites Use to Make You Spend More, including the deceptive tactics called “dark patterns”. They linked to an academic study Dark Patterns at Scale: Findings from a Crawl of 11K Shopping Websites, which carefully broke things down into the following 15 dark patterns which usually target at least one cognitive bias.

If you’ve bought anything online recently, you should recognize many of these tricks, but there were a few that were new to me. I was intrigued and tested out many of the sites myself. I no longer plan to shop at certain retailers like Proflowers and CellularOutfitter due to their use of certain shady tactics.

“No, I don’t want become smarter and wealthier”

  • Confirmshaming: Using language to steer your choices
  • Cognitive bias: Framing effect

“YES! vs. no“

  • Visual interference: Steering users using visual design.
  • Cognitive bias: Anchoring, Framing effect

“Uncheck the box if you prefer not to receive lots of spam”

  • Trick questions: Steering users using confusing language
  • Cognitive bias: Default, Framing effect

“Do you really want to cheap out on the flower bouquet for your mom?”

  • Pressured selling: Most expensive option is the default.
  • Cognitive bias: Anchoring, Default Effect, Scarcity Bias

“Free shipping with (trial) membership!”

  • Hidden subscription: Charging a recurring fee which isn’t clearly disclosed.

“⏲ Sale ends in 00:15:36 ⏲”

  • Countdown timer: Suggests that deal or discount will expire soon using countdown timer
  • Cognitive bias: Scarcity bias

“Only 3 left in stock. Order soon!”

  • Low-stock message: Suggests that limited quantities are available
  • Cognitive bias: Scarcity bias

“🔥 Selling Fast! 🔥”

  • High-demand message
  • Cognitive bias: Scarcity bias

“‼ Sale ends soon! ‼”

  • Limited-time message
  • Cognitive bias: Scarcity bias

“43 other people are viewing this item” or “Joseph in Maryland just bought these masks!”

  • Activity message: Informs that someone else did an activity or purchase
  • Cognitive bias: Bandwagon effect

“These yoga pants are the most comfortable ever! – Jane from IA”

  • Testimonial
  • Cognitive bias: Bandwagon effect

“Care & Handling Fee: $2.99” (Looking at you, Proflowers!)

  • Hidden cost: Adding new fees or charges at the last page of checkout, after you have submitted address and payment details.
  • Cognitive bias: Sunk cost fallacy

“You must create an account to continue.”

  • Forced enrollment: Must create account or share information to complete task
  • Cognitive bias: Sunk cost fallacy

“Oops, how did that item end up in your shopping cart?”

  • Sneak into basket: Additional products placed in shopping carts without consent, like accessories (CellularOutfitter) or warranty/insurance.
  • Cognitive bias: Default effect

“Please call 1-800-NOT-OPEN between 1:34 and 1:36 AM to cancel.”

  • Hard to cancel: Easy to sign-up, hard to cancel.

“The editorial content here is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone. This email may contain links through which we are compensated when you click on or are approved for offers.”

Online Shopping: Are You Being Tricked By These 15 Dark Patterns? from My Money Blog.

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Categories: Finance

Lesser-Known Cheap Unlimited Talk & Text ONLY Cell Phone Plans on Every Network – From $8 a Month

MyMoneyBlog.com - Wed, 08/05/2020 - 21:30

Updated 2020. Cell phone bills have gotten to the point that you can now get unlimited talk and unlimited texts for $15 or less on every major network. That’s less than my bare landline used to cost. The major networks sell wholesale minutes to lesser-known MVNOs (Mobile Network Virtual Operators), which they in turn sell at a significant discount to individuals.

This post focuses on unlimited talk & text only plans (although some plans include some anyway). Here are the cheapest plans with unlimited talk & text and 2+ GB LTE data. Here are the best options by network below (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint) along with an alternative. I sort by network because that usually makes it easier to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), though every MVNO will have a form where you can check compatibility via identification number (IMEI or MEID).

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links where available. If you make a purchase through the links below, I may be compensated.

T-Mobile NetworkT-Mobile Network Color: Hot Pink

  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 3 GB LTE data. Mint Mobile has a $15 a month plan with unlimited talk, text, and 3 GB of LTE data. You even get slower 2G data speeds if you exceed your LTE allotment. Their intro offer is 3 months at $15 per month. After that, you’ll have to buy 12 months of airtime upfront to get the $15 per month price. They offer a 7-Day Money Back Guarantee (starts upon SIM activation) so you can test them out before making the multi-month commitment.
  • Less data, but not MVNO. Alternatively, you can go directly with T-Mobile Connect and get unlimited talk and text with 2 GB data for $15 a month.

I have been on Mint Mobile for nearly two years now – see my Mint Mobile SIM Activation and Number Port Transfer Review for tips based on my experiences.

Sprint NetworkSprint Network Color: Yellow

  • Unlimited Talk & Text. Tello Mobile also has an unlimited talk, text, and no data for $8 a month. You need to choose a custom plan to find this option. I also like the same plan with 1 GB of data at only $10 per month.
  • Alternatively, Republic Wireless has $15 a month plan (or $150/year or $12.50/mo if bought annually) for unlimited talk and text (no data) on the Sprint Network, but you can’t bring any used Sprint device over – you must buy a specially-modified Android phone.

AT&T NetworkAT&T Network Color: Blue

  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 500 MB LTE data. FreeUP Mobile offers unlimited talk, text, and 500 GB data each month for $40 for 3 months ($13.33 a month). It is only sold three months at a time.
  • 3 GB LTE data, more expensive. Alternatively, Red Pocket Mobile offers unlimited talk, text, and 3 GB data for $19 a month. After your LTE data runs out, you still get data included at slower 2G data speeds until your month resets. You can choose the AT&T network (GSMA) when you sign up.

Verizon NetworkVerizon Network Color: Red

  • Unlimited Talk & Text. US Mobile offers unlimited talk and unlimited text (zero data) for $14 a month. You can also choose a plan with no texts ($8/mo) or 1,000 texts ($12/mo). US Mobile uses both T-Mobile (“GSM LTE”) and Verizon (“Super LTE”), so be sure to use the right SIM card.
  • 3 GB LTE data, more expensive. Alternatively, Red Pocket Mobile offers unlimited talk, text, and 3 GB data for $19 a month. After your LTE data runs out, you still get data included at slower 2G data speeds until your month resets.You can choose the Verizon network (CDMA) when you sign up.

Here are the cheapest plans with unlimited talk & text and 2+ GB LTE data.


“The editorial content here is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone. This email may contain links through which we are compensated when you click on or are approved for offers.”

Lesser-Known Cheap Unlimited Talk & Text ONLY Cell Phone Plans on Every Network – From $8 a Month from My Money Blog.

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Categories: Finance

Lesser-Known Cheap DATA Cell Phone Plans on Every Network – From $15/Month

MyMoneyBlog.com - Wed, 08/05/2020 - 21:28

Updated 2020. The world of cell phone plans is constantly changing. Every major network sells wholesale minutes to MVNOs (Mobile Network Virtual Operators), which they in turn sell at a significant discount to individuals. You can still save some serious money over time buy shopping around by using a lesser-known provider.

This list includes unlimited talk and text plans with at least 2 GB and 6 GB of 4G LTE data. The average data usage is between those two numbers. If you don’t need data, here are the lesser-known cheapest unlimited talk and text only cell plans. Many of these advertise “unlimited data”, which means they throttle speeds down the 128 kbps (2G) after your LTE allotment runs out. Here are the best options by network below (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint). I sort by network because that usually makes it easier to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), though every MVNO will have a form where you can check compatibility via identification number (IMEI or MEID).

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links where available. If you make a purchase through the links below, I may be compensated.

T-Mobile NetworkT-Mobile Network Color: Hot Pink

  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 3 GB LTE Data. Mint Mobile has an unlimited talk, text, and 3 GB LTE data plan from $15 per month. Their intro offer is 3 months at $15 per month. After that, you’ll have to buy 12 months of airtime upfront to get the $15 per month price. After your LTE data runs out, you still get data included at slower 2G data speeds until your month resets. They offer a 7-Day Money Back Guarantee (starts upon SIM activation) so you can test them out before making any commitment.
  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 8 GB LTE Data. Mint Mobile also has a $20 a month plan with unlimited talk, text, and 8 GB of LTE data. Their intro offer is 3 months at $20 per month. After that, you’ll have to buy 12 months of airtime upfront to get the $20 per month price. After your LTE data runs out, you still get data included at slower 2G data speeds until your month resets. They offer a 7-Day Money Back Guarantee (starts upon SIM activation) so you can test them out before making any commitment.

Note: I am currently in my second year with Mint Mobile on my own phone. Please see my Mint Mobile SIM Activation and Number Port Transfer Review for tips based on my experiences.

Sprint NetworkSprint Network Color: Yellow

  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 2 GB LTE Data. Tello Mobile has an unlimited talk, text, and 2 GB data plan for $14 a month. You don’t need to buy a year upfront. You need to choose a custom plan to find this option. Their 4 GB plan is $19 per month. After your LTE data runs out, you still get data included at slower 2G data speeds until your month resets.
  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 6 GB LTE Data. Tello Mobile has an unlimited talk, text, and 6 GB data plan for $24 a month. You don’t need to buy a year upfront. You need to choose a custom plan to find this option. Their 8 GB plan is $29 per month. After your LTE data runs out, you still get data included at slower 2G data speeds until your month resets.

AT&T NetworkAT&T Network Color: Blue

  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 3 GB LTE Data. Red Pocket Mobile GSMA offers unlimited talk, text, and 3 GB data for $19 a month. After your LTE data runs out, you still get data included at slower 2G data speeds until your month resets. You can choose the AT&T network (GSMA) when you sign up.
  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 8 GB LTE Data. Red Pocket Mobile GSMA offers unlimited talk, text, and 8 GB data for $30 a month. After your LTE data runs out, you still get data included at slower 2G data speeds until your month resets. You can choose the AT&T network (GSMA) when you sign up.

Verizon NetworkVerizon Network Color: Red

  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 3 GB LTE Data. Red Pocket Mobile GSMA offers unlimited talk, text, and 3 GB data for $19 a month. After your LTE data runs out, you still get data included at slower 2G data speeds until your month resets. You can choose the Verizon network (CDMA) when you sign up.
  • Unlimited Talk & Text + Unlimited LTE Data. Visible Wireless has an unlimited talk and text plan with unlimited LTE data for $40 per month. It’s also owned by Verizon. There is a promo right now: first month is $25/month + $50 prepaid Visa when you bring over your own device. They also have a Party Pay feature where if you can join with a group of two, three, or four, you can get it down to $25/month ongoing. Each person manages their Visible account and their bill separately. You can join a Party at any time after becoming a Visible customer. Try the r/VisiblePartyPay subreddit to join with some random people (which is within the rules).

If you don’t need data, here are the lesser-known cheapest talk and text only cell plans.


“The editorial content here is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone. This email may contain links through which we are compensated when you click on or are approved for offers.”

Lesser-Known Cheap DATA Cell Phone Plans on Every Network – From $15/Month from My Money Blog.

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Categories: Finance

Google Plus Class Action Settlement: Up to $12 Cash Payment

MyMoneyBlog.com - Wed, 08/05/2020 - 03:32

I received an email that Google settled a class action lawsuit claiming that the now-defunct Google+ social media service exposed your personal data in a harmful manner. You can submit a claim here, where you must attest to all of the following:

  • I was a user of the consumer Google+ service while a resident of the United States at some point during the period from January 1, 2015 to April 2, 2019.
  • I entered private (meaning non-public) information in at least one of my Google+ profile fields that was not set to be shared publicly; and
  • Either I shared that information with another Google+ user through the Google+ service or I authorized an app to access my Google+ profile field information.

The maximum award is $12 cash, depending on the total number of claimants: “Class Members who submit a Valid Claim may receive a pro rata share of the Net Settlement Fund up to a cash payment of $12.00 depending on the number of claimants.” They will ask for name, address, and e-mail address. You can opt for payment via PayPal or ACH transfer (must provide bank routing and account numbers). According to the site, it looks like there will be $7.5 million set aside for claims, attorney fees, etc. Claim must be submitted no later than 10/8/2020.


“The editorial content here is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone. This email may contain links through which we are compensated when you click on or are approved for offers.”

Google Plus Class Action Settlement: Up to $12 Cash Payment from My Money Blog.

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Categories: Finance

Wed, 12/31/1969 - 19:00
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