Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 56: How to Shop Securely (and Save Money) on Black Friday

After some brief security news about the Mac, we discuss how you can be sure to shop securely on Black Friday; and we give you some tips to save money too!

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

How to Spot Fake Product Reviews

When Amazon allowed customers to post reviews of the books they bought in 1995, it changed the way people chose what to buy. Reviews had long been the provenance of gatekeepers: at that time, the newspapers and magazines that published book reviews. As Amazon branched out into other products, these customer reviews took the place of those in print media that covered specialist subjects such as computing, photography, and more.

Now, reviews are everywhere and most people seem inclined to put at least some faith in them. How many times have you seen a product on Amazon or another site, or a restaurant or hotel, with four- or five-star reviews and been disappointed by it after your direct experience?

This is because the review system on Amazon (and other websites) has been gamed. In this article, I’m going to tell you how you can spot fake reviews and I’ll show you a couple of websites that can help you sort the real reviews from the bogus.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

States Pay the Price When You Buy Online – The New York Times

Can online retailers be compelled by law to collect a sales tax? According to the Supreme Court, no — but that could change if, in the next few weeks, it decides to take up a case challenging the current rule.

The court should reconsider the prohibition, because the law takes a hammer to the fiscal health of states, which lose out on millions, if not billions, of dollars in sales tax revenue. Staggering amounts of digital transactions occurred this year: an estimated $6.59 billion in digital transactions on Cyber Monday (which would be a record), and an estimated $100 billion for the holiday season.

Customers may be confused: Some online retailers do collect sales taxes, at least sometimes. Amazon, for example, collects them on Amazon transactions, but not on third-party-vendor transactions sold through Amazon.

The reason why these taxes are not paid is because the courts have ruled that the record-keeping requirements “were indeed undue burdens that would ultimately harm the national economy.”

Really? Is it that hard? Yes, filing sales tax in 50 states – well, not exactly, since some states don’t have sales tax – takes time, but if you’re selling to a state, why shouldn’t you be required to do so? In the EU, there are 28 states, and you have to collect VAT and file reports. Sure, it’s a bit complicated, but it’s the cost of doing business. When you think of the unfair advantage that online sellers have, if they’re not charging sales tax, and the amount of money your state is losing, it’s worth a bit of processing to even things out.

Source: States Pay the Price When You Buy Online – The New York Times