The Summer of Scam! (And How to Avoid It)
Ahhh, summertime! You’ve got old school Fresh Prince & DJ Jazzy Jeff blasting in the background, the top down on your car, with nothing but a cold brew coffee in hand and plans to lounge on the beach all day.
Or wait … is that cinematic summer scene all a scam? The humidity, the mosquitos, that sunburn!
Let’s face it, things can go sideways in the summer, but one thing that shouldn’t be scaring you this season is scam calls. Unfortunately, scam calls are returning to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, in a recent study, T-Mobile found that more than one out of five consumers would rather be confronted with an empty toilet paper roll than get a scam call! And as for those robocalls, when asked to rank a list of grievances, the most common answer to be ranked the absolute worst by customers, was just that. In fact, 30 percent of consumers would rather get caught in the rain without an umbrella than get a robocall — and you know how intense summertime showers can be!
Yep. Scam calls are, literally, the worst.
It’s for this reason that last summer T-Mobile launched Scam Shield, a comprehensive and state-of-the-art set of tools to protect customers against scams and unwanted robocalls. With Scam Shield, T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers get automatic and free scam call warnings, the ability to block scam calls completely with Scam Block, and free Caller ID.
T-Mobile’s Scam Shield Premium even lets you block robocalls by type. Don’t want to hear from telemarketers or political surveys ever again … but do want charitable donations to get through? Just swipe in the Scam Shield app to adjust your settings. Or set all the categories to voicemail only and relax!
In an effort to continue to work together for the greater good of a spectacular summer, here are some tips on how to use your device and enjoy the many benefits of T-Mobile’s Magenta and Magenta MAX plans to make the most of season and skip the pitfalls. Just like our commitment to warding off scammers, we are here to show you how to use your device to repel pests, protect yourself from getting burned (in all the ways) and avoid the threat of returning crowds. All that sweat — eek!
Be Prepared for Pests
Nothing like enjoying a sunset meal in the warm breeze … until you become the main entree for the bugs that have joined your dinner party! Good thing there’s an app to fix that. Yes, there are actually apps that can repel mosquitos. Like one from Reticode that emits low-frequency sounds to ward off those flying monsters as well as offer helpful tips and tricks to avoid becoming their dinner. Annoying the bugs before they can bother you? Now that’s thinking ahead.
Avoid the Crowds
Now that major amusement parks like Disneyland are reopened, you’ll want to try to avoid those awful crowds and long lines again. Many theme parks have their own app that can help you also plan ahead and avoid peak hours when the largest crowds are expected. Many Disney theme park goers recommend the Lines app, which offers a subscription service where visitors can check the actual wait times of popular attractions, using real-time data to plan the best time to queue up.
This applies to beaches as well. People have quite literally been itching to hit the beach and fix the quarantine yellowing we’ve all developed. If you want to avoid traveling in the heat to a coastline that’s overrun by crowds, there’s often an app or website to help you track its capacity. In Tampa Bay, for instance, ensuring you’ll have a spot for your beach chair is as simple as checking their county site, and many experts suggest checking the specific county Twitter handles for updates on your preferred beach. And Tripadvisor has aggregated crowd data on Crowdfree, a platform originally meant to help people social distance when visiting places like beaches and parks, and continues to help emphasize when locations are less crowded.
And remember, T-Mobile Magenta MAX plans also come with the perfect solo activity built right in — Netflix on Us! So skip the crowds altogether and contentedly settle into season 2 of I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson. Have a laugh, and the last word on crowds!
Don’t Get Burned
Speaking of the beach, when was the last time your skin felt the warmth of the sun for more than a quick grocery store run? You’ve probably spent a lot more time indoors this past year and change, and you need to be wary of harmful UV rays that can lead to all kinds of problems like cataracts, premature skin aging, sunburn and skin cancer, which is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. When you plan your fun in the sun, be sure to check out the UV index sun safety apps like the Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference App, which predicts how long it would take for you to burn based on your skin type and the SPF you’re wearing in a specific location, and can even help you plan five days ahead, for when the sun’s rays are less dangerous.
Don’t Lose Your Way!
Things have changed a lot because of the pandemic, and that includes the service on your local public transportation. Yes, you know Google Maps offers navigation but it can even be helpful when searching for any seasonal changes to the buses and trains. Tap on a train or subway station, for example, in the app and you will see information about service modifications because of Covid and be able to check out how busy that particular station is at different times. Citymapper also has updated times, maps and advisories for transportation in major cities.
And if you’re just wandering around one lazy summer afternoon and want to see what’s quick and easy, Roadtrippers uses your location to show you beaches, parks, lakes, nature preserves, farms, botanical gardens, public art, monuments, vacation photo-ops, camping and R.V. spots. You can easily search for attractions near you, or along a route you set, and even filter for the types of places you want to see, like specific outdoor activities and destinations.
Pack It Up
We already did the research to help you plan that summer trip you put off during the pandemic using your mobile device. We also realize you might have forgotten what it’s like to pack properly for a weekend of fun in the sun. Don’t head out for that super cool tubing adventure only to realize you are about to float on the lazy river without some essentials (like river sandals … goodness, your poor feet!). Check out a number of apps to help you prepare for successful summer excursions with a number of apps like Packing Pro or Packr, which help you filter the specific needs to except from those traveling to specific destinations or activities.
And don’t forget, if you’re traveling by air, you get Gogo Wi-Fi your entire flight with T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX plans!
Now, scams and sunburn avoided — phew! — here are other ways your phone can help make summer travel a breeze!
Scam Block: Turning on calls may block calls you want; disable anytime. Gogo: Available on select flights of U.S. based airlines.