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Crowdsource crooks, epic iPhone fails, dubious dating sites, and more: Tech Q&A

Each week, I receive tons of questions from my listeners about tech concerns, new products and all things digital.

Sometimes, choosing the most interesting questions to highlight is the best part of my job.

This week, I received questions about crowdsource crooks, epic iPhone fails, scary dating sites and more.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask me?

Tap or click here to email me directly.

iPhone battery woes

Q: My iPhone battery doesn’t last as long as Apple advertised. What am I doing wrong?

A: Apple has been advertising fantastical battery life for several years, but iPhones haven’t lived up to their boast. The numbers are so inconsistent that I wouldn’t be surprised to see legal action by consumers. Now, 16 hours is still a reasonable amount of time to use your iPhone XE before setting it on the charging dock, but it’s far less than Apple promised in promotional materials.

Worse, as iPhone prices continue to skyrocket, rival companies are proving to have far greater longevity – and the number of powered hours matches their ads. Tap or click here to read more about Apple’s battery life lie.

Scary dating sites

Q: My young teenage daughters are both on online dating sites for teens. Are they safe?

A: I can’t overstate how important this is: High school kids are way too young for a dating app. Dating apps require maturity and sound judgment to stay safe, and most teens aren’t there yet. Also, an app makes it nearly impossible for parents to keep track of their activities.

There are three leading apps designed for teen dating, and not surprisingly, they were invented in another country. Such apps can make a sexual predator’s task much easier, because they can search by age, preference, and location. My advice: delete these apps as soon as you can and tell your kids why! Tap or click here to find out which apps you need to delete from your kids’ phones.

Royal baby scams

Q: I saw a link on my friend’s Facebook page to donate money in honor of Meghan Markle’s baby. How do I know if it is legit?

A: Very good question. First, the cynical answer: The estimated total worth of the British royal family is $88 billion, so I doubt they need a penny from regular people like us. The more typical scam is to promise exclusive photos and footage, and then you discover a “paywall,” but then you suddenly have to “update your Flash player,” and you end up downloading spyware instead.

All of this hoopla should be avoided at all costs. More generally, though, donating any money online is a real crapshoot. (See the crowdsourcing answer below). Whenever there’s a significant news event, fraudsters try to cash in. Tap or click here to learn more about Baby Sussex scams.

Reboot wonders

Q: This feels like a dumb question, but I’ll ask anyway. Why does rebooting my computer almost always fix it?

A: I get asked this all the time. Switching your computer off has been one of the most common fixes since the earliest desktops. Most of the time, it works. But why? Why should something as simple as rebooting your computer somehow unfreeze your programs?

The computer is a lot like our body: Throughout a busy morning, we can get so stressed out that we can’t finish sentences or remember a simple grocery list. Then we take a nap, our brain switches off all those “background tasks,” and when we wake up, we start the afternoon afresh. In short: rebooting is usually a great idea, whether it’s your computer or yourself. Tap or click here to learn the right way to reboot your PC or Mac.

Crowdsource calamity

Q: How do these crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo work? Do people really use the money for their projects?

A: Beware of any crowdfunding site. I know: There are so many cool projects! You’re only pledging a small amount of money! You really want to own that brand-new gizmo that is being beta-tested in a garage in California. In theory, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo vet the initiatives they promote, and any startup – almost by definition – may not succeed in the end.

Still, crowdfunding background checks are pretty superficial, and clever cons can easily list products and prototypes that they have no intention of producing en mass. Worse, crowdfunding sites are only used to raise money; after that, so-called entrepreneurs can take your donation and don’t need to answer to anyone.

The system is full of vulnerabilities, and it’s easy for a crook to take advantage. Tap or click here to learn about crowdfunding scams that the FTC says are spreading.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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