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I’ve faked it.

Over the years there are plenty of times I faked loving my Mother’s Day gifts. If you’re a mom, this is how the scene goes down.

As you open the present, you look up just before the reveal to see the faces of your children ready for your reaction. You know you must love whatever it is. At least that’s what good mothers do. You fake it for the sake of saving feelings.

For example, I don’t really like cut flowers. They are beautiful for sure, but they don’t last. I like things that last. Probably because I’m a penny-pincher and as the flowers begin to die, all I can think of is, “What a waste of money.”

But that’s me. Don’t judge. It’s just the way I’m hard-wired. I understand why other mothers love roses, lilies and such. And that’s fine for them or you. It’s just not my ideal Mother’s Day gift.

Eighty-six percent of Americans will celebrate Mother’s Day and spend an average of $180 per person, according to the National Retail Federation.

Mother’s Day Spending to Reach $23.1 billion

Groupon, the e-commerce website, commissioned a survey to look at gift-giving habits for Mother’s Day. Here are the five responses 40 percent of moms say they fake when they don’t like their gift.

1. Thank you
2. Awww!
3. I love it
4. Wow, this is great, thanks
5. I really need one of these!

You can see why it’s hard to tell if your mother is truly enthusiastic about your gift. But we really don’t need another lotion set.

If my children want a real response, don’t get me flowers. Buy me a plant. I don’t have a green thumb, so it might die, but at least it has a fighting chance to live, because my husband is more likely to notice before I do that the plant needs watering. I’ve told my kids this before, but they forget and often in a panic of what to get me, they go for flowers.

Still, when I get a lovely bouquet for Mother’s Day, I immediately and in an exaggerated way say, “Thank you” because to pause too long is to generate doubt and sad faces.

To give themselves a better chance of getting a gift that won’t elicit a fake response, 66 percent of Americans say they check in with their siblings to see what they’ve bought Mom, according to the Groupon survey. And 55 percent of those with a brother or sister deliberately try to upstage their sibling.

Groupon found that the top things moms want include being taken out to eat, a homemade item, a family trip or just a card.

I favor sentential, homemade gifts. One year my son wrote a poem. My daughter composed a song and sang it badly, but I really did love it. And when it comes to my Mother’s Day card, there has to be some original words and more than the average two sentences people write.

From Orlando Sentinel readers: Worst Mother’s Day Gifts

My favorite: Someone gave his/her mother poker chips. The mother didn’t even own a deck of cards.

From the Chicago Tribune a photo gallery: What NOT to get mom

Color of Money question of the week
What was the worst Mother’s Day gift you’ve ever gotten? Were you hurt? Did you laugh about it, at least later? What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten. Send your comments to colorofmoney@washpost.com. In the subject line put “Mother’s Day.”

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How to prevent a typo from making you an identity theft victim

Scammers love typos. And, to capitalize on them, they hijack popular Web addresses and cybersquat on URLs that are a typo away from a legitimate website. It’s a scheme called “typosquatting,” and this type of scam is intended to trick Internet users, according to Fraud.org, a project of the National Consumers League.

“If a user is unlucky enough to mistakenly type in the wrong address, they may be taken to a booby-trapped website filled with viruses and malware, or to a website that looks just like the legitimate website but is designed to gather their personal data for scammers,” Fraud.org said in an consumer alert issued this week. “Alternatively, these fake website addresses can be set up to sell knock-off imitation products to consumers who believe they are shopping at the real retailer.”

Close to 12 million online users visited potentially dangerous websites during the first quarter of this year, according to analysis from KrebsonSecurity.com, a blog on cybersecurity started by former Washington Post reporter Brian Krebs.

In last week’s newsletter, I asked: Have you found a typo landed you on a strange website? Have you been a victim of a “typosquatting” scam?

“I used to be a Girl Scout leader,” wrote Robin Davitt. “One time I sent out a group email to the troop, including links to additional information on DC-area specific badges and how to go about earning them. I had intended to include the link to the Girl Scouts Council of the Nation’s Capital (http://www.gscnc.org/) and typed it way too quickly from memory. I did not double check the link previous to sending out the email. This was an email read by parents with their girls. It was definitely an incorrect web address and was instead a site not suitable for minors. YIKES! The good news is that parents read this with the girls and could quickly shut it down and let me know.”

Joe Sevick wrote, “I was making a bill payment to my natural gas provider. It connected me with a homepage that looked a bit different than the one I had seen a month earlier for paying the previous bill. And then there was a pop up which wanted me to go somewhere else and that looked kind of suspicious. I double checked the URL I had typed in and discovered at the end I put /billpay but my printed statement said I should’ve typed in /paybill. I quit Safari to shut all of that down. So, the issue was transposing the word bill and the word pay which is a variation on what you described in your article.”

Steve Wells of Frederick, Md., said he’s had a few experiences with typosquatting.

“One experience I mistyped a website and immediately came up a recording claiming my computer was infected with a Virus and gave a number I could use to call ‘Microsof,’” Wells wrote. “ I knew this was a scam and quickly closed the website. A few times I typed in what I thought was the website for Xfinity. It took me to a website that asked me to click something to claim that I was real. I fortunately quickly realize that this was another mistake and closed the site. Lesson learned. I need to use save my favorites versus typing them in. One trick to learn is that besides having drop down favorites you can have a few favorites show up on the top of your browser. I do this for my computer at work and will start doing this for my home computer.”

William Erickson of Richmond wrote, “Thought I was aware of scams on the Internet, but never heard, or gave a thought to typosquatting before. For myself, I rarely type a URL directly into my browser. Of course, I have my list of favorites. But, for other sites, I type most of the name I want into the Google Search and let Google present me with the correct URLs (and correct spellings) and click-in from the list.”

Color of Money columns this week
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Have a question about your finances? Michelle Singletary has a weekly live chat every Thursday at noon where she discusses financial dilemmas with readers. You can also write to Michelle directly by sending an email to michelle.singletary@washpost.com. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read more Color of Money columns, go here.

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