Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Season’s Reminder

Folks, as we approach the Holidays, please be aware, and remind your friends and family, that we are entering the peak scam, ripoff, fraud, and – of course! – phishing season. The vermin are happily and busily creating phony online stores, and filling our Inboxes, Faceboook, and Twitter with bait and lures of all types.

Holiday shoppers can expect cybercriminals to be out in force this season,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “Shoppers should be alert to scams and other attempts to lure them to provide personal and financial information that could lead to data loss or the infection of an Internet connected device. We encourage everyone to STOP. THINK. CONNECT. and make sure they have taken security precautions, understand the consequences of actions and behavior and enjoy the benefits of holiday shopping online.

McAfee recently released a list of the most popular scams on the Internet during the holiday season. You can see them here: 12 Scams of Christmas 2012

We should/can take steps to increase our safety, security and confidence online with these simple tips:

  • Keep a Clean Machine: All the devices you use for shopping – including smartphones and tablets – should have up-to-date software including security software, operating systems and other key programs and apps.
  • When in Doubt, Throw it Out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete it.
  • Think Before you Act: Be wary of communications that offer amazing deals that sound too good to be true, implore you to act immediately – including indicating a problem with an order or payment—or ask you to view the website or an account via a provided link.
  • Protect your Personal Information: Be alert to the kinds and amount of information being collected during transactions. Information requested should only be enough to complete the transaction. Only fill out required fields on checkout forms. Check the website’s privacy policy.
  • Use Safe Payment Options: Credit cards are generally the safest option. They allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered. Credit cards may limit the monetary amount you will be responsible if your account is compromised. Never send cash through the mail or use a money-wiring service.
  • Make Sure the Site is Legitimate: This includes a closed padlock on your web browser’s address bar or a URL address that begins with shttp or https. Check reviews of sites you have never used before.
  • Keep a Paper Trail: Save records of your online transactions, including the product description, price, online receipt, terms of the sale, and copies of any email exchange with the seller.

Yes.. “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” are coming up, and yes, great deals can be found. I am not saying don’t shop online — but I am saying now is the time to double-up on your “paranoid common sense”. Nobody’s protecting you. There’s no “Internet police”. But there are *scumbuckets* intent (focused like a laser beam) on stealing from you. Thousands and thousands of them.

This looks suspicious to me too

Um… But I don’t have an Am Ex Merchant Account…

There’s a whole stack of other depressing news, too. But I’ll spare you. I’ll just say – again – let’s be careful out there.

Today’s quote:When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

November 15, 2012 - Posted by | advice, computers, consumer electronics, Internet, Phishing, phraud, security |

5 Comments »

  1. My bank has changed their agreement with me 3 times just this week. So you are right. The spammer/con artists are working overtime now.

    When did we decide to just accept second rate/beta software? How many patches/updates before enough is enough? The next version will be perfect..with it’s newer bugs… You know it will. And we happily just shell out the money for it. And it’s the same for hardware…it’s always pushed out with bugs etc. Never ready for Prime Time.

    Software sucks these days – and just maybe it’s all YOUR fault • The Register

    This is kinda cool…

    Free-Create shortcuts to CDs and USB drives on a Windows desktop

    “Drive Shortcut is a free tool that can make shortcuts to removable media – CDs, DVDs, USB memory keys and external hard disks – that appear only when the disc or drive is available.”

    And a Salute to our Farmers…What would we eat if we didn’t have farmers?

    I’m Farming and I Grow It

    Like to read? Don’t have time? Bet you always read your email…Request books to be sent to your email in segments. They have free books. Lots of sci fi. :)

    DailyLit: About leading publisher of digital books in serialized form

    “We created DailyLit because we spent hours each day on email but could not find the time to read a book. Now the books come to us by email. Problem solved.

    Comment by delenn13 | November 15, 2012 | Reply

    • delenn13,
      By rushing to be the first to own, and standing in lines to do it, we are rewarding ($eriou$ly rewarding) those who get their gizmo to market first. (Another good example of the Law of Unintended Consequences.. this very much motivates the manufacturer cut corners to be first, and get half-baked stuff out there ASAP. And, what’s the harm? They can – later on – bake it the rest of the way with bugfixes and/or v2.0)
      We are doing this to ourselves.

      One more reason not to buy the first version of anything… (But I’m either preaching to the choir or being ignored..)

      Good stuff there.. thank you.

      Comment by techpaul | November 15, 2012 | Reply

  2. Great Tips Paul! I just got done helping a family member clear out a bunch of malware and spyware. It is likely this malware came from either a bad email or a bad website. So, for both of our sakes, I will have to send them these tips :)

    Comment by acitodg | November 20, 2012 | Reply

    • acitodg,
      Glad I could help out. And yes, the best “antivirus” is installed between the ears — a little ‘paranoid common sense’ (as I call it) goes a long way.

      Comment by techpaul | November 20, 2012 | Reply

      • Agreed Paul! Sometimes things I assume are common sense when it comes to security are not. So, it is always a good idea to pass along helpful tips.

        Comment by acitodg | November 20, 2012 | Reply


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