Tech – for Everyone

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

Looking For Work? Caution

Identity Thieves Target Job Seekers

From Business Week: As the joblessness rate climbs, scammers are setting up fake Websites to trick job seekers into giving up sensitive personal information. A lot of unemployed people are eager to divulge information they believe will land them a job, and so become the target of scams.

In another popular scam, perpetrators pose as recruiters ready to extend an offer — who request Social Security numbers or other personal information to do background checks. “We’ve even heard cases of fraudsters posing as potential employers, asking for bank account numbers,” says Jeremy Miller, director of operations at Kroll‘s Fraud Solutions Practice. “They’re using the fact that a person is looking for a job and has that need, and counting on the fact that they’ll do anything to get that job.” (Please click the link to read entire article. It will open in a new tab.)

A few days ago I posted In These Tough Times, Could You Use Some Extra $$$’s ? which looked at various scams that land in your Inbox that are counting on the fact that you might be in need of income. The fact is, the more needy someone is, the less common sense caution they tend to exercise. The con artists know this.

There is a significant rise in the number of fake job openings on online classifieds sites, like CraigsList, and job-seeker sites, simply set up so that people will send their resumes. Many people still include their DOB and SSN’s in their resumes, which makes stealing their identities pretty easy!

There is strong evidence that if your social security number is harvested in this way, it will be sold to an illegal emigrant so that they can gain employment. In fact, someone may already be using your SSN and you wouldn’t know (see, A Dirty Little Secret).

Almost 10 million people in the US reported having their identity stolen, and this number is not going to shrink (see, report). So be cautious and do your homework. Make phone calls and verify the company, and that it’s hiring. Don’t mass mail your personally identifying information (“PII”) out to every job listing you see. And enter “ABR” (Available By Request) in some of those application fields.

And, I sincerely wish you you a happy and speedy conclusion to your job search.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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July 7, 2009 Posted by | advice, cyber crime, Internet, Internet scam, News, privacy | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

System Restore/ID Theft/Startup programs

“System Restore won’t work”, “I’m worried about ID Theft, how do I know if an email is legit?”, “I can’t get this #$*& program out of my Startup folder” — these are examples of some of the questions I have received since posting my articles on these topics. Today I’m going to review, and provide more solutions and answers.

Tip of the day: Since I’m going to cover the questions above, there is not going to be a single “Tip of the day” today. Instead, there will be “Today’s three questions”…
More on System Restore: What to do when System Restore just refuses to work. As I mentioned in my first System Restore post, SR simply is not a failsafe miracle worker. There are troubles that can occur that it simply does not repair — such as a corrupted SAM database. It is however a good place to start. It does undo a lot of the damage you can accidentally do to your machine. This fact is why you should always make a back up of your system — either a “disk image” made with a 3rd-party utility like Acronis True Image, or Norton Ghost, and/or Windows Backup Utility (Start >Programs >Accessories >System tools >Backup).
I stated in the prior article, and will repeat here, that you may have to repeat the System Restore process several times before one “snapshot” finally takes. When you use SR, you will see a calendar with available snapshots in bold dates. You should see several. Start with the most recent date and time, and work your way backwards. If you have done this with no luck, you probably have one of those troubles System Restore is not designed for. Either look elsewhere for solutions, or call for some Tech Support (we Tech Support folks need to make a living too, you know).

Legit vs. Phishing: “how do I know if an email is legit?” In my post about the rocket scientist, I discussed phishing and recommended an anti-phishing site toolbar, which combats a form of phishing called “pharming“.
I suggest you take no chances with emails. Simply do not click on links in emails. Also, realize that your bank will not send you links. They know about phishing, and they figure you already know their URL (you should have it bookmarked, so use that…or call them directly). Also be aware that just because an email claims to be from a friend or relative, doesn’t mean that it is. If you are not expecting an attachment.exe “executable” (application) or “you gotta see this!” .jpg from Uncle Fred, by all means don’t open it! Email him and ask him, “did you send me a..?” It is an easy thing for an Evil Doer to spoof a Sender address.
And finally, make sure your antivirus definitions are up to date. If it is not already on by default, open your antivirus’ Options and look in “Update Options” for “Download and install new definitions automatically” (or words to that effect) and make sure it’s selected. If available, have it set to scan email and email attachments as well. (If it’s not, consider switching to the free Avast! or AVG antivirus programs..)

Removing stubborn start up programs: If the methods I described in “My Startup folder is a clown car” proved insufficient for getting rid of a really determined program, there are three more methods you can try. The first is to read my Manage your Startup programs; second is msconfig, and the last is editing the Registry.
If these easy methods in the article didn’t do the trick, start by opening the msconfig utility. Click Start >Run and type in “msconfig” (no quotes), and then click on the Startup tab. Here you will see a list of the programs scheduled to start when Windows boots. Uncheck the checkbox next to the program you are having the troubles with. You will need to restart your system for the changes to take effect.

The second method, editing the Registry, is for advanced users who are comfortable treading in such risky waters. Changes made to the Registry are immediate, and there’s no “undo” feature. If you feel you are determined to dive in, please create a Restore Point before starting and back up the Registry to a .txt file first. Please read (or re-familiarize yourself with) Microsoft’s detailed how-to here. They Key you’ll be working with is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\CurrentVersion\Run.
But please: this is not for the inexperienced. Do not try this without reading and understanding what editing the Registry is about, and what damage one mistake can do. First use the aforementioned methods and please consider simply using Add/Remove Programs to “retire” the troublesome program altogether…or try a program like StartUp Cop.

Today’s free link(s): I am satisfied with this freeware Startup manager: Ashampoo StartUp Tuner 2.

If you have been a victim of a phish, have been clicking unsolicited links willy-nilly, or let a window that magically popped open one day “scan your computer to remove infections”.. or just want to know your scores — get a free credit report , and find out if you’re the only “you” accessing your credit.
[Note: I believe it is worth it to have your credit reports monitored.. which is not a free service. For $5/month, I use , which monitors the big three report companies.]

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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June 9, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, security, software, System Restore, tech, troubleshooting, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment