Tech – for Everyone

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

Tips for Safe Online Job Hunting

Recent events have made me decide to repost an important prior article.

A reader wrote in with a simply terrific question, asking about our modern way of finding employment. I think the answers are important.


I was laid off earlier this summer and have been looking for new employment since day one of my termination. The method for job search is now the Internet. You no longer can knock on doors and submit resumes and fill out application in person.
My question to you is, I have filled out numerous applications online and a number of companies ask for the last 4 digits of your social security number, and some will ask also ask for your month and day but not year of your birth.
I can understand if they are asking for a cell number, and some other standard information.
How can you tell if these are legitimate job sites or persons who are looking for quick score of your personnel information?

I have run into a few sites that offer jobs that seem to good to be true, once you contact them, they ask for up front money. A legitimate job site will not ask for any money. If they get paid it is from the employer.

Thanks for all you great information and keep up the good work,

A: I would like to applaud your awareness. Identity Thieves (and other scammers) are not only posting phony job listings, but whole websites. They are taking advantage of our desire (desperation?) and the supplicant nature of the job seeker.

  • Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America.
  • Depending where you look, the stats say someone’s ‘identity’ is being stolen every second, or once every three seconds. (Either one. Where’s the outrage?)
  • This isn’t something that “happens to other people”: cybercrime is big business, costing our economy over a hundred billion a year. That we know about.

I have written many articles on cybercrime, as well as ID Theft. I won’t repeat myself here (but encourage you to use my ‘keyword’ Search widget). I will focus in on the sentence I highlighted in bold — how can you tell if it’s a real job opportunity?

Well, the short version is: you can’t, always. There is no magic formula. You simply must apply a double dose of “paranoid common sense”. And apply a protective self-policy. Because, yes, you will have entered a predator’s favorite hunting ground.

These scammers will post positions on legitimate employment-seeking websites. And those sites will make an effort to find and remove the scam postings. Do they succeed? Yes. Allatime always 100%? Instantly? Don’t make me laugh. These crooks post new ones as fast as their old ones are taken down. Faster.
The online classified services simply aren’t as equipped to try to sift out the bogus, having neither the budget, staff, tools, or.. motivation. You should apply a triple dose of “paranoid common sense” in the classifieds.

(My questioner points out that some ask for month and day, but not year of D.O.B.. Why? Because your year is published in tons of places. The crooks will simply research, then add two and two… With the amount of info about us already posted online, the crooks don’t have to research too much, or gain too many tidbits, to pose as you.)

A protective self-policy – Cyber Safe Resume: Let me remind you of a few early postings. The second one directly relates to this subject..
Identity Thieves Want Your Resume
Cyber-safe Resume Gets Noticed
A Top Site for Finding Work

All are great supplements to this article, and if you are currently seeking employment, well worth your time (it helps they are short, ha!).

Here’s one more: Scams & Schemes in Work and Employment Services

Review the following websites for additional recommendations on how to proactively protect your identity:

(You may also want to consider investing in an ID “protection service, such as, LifeLock.)

I know you want the job, and don’t want to do anything that will jeopardize your chances.. or get your application tossed before it’s even read, but in this world, today, you really have to leave the box blank, or put in “I will provide this to a real person, but not in this online form.” If you only click one link here today.. click this one: Cyber-safe Resume Gets Noticed.

Research the company using a search engine. Call them and ask them, when you have doubts and concerns. (And understand, the scammers will post phone #s, and answer them too. The con is not restricted to ‘online only’.)

I do wish you a speedy and successful job search. (And no, I don’t live under a rock. I know it is dang tough out there. But don’t add to your troubles by becoming an ID Theft victim.)

Copyright 2007-2015 © “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.

March 4, 2015 Posted by | advice, cyber crime, Internet, privacy, security | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Special Day Indeed – SDAV 2011 License Giveaway

Folks, I Am Sincerely Pleased to Announce My Latest Holiday Software License Giveaway Drawing.

The folks at PCTools have generously donated 10 licenses for Spyware Doctor With Antivirus 2011 to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank them for that. So I am going to do a random drawing ¹ contest from those who “enter”. The contest will close at midnight (Pacific) Thursday, June 2nd, and the winners announced Friday.

PC Tools Spyware Doctor™ with AntiVirus 2011 I am going to start this out by telling you that I have a very high regard for the effectiveness of this anti-malware and Internet Security tool, (so high, I installed it on my mother’s machine) and have been using it for years now – since before they acquired the award-winning Threatfire heuristics engine. Not only is “SD” very good at detecting and removing viruses, trojans, keyloggers, etc., but it is also very good at blocking that *stuff* from getting onto your machine as well.
(And I have said many times: an ounce of malware prevention is worth a couple pounds of cure.)

From the publisher:

Editor’s Choice Antivirus and Antispyware in One
Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus combines two powerful engines to detect and remove unknown threats faster.

  • Antivirus guards against malicious PC threats.
  • Antispyware prevents information and identity theft.

It defends your computer against malware attacks with multiple layers of protection using proactive, reactive and automatic anti spyware antivirus software protection to stop threats at every entry point. Now includes memory scanning, behavior profiling, and report cards to provide up-to-date protection and status monitoring for your PC.

Please notice in this slideshow, the various “layers’ (ten of ’em) of protection SDAV’s technology provides. (I hope you never have to use any of those last three.. )

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

SDAV 2011’s main features and improvements are:

IMPROVED! Detection, blocking and removal of threats awarded top ratings by independent testing labs and recommended by reviewers worldwide.

  • Built on award-winning Spyware Doctor™ antispyware technology.
  • Advanced rootkit detection technology identifies and removes hidden threats from your PC.
  • NEW! Memory Scanner helps eradicate threats lurking on your PC.
  • NEW! Download Guard checks your downloads against a cloud-based network.

NEW! Multi-layered browsing protection against web-based attacks including phishing attempts, rogueware scare tactics and silent drive-by downloads.

  • Uses a combination of reactive blacklists and proactive content analysis.
  • Site Guard blocks you from visiting potentially unsafe or phishing websites and from downloading threats through your browser, IM or email.
  • Cookie Guard automatically removes potentially malicious tracking and advertising cookies.
  • Browser Guard stops automatic downloads, fake AV and malicious files from compromised or exploit websites.

Constant real-time IntelliGuard™ protection monitors for malicious activity involving spyware, viruses, tracking cookies, suspicious ActiveX® objects, browser hijackers, keyloggers, Trojans and more.

Quick links Overview Features Accolades Details

Spyware Doctor, in the years I have been using it, has never failed to earn my regard and respect. My (very few) critiques nitpicks have been minor. I consider it a most important tool in my fight against cybercrime. It is Top Drawer – period. (That’s my “review”.)

These 1 year (subscription) licenses retail for $39.99, and can be used on up to three of your PC’s.

How to enter? Residents of the US and Canada only may enter the contest drawing by simply clicking on “comment” (below), and entering a name and a valid e-mail (so PC Tools can send you a license key) in the form. Actually commenting is optional. And, I shouldn’t have to say this, but multiple entries will result in disqualification. (In this contest. Entry in prior contests doesn’t count against you.)
Again, the license can be used on up to three PC’s.

Note: SDAV is an antivirus; and you only want one AV on your machine at a time. It is also not a good idea to have more than one heuristic (behavior detection) tool onboard (active) so you may need to disable or uninstall some products before installing Spyware Doctor With Antivirus.

¹ All entrants will be placed into’s “list randomizer”, and the top  10 results will be the winners. A 30-day, limited-function trial of Spyware Doctor with AV can be downloaded here, Free 30-day trial. Try it out yourself. (And then leave a comment. You may just win one of these valuable prizes!)

Again, my thanks to the folks at PCTools for making this Giveaway possible!

UPDATE: This contest has concluded. The winners can be seen here, Spyware Doctor Winners. My thanks to all who partcipated.

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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May 30, 2011 Posted by | advice, antivirus, computers, cyber crime, Internet, PC, rootkits, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Firefox problem a result of malware?

If you are using Firefox to surf the web, and you see some odd behavior that has you thinking you may have been infected with a computer virus, the following information – provided by Mozilla (the authors of Firefox) – may help you. The links contain diagnosing and troubleshooting How To’s.

Is my Firefox problem a result of malware?

Malware is short for “Malicious Software”. It is a term generally used for software installed on your computer that is designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner’s informed consent. Computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, most rootkits, spyware, dishonest adware are different types of malware. Sometimes a problem with Firefox may be a result of malware installed on your computer, that you may not be aware of.

Table of Contents

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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May 9, 2011 Posted by | advice, antivirus, computers, Firefox, hackers, Internet, performance, security, software, tech, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Symantec’s Security Strategies: How to Protect Against Phishing

Wait! That Email Might Be Fake!

Symantec (you may know them for their Norton product line) has published a nice, easy, guide I think my readers will want to look at… um, should look at.

The bad guys are using better bait these days, and you’re the catch they’re seeking. Criminals send billions of phishing attempts via email each year, and their tactics are becoming more and more polished.

How to Protect Against Phishing
As scammers step up their game, you need to do the same. Take these steps to protect your information against phishing attacks: …”

Please see, Prevention: Wait! That Email Might Be Fake!

*     *     *

Today’s free link: Best Internet Security Suites for 2011 (review)

** Software License Giveaway Drawing **

the folks at Auslogics have generously donated three licenses for BoostSpeed (a license can be used on up to three PC’s) to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank them for that.

Your one-stop PC maintenance and optimization tool.
BoostSpeed will clean up, speed up and repair your system
to make it running as fast and stable as new.

  • Cleans up the Windows registry
  • Defragments hard drives
  • Frees up disk space
  • Recovers accidentally deleted files
  • Speeds up Internet connection

For details (and to enter the drawing), click here.

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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April 6, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, e-mail, Internet scam, PC, performance, Phishing, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick reading reco – “carhacking”

Kim Boatman published an article I think you should read: Can Your Car Be Hacked?

“You might be behind the wheel, but increasingly, computers control your car’s every function.

Microprocessors direct braking, acceleration and even the horn these days. “Because they are hidden, people don’t often understand that there can be anywhere from 30 to 40 microprocessors in most cars and even up to 100 different ones running different functions in some vehicles,” says Stephan A. Tarnutzer, chief operating officer for DGE Inc., which provides electronic designs and consulting for auto manufacturers and suppliers.

But could a hacker compromise these systems? Recently, several news reports have raised the issue of car-hacking risks, including…”

The article raises some valid concerns, and also contains some prevention advice. Click here to read it.

March 12, 2011 Posted by | computers, security | , , , | 2 Comments

5 Tips for Prevent Laptop-Related Injuries and Eye Strain*

Folks, a reader sent me an e-mail suggesting an article idea. I found that they had pretty well written out a whole article, so I asked permission to share it with you “as is”. Aplus Computer Aid has me jumping lately, so, here it is… (I particularly like #3..)

5 Tools to Prevent Laptop-Related Injuries and Eye Strain

The increased use of laptops has resulted in greater computer-related injuries. Ergonomics experts warn about laptop related injuries. Laptops are inherently non-ergonomic because keyboard and monitor are fixed together – if the keyboard is in a suitable position for the user, the screen is not and if the screen is optimal the keyboard isn’t. In addition, the portability of laptops makes it worse by allowing the user to use it anywhere in bed and on the floor in all kinds of incorrect postures under a poor lighting condition.

Users are more vulnerable to computer related injuries and health problems such as Repetitive Strain Injury, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, eye strain, blurred vision and back pain when they are using a laptop than a desktop computer. You may want to take additional safety precautions and tools when you’re using a laptop. The five following tools help you prevent injuries and enhance productivity while using a laptop.

1. Text-to-mp3 conversion tool. You can use text-to-mp3 software to convert long documents, emails and blog articles to mp3 files, which you can listen while resting eyes, commuting or doing chores. Here are some free online text to mp3 file converters. (choose Female voice option for better sound quality). SpokenText offers both free online conversion and a Firefox plug-in at (requires a registration). Another alternative is Next2Go (US$25)

2. Speech recognition. You can control the computer and browse the web or have your computer compose email or write a document with your voice instruction while resting your hands and even eyes. Windows Vista and 7 have built-in speech recognition function. (demo), and (demo)

3. Break reminder. Taking breaks are essential in computer-related injury prevention. You can try break reminder software for laptop, which is uniquely optimized for laptop users. (free for personal use)

4. OLED (organic light emitting diode). OLED is an eye-friendly and paper-like display technology. OLED doesn’t have eye-annoying backlight like LCD does. Laptops equipped with OLED are coming soon- finally next year. Meantime, anti-glare filter can be used to reduce glare from the glossy laptop screen.

5. External keyboard and mouse. An external keyboard can fix the laptop inherent ergonomic problem. It would be even better if the keyboard is ergonomically designed.


· “Is your laptop damaging your health?” ~ CNET

· “When Your Laptop Is a Big Pain in the Neck” ~ The Wall Street Journal

· “Computer-related injuries” ~ Victoria State government (Australia)

* Orig post: 11/30/09

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.

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August 4, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Software Licence Giveaway

Folks, I am pleased to announce my latest software license giveaway. 10 licenses have been donated to me, and I am going to distribute them to you, my readers, via a drawing…

Laptop theft is common and a constant threat. Thwart thieves with the free (for personal use) program – LAlarm – which emits a loud siren sound when a thief tries to steal your laptop. More importantly (IMHO) it can destroy selected data (and also retrieve it ¹) if the laptop is stolen — which is an important step in protecting your “identity”, and personal information.

LAlarm consists of five alarms and other security functions designed to protect laptops and sensitive data.


  • Theft Alarm – It prevents laptop theft by sounding an alarm when a thief tries to steal a laptop.
  • Perimeter Alarm – It alerts when a laptop goes outside a perimeter.
  • Data Destruction – It protects sensitive data by destroying the data if the laptop is stolen.
  • Data Recovery – It can recover data from a stolen laptop. (Before destruction) ¹
  • Mobile Phone Alert – It sends an alert to a mobile phone via email or SMS.
  • Theft Response – you can tell your laptop what to do in advance if your laptop is in hands of a thief.
  • Health Alarm-  Alert the user for using a computer for an extended period of time in order to prevent computer-related injuries.
  • More…

System requirements: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2 or SP3.

Turn An Old Thumb Drive Into An Anti-Theft Device

LAlarm also allows you to use a thumb drive as a “sensor” – as described in this tutorial, fasten a laptop to a table by using a USB flash drive strap. When a thief removes the laptop from the table, the flash drive will be disconnected from the laptop and then an alarm will go off.
A great use for that old 128 MB thumb drive sitting neglected in a drawer!

If you “go mobile” with your laptop, I highly recommend you take a look at LAlarm. To do so, click here.
[Note: not all the features are enabled by default, and some configuration is required (particularly for file recovery) to “best use” this tool. So be sure to look at the FAQ’s.]

¹ requires a Gmail account.

How To Enter To Win A License

LAlarm is free for personal use. The license allows for business use. If you would like to install LAlarm on a work laptop, or an employee’s  laptop, you can enter my drawing – once only – by either:
* leaving a Comment (click on blue “Comments” below) and entering a valid e-mail address in the form field. Or
* sending me an e-mail.
10 lucky winners will be selected by random drawing, and e-mailed the license “keys” and download links.

The folks at LAlarm get a big tip of my geek hat, and my thanks for making this giveaway possible.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.

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March 12, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, free software, mobile, PC, Portable Computing, security, tech, thumb drives | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments