Safeguarding Yourself From Scams – Don’t become a victim! Part 2: What You Can Do To Safeguard Your Information

Safeguarding Yourself From Scams – Don’t become a victim!

Part 2: What You Can Do To Safeguard Your Information

Online Security Protection Internet Safety Guard Lock Concept

1.) Don’t share your passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers or any other pertinent information with anyone.

2.) Don’t write your passwords down anywhere someone could stumble upon them. It’s best if you don’t keep written records of your passwords, but with the amount of passwords people need now, it’s getting a bit more complicated to keep track of them all without writing them down.

3.) Keep your computer’s spyware and antivirus software up to date and scan your computer regularly.

4.) Make sure you have firewalls up and running at all times. Whether it’s the built-in Windows firewall, your router’s firewall or a 3rd party firewall software; or all of them in combination if you really want to make sure they are working.

5.) Always be wary of emails asking for your personal or financial information. Don’t click on links or open emails that seem suspicious to you at all. Even one simple click can open your computer up to a criminal – installing malicious software and stealing your information. Never click on links in emails or links on web sites that you don’t know or don’t trust. If you get an email from “your bank” saying you need to log into your account right away for any reason, but you aren’t sure the email is actually coming from your bank then don’t click on any links in that email. Open a new internet browser, type in the URL yourself and then log in to your account and make sure everything is as it should be. If a link doesn’t feel right, don’t click it.

6.) Keep an eye on your assets and your credit and check on everything on a regular basis. Make sure to report any odd or suspicious activity immediately. Switch over to paperless billing and statements. Pretty much everyone now-a-days offers paperless statements… banks, credit cards, house-hold billing companies. Having them all delivered to your email inbox instead of your physical address saves paper, postage and also eliminates the possibility of someone stealing your mail.

7.) Never write your full account numbers on your checks when you pay your bills, especially when paying credit card bills, just write in the last four digits of your account number.

8.) Always shred documents you do not need, don’t just throw them in the trash. Criminals do sift through your trash looking for pertinent documents.

9.) Don’t broadcast that you are leaving town, or that you are out of town, on social networking sites. That is sort of like putting up a flashing neon sign over your house that says “no one is home and no one will be home for a while, so come on in and take what you want.” Wait until you return home from your trip to talk about it.

 

If Your ID Is Stolen:
Immediately file a fraud alert on your credit report by calling Equifax (888-766-0008), TransUnion (800-680-7289) or Experian (888-397-3742). After you have filed your report, call the issuers of any credit cards that may have been affected.

 

Basically the gist of everything I’ve written is: be careful with the personal information that you give out.
We all do a lot of shopping online which means we are all typing our credit card numbers into lots of different company websites. Make sure the company you purchase from is reputable. If something seems too good to be true, it is. There is nothing free in life. Massive discounts on normally very expensive items from shady online stores are more often than not going to cost you a lot more than you think.

 

A Few Tips For Kids:

staying_safe_online_large

 

Do you need any assistance? Want a professional to check your computer security? Contact TeCHS today!

~Your TeCHS

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Safeguarding Yourself From Scams – Don’t become a victim! Part 1: Common Techniques

Safeguarding Yourself From Scams – Don’t become a victim! Part 1: Common Techniques

scam-alert1
1.) Phishing : Phishing e-mails mimicking online businesses or banks in an attempt to fool people into freely giving out confidential personal and financial information. URL Obfuscation is the part of the phishing scam that really plays on human error and our brain’s ability to “fill in the gaps” automatically by sending a victim to a fraudulent web site address that looks almost exactly like a real address (i.e. http://www.pay-pal.com versus http://www.paypal.com).

2.) Pharming : Pharming is another form of phishing that “poisons” a person’s computer’s DNS cache and redirects visitors from a real web site to a bogus mirror site. Every web site has its own internet address and the Domain Name System (DNS) translates the IP address into the host name. A DNS cache poisoning changes the entries in the computer so when the legitimate site is typed in, the victim is sent to a fraudulent web page instead.

3.) Trojan Horse : Trojan Horses are malicious software files that infiltrate your PC by hiding in seemingly innocuous files. Some Trojans, called “keystroke loggers,” record every one of a person’s keystrokes and send that information back to the attacker.

4.) Trojan : Zombie Computers and Man-In-The-Middle Attacks are part Trojan and the malicious software that is installed on the victim’s computer allows that person’s PC to be controlled remotely by their attacker without their knowledge. The Man-In-The-Middle attack is frequently partnered with an “Evil Twin” which is a fake wireless internet hot spot connection that looks almost like a legitimate service. When the victim attempts to connect, the criminal launches a transaction to get the victim’s credit card information in the form of a standard pay-for-access deal to use the wireless internet.

5.) Cashier’s Check Scams : There are numerous ways to use cashier’s checks in scams. Here are a few of the most common –

Money mule: you receive payments, and you’re supposed to deposit the payments to your account and forward the money to somebody else. Often advertised as a work-at-home check processing job, these schemes are often problematic. In some cases, you’re laundering money for criminals. In other cases, the first few payments are fine, but eventually you’ll get a fake check (after they’ve gained your trust) and you’ll lose money.

Foreign wealth scams: somebody you don’t know reaches out to you and asks for your help transferring a large sum of money out of a corrupt nation. In exchange, you can keep a tiny fraction of the transfer, which is more than you make in a year. Of course, you’ll have to send money to somebody to complete the transfer (which will never arrive).

Inheritance and lottery scams: you’re about to receive a lot of money, but you’ll need to pay a small amount for taxes or legal fees to “release” the funds. It’s a small price to pay for the riches that are headed your way. Of course, they’ll never materialize.

Property rental scam: somebody is moving to your area for a new job. They’d like to pay the first and last month of rent (and security deposit) with a cashier’s check before they ever see the property. The day after you deposit the check, they say there was an issue with the job – they’re not coming, so they don’t need the rental. You can keep the security deposit, but they’d like for you to return some of the rent. After you send the refund, you’ll find that the check was a fake.

Part 2 (JULY) will go over a few tips to protect yourself.

~Your TeCHS

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A few tips and tricks to make the most of your built-in iOS calendar app

Both the iPhone and iPad (all versions of both) come with a really neat Calendar app pre-installed… and it can do some pretty darn cool things!

1.) You can add events directly from your emails
When you check your email on one of these devices and you have an email that mentions a specific date and time, you can instantly add it to your calendar. Simply tap on the time in the email and choose Create Event from the pop-up.

2.) You can override the local time zone
Your i-products will automatically display events in your local time, but you can use Time Zone Override (under Mail, Contacts, Calendars in Settings) to stick to a particular time zone if you need it to.

3.) You can use Siri for custom calendar views
Simply tell Siri things like to “show me my calendar for today” – or change “today” to “tomorrow”, “next week”, “the next three days” or whatever you like. It’s a quick and easy way of bringing up a customized view of your schedule.

4.) Set up Family Sharing for a family schedule
You don’t have to share iTunes movies and apps if you don’t want to but you still might want to share your family’s schedules. You can activate the feature in iCloud in Settings and everyone can share one calendar and know what the family is up to! Pretty cool way to sync everyone’s events and activities on the go.

5.) You can get travel advice simply by setting event locations
If you make the effort to add locations to your events you will get updates about travel times in the Notification Center. There’s also a Travel Time option for each item on your schedule you can configure for more detailed alerts.

6.) You can schedule appointments to the exact minute
If you have an appointment that starts at an odd time – say 10:22am, you will most likely want your calendar to reflect that specific time. Simply tap on the start (or end) time selection panel and you can toggle between five-minute intervals and one-minute intervals.

7.) You can configure automatic alerts
Generally you will want to set different alerts for different events… but if there’s a setting you use a lot, like a 5-minute buzz before your meetings, you can configure that setting via Settings then Mail, Contacts, Calendars and Default Alert Times.

~Your TeCHS

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Simple yet Awesome iPhone Tips and Tricks

Simple yet Awesome iPhone Tips and Tricks

Make your iPhone more Secure:
Whenever someone tries to unlock your iPhone, they’re immediately forced to enter the password. This step helps to secure your phone data forever. One more awesome feature in this is clearing all your data after 10 failed attempts. If your feel your data is confidential, you can set an option to erase all phone data after 10 continuous incorrect password attempts. This simple step protects your iPhone if it is stolen or lost. But make sure you have a backup of your data!

How To Do It: Go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock; you are allowed to set a 4 digit number as your password.

Getting back data from your Old Phone:
Did you buy a new iPhone? What about all of your apps, notes, contacts, Messages etc.? Want them to your new mobile? No worries, Backup and Restore will do it for you. If you’re trying to transfer data from the devices working with IOS 5 or higher, then the iCloud will do all of the work for you. No need to use iTunes and USB connection. You can transfer everything via Wi-Fi… But keep in mind that it takes a bit more time than via USB.

How To Do It: Connect your old iPhone to the PC using USB cable and open iTunes. At Left center you can see your device name, right click on it and select backup. Now connect your new iPhone, Right click and select Restore from backup restore-iphone.

Meet your New Friend SIRI:
It’s time to talk with your mobile. Have you ever tried SIRI? SIRI is full of fun and it really helps save time. You can ask SIRI to remember personal details like your name, your pet’s name, etc. Once you said all those things to SIRI, you’re done. From now, whenever you ask SIRI “Who am I” it says your name and some details about you. Apart from teaching, you can even learn from it. It can respond to your voice and search for anything what you need. From IOS6 SIRI has become even more talented. It can now open applications and also it is now capable to update your profiles on Facebook and Twitter.

 

~Your TeCHS

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Super Handy Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts

Super Handy Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts

Here are a few handy shortcuts to use in Windows 8. In these key combinations, hold down the Windows key (normally located between Alt and Ctrl) and another key, as described on this list:

  • Press the Windows key to enter the tiled Start screen.
  • The Windows key + M minimizes everything that’s showing on the desktop.
  • The Windows key + E opens Explorer for quick access to folders.
  • On the Start screen, press the Windows key + D to instantly get to the desktop.
  • The Windows key + Tab opens a list of currently running programs.
  • The Windows key + Print Screen takes a screenshot and saves it in a Screenshots folder nested in your Pictures folder.
  • To take a screenshot on a Windows 8 tablet, simultaneously press the Windows button and the volume-down button on the tablet chassis.
  • The Windows key + Q opens a global search menu. Type what you’re looking for and where you would like to look.
  • The Windows key + W opens a search in your system settings to quickly locate and change system properties.
  • The Windows key + F opens a file and folder search.
  • The Windows key + Pause opens the system properties page to show you a quick rundown of your specs.
  • The Windows key + “,” (that’s the comma sign!) makes all current windows transparent, giving you a peek at the desktop as long as you hold down the Windows key.
  • The Windows key + “.” (the period) snaps a window to the right or left side (toggling each time you press “.”).
  • The Windows key + R prompts the Run command—useful for quickly launching apps and other routines with a command prompt.
  • The Windows key + X opens the Quick Access Menu, exposing system functionality such as the Command Prompt, Disk Management, File Explorer, Run, and more. Alternatively, you can right-click on the bottom right corner of the screen to spawn the Quick Access Menu.
  • The Windows key + I opens the settings menu, giving you quick access to the Control Panel, Personalization, and your Power button, among other features.
  • The Windows key + O locks orientation on devices with an accelerometer.

 

~Your TeCHS

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A few tips for a more “green” lifestyle

I know I missed posting last week… sorry about that. Things have been crazy here at TeCHS headquarters!

So… here are a few tips for a more “green” lifestyle.

1.) Walk, Hike, or Ride a Bike

If you (and your friends/family/neighbors) occasionally rode a bike or walked for an errand instead of hopping in the car, over 70 million gallons of fuel could be saved each year in the U.S. alone! There is also the added benefits of fresh air & exercise.

2.) Give Weeds a “Hand”

Herbicides are not a great way to control weeds, the chemicals are really bad for the environment. Buy a good pair of gloves & garden tools to remove weeds by hand. Choose natural alternatives to pesticides to get rid of pests.

3.) Lighten Your Energy Bill

If you just can’t go solar yet – try new compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). CFLs last 10 times longer than the old style of light bulb, they use 1/4 of the energy & produce 90% less heat. Just be very careful handling and disposing of them.

4.) Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

Return hangers to the cleaners, donate clothing & computers to charity or friends/family, pack lunches & drinks in reusable containers… there are hundreds of easy things like this that you can do. Every little bit helps.

Know more tips? Please share!

~Seth & Kim Ralph, TeCHS

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Cool Cell Phone Tricks

Here are a few cool tips and tricks you can do with your phone – no matter what make or model you happen to own!

-FIRST (Emergency):
The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an Emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly, this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.

-SECOND (Hidden Battery Power):
If your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell phone next time.

-THIRD (How to disable a STOLEN Mobile Phone):
To check your Mobile phone’s serial number, key in the following Digits on your phone: *#06#. A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset Write it down and keep it somewhere safe.

If your phone is stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won’t get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can’t use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.

-FOURTH (Free Directory Service for Cells):
Cell phone companies charge around $1.00 to $1.75 (sometimes more) for 411 information calls. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our cars, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial: (800) FREE411 or (800) 373-3411 without incurring any charge at all. Program this number into your cell phone.

~Seth & Kim Ralph, TeCHS

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Keep Your Personal Information Safe: A Few More Tips

Just a few tips to help protect yourself from identity theft and fraud. Thieves use a variety of methods for obtaining other people’s personal information to exploit for their own purposes. There is no guarantee that anyone’s information is 100% safe, no matter how careful you are, but you can do a lot of small things to reduce your risks of being a victim of fraud.

1.) Never click on links in emails or links on web sites that you don’t know or don’t trust. If you get an email from “your bank” saying you need to log into your account right away for any reason, but you aren’t sure the email is actually coming from your bank then don’t click on any links in that email. Open a new internet browser, type in the URL yourself and then log in to your account and make sure everything is as it should be. If a link doesn’t feel right, don’t click it.

2.) Don’t share your passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers or any other pertinent information with anyone.

3.) Don’t write your passwords down anywhere someone could stumble upon them. It’s best if you don’t keep written records of your passwords, but with the amount of passwords people need now, it’s getting a bit more complicated to keep track of them all without writing them down.

4.) Never write your full account numbers on your checks when you pay your bills, especially when paying credit card bills, just write in the last four digits of your account number.

5.) Keep your credit cards and your passport in RFID communication blocking wallets.

6.) Switch over to paperless billing and statements. Pretty much everyone now-a-days offers paperless statements… banks, credit cards, house-hold billing companies. Having them all delivered to your email inbox instead of your physical address saves paper, postage and also eliminates the possibility of someone stealing your mail.

7.) Don’t broadcast that you are leaving town, or that you are out of town, on social networking sites. That is sort of like putting up a flashing neon sign over your house that says “no one is home and no one will be home for a while, so come on in and take what you want.” Wait until you return home from your trip to talk about it.

Basically the gist of everything I’ve written is: be careful with the personal information that you give out.

We all do a lot of shopping online which means we are all typing our credit card numbers into lots of different company websites. Make sure the company you purchase from is reputable. If something seems too good to be true, it is. There is nothing free in life. Massive discounts on normally very expensive items from shady online stores are more often than not going to cost you a lot more than you think.
~ K. McMillan-Ralph, TeCHS

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