August 15, 2017
An example of where someone asks you to pay money to get money is reflected in a recent FTC Alert where a scammer poses as a government official to get you to send them money. I encourage you to read more below to see how this scam works.
The scammers in this instance are pretending to be calling from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). According to reports, callers are telling people they’ve been selected to receive a $14,000 grant from NIH. To get it, though, callers tell people to pay a fee through an iTunes or Green Dot card, or by giving their bank account number.
If you get a call like this from someone asking you to pay money to get money; STOP, and hang up the phone. The federal government will not call you to give you a grant. NIH does give grants to researchers, but they have to apply for them, and those grants are for public purposes, not for personal use.
Again, as I have recommended in the past when receiving a telephone call do not answer the phone unless you can positively identify the number. If you do not recognize the number, let it ring through to voicemail. Once a scammer has a live person on the phone, even if you do hang up, there is a high probability that you will be called again, for the same scam or for a different one.
SOURCE: Federal Trade Commission – Scammers impersonate the National Institutes of Health
August 14, 2017
The Acer Predator 21X was rated by c|net as the number one fastest gaming laptop; however, with fast comes a steep price.
READ MORE about the Acer Predator 21X and the other 24 runner-up laptops (which are less in price).
If you are interested in taking a look at gaming laptops, CLICK HERE to see the round-up that is available at Amazon.
SOURCE: c|net – The 25 fastest gaming laptops ranked
August 14, 2017
Even though there is a control option in Windows 10 that will adjust the light being emitted from your computer screen at night (see article here) to ease your eyes and not disrupt your sleep; there are other options out there to do the same (and better). One such option, developed by a 22-year-old developer, is called “Light Bulb”.
Light Bulb is an open source software application (which is FREE) that eliminates eye strain when working during late hours by smoothly reducing the display color temperature on your monitor. You can adjust Light Bulb anyway you want to set your own profile; plus, there is a geolocation feature built in that will automatically select your location for the sunrise and sunset times.
When it gets late, due to bright blue light emitting from the screen, looking at your PC monitor can become very straining on the eyes. This program sits in the background and continuously changes the gamma using temperature profiles, making the colors appear warmer at night. You can customize it in any way you like, including changing the day-time and night-time color temperatures, transition duration, sunrise and sunset times, temperature smoothing and a lot more.
SOURCE: Alexey Golub | software developer – Light Bulb
August 13, 2017
Many of you may be aware of this scam as a result of being a victim and/or know someone that has been a victim. I have found that the criminals who work this scam have a tendency to target our more elderly computer users through scare tactics. The scammers will either call you on the telephone to tell you they are Microsoft and that they have detected a problem with your computer AND/OR you will be working on your computer (typically on the internet) and will get a popup alerting you that there are problems with your computer and that you need to call Microsoft (or a tech support number) at such and such phone number.
Whether it is by telephone or on your computer, PLEASE avoid falling for this scam. If these scammers (criminals) do call you on the telephone, be prepared for subsequent calls where they will try again and/or will change the scam to something else.
My recommendation is to never answer your phone unless you can positively identify the caller. If you cannot positively identify the caller, let it ring through to voicemail.
To learn more about how this scam works and what the scammers try to extract from you, here is information “word for word” from Microsoft:
Cybercriminals don’t just send fraudulent email messages. They might call you on the telephone and claim to be from Microsoft. They might also setup websites with persistent pop-ups displaying fake warning messages and a phone number to call and get the “issue” fixed. They might offer to help solve your computer problems or sell you a software license. Once they have access to your computer, they can do the following:
- Trick you into installing malicious software that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords. They might also then charge you to remove this software.
- Convince you to visit legitimate websites (like ammyy.com) to download software that will allow them to take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
- Request credit card information so they can bill you for phony services.
- Direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter credit card and other personal or financial information there.
“Remember, Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication we have with you must be initiated by you.”
SOURCE: Microsoft – Avoiding technical support scams
August 11, 2017
Chromebooks are often described as a “browser in a box” due that they run the Google Chrome operating system and browser where the apps are internet dependent. Chromebooks are often seen in the schools these days due to their low cost and ease to maintain (and use). The Chromebooks I have tested boot fast, have long battery life, brighter screens and built in protection against malware and viruses. I have always loved the Windows operating system, but Chromebook computers makes great computers for grandparents due to their simplicity.
A Chromebook I am looking at is the ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA-DHM4. This Chromebook is on the high end when it comes to price and specs. If you want to explore cheaper Chromebooks, then CLICK HERE…
The two reason I am looking at the ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA-DHM4 is that it is one of the first Chromebooks that comes with native Android app support and the fact that ASUS builds great computers. This particular brand of Chromebook is an Amazon Choice and was most recently featured at ZDNet. Also, this Chromebook is, so far, carrying great customer reviews at Amazon.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA-DHM4
- Flexible 360 degree hinge and 12.5” Full-HD touchscreen lets you use the C302 in tablet or laptop mode.
- Extremely lightweight at 2.65 pounds with the protection of a sleek aluminum metal body.
- Unlock the power of Chromebooks with access to your favorite Chrome Web Store apps like Google Docs and it is Google Play Store/Android app ready.
- Starts up in seconds and lasts all day, thanks to a long battery life rated up to 10 hours*.
- Work anywhere online or offline regardless of your internet connection. Enjoy your favorite games, entertainment, and keep up with work, wherever you go.
- Intel Core Processor with 64GB storage and 4GB RAM for fast and efficient performance.
SOURCE: Amazon – ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA-DHM4
August 11, 2017
My brothers and I have been in a situation where we are caring for our Father. We needed a way to schedule when we were available to assist with his care. What I did, since I have a Google account, was setup a calendar that could be shared with each of my brothers. In this case, each of us had a Google account which made setting this up all the more easier; PLUS I was able to give each brother rights to edit (add or delete) events on the calendar. You can also make the calendar public (with viewing rights only) for those who do not have an account or those who need to see the calendar. Setting this up literally took me less than 10 minutes.
Here are the steps to setup and share a Google Calendar:
You can create a new calendar and invite other people to view or edit it. When you create an event, you’ll see an option to choose which calendar to add the event to.
- On your computer, open Google Calendar. You can’t create or share calendars from the Google Calendar app.
- On the left, next to “My Calendars,” click the Down arrow.
- Click Create a new calendar.
- Add the calendar name. In my case, I named the calendar “Family”
- Under “Share with specific people,” add the email address of the person you want to share with. This is where it is beneficial that each recipient has a Google account.
- Under “Permission Settings,” choose an option in the drop-down menu. In my case, I selected the option “Make changes to events”; which allows the people you are sharing with to edit, add or delete events. They can also restore events from the trash that have been deleted.
- If someone isn’t already added, click Add person.
- Click Create calendar and you are done. Each recipient will receive an email to announce that a shared calendar has been created for which they can edit.
If you shared your calendar with an individual email address, they’ll see your calendar in their “Other calendar” list. If you shared your calendar with an email group , they’ll see the calendar in their “Other calendars” list once they click on the link in the email invitation from Google Calendar.
Important: To get your new calendar to show up on your Android phone or tablet, you’ll need to turn on sync for that calendar.
SOURCE: Google – Share Your Calendar With Someone
August 8, 2017
The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned tax professionals to be alert to a new phishing email scam impersonating tax software providers and attempting to steal usernames and passwords.
This sophisticated scam yet again displays cybercriminals’ tax savvy and underscores the need for tax professionals to take strong security measures to protect their clients and protect their business. This is the time of year when many software providers issue software upgrades and when tax professionals are working to meet the Oct. 15 deadline for extension filers… READ MORE
SOURCE: Internal Revenue Service – Security Summit Alert: Tax Pros Warned of New Scam to Steal Their Passwords