Archive for Tips and Tricks

May 7, 2012: Part Two Of Our Marketing Chick Live And On-Air!

Our Marketing Chick was back on the radio today; talking Twitter and other mobile apps with Leif Glass on 1530AM WVBF’s radio show, Taunton Tech Talk. Check out the reference deck below for some great apps that you might want to add to your smartphone or tablet…

Taunton Tech Talk: Part IIView more presentations from South Shore Computer Repair.

Listen to the audio from Monday’s show by clicking the play button below…

As always: If you have questions or need help – give us a call at 508-947-1966 or drop us an email at help@ssc-repair.com. We’re happy to talk Twitter, apps or anything else with you!

Do You Attend Conferences? If So, Listen Up!

Image Source: police.belleville.on.ca

The following scenario is probably not a new scam, but it was certainly new to us! We heard about this from a friend – don’t let this happen to you!

A group of work colleagues were attending a training course in a well-known hotel. At lunch time they left the conference room, making sure the door was locked behind them.

After lunch, one of the course attendees received a message, through the hotel telephone system, to turn his mobile phone on as his bank was urgently trying to contact him. Sure enough, he received a call from a person claiming to be from his bank. The “bank rep” said somebody was trying to withdraw cash from his account, and they needed him to confirm his identity – quickly – so they can stop the culprit perpetrating the crime.

During the cleverly worded conversation the “bank rep” managed to extract the attendee’s PIN from him, saying he needed it to cancel the cards. Then he asked to speak to another course attendee, saying that some of his cards had been found at the bank. At this point the second victim realized his wallet had been stolen. The “bank rep” again got the individual’s PIN. Both victims were thanked for their cooperation and the call ended. It then came to light that both their wallets had been stolen. The account information the “bank” gave to satisfy the victims it was a legitimate call, had in fact come from receipts found in their wallets.

It turns out there had been a number of similar thefts from hotel conference rooms in the past.

As a result of the theft of their wallets, and a very clever social engineering scam which successfully instilled panic, the two individuals lost a lot of money and were faced with the onerous task of cancelling all of their cards which had been stolen.

The lesson learned?

  • Never leave your wallet or other valuables unattended in hotel conference rooms.
  • Never give your bank PIN to anyone, under any circumstances. Your bank will never ask for it!

All of the conference attendees thought their property was safe because the room was locked. Not so much. What to do if your purse or wallet is stolen? Read the following information from http://westlinnoregon.gov – it’s good advice to keep in mind should this happen to you:

If your wallet or purse is stolen:
File a report with the police immediately. Get a copy of the report or at the very least, the number of the report, in case your bank, credit card company or insurance company need proof of the crime.
Cancel each credit and charge card that was in your wallet or purse. When you open new accounts, place passwords on them. AVOID using your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number, your phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers.
Report the loss or theft to your bank if your wallet or purse contained bank account information, including account numbers, ATM cards, or checks. Cancel checking and savings accounts and open new ones. Stop payments on outstanding checks and ask your bank to notify the check verification service with which it does business. That way, retailers can be notified not to accept checks written on your old account.
Get a new ATM card, account number, and Personal Identification number (PIN) or password.
Contact the agency that issued your driver’s license or other identification document. Ask the agency to flag your file so no one else can get a license or any other identification documents from them in your name.
Call any one of the nationwide consumer reporting companies to place and “initial fraud alert” on your credit report. The alert requires creditors to follow reasonable procedures before granting credit in your name. It will stay on your credit report for at least 90 days. The consumer reporting company you call will contact the other two, which then will place an alert on their versions of your report.
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com
Experian: 1-800-397-3742; www.experian.com
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com
Ask the consumer reporting companies for a copy of your credit report. When you place an initial fraud alert on your credit report, you’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each of the three agencies. Review your report to make sure no additional fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name or unauthorized changes made to your existing accounts.
Change the locks on your home and car if your keys were taken. Do not give thieves access to even more personal property and information.
  • File a report with the police immediately and get a copy of the report for your insurance and/or credit card companies.
  • Cancel each credit card that was in your wallet or purse.
  • Report the loss or theft to your bank if your wallet or purse contained bank account information, including account numbers, ATM cards, or checks.
  • Get a new ATM card, account number and Personal Identification number (PIN) or password.
  • Contact the agency that issued your driver’s license or other identification document. Ask the agency to flag your file so no one else can get a license or any other identification documents from them in your name.
  • Call one of the following nationwide consumer reporting companies to place and “initial fraud alert” on your credit report. The alert requires creditors to follow reasonable procedures before granting credit in your name. It will stay on your credit report for at least 90 days. The consumer reporting company you call will contact the other two, which then will place an alert on their versions of your report.

Equifax

Experian

TransUnion

  • Ask the consumer reporting companies for a copy of your credit report. When you place an initial fraud alert on your credit report, you’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each of the three agencies. Review your report to make sure no additional fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name or unauthorized changes made to your existing accounts.
  • Change the locks on your home and car if your keys were taken.

‘Tis The Season To Be Shopping Online…

According to a recent article on Kiplinger.com:

“More consumers are expected to do their holiday shopping online this year – about 47% compared with 44% in 2010, according to a National Retail Federation survey. And about half of those surveyed who own smart phones and 70% who own tablets will use their devices to research items and make purchases.

The Internet makes it easy to compare prices, shop quickly and avoid the crowds. But it can also put you at risk of becoming a victim of identity theft if you don’t take the proper precautions.”

Security expert Jon Heimerl suggests that you follow these do’s and don’ts of online shopping to protect your personal information and reduce your risk of becoming a victim of a scam or identity theft:

DO…

  • Go directly to a retailer’s site or use a price-comparison site, such as Amazon.com or PriceGrabber.com, instead of clicking links on a search results page. Even if you’re using a site that you think is legitimate, look for a security label, such as VeriSign or Cybertrust, and for https:// in the URL on pages that prompt you to enter personal information.
  • Never make purchases online using a public Wi-Fi connection.
  • Make sure you use a credit card when making purchases online and remember to check your monthly statements for charges that you didn’t make.

DON’T…

  • If a Web site or individual offers a deal that’s too good to be true, demands a direct transfer of funds and won’t accept credit cards, it’s probably a scam.
  • Wire money to pay for an item. If you purchase an item from an online auction site, such as eBay, and the seller asks you to wire your payment, don’t do it.
  • Trust every deal you see on social-networking sites. One option is to use a deal notification you see on Twitter as a tip, then research the details on your own.

Finally, before you log into the internet for the deals… check out your local shops and businesses. They probably have some fantastic deals and you know who you’re dealing with.

Scams, Scams and More Scams…

By now we are all aware – at one level or another – of malware and spyware that invades our computers through a multitude of ways. We have ways of combating, to a certain extent, this never-ending stream of crud that ends up on our computing devices. We use spyware removal programs, keep our antivirus programs up-to-date and are careful about what we click on when scrolling through our friends’ status updates on Facebook.

What seems to be making a comeback, though, are scam artists reverting to our old friend: The telephone. Here are just two examples we’ve heard about in the past couple of weeks.

A local bank has been made aware that customers, as well as non-customers, are receiving automated calls on their cell phones with the following message:

This is a call from Your Bank. Your MasterCard/Visa/Whatever account has been locked. Please press 1 now to unlock.”

What do you think? Would you fall for the above scam?

The recording then instructs the individual to enter their debit card number. There may also be a variation of this phone call that references other banks or asks the customer to enter their debit card number in order to activate it. Please be advised that these calls are a scam and are not being made by your bank.  This is a phishing attempt by criminals to obtain your personal account information.  Never provide your debit card number or any other private information in response to an unsolicited phone call or email. Just hang up and do not press 1.

How about this one…

Hi I’m calling from the Windows Service Center. We just received a notification of errors on your computer and think that you might have a virus. We know that your computer is running rather slowly and, looking at your web searching history, we think you’ve downloaded some malware.

Are you in front of your computer right now? Yes? Great. Let’s walk through and clean up your computer so that you won’t be having any more trouble.

Both of the above phone calls sound vaguely reasonable. Your bank certainly knows how to contact you and more than one of us has a little bit of paranoia about what Microsoft knows about us and how we use our computers. The reality, however, is that both of these phone calls are scams. One is aimed at getting your banking information and the other is aimed at gaining access to or control of your computer.

  • Your bank will never call you and ask for this information.
  • Microsoft is not monitoring your PC for problems and will never call you to offer support or technical assistance.

Any time you receive a phone call from someone whom you do not know but they are asking for any kind of information that might identify you, hang up. Do not stop. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Just hang up.

If your mother’s etiquette lessons won’t let you just hang up on them, ask the caller for their name, the name of their company and a telephone number at which you can call them back. This way, you can always call the company the caller claims to be representing – independent of talking to the person making the unsolicited phone call – and find out if it was a legitimate call or not.  On the off-chance it is a legitimate phone call, you can then call them back at your leisure.

Stay smart online and offline. As always: If something sounds too good to be true then it probably is.

Related Video:

The “Windows Service Center” scam has been around in Europe for a while but now seems to be coming to America. For an example of how this type of call goes, check out this useful video from Computeractive.co.uk.

Related Information:

Massachusetts’ Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation has issued a warning about the “robo-calling” scam that is seeking to gain access to consumers’ banking and social security information. If you receive one of these robo-calls, Attorney General Martha Coakley urges you to immediately hang up and contact the Attorney General’s consumer hotline at 617-727-8400. Consumers are also encouraged to file a complaint with the office online at www.mass.gov/ago.

Alert: Possible Problem With AVG 2011 Antivirus

It has been reported that some machines are unable to boot after the last AVG 2011 update version 3292. We recommend NOT REBOOTING/SHUTTING DOWN the Machines which have AVG 2011 installed on them.

More information is available in the FAQ’s below:

Please note that both AVG Pro and AVG Free can be impacted. Older AVG versions (9.0, 8.5) are not affected.

The situation has been caused by an incorrect CTF file used during the update (AVG 9.0 core has been offered to AVG 2011 clients).

AVG is currently working on a solution (utility) for all affected users, both those who have not restarted their computer yet and also those who were already affected by the problems.