Scam Alert: Fix My PC

scamalertOver the past few weeks, I’ve gotten a few calls from a notorious scammer from 800.843.0000. (DO NOT CALL THIS NUMBER IT IS A SCAM)

Now this scammer thinks I’m going to go over to my computer and give him access so he can steal my financial information. I don’t think so!

When I ask him for more information, he just repeats the same thing over and over again (as do I!)

blah_blah

Sir, please go to your computer, so I can help you remove the virus from your computer“.

So I ask him: “Which computer?”, to which he replies.. “Your personal computer“..

So I tell him “I have multiple computers, which one?”..

he replies “the one you are in front of

I say: “But I’m on my phone and not in front of my computer

He says: “Sir this is deep support (no relation to deep throat I assume), and we have noticed that your computer has a virus and we would like to help you”.

I say: “which computer???”

We volley back and forth for a few minutes and finally I just hang up on the creep!

I’ve hung up on this guy a few times already.. but he just seems to love to call Dad’s Taxi and waste my time when I’m busy..

So next time, I’m going to have some fun and ask him to let me log into his computer so I can help him remove the virus on his machine? What do you think of that plan?

Since I have an evil streak: Next time they call me, I’ll tell the scammer  that I”ve been testing some nasty viruses on my machine and them calling me might have infected their computer via the SIP protocol (thank to my friend Mark W. for this one). Continue and harass them and reverse the call on them to ask if their computer has slowed down and they need to remove these nasty viruses simultaneously. otherwise their disk will crash!.. Won’t that be fun!

Ok.. so how do you defend yourself from these scammer’s and spammers?

  • Be alert.. No “Geek team” or “high tier support” will call you without proper knowledge.
  • Do not cooperate even if you think you do have malware or a virus on any of your computers.. If you have a Mac you are inherently protected.
  • Hang up.
  • List all your phone numbers  on the National Do Not Call Registry (Register All your numbers: Mobile/VOIP, etc..). You will have to provide an email address for verification purposes.
  • Follow the directions (You will have to certify your numbers with a valid email)

Just for jollies see how many others have been calling with the same numbers with the various variations on the scam by calling who is calling me via the directory of unlisted callers (NO this will not give you a virus or malware.. it’s a legitimate site!)

You will see that there are various spins on these scam calls. I particularly love the “IRS” one.. that is bound to work on the elderly.. or the ones that are gullible.

irscamNow excuse me as I just got a call  I need to get back to that guy who has issued a warrant for my arrest and is from the IRS. Because I really don’t want to get arrested by the Sheriff for being stupid and being scammed.. right?

Don’t get scammed! always be alert!

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Plano Revisited 2013

Plano on my Mind.. ramblings of my 2013 visit to Plano..

Last week, I was in Plano for my annual visit. This is the visit where I spend a few days with my brother and his family and spend a few days with my closes 1700 fellow employees from the employee resource groups from the company I work for.

Yet we all know that this post is about my Plano, Texas visit..

The term I want to introduce to my readers is “Tiger Moms”. These are mothers that become so involved with their kids athletic events that they think it’s normal to be total jerks instead of just encouraging their kids to play fair and do the best they can.

I went to see my nephew play at one of his tennis team matches in West Plano. Let me tell you this is serious High School tennis.. East Plano Vs. West Plano at it’s best.  Yet of course I digress.

Two young ladies were playing and it was a tough match. After the match the winner walked over to where I was sitting. The winner was limping and she apparently was playing injured.  Tiger Mom “A” (The Loser’s mom) says to the young lady (winner),  “you shouldn’t have played”.  The Dad casually says “She won (his daughter) anyway”. Well this set off a chain of events that led to escalation to the loser’s coach for the innocent response from the Dad, as “bad sportsmanship”, etc..

Of course the other tiger mom’s jumped in and were saying nasty remarks over this whole incident.. I was so amused by this whole one-act play at a tennis match. These women were living their own lives through their kids with their overbearing opinions and attitudes.

I actually thought the whole exchange was pretty pathetically hilarious! Parents should encourage their kids to show sportsmanship, instead of being role models, they act like they are in high school themselves. Remember these are upper middle class moms whose income exceeds 6 figures at a minimum.

High school sports in Texas is a very serious business. Football, Tennis, it’s huge. I don’t know whether any of you have heard of the show “Friday night lights”. That’s Texas sports in a nutshell,

Beyond that my Plano visit in a nutshell. Oh I forgot about my sinus infection and my visit to the local “Minute Clinic” at the local CVS.., What a concept. You make a quick appointment, get evaluated by a physician’s assistant, and get a script all in an hour. No doctor needed. All insurance accepted.

I also saw some amazing pre-construction new houses that are just state of the art in McKinney, Texas.  Keep in mind, McKinney was voted the best place to live in America in 2012. Overall, McKinney is a really nice small town which feels like a place where you can truly call home! Yes, this is coming from a long-term NJ, homey.

Every time I visit Plano, I love it more and more.. If all the stars align.. this may become a reality sooner than later..

That’s all for now..

Where else can you find random ramblings like this which don’t seem to have any logical stream.. Dad’s Taxi of course!

 

 

 

Question of the Day – Companies that did you wrong

Starting today, I’m going to put out questions to my readers that have been gnawing at me

What’s the best way using Social Media for you to tell everyone to avoid doing business with a company that did not deliver on what they advertise or sell?

The Perfect Storm Hits Home

Dad’s unique perspective as we ride out the Perfect storm shaping to hit shore in Central New Jersey in Middletown, NJ.

Satellite photo of the Halloween Storm of 1991...
Satellite photo of the Halloween Storm of 1991, dubbed “The Perfect Storm”, an unnamed Hurricane. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the past few days, we have all been hearing of Hurricane Sandy hitting shore in on the Jersey Shore. Well guess who lives in the direct path of this landing zone. I do. I live about 5 miles from Sandy Hook and Seabright, NJ. Last year we got our dosage of an Earthquake and Hurricane (Irene) and this year (Mayan Calendar anyone?) we are getting the “Perfect Storm” Hurricane Sandy. I wonder if there is any correlation that both of these monster storms are named after in the female gender?

Hurricane Sandy has been called multiple names including “Frankenstorm” and “The Perfect Storm“. I sense that what we got last year with was just a taste of what an Hurricane can do.. Middletown, NJ  had many washed out roads and it took weeks to recover, including about 3 to 4 days of No Power!

As I write this posting, I can hear the winds starting to howl outside. I know that before the night is out, we will be losing power for a few days (at least). For the one’s that are not in the know, Leonardo, NJ, which is located in Middletown, NJ is notorious for power outages. The slightest sneeze from Mother Nature, we lose power.

Last year, My family and I bailed out and went to one of our relatives house in Somerset, NJ. Of course that wasn’t much help as my relatives also lost power during Irene. So this year, we stocked up and decided to ride this one out at home for as long as we can. We’ve been advised by our township via multiple calls and text messages to evacuate (optionally). So we decide to stay back and just ride out this memorable storm.. Let’s see how that goes.  I gotta hand it to Middletown township, they are on the ball with their notifications to their residents. I applaud the township for that!

So I’ve tied down as much as I can outside my house, so it doesn’t become a flying missile towards my house. Well almost everything, My summer furniture is still outside, and it’s covered. I hope that Sandy doesn’t lift that and toss the furniture into the pool.

What I remember about Irene last year was that when we returned to the Middletown area was that almost all the roads were eerily quiet and almost every major traffic light on the major highway’s in NJ State Highway 35 and NJ State Highway 36 were blinking.. and you could only make right turns on these roads. The police had blocked off crossing intersections so you go in a perfect square and never cross Highway 35 or Highway 36. Both of which go North South into and out of Middletown, NJ. Almost every store and restaurant (Even McDonald’s and Pizza Hut were shuttered shut).

From what I hear,  Hurricane Sandy will cause substantial more damage than Irene did. Well I guess, we shall see.

For the past 2 days,  there have been huge lines at gas stations and supermarkets have been packed. My wife was telling me that when she went shopping a the local Foodtown supermarket , she was scared to pull into the parking lot, as people were like driving like crazy in and out of the parking lot. It’s been like this everywhere in the surrounding neighborhoods of Middletown, NJ.

So here’s my choices for POA (Plan of Action) for the next few days::

  • If I don’t lose power (not likely), I can catch up on my Netflix shows and/or stay glued to the TV to watch the Sandy “special news bulletins” that are bound to be across all the local stations.
  • Go to Work .. Not a good move. Only bad things can happen If I do that, from both a logical or a parenting point of view
  • WFH – For those who don’t know that acronym, it’s commonly referred to when you Work From Home.
    • With this, I get the opportunity to annoy my wife and kids relentlessly. hmm..
  • Take my kids to Work.. Also not a good idea, as I know that they will get bored within an hour and just empty my wallet into the vending machines.
  • Do nothing, and just go with the flow and have fun at home.. Nah! that’s too easy..

Since I live only a few miles from Leonardo Beach, maybe, we can go there and watch the Waves crash ashore..Oh wait, that’s a bad idea too as NJ is in a state of Emergency..

So here we go friends, another year another hurricane! Time for me to get in a couple of episodes of “Sons Of Anarchy” on Netflix before I lose power!

Half Century – Getting Older

As I reach the ripe old age of half-century, my thoughts at this moment in time.. Ok.. I’ll stop being corny!

Dad celebrated a major milestone birthday yesterday with great fanfare and a party.. Yet somehow I really don’t know how to feel. Should I feel like belong as an eligable member for AARP or do I continue to act when I hit the big 40?

I really don’t know. Fortunately for me, the milestone was overshadowed (I hope) with the 50th wedding anniversary of my in-laws. Now that is a milestone that deserves recognition!

Typically, I reflect on my birthday, my accomplishments and where I am during that day. Yesterday, when I did this, I felt a quiet sense of achievement for the first half century of my life. I’m financially stable (almost), have a wonderful family (inner circle and my extended family), and I’m somewhat healthy. Of course there is room for improvement and enhancing my quality of life, but over the past few months, I’ve done just that.

My finances are starting to stabilize (debt anyone?). This continues to be my obsession of course, but I’m taking steps to address this ongoing issue which I’ve written about in the past. I’m also  addressing my nagging health problems and paying attention when my body is giving me warning signs.

So when I think about my first half century of life.. I do feel good about myself. I’ve made it this far with my survival senses intact. I’ve persevered and achieved success (as I see it) and my wife and kids are my achievement. Seeing them succeed and continue to succeed, is my achievement. Yes, I’m not that wealthy financially.. but I’ve laid down the foundation for future wealth.. Only time will tell (over the next decade) if I’ve made the right decisions.

I’ve been persistent is achieving some level of a comfortable life for my family. Of course it’s never been easy to maintain this sense of persistence with the many obstacles life throws in your “road of life”, but hey who doesn’t face these?

So as I sit here writing, I’m thinking I’m doing fine. I just need to work on improving my mindset to be more optimistic and less sarcastic.. Maybe reducing the sarcasm will be a bit harder than being more optimistic.. 🙂

I had a great day yesterday.. I felt the love of my wife and kids, and my extended family. They gave me a wonderful party and I felt truly blessed that my friends that I made when I was growing up in NYC were there to share this day with me.  Isn’t that what life is all about? Accepting the love your friends/family gives you and giving it back?

TTFN Dad..

Blogging Hiatus

Normally, I try to blog at least once a week, but for the past few week it’s been totally crazy.. I just came back from Dallas from an employee resource group conference.

I tell you Dallas just continues to amaze me at the size of the malls and the number and variety of restaurants that are available in almost any neighborhood and mall. I found a little strip mall which had 10+ small restaurants in Addison, Texas that were all different (Mexican, Italian, Tex-Mex, Grill, etc..)

Another thing is the size of these malls, the sizes are just huge, I guess when they say “Things are bigger in Texas” they must have meant the shopping malls!

The more I go to Texas, the more I realize, I don’t think I could live there. It’s just different. Yes there is diversity, but just the general mood of the city is different. I’ll go into that more in other postings.

Anyway, Dad’s taxi is back in operation and has to hit the road to drop off the younger one to school. I’ll post more later.

Almost forgot to add that the amount of spam that I continue to get on this blog is mind boggling.. People don’t leave comments (that’s ok), but I was gone for 2  weeks and I had over 30 SPAM comments.. How many pairs of UGGS shoes can a person buy?

TTYL for now!

Terrorism in India – The common man

Indian’s government’s inability to protect the common man in India is shown by the terrorist attack in Mumbai.

This past Wednesday, as I was a conference call with my off-shore team in Mumbai, one of them told me that there were additonal attacks in Mumbai, India. At first I was shocked, then I was deeply saddened.

This past week Mumbai experienced another cowardly attack by terrorists. This attack hit home for me even more as one of the sites was where I roam when I’m visiting and it’s only a mile or so from where I live when I’m in Mumbai!

My best friend AK from Bharatbeat wrote and  an absolutely wonderful article about this attack  on our blog. The post describes how the common man’s interests are NOT the priority of the Indian government, and how the government does not seem to protect the the population. Each terrorist attack is a photo opportunity and an opportunity for the corrupt politicians in India to get face time in front of the cameras.

I could go on and on, but I won’t, as none of my rants will change anything in India. Sad but true..

Do you think that anything will change after the latest attacks? You can provide your opions at the BharatBeat FaceBook page or here..

Below are some articles related to the attack from a few days ago.

Snow Days in Middletown, NJ

Socked in by the Blizzard of 2010 in New Jersey!

Hi Everyone,  I haven’t written in a while as I’ ve been busy with my end of year workation and recovering from the Blizzard of 2010  that dumped 25+ inches of snow in my hometown of Leonardo, NJ.. Even with my monster snow blower/thrower, it took me over 3+ hours to clear my driveway. In my 40+ years, I’ve never seen this kind of snow storm leave such an aftermath. All up and down the North East Corridor, snow fell everywhere for a period of 24 hours and accumulated at an astonishing rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour. Yes we do get snowstorms.. but nothing of this magnitude.

Nobody was spared if you lived anywhere on the shore line of the northeast. NJ has been in as state of emergency and continues to be in one today..

 

NJ Governor Chris Christie

BTW as a side note, both of the highest government officials of the Garden State are taking a major bruising over this as both the Governor and his Lieutenant Governor  are MIA in warmer climates. I guess they were following there commander in chief from Washington who is on vacation in Hawaii!..As a matter of fact both the governor of NJ and the mayor of NY have not been spared as a result of the snow clearing issues. NJ Governor Chris Christie is in Walt Disney World with his family on a “much needed” vacation and this second in command is in Mexico! Keep in mind both of them make  a combined $300K per year out of taxpayer money to serve the state of NJ.

Till 2010, NJ didn’t even have a Lt. Governor! This is what I call progress! Below is a quote that  I read in an editorial which perfectly describes the above:

State Sen. Dick Codey, a Democrat who stepped in for 15 months after Gov. Jim McGreevey resigned in 2004, put it best.

“They’re both entitled to a vacation, but not at the same time,” he said of Christie and Guadango. “You sit down and you work that out. Why do we have a lieutenant governor? So when the governor’s out of state for a period of time, like he is now, she or he would cover for him.”

The lieutenant governor, by the way, does not serve for free. She is paid $141,000 a year. The governor can make a maximum of $175,000.

So much for personal responsibility. So much for selflessness. So much for saving taxpayers’ money. Confronted with the first true crisis of his administration, Chris Christie went to Disney World.

Maybe the pundits will have to rethink that name the governor is making for himself. Could it be … Micky Mouse?

In NY/NJ Many side roads were still not cleared a few days 48 hours after the snow stopped! In my hometown, I do have to commend the MT officials that have been working around the clock to clear the roads. Additonally, the communications with the residents via text messages and emails has been superlative.

Every day we have been getting text messages from MT township on progress of road clearing and which roads remain to be cleared. In the 10 years that I’ve lived in MT, this is the first time I’ve seen this level of communication. I truly appreciated it. Fortunately, I happen to live on a “pass-through” street and it’s always cleared first. Of course this also means, that we are usually plowed in with snow on our driveway!

BTW, if you don’t know what “pass-through” means: It’ a road in NJ is like a cross street to get to one major road to another Major Road. In my case it’s Route 36 to Route 35. Both of these roads run North South. Route 36 is the beach traffic road and the Route 35 is the shoppers paradise road!

Since this is a holiday week, schools are closed, so kids are home and they of course are enjoying the snow.. Even my teen went sledding today, with her college pals!

I hope all my readers have a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2011! Over the next few days, I’m going to individual farewell to 2010.. stay tuned for that.. it should be interesting.

Dad..

Flirting with Disaster – ATV Mishap

Summary of ATV mishap in upstate NY at a friends cabin.

So this weekend, whole family went to upstate NY to  a friends cabin for a weekend retreat from civilization.  Little did  I know that this trip could be disastrous.

My Friend has 2 ATV’s and I’ve ridden both of his ATV’s in the past, so I was pretty confident that I would be able to control. The one he calls the “big one” is the one that I rode almost caused me and my daughter to end up in the hospital (or worse).

My family (wife and Kids) and my sister-in-law were supposed to meet up at my friend’s cabin, but due to traffic they turned back and went back home.. Not good.  So since my friend Jimmy’s Cabin had no cell signal nor was his landline operational, I volunteered to drive  with my daughter a few miles up the road to get a signal on my cell phone. My intention was to call my sister-in-law in Queens and to tell her to back on the road and get up to the cabin, as we had activities planned.

Of course as we know all good intentions can sometimes be fraught with errors in judgement.

As my daughter and I took off up the road going about 30 mph, my baseball cap flew off.  Me, in my infinite wisdom (or lack of), decided to make a U-Turn to get the cap (now lying on the road).

As I turned the ATV to make the U-turn, I lost control and instead of braking, I accelarated into a tree (tree suffered no damage). Instinctively I stuck out my right hand, so my 10 year old daughter would not fly over the front.. I took most of the blunt force  against the front of the ATV and of course the ATV was a wreck.. Destroyed the front end, radiator and flat..

I somehow flagged someone down and they took us back to the cabin so we could get Jimmy to survey how to get this huge ATV back to his cabin. Somehow Jimmy managed to bring the ATV back to his cabin (don’t know how he did it but he did it) .

I suffered bruising on my right leg and stomach and fortunately my daughter came out unscathed. She was just shaken up.  Yet when I reflect back,  I’m certain I had an angel on my shoulder that afternoon.  Consider this: If I would have missed the tree by a few feet to the righ, there was steep down slope into  a ditch/stream. I don’t want to think what the outcome would have been there.

I sit here and reflect on my luck, because hindsight is always 20 – 20.  If only I had decided to stop the ATV on the side of the road and WALK back to get the cap, none of this would have happened. Better yet, no baseball cap is worth the stupid actions that I did.

Rest of Saturday/Sunday, I spent taking Advil to for the pain and icing down my bruises.  I guess I was more embarassed than injured. Yet today, I’m still hobbling and still very sore from this mis-adventure.

Next day, I knew I had to get on the ATV to get over the shock/fear. I was shaking when I went on the other ATV that Jimmy had, but I had to fight the fear and get back on the ride.  Fortunately, I stayed off road (most of the time) and was able to successfully navigate the smaller ATV.

So with the rowing adventure/mishap last week and the ATV mishap this week I’m 2 for 2 on successive weekend outings during the summer of 2009.  I think the lesson to be learned here is to  just stay away from the great outdoors for the time being.

One lesson that I do want to share is this: If it looks hard, it probably is. Make sure you are properly trained before you get on any ATV and above all use common sense instead of  being lazy.

Next weekend is the annual Mid-Summer Masala at Six Flags in Jackson NJ.. Yes I know, stay away from anything that might throw me off.. I think I’ll stick to the Merry-Go-Round or the Ferris Wheel.

Work At Home – Sites

Work at home sites

I always mention Clark Howard at least once a month on my postings, so I found one of his postings that caught my eye. This involves “Work At Home” Scams and opportunities.

As summer starts,  I know there are many people out there looking for jobs.  Clark put on his site some legitimate work at home opportunities.

The following bit of advice that I saw on this posting is really good for everyone that is looking for work at home opportunities.

Excerpted from the Clark Howard site:

One bit of advice before you take the leap into a work-at-home opportunity: Take an inventory of your talent, add a dash of creativity to your thinking and come up with a plan that suits you.

• If you sew well, do alterations for others.
• If you have a good grasp of a particular subject, tutors are always needed.
• Good with a computer? Consider teaching others how to use one. You might also want to do computer work for college and graduate students. Try putting up flyers around your area as well as the local colleges and universities.
• Create personal websites for friends and neighbors. Parents might want to purchase one from you as a gift for a child. It can used for photos and ‘firsts’ as the child is growing. This makes a great gift to the parents of a newborn!
• Are you handy with crafts? Costume jewelery making and selling can be aimed at school-aged girls or adults, and all well-priced gift items sell well especially before the holiday season.

The list can go on as long as you align your talents with services or products others need. Be imaginative and create a job! If you choose to go the standard work-at-home route, heed these warnings from the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau.

As usual, I thank Clark for always providing insights for the consumer and advice that is usable by all.  Clark’s site is one that I recommend everyone bookmark.