Scambusters

Scammers and Web Based insects which attack. How to fight these attacks.

Today with the way technology is proceeding at a breakneck speed, we are all inundated with offers either via email, telephone or by on-line malware. This post talks about some tips to avoid being scammed. In today’s of technology overload, you are your own last line of defense against spam, phishing, malware, virus’s, and any web born aggrevation.

Hmm, do I sound like someone who has gone down this path?

To battle the scourge of being scammed or having your identity stolen, here are a couple of really good sites which help you follow up on this ageless motto:

“If it sounds too good to be true, it absolutely is”.

  1. Scambusters – Check out questionable offers
  2. Scam – On-line community forums

Some tips to avoid being scammed or having your identity stolen (my list of on-line NO-NO’s):

  • Don’t open ANY emails that look suspicious (No you have not won $5M in the European Union’s lottery that you never entered)
  • Don’t confirm any personal information via email – NO valid financial institution will ask you for your pin code to “confirm” your identity.
  • Never ever give your credit card number to anyone on the phone, if you have any doubt of  who the caller is. I encountered this when I kept on getting “restricted” calls from the Policemen’s fund raiser on my home phone. As soon as you ask for proof of identity or email confirmation, the phone line mysteriously goes dead….
  • Make sure your Antivirus, hardware/software firewall, spyware blocker, anti-phishing (browser) addons for Firefox or IE are updated. If this sounds like I’m over-protected, I’m not. Even with all of the above, I’ve seen many of these villans attack my machines at home. So in order to protect yourself, you need to have a combinations. I’ve used both McAfee and Norton. These days I lean towards McAfee, only because, it’s provided free by most web providers (Comcast, Optimum, etc…). I’v also stopped using IE all together and only use Firefox on all my machines.
  • Make sure you disable Pop-Ups (this is how how I caught the dreaded “Your machine has a virus, you need to purchase ….”  virus). You can always enable or override with simple keystrokes.
  • Do not accept any invitation/messages  from anyone that you do not know on social networking sites.  Yes that means me, a noted Facebook and LinkedIn fanatic.
  • Do not accept an invitation : When you get an invite from someone that you have no clue to be your “friend” on your instant messager client (cindyfunxx38  is not your friend)

Overall, I can safely say: “If you encounter stangers bearing gifts, you can almost be assured that you will be given a gift that will last for a lifetime”.

If you know of any additional scambuster sites, leave me a comment.

Clark Howard Highlights – Tips for your Financia Life

A few weeks ago I talked about Clark Howard. He’s the guy who has is an a excellent advocate for consumers. His tips and tricks give you excellent ideas on saving money in your every day financial transactions.

Today, I came across the CNN site with videos by Clark on his weekly TV Show.

As I’ve said before, what I like about Clark Howard’s information is that it’s very useful in everyday life. Take a look.

PC Hell – Tips to solve your PC Related problems

Last week, my daughter (again) downloaded a spyware/malware toolbar on her PC. Of course, I had no clue whether this toolbar was malware. I quickly found out that this IE toolbar (forgot it’s name).

This toolbar was particularly nasty, as it didn’t do anything but slow down the Vista machine. Of course Vista doesn’t need much help doing that.

I found this site via Google the site PC Hell which helped me to get rid of this nefarious toolbar. This site is pretty cool in that it gives you some great tips and techniques “to bring your pc from the edge”. Most of this focus is trojans, malware and browser hijacker’s.

I poked around this site and found the content to be very useful. Check it out.

Below is a direct quote from the site which I thought to be pretty ominous:
Everyone has been to PC Hell at one time or another. It’s that place you visit when your personal computer is driving you insane with problems, glitches, and so on. To try to soothe the frustration, we’ll provide some tips, hints, and troubleshooting remedies to help you get out of PC Hell. Be warned however, sometimes there is no exit….

Lesson to be learned here: Never let your teenager get Admin rights to his/her PC. Yet this is a topic that can be discussed another day.

TTFN