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Getting Emails from your Bank

Today I got an email from Chase threatening to close my account if I didn't reply and send them my information. I immediately went online to chase and logged in and found the warning against answering bogus emails.

Your bank will NEVER threaten you by email to close your account if you don't comply with the instructions in the email.

Call your bank immediately and ask for the email address for your Bank, (Chase's is abuse@chase.com), that deals with bogus emails. Then forward the email to this email address so that the bank can become aware. This is important to do, so that your bank can keep abreast of these threats and try and track the culprits down.


False Email from Microsoft/Outlook.com? I Don't Think So...

One of my clients called, very upset that Microsoft was going to cancel her Microsoft/Outlook.com email account. I went to her house to see what was going on.

When she opened her email there it was, an email from Hotmail Team.

# 1     Microsoft does not send you emails.
# 2   The message was incoherent and there were lots of anomalies, misspelled words and wrong punctuation.
# 3     In all my years as a computer technician and as an msn.com email account holder I have never heard of Microsoft sending an email asking for my passwords once much less twice.
# 4    Microsoft would never threaten to suspend your email account unless you were up to no good. This client is almost 80 years old, not a criminal!

Click on the picture below and read the email and see what I mean. If you ever get an email such as this pay attention to those little hairs on the back of your neck as they stand up. This is a ploy to get information on your email account for reasons that are most certainly not good.

Hotmail I Don't Think So

So, if you get an email like this or one from that appears to be from your bank asking your to provide them with your private information remember that this is most certainly not from who they say it is!



Tablet, Laptop or What?

You could buy a Samsung tablet for instance at about $250 it wouldn’t have Microsoft Office programs on it, but it /would connect you to the home network and the internet. So you could access your files on the cloud from it. You could take it with you anywhere because it is light weight and small, about the size of a steno tablet.  You could use it for email and surfing the internet. All of the “heavy duty stuff, like documents and pictures you could do on another computer. You could take the tablet with you because it is light and small enough to fit in a purse.

You could also buy an inexpensive laptop. I’d stick with Dell or HP. You could get one for around $350, it wouldn’t need a big hard drive - 320 Gigabytes would be plenty and at least 4 Gigabytes of memory to be able to surf the net quickly and view videos and so forth online. If you have the DVD’s from your Microsoft Office we could load it onto it. Save the files you create to the cloud to save space on your hard drive.

Microsoft has a new tablet/laptop hybrid that is the size of a tablet but works like a laptop. It's called Surface.There are two models, the one that goes for around $500 has Microsoft Office on it. It is light weight and you can take it with you like the tablet. It has the added benefit of having Microsoft Word, Excel etc. on it. Not sure about Outlook, you’d- have to ask.

Have questions, before you make a purchase give me a call, (480) 474-8037.



They are at it again...

June 12th last year, as you can see from that post, one of my SunBird Golf Resort clients got called by a scammer. This guy was smoother than the guy last year. He called and kept her on the pone for over three hours. He told her he was from Microsoft and that her computer was in eminent danger of crashing.

Remember this is a SCAM!

He called again the next day, he told her, "Ma'am, do you think I would waste 5 hours of my time if I was a scammer? She finally broke down and gave him her credit card information and her checking account number! He convinced her that she needed antivirus protection on her computer. (She already had the free Microsoft Security Essentials) which I had put on her computer when I initially set it up in early 2012.

He talked her into letting him take control of her computer and proceeded to uninstall the Microsoft software mentioned above, and downloaded a free trial of Norton Antivirus and charged her $100 for it. Fortunately, her guardian angel was watching over her and the charge didn't go through.

She called me and I could tell she was bewildered. I made an appointment to go to her home and help her. When I got there the first thing I did was call her local Bank of America location. I spoke with the bank manager and explained what had happened. He checked her bank account and there were no charges other than the ones she had made. I asked him to make the necessary calls on her behalf to the appropriate officials so they could track these bad guys. She had gotten the guys name and phone number, which I checked out online and was a valid number out of California. Obviously, though it was a made up name and probably not his phone number. The bank manager told us that there is no one he could call. The only advice he had was to contact the FTC at ftc.gov.

Next I called her credit card company, they immediately suggested that they close the account and open a new one with a new number, which we did. She would get her new card in 5 to 7 business days. They didn't have anything to offer in the way of who to report this to.

I took off the trail version of Norton off and reinstalled Microsoft Security Essentials. I ran a scan and turned off the option to allow others to access her computer remotely.

The next step is making sure that this crook isn't attempting to create a new charge account using her identity. She is going to check her credit reports right away to make sure this isn't the case.

Yesterday I called her to see how everything was going. Guess what! This criminal had the temerity to call he again! When he asked for her by name she told him the person by that name was out of town. He asked when she would return, and she told him not for six months.

I warned her to call the police and report it to them as well as the gate master in her community. You have to protect yourself. If you get a caller like this, hang up on them. If they call back, tell them you have called the police and they have your permission to monitor your phone calls. This should scare them off, at least for a while anyway.



Christmas Themes for Your Windows Computer

Are you one that likes to change the background on your desktop for special occasions? Microsoft has provided a holiday theme that is a free download. Click on this link: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/holiday-lights-download-theme and then click on the theme you like best. Then click on the green Download button and enjoy! Have a Blessed Christmas!


"FBI" Ransomeware Takeover

One of my clients sent me an email today stating that she had received it originally from her adult son. In the email, he tells her that he had a troubling incident related to his computer.

He was using his computer when suddenly out of nowhere a window opened stating that the FBI had taken control of his computer and that he had been identified as dispersing illegal information. Further it said the to regain control he would have to click on a provided link and then use his credit card to pay a fine.

He ignored the email and wrote it off as a scam, but to his shock when he tried to click on the Start button to turn off his computer it wouldn't allow him to do so.

Fortunately, he knew that if one holds down the On button long enough that the computer would shut down. When he restarted the computer all was well again.

Please be advised that the FBI does NOT contact you by email when a serious situation arises. This was indeed a hoax that could have had dire results if he had given the send his credit card information.

From Microsoft

Cyber criminals are endlessly inventive in their efforts to exploit vulnerabilities in software, and many software companies work tirelessly to combat these threats. That is why you should: Regularly install updates for all your software—antivirus and antispyware programs, browsers (like Windows Internet Explorer), operating systems (like Windows), and word processing and other programs.

Subscribe to automatic software updates whenever they are offered—for example, you can automatically update all Microsoft software.

Be very cautious about opening attachments or clicking links in email or IM, or in posts on social networks (like Facebook)—even if you know the sender. Call to ask if a friend sent it; if not, delete it or close the IM window.

Avoid clicking Agree, OK, or I accept in banner ads, in unexpected pop-up windows or warnings, on websites that may not seem legitimate, or in offers to remove spyware or viruses.

Instead, press CTRL + F4 on your keyboard. If that doesn't close the window, press ALT + F4 on your keyboard to close the browser. If asked, close all tabs and don’t save any tabs for the next time you start the browser.

Only download software from websites you trust. Be cautious of "free" offers of music, games, videos, and the like. They are notorious for including malware in the download.

Has Your Email Address Been Spoofed?

The article below is what Google suggests to do when your Gmail email account has been Spoofed. Check with your email provider: Hotmail, Yahoo or whatever, to see what they suggest to do for their particular accounts.

Is Someone Sending Emails from Your Address?

Google says:

If you receive messages for mail that appears to originate from your account, you find messages in Spam from 'me,' or you receive a reply to a message you never sent, you may be the victim of a 'spoofing' attack. Spoofing means faking the return address on outgoing mail to hide the true origin of the message.

When you send a letter through the post, you generally write a return address on the envelope so the recipient can identify the sender, and so the post office can return the mail to the sender in the event of a problem. But nothing prevents you from writing a different return address than your own; in fact, someone else could send a letter and put your return address on the envelope. Email works the same way. When a server sends an email message, it specifies the sender, but this sender field can be forged. If there is a problem with delivery and someone forged your address on the message, then the message will be returned to you, even if you weren't the actual sender.

If you've received a reply to a message that wasn't sent from your address, there are two possibilities:

  1. The message was spoofed, forging your address as the sender.
  2. The original sender used your address as a reply-to address so that responses would be sent to you.

Neither of these possibilities indicates that your account was compromised, but if you're concerned that your account may have been compromised, you can check recent access to your account. Just scroll to the very bottom of your inbox and click the Details link next to 'Last account activity.'

Microsoft Scam Caller

One of my clients in SubBird and another in Gold Canyon called this week asking whether Microsoft would call people. It seems that they each had gotten a call, one was from a man the other a woman. They had pretty heavy accents and were a little difficult to understand. Each one said that they were from Microsoft and that they were calling to let the client know that their computer was infected. They went on to say that the client needed to get on their computer right away so that the caller could "fix" the problem. If there were any real threat it would have been all over the TV and internet.

When questioned about where they were calling from, the man told my client that he was calling from the home office of Microsoft in California. Actually, most everyone knows that the Microsoft home office is in Redmond, Washington. The information on their website can be found by clicking on this link: http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=mscorp

Scams like this happen all of the time, be prepared to hang up. They want your passwords, access to your personal information like social security numbers, moms maiden name, favorite pet all the things people us online as secret questions to get your passwords. In short they want to steal your money and your identity. Be smarter than them if you feel uneasy pay attention to those feelings and hang up.


Being Hacked

OK, we have all heard about being hacked, but just what does it mean?

Some person, a programmer usually, who may be around the world somewhere wrote a program that he/she sends out into the Internet that looks for compromised computers.

This means that your antivirus may not be current or that your password was so simple the programmers virus found and cracked it and then took over your email account. It sends an email to everyone in your Address Book or Contacts and perpetuates the virus.

I got an email today from a client that I haven't heard from in a long time, which is usually a joke or a question on a computer issue. When I opened the email all that was in the body of the email was a link to a website. Knowing what I do, I immediately deleted the email without clicking on the link. I also ran a virus scan on my computer.

If the person who receives the email clicks on the link it opens and does a couple of things. The first a virus may be transferred to their computer. Second, the hacker now may have taken control of the computer and sends out emails to all of the people in your Address Book or Contacts and perpetuates the problem.

There are a lot of other things that can be the result of being hacked. Some computers that have been hacked will suddenly not perform the way it ordinarily does. When you boot it up, it will reboot automatically. This is the hacker booting into your computer. They can then see your screen when you input your various passwords to sites your are a member of or even your bank account! Suddenly your bank accounts will show activity that you did not initiate. They do this if you leave your computer on all the time. By that I mean you never turn it off when done, you just put it into sleep or hibernation.

Run a thorough virus scan, which may take a couple of hours. Call your bank and let them know which withdrawals or purchases were not made by you immediately. Change all of your passwords. Sometimes, the virus will come back again, (that's the way the virus was written). Then your passwords will need to be changed all over again.

Make sure you use a upper and lower case letters and some numbers in the new password. This makes the password more difficult to figure out. Also don't store the passwords on your computer, it can be scanned remotely by the hacker and then printed out and used indiscriminately. Most secure sites, like banks, will encourage you to change your password every three months. This can be rather daunting but if you truly want to make your computer and all it contains as secure as possible it would be a good idea. Some people use the same password for all of their logins, this isn't a good idea. When hacked, the hacker has that much more of an easy time getting where you don't want them to go.

So how do you keep track of all of these passwords? Buy a small spiral notebook and dedicate a page to each login/password. Write down the website address it is for, your user name, email address, password and secret question and answer. Keep it in a place that will be convenient for you to use in the event you forget the password. Also, let a trusted person know where you keep it. Then if you are hospitalized or worse your accounts will be able to be accessed by those who are trusted.

If you think you need more help or have questions, call or email me anytime.

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