About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

May 2, 2017

March 17, 2015

"Hi, this is Ron from Windows"

I have a couple of scams to inform you of today that could cost you time, effort and lots of money.  One is computer related, the other financial. 

Many people have reported getting calls from someone saying something similar to, "Hello this is Ron (fill in any name) from Windows, we see that your computer is reporting errors and we need to help you." 

First red flag on this is that no one from "Windows" would contact you since there is no company named Windows.  Secondly, you would most likely think it was Microsoft; however, they would never call you out of the blue with a problem.  Unless it is due to some very unusual circumstances, Microsoft does not even have your phone number. 

If you continue with the call, as apparently many people have, they will help you. The problem is that their "help" is quite harmful.  I have read of some people being directed by the caller to install software on their computer in order to give them access to run a special update.  Never, ever let some stranger talk you into installing anything on your computer…on any occasion! 

That will give them access to your computer after they supposedly help you.  Then you will have problems with your computer and a different foreign voice will contact you in the future saying for $$$ they can fix this issue.  

Fraud image
The other issue being reported is they have installed a key logger program on your computer.  A key logger has the ability to record every keystroke you make and send it to someone else-without you knowing a thing.  This can include all of your user names and passwords.  You know what happens to your bank accounts after they get that info. 

Bottom-line is if you get a call from someone representing themselves as a person wanting to fix your computer, hang-up.  Then if you wish you can report them to "The Internet Crime Complaint Center" (IC3) at ""  The IC3 is co-sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).

Next, you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS.  They inform you that you owe taxes and if you do not pay immediately you will be criminally prosecuted.  Usually they require the payment to be made through a prepaid debit card. 

You may laugh and think, "What knucklehead would do that since the IRS never cold calls anyone about anything."  But since October, 2013 more than 3,000 people fell for this scam and made the crooks $15.5 million.  The top five states taken so far, per Timothy Camus, deputy inspector general for investigations at the agency that oversees the IRS are: California ($3.84 million), New York ($1.35 million), Texas ($795,884), Florida ($760,000) and Virginia ($648,363).

If the IRS calls you, hang up.

October 11, 2011

Help–I’ve Been Scammed!

Last month I became involved in an internet scam with Craigslist.  You know, for some unknown reason I have never been a fan of Craigslist ( for buying or selling things online.  I have never used it…just a bad feeling; although, I have bought and sold items online before at other sites having no real worries about it.  No, I have my own personal reasons for continuing to avoid using that particular site.

We listed our home for sale recently and have had the normal amount of showings for the current economic climate.  (Yes, it is still for sale.)

One Sunday afternoon my family and I were standing outside the house in the front yard.  A very nice man drove up ,walked up to the house and said that he thought he would like to rent our home.  We told him that was nice but it was not for rent… only for sale.  He told us he saw it advertised online and that the “owner” told them she left as a missionary to Africa and before he could rent/sell the house he had to leave the country.  We told him that he was being scammed and he gave us the info on how he found it on Craigslist.  We checked… guess what?  There was our house represented by actual photographs, square footage and many other facts.

The FBI has been releasing warnings about this particular type of scam since 2009.  They reported that this scam is being run out of…are you ready for this… Nigeria.  Probably the same bands of Nigerians who have all the money and need your help to get the millions from a bad dictator for them and for you.

The basic scam runs like this:  A homeowner actually lists their home with a reputable realtor who then proceeds to place the home on the Multiple Listing Service and public websites.  The Nigerian ne’er-do-wells grab whatever information they want to use for the “rental” advertisement from the legitimate sites.

They then list it on Craigslist as if it is an actual rental offer from the homeowner.  Then people looking for a good deal on a rental house start coming to your house to rent it at a below market rate.  Ours was advertised at about half of what it would actually rent for in today’s marketplace.  If the people get as far as seeing the house and contacting the fake owner he sends them a contract and asks for the renters to return it signed along with a check for the first month’s rent and a security deposit.  After he receives the money they will be mailed the keys and can move in.

The scammer in our situation told the people that they could look around the house if they wished.  The Nigerian probably just took a chance that we wouldn’t be there.

Avoid scams and fraud by dealing locally! Beware of any provisions involving Western Union, Money grams, wire transfers, or a landlord/owner who is out of the country and cannot meet you in person.  We had three people come to see our “rental property” before Craigslist removed the ad.  This they did after I tried to contact them (I say “tried” since I never heard back from anyone) but it took a little too long for my taste.

July 18, 2011

2011-07-18 WSVA Show Notes

Here are the sites/news mentioned this morning on the show.  As always your comments are appreciated.See you next month!


Tech News
LulzSec Hackers Gone, but not without a parting shot
Jim and Ron’s discussion, Last month we talked about them hitting the Senate, game and FBI sites…this month they are gone."A LulzSec member told the Associated Press that the group was “bored” and denied that it was stopping its public attacks because of pressure from law enforcement. He did, however, say that some of the chat logs and information about hackers’ identities was correct."

They did pop data into the world at the end which included documents from the game Battlefield Heroes, plus internal documents from AOL and AT&T. According to the Next Web site, the release also has evidence that the group hacked the U.S. Navy, the NATO online bookshop and the FBI’s Web site. The files also include a hodgepodge of corporate and other IP addresses, usernames, passwords and other log-ins from and other, unnamed sites.

Google’s self-driving car gets a green light from Nevada
The New York Times did some digging last month and discovered that the company had been lobbying the Nevada state legislature to allow for autonomous cars to be driven on public streets. The proposal was slated to be introduced as two separate bills that would not only make them street legal, but also exempt the vehicles from a law prohibiting texting while driving.Nevada passed a bill for the Department of Motor Vehicles to create guidelines for “autonomous vehicles” that rely on artificial intelligence to get around on state roads. Come March of next year, state officials will start to iron out car certification standards, insurance requirements and other regulations for robotic cars. Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles will also determine which areas the cars can be driven.

It most likely will not occur next year or so, but not far off.

Airline Pilots Ditch Paper for iPads and Save Millions in Fuel
Doling out gadgets may seem more like a recruiting perk than a sustainability decision, but pilots have to carry up to 35 pounds of paper with them in the cockpit on each flight. Swapping out those manuals, maps, and other documents to lighten the load could add up to $1.2 million in fuel savings, according to American Airlines.

So far American Airlines and Alaska Airlines are the only ones doing this.

It has fairly accurate play and no one can scream at you, etc. You can only respond with safe messages to each other, i.e. Nice shot, Well played, Oops, Good Game, etc.

And beside all of that it is just fun!

  • Text4Baby
    Get FREE messages each week on your cell phone to help you through your pregnancy and your baby’s first year.Text4baby is an educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition.
  • Microsoft Fix It
    Sometimes something just doesn’t work correctly on your MS computer. MS Fix it will help you find many issues and then offer a fix for them. I ran a couple of them and they don’t install anything on your system so when you are done just delete the original file you downloaded.

June 20, 2011

2011-06-20 WSVA Show Notes

Listen to the podcast online if you weren’t able to listen live this morning.

Tech News
Chromebooks (yes, Google too) are on the way
Online notebooks are on the way and may rule the tech world for many users.

"Chromebook isn’t instant-on! Don’t believe any marketing messaging suggesting it. I had to wait an agonizing 4 seconds when flipping the lid before the Chrome logo appeared — first bootup out of the box."

LulzSec Hackers take down, just for kicks
The hacking group LulzSec have added to the growing list of organizations whose websites they’ve breached just for the heck of it, including Sony,, FBI affiliate Infragard and a porn site. Last week the group released a long list of internal configuration data from the U.S. Senate’s official website, — while none of it appeared to be sensitive, the group appeared to want to show that it could breach the Senate’s computer network.

We don’t like the US government very much,” the hacker group which also calls itself The Lulz Boat said. “Their boats are weak, their lulz are low, and their sites aren’t very secure. In an attempt to help them fix their issues, we’ve decided to donate additional lulz in the form of owning them some more!”

LulzSec Hackers take down CIA Website 06/16/11
After recently attacking a number of gaming websites, the hacker group known as LulzSec has used a DDoS attack to take down the CIA’s website,

The site was inaccessible for several hours.

LulzSec is now taking phone requests of what site to bring down
See above then read on…

Hacking group LulzSec was touting a hotline yesterday that let people call in and request takedowns of Web sites.

"Call into 614-LulzSec and pick a target, and we’ll obliterate it," LulzSec wrote on its Twitter account yesterday. "Nobody wants to mess with The Lulz Cannon–take aim for us Twitter."

The LulzSec hotline’s area code encompasses the Columbus, Ohio, metropolitan area, though it’s unlikely the people behind the organization are there. According to LulzSec, its hacking request line was lighted up all day, and it accommodated a total of eight requests. By the end of the day, it claims to have had 5,000 missed calls and 2,500 voicemails.

1)  Soluto
Frustrated by your sluggish and unresponsive PC?

Soluto is bringing an end to PC user frustration with transparency, killer technology, and your help.

Find things that slow your system down from the minute you start it up until it is ready to run.  Many of the applications that start with your computer really are not needed until you need them. 

I also spoke off the air to someone who wanted free/inexpensive anti-virus software.  As always I recommended Microsoft’s Security Essentials…which as you know if you have listened to the show before, is free.

Have a great month and I will be on WSVA (550 AM) next month, Monday, July 18, 2011.

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