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May 2, 2017

April 25, 2017

Schemes, Part 5

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:44 am

As I told you last week this group of schemes are used on one specific part of our population.  Seniors, baby boomers and post baby boomers.  They even have titles.  I have found examples of these all over the net and my dad even experienced one of these years ago.

Counterfeit Prescriptions
Because prescription prices are high like all other medical costs seniors and others shop around online for less expensive prescriptions.  They are easy to find online.  This is where you may get ripped off twice.  Many times, the scam artists are selling bogus or inferior drugs.  Then you have wasted your money and your health declines.

Which one is the fake?

Funeral Scam
Some criminals read the obituaries every day and some may even attend funerals of seniors.  They will find as much information as they can about the survivor, especially contact information.  Then a week or so later the widowed person will get a call saying that their spouse owed them some money and they were supposed to collect it and now they are gone.  They get the bereaved to pay unwarranted charges. This is usually perpetrated in person.

Loving Grandparent Trick
A grandparent will get a call from a young person pretending to be their grandchild.  They may speak unclearly so that the senior thinks it is their grandchild with a cold.  They get the senior say the kid’s name and then work it further.  The final outcome is that they need the grandparent to mail them money at college, someone’s home, or have it wired to their account directly.

Grandma is so good to me.

Internet fraud
These scams include a call from someone claiming to be from a large computer company asking for permission to access the senior’s computer remotely to resolve a service issue or virus.   The bad guy then accesses saved data on the computer, such as names, addresses, account numbers, and other personal information. They use the information to apply for loans, credit cards, or to steal the senior’s identity.

Medicare/Medicaid fraud
Medicare’s universal coverage makes it easy for perpetrators to pose (either on the phone, in person, or via email) as Medicare representatives and ask seniors to provide personal information which they can then use to set up accounts or apply for credit cards.

Nigerian fraud
You know you have heard of this one, maybe even seen it in your inbox.  In one of the most common financial frauds of all time, a senior citizen receives a letter, an email, or a fax from a foreign “dignitary.” The correspondence promises huge monetary rewards in exchange for helping an official from a foreign country out of an embarrassing legal problem. All the senior needs to do, the correspondence states, is to send a small amount of money (in comparison to what he/she will receive in turn) to help out the foreign dignitary. Of course, the victim never receives any rich reward and loses the money that is sent.

Service scams
You receive a telephone call from what seems to be a legitimate company. There are problems with your account and the company simply needs to verify some information. The caller seems to already have information about you so you feel comfortable sharing additional information, such as your account number, to help the company correct the problems with your service.

So, be careful out there, no matter what your age!

March 28, 2017

Schemes, Part 1

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:27 am

There are a lot of cyber-schemes going around today.  And yes, they have been going around for years.  However, it seems to me that they have become more abundant over the last several months.

You know the emails with strange attachments, the links from companies asking you to log in and check your account.  Then the deposed politicians in foreign countries who need your help getting money, etcetera.

Scheming Computer 

I am getting multiple emails a week…sometimes daily which is a bit disturbing.  It really bothers me in that I pretty much feel confident that I avoid most of them but some of you may not.  I will never say that I will avoid them all because sooner or later I may mess up.

So first, perform the standards of keeping your operating system, antivirus, and anti-malware software up-to-date.  That is a significant help to you.

I took a class on security recently and thought I should share a few tips with you.  Some you may not have ever considered.  

One is, what should be done if you find a thumb drive laying on the ground somewhere?  DO NOT put it in your computer to see if there is any secret "stuff" on it.  Yes, it may have financial data, account numbers, legal documents, pictures or who knows what on it.  However, it is possible that it could have a virus on it.  You put it in your system and, "boom," you could have a very big problem with your computer.  You should give it to someone in "charge" at the location.  If it is in the middle of nowhere, toss it in the trash. 

How about your passwords?  Yes, I know that everyone has a different password for every single site they visit…not.  But you probably have multiple passwords you use from time-to-time.  How ever you deal with passwords they should be secure.  A secure password has at least eight characters and includes a minimum of one upper case letter, one lower case, a number and a symbol.   "12345678" is not a good password, but "Row3Urbt!" is.  So how do you remember it if it is that difficult?  Take a look at that one, how about, "Row, row, row, your boat?"  Make up those that are easy for you to remember, like the first letter of each word of your favorite song, followed by the year you graduated with an exclamation point-at the beginning.  Play with it and if you can do 12 characters it is much better.

Click the graphic below and use the password checker below
to find out how secure your passwords are. 

(Do not enter you actual PW but something close.)

Check the security of your password here.

Next, what about your computer when you leave the house?  Make sure of several things.  First, do not leave it unlocked.  On your windows PC press the Windows key and the "L" keys at the same time and it is locked/secured.  Make sure that you have not left a piece of paper lying around or under your keyboard with your password(s) on it.  Do not leave your thumb drive lying there as they are easy to walk off with.  Take your cell phone with you.  And this is old school but do not leave your tax returns lying on the desk before you leave for a movie.

More next week.

December 13, 2016

Several Words of Warning

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:53 pm

I have noticed a lot of scam emails coming to my inbox lately and thought I should mention a few to you.  Since they could very easily hurt your credit, finances, reputation, etc. you should be aware and very careful.

I have received many that were easy to spot.  They were text only, looked very simple, unlike an email you would expect from a big retailer and sometimes sounded if they were written by someone whose native language is not English.  One other very obvious tell with scam emails… there were several spelling errors. 

For instance, I received one this morning which said, "we incorrectly specified your information in the recent invocie #8858345." It went on to say, "please see the revisions, is in the attachment and make corecctions."  This one was text only.  Notice the spelling errors, they addressed it to lowercase "ron" and also notice they attached a file for me to review.

Red Alert! Especially regarding the attached file.  I am pretty sure I have expressed it a million times before and maybe I should again.  NEVER EVER open an attachment from someone you are not expecting an attachment from.  Even a friend or relative.  It could be totally innocent and it could be horrible.  The attachment I received was a zipped file which is even worse as it could contain anything. 

I say again open no attachments unless you know the person was sending it to you. 

Next, during the Christmas season I have received multiple emails from eBay, Amazon and one or two others.  They sadly inform me that my orders cannot be shipped due to some sort of problem.  In reality once a company has your money, especially Amazon, the product is good to go and I do not believe anything could pop up to create a problem. To solve the "problem" I will usually be requested to click a link and fill out some much-needed information.  This is also a scam as the first things they will ask you for on the site is your username, password and possibly your secret question.  The site can look exactly like a real business page so do not let that fool you.  As a matter of fact, I got a scam email from a PayPal look alike one time that had links to the PayPal security information page, home page and all other sorts of actual PayPal affiliated pages.  They can put a link to anything in a professional looking email. 

And the last thing for me, which I suggest for you:  I only transact purchases online with one email account.  That is all I use it for.  You know, presents, items we need at home…you know just stuff.  That way when I get an email concerning a purchase at any other email address but that one I know it is a scam since I have never purchased anything from that address.  Email accounts are free so get one for online purchases only to add one more step to your security path. 

You can report an email scam, hoax, or phishing scheme to several places like the Federal Trade Commission but I imagine they have more than enough to keep them overworked.  However, I do suggest you contact the company who supposedly sent it to you.  I have been successful once or twice but unfortunately most times they seem very nice but do not care.

Stay safe, be careful online.  They are out to get you and they make those fake emails look very good!

September 13, 2011

May 16, 2011

2011-05-16 WSVA Show Notes

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

Tech News
Online Scammers Jump on bin Laden News
Security experts are warning Internet users to beware of Osama bin Laden malware. Symantec says one spam contains a link to bogus photos and videos purporting to be from CNN Mexico. Instead, it directs people to a scam site designed to look real but created to steal passwords. Facebook users also fell victim to fake bin Laden links.

In what’s become common practice among the Internet’s less savory citizens, these scammers are sending out emails and spreading Facebook posts that purport to be videos or photos of the dead bin Laden. They are not. But by clicking the links, users can download computer viruses that steal personal information or otherwise infect their computers.


Yell at your phone to charge it!
New research from engineers in South Korea promises a new way to top up your phone’s battery: by shouting at it. This comes via a technique that turns energy from sound into electricity, and would allow a phone to be charged while you hold a conversation-just don’t throw you charger away any time soon.

Theoretically, using this technology your phone would also be able to charge while hold a conversation, but the sound levels in this situation are not high enough, unless… you shout at it.


CAN IT BE TRUE???? Skype Vulnerability Allows Hackers To Take Over Macs
A recently discovered hack in the Mac version of Skype allows hackers to gain control of the user’s system by sending a malicious instant message.

According to Australian security consultancy company Pure Hacking, the vulnerability in Skype is dangerous and would allow anyone with the know-how to gain control of a Mac by simply sending a malicious instant message.


  • Skype http://www.skype.com
    With Skype, you can share a story, celebrate a birthday, learn a language, hold a meeting, work with colleagues – just about anything you need to do together every day. You can use Skype on whatever works best for you – on your phone or computer or a TV with Skype on it. It is free to start using Skype – to speak, see and instant message other people on Skype for example. You can even try out group video, with the latest version of Skype.

    If you pay a little, you can do more things, in more ways, with more people – like call phones, access WiFi or send texts.

    Microsoft purchases Skype


  • Planking http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/psychologist-fears-police-crackdown-will-lead-to-more-planking-deaths/story-e6freoof-1226057031718
    This is the first recorded "Planking" death; unfortunately there could be many more to follow. What is planking? It is the "art" of laying face-down in extreme locations, having your picture taken and posted online for temporary fame.

    As the debate about planking went viral around the world yesterday, Brisbane psychologist Paul Martin warned of more deaths of "extreme plankers". He claimed part of the reason was that the pre-frontal cortex in men aged 23 or younger – the decision management part of the brain – was not fully developed and they therefore lacked a "handbrake" and took silly risks.

    "Add testosterone, add masculinity, add the Jackass effect and then add the explosion of social networking sites which are a way to gain acceptance . . . (and) death is quite inevitable."


  • Gas Buddy & Virginia Gas Prices http://gasbuddy.com
    Check country wide or state wide gas prices. Just enter your Zip Code at gasbuddy.com and it will take you to the area gas prices (for us, VirginiaGasPrices.com.

    They also have a trip cost estimator. Enter the FROM and TO, YEAR, MAKE and MODEL of your car and they will estimate how much it will cost you in gas to go and return.

    And of course, they have apps for iPhones, Androids and Windows phones. If you have another smart phone go to http://m.gasbuddy.com.


Join Ron and Jim next time on WSVA 550 AM, Monday, June 20, 2011 for more interesting sites, tech news and conversation.

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