Monday, March 17, 2008

Sign Up For Your Free Tutorial

My business has taken me in a new direction, and I don't have as much time as I'd like to spend on this blog.

That's good news for you because I've decided to offer my very popular ebook "1 Clean Computer" as a free tutorial eCourse!

Just sign up on the right and you can get started right away. Did I mention you get a cool free gift when you sign up? Yep. And it's all free.

The price is right, and the time is always right to clean your computer and protect yourself from identity theft.

See you in the eCourse!

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Are You As Safe As You Say You Are?

You're feeling pretty sure of yourself. After all, 86 percent of American Internet users say they are knowledgeable about protecting their private information, while 57 percent say they consistently take necessary steps to do so (This from a recent survey by Truste, an organization that helps consumers and businesses identify trustworthy online entities through its Web Privacy and Email Privacy Seals, and TNS, a market information group that claims to be the world's largest provider of custom research and analysis).

But the survey dug a little deeper. Most of us are not reading privacy policies (a whopping 80% - and they are the ones who actually admit to it), or following at least 8 of the 11 actions recommended by the Federal Trade Commission.

Survey says:

• 45 percent have used more than one e-mail address, such that one is reserved only for private communications.

• 43 percent have read privacy policies posted on Web sites.

• 37 percent have taken steps to back up important files.

• 33 percent have provided e-mail addresses and other information in a way that would not disclose their identity.

• 33 percent have changed passwords regularly.

• 26 percent have sought out third-party privacy seals or certifications.

• 16 percent have put e-mail encryption in place.

• 12 percent have logged in to Web sites anonymously.

It's really not that hard - let's be safe out there!

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

I Don't Wish You A Happy New Year

Don't worry, you'll be glad I'm not wishing you a Happy New Year.

Why? Because there's a new worm moving rapidly through the Internet and it's waiting for you to open it.

It comes in the form of a Happy New greeting. These worm-laden "Happy New Year" email messages come with Postcard.exe or attachments, and they're just waiting for you to click on them.

Once you release the worm, it will start emailing itself to people in your address book. Believe me, this is one phone call from Aunt Mary Lou you don't want to get.

The holidays are a busy time for spammers. They count on you being busy and looking forward to holiday greetings from loved one. Don't let your guard down. Most virus scanners don't catch these types of worms. It's up to you to be ever vigilant.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Are You Making These 7 Mistakes?

One of the most common questions I get, particularly at this time of year is, "Is it safe for me to buy online?"

My answer to that question is simple - it's about as safe as it is to do anything else nowadays! Just like you would not leave all your packages in the back seat with the car door unlocked, you need to take proper precautions online too.

Shopping from the comfort of your computer certainly beats fighting holiday crowds, and can save you some money too. Follow these simple guidelines and shop away!

1) Charge it.

You probably know never to send cash, but you should also never use a debit card or bank transfer. Use your credit card online and your transaction will be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. If your credit card is used without your knowledge and permission, you generally are liable for no more than $50 in charges per card. Many companies do not hold consumers responsible for any unauthorized charges made online, and some card issuers may provide additional warranty, return, and/or purchase protection benefits.

2) Pay it safe.
  • Use the newest version of a secure browser (like Internet Explorer, FireFox) which includes software that scrambles your purchase information.
  • Look for a "lock" icon in your browser's status bar (usually in the lower right corner) and the URL should start with "https" instead of the usual "http" (the "s" stands for "secure'). Keep in mind that no indicator is foolproof; some fraudulent sites have forged security icons.
  • If the site's privacy policy tells you that your information will be shared with others, or if the site doesn't have a privacy policy, shop somewhere else.
  • Read and understand the refund and shipping policies of a website.
  • Review your monthly credit card and bank statements for any errors or unauthorized purchases promptly and thoroughly.
3) Report problems immediately.

If you're dissatisfied with a purchase, first contact the merchant. If this doesn't resolve your issue, contact your credit card company and dispute the claim. As a last resort you may have to contact your state attorney general, or report it to Fraud watch.

4) Watch out for "wireless" connections.

Wi-Fi is increasingly dangerous. If a hacker has access to your computer, they may also gain access to your PDA or cell phone. Check out my post on staying safe using Wi-Fi.

5) How safe is your surfing?

The good news is that you can shop for bargains virtually anywhere in the world. The bad news is that you don't always have complete information about the merchant. How safe are you today? Take this simple quiz to find out.

6) Keep a paper trail.

Print and save records of your online transactions, including the product description and price, the online receipt, and copies of any email you exchange with the seller. Read your credit card statements as you receive them to be on the lookout for unauthorized charges.

7) Use antivirus software and a firewall and update them regularly.

Antivirus software protects your computer from viruses that can wreak havoc with your computer and compromise your personal data. It scans your computer and incoming email for viruses and deletes them. Firewalls help keep hackers from using your computer to send out your personal information without your permission. A firewall acts as a guard, watching for outside attempts to access your system and blocking communications to and from sources you don't permit.

My favorite gift to both give and receive is gift cards. And one of my favorite online stores is Amazon - you can get just about anything there now.

Following these simple steps can make your next online shopping trip safer and more satisfying. Happy shopping!