Protect Valuable Data With Online Cloud Backup Solutions

Will cloud computing replace the hard drive, the flash drive and the DVD drive? It might. Google laptops and iPads don’t have hard drives, and similar technology is coming down the pipeline. Tech writers like Jeremy A. Kaplan of FoxNews.com believe that physical drives will soon be obsolete, and artists, scrapbook fanatics and photographers are tossing away their flash drives and DVDs in favor of hosting their photos on social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest. These sites store photos (and more) to the cloud.cloud computing is here to stay

What is cloud hosting? It’s an online storage system that allows you to back up data over public or proprietary networks on an offsite server. There are several types of cloud backup services that people use in their daily activities without even knowing it; iCloud, iTunes, Evernote and Facebook are a few consumer favorites, and Google, Amazon and Dropbox also offer cloud storage solutions for individuals and companies to store and share large files. If you haven’t considered using these cloud backup services yet and you’re still saving your data to your hard drive or on CDs and DVDs, find out why the rest of the world is moving to the cloud.

Storm’s Coming

There are a number of reasons why IT managers and computer users would want to push for cloud storage solutions to replace other means of storage. For starters, cloud storage solves the data-access problems brought on when natural disasters (think Hurricane Sandy) strike. Without a secured backup plan, Continue reading Protect Valuable Data With Online Cloud Backup Solutions

Identity Thieves Are After Your Tax Refund

It’s tax season! Filing your tax return is a less than thrilling activity, and you may be tempted to procrastinate. However, filing early can help reduce the chance that you’ll become a victim of tax-related identity theft.protect your refund!

In recent years, an emphasis on filing tax returns electronically and receiving tax returns via direct deposit has led to an increase in incidences of tax-related identity theft. Many of these cases involve thieves stealing social security numbers and using them to file fraudulent tax returns early on in the season. The thief will set up a bank account to have the money deposited in, and then close the account after receiving the victim’s tax refund. Then, when the victim files his or her real return, he or she will be notified that the IRS has received 2 filings under the same social security number.

You should be particularly concerned about Continue reading Identity Thieves Are After Your Tax Refund

Are Instagram and Snapchat Safe For Kids?

camera wikipedia public domainSocial media networks are a dime a dozen today, and some of the most popular among teens may not be safe. Photo sharing sites such as Instagram and Snapchat make it easy for teens to share pictures, but don’t have enough safeguards to prevent inappropriate shots.

Instagram says you must be at least 13 to sign up for their site. Do they do a good job of enforcing this rule, or are they letting underage kids get in? Well, this depends entirely on the kid trying to sign up. It’s pretty typical for teens and tweens to be good at getting around the internet. Often, kids are the authority for their parents on how things work online, which can put you in a tight spot. Make sure to take some time to get comfortable with how online sites like these work, and don’t rely on kids to show you everything.

What are some of the dangers?

On Snapchat, users are told images will be deleted within 10 seconds, never to be seen again. This will give teens a false sense of security. No matter what any site says, it’s a good idea to keep this rule of thumb in mind: once it’s on the internet, it’s forever.

For example, not long ago Justin Bieber used Instagram to
Continue reading Are Instagram and Snapchat Safe For Kids?

Job Hunting? Avoid Work From Home Scams

Working from home sounds like a great way to make some extra cash. It means no commuting, and makes you more available to take care of your family’s needs during the day. While some work-from-home employment opportunities are legitimate, (I’m working from home right now, for instance!) job-seekers should be wary of offers that sound too good to be true, because they probably are! Taking the bait could result in financial losses, identity theft, and, perhaps worst of all, crushed hopes.Scammers may target people looking for telecommuting jobs. Image provided by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/eddi_07/4621283598/sizes/l/in/photostream/"target="telecommuting">Eddi 07 - Free Stock</a>

If you’re looking for work, there are a few things that potential employers might do that should make you suspicious. It might be a scam if:

  • The job you’re applying for offers huge payments with no experience necessary, or large payments for very little time spent working
  • The potential employer asks you to wire money to them for supplies, training materials, or other start-up costs
  • The potential employer asks you for sensitive information related to your identity (social security number, etc) or your finances (bank account routing numbers, etc)
  • The company’s website looks strange or does not function properly
  • The job you’re applying for requires you to process emails, money orders or checks in a way that seems suspicious (some will send you a large check, asking that you take some of the money as payment and send the rest back to them – the check is counterfeit. By the time your bank notifies you of the fake check, you’re out money and responsible to your banking institution for the false check)
  • The job does not require a face-to-face interview
  • The person that contacts you about the position seems nervous, overly aggressive, gets confrontational when asked questions, or seems hesitant to answer questions
  • You are approached to apply for a position that you did not seek out

Some of the most prevalent scams of this nature include the offer of a “secret shopper” position, mailing positions, and information or email processing jobs. If you suspect that a company or employment opportunity might be a scam, do some research about the company. It may be as easy as entering the name of the company into the Google search engine and finding them featured on Rip Off Report to determine that the company is trying to steal your money or identity. You can also call the Better Business Bureau or visit their website to check on the legitimacy of a company or to report a potential scam.

There are, however, a few resources that offer real opportunities to work from home, including Flexjobs.com and workathomemomrevolution.com. Happy job hunting!

Sources:

http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2009/april/workathome_041709

http://www.bbb.org/scam-stopper/ts-employment-scams.php

 

What’s in Your Email and What Should You Do with It? Four Favorite Schemes

download-key-logger-programIt seems that not a week goes by without having to check my spam mailbox as it fills with ever more increasing frequency.  When they said “spam” and phishing schemes where on the rise they really meant, on the rise!  I thought I would share with you my five favorites this week that you should be on the look out for.  One or two  have already hit some friends  and I wouldn’t want them to happen to you.

You Got Mail!

This phishing email message is sent allegedly from FEDEX or UPS.  You have a very important package that they tried to deliver but couldn’t.  If you could just take a minute to provide this information your VIP package will be on it’s way.   This one quite often asks for information, payment of an invoice (requiring me to open an attachment) and will include a subject like like this one,  “UPS Delivery Notification Tracking Number:EVKDBQXRTKRXN4CTMI.”

UPS offers more information on these fake emails as does FEDEX .

Report these types of messages to UPS at fraud@ups.com and to FEDEX at abuse@fedex.com

You Have WON!

So far this week I have won from a lottery that I never entered (scratch offs are about as far as I go) as well as won money from a casino I never heard of, let along gambled at.   Even the FBI got in on the act, telling me that I won $1 million!  This, of course, is different from the email I received last week where the FBI (who I’m quite sure already has quite a bit of information on me) attempted to phish for some more.

You have been Blessed!  Continue reading What’s in Your Email and What Should You Do with It? Four Favorite Schemes

Do NOT Install Snap.Do!

Just days after receiving and setting up my shiny new laptop computer, I encountered an annoying problem. Suddenly, my homepage was no longer Google. It had seemingly spontaneously changed to something called Snap.Do. It looked similar to Google’s homepage, but with a weird sideways squiggle in the same colors as Google’s logo. At the same time, I started experiencing problems with my flash player.

Snap.Do is published by a company called ReSoft. ReSoft purports itself to be reputable, claiming that Snap.Do is a browser tool for simpler, more efficient web browsing. In reality, it’s part of a sneaky package that will track and use your information. It’s basically a browser hijacker inundated with malware and spyware. It will change your internet settings, collect personal information and work with adware.

Some people buy the ReSoft corporate line and willingly register with Snap.Do, while other users are involuntarily infected by it. It affects Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. Do not intentionally install Snap.Do! It is completely unsafe. If you’ve experienced a hijacking by Snap.Do, you’ll want to immediately remove it from your computer.

You’ll want to go to your control panel and uninstall it. Also, go to your browser settings and delete any search engines related to Snap.Do or ReSoft. Here is a more comprehensive article about Snap.Do and how to completely remove it.

Fake Facebook Friends

facebookfriends A photographer friend of mine just told me that thousands of her photographs from   her blog have been copied and used to create a fake Facebook account.  Just days later several friends circulate a warning that identity thieves, because there is honestly no other way to describe them, are stealing images off of Facebook and setting up “dummy” Facebook accounts.   The warning reminds friends to pass it on and that if they get a second friends request that either their friend has developed multiple personalities or that it is a fake.   I think in most cases it’s probably a fake.

But why set up a fake Facebook account?  Why would you care to learn that a complete stranger’s Aunt Emmy is baking cookies today or that their nephew got a new dog? Continue reading Fake Facebook Friends