2014 Computer Care Chronicles

SCAMS continue to be a threat to all. They come in different formats and not all are on the computer. These days, they also come in the form of personal phone calls. Just today, a client contacted me telling me about multiple phone calls that stated his computer was infected with lots of viruses and was being hacked. Another client had trouble connecting to their email and internet, they clicked on an ad stating they did “Fast PC Repair, Secure PC Repair”. All are scams and there are many other variations of them out there. Another form of these scams are windows that pop up while you are trying to do something such as log onto the library or another site. These pop up windows look authentic and are actually scams. They will offer to clean your computer, but they actually remove your backup programs, change your antivirus, remove other software and then install their own programs for an average cost of $200. They promising the world to you all while watching everything you do, recording keystrokes, copying your logins and passwords and your life. Plus by giving them your credit card number, you’ve given them access to that.

DO NOT fall prey to these. They are FAKE. They are meant to cause harm to your computer, to provide useful information to the scammers in the form of your credit cards and personal information. They will charge your credit card for hundreds and thousands of dollars. You MUST be careful. If you are unsure, please contact me ASAP.

CALL your credit card company ASAP and tell them you have fallen prey to a SCAM. You need to cancel the charge and block the transaction. AND have the credit card company issue you a NEW CREDIT CARD. I know this is a pain, but it’s the most secure way to protect your finances.

NO security or big company is going to contact you directly. You need to ask yourself, How did they get your phone number? How did they get your email? It’s all a big SCAM to get to your finances. When in doubt, hang up and report the call to your local police department and phone company immediately.

SCAMS come in many shapes. One is called phishing. It’s like fishing. You get a email that is asking you for your password to be verified. If you put it in, you may have just given the bad guy access to your bank account, your Amazon account, your credit card or who knows what. But it’s now out there.

PLEASER REMEMBER, no vender, place you shop, online account or bank will ever email you asking you to verify your password. And under no circumstances should you click on the email if you are unsure. Instead open your browser and go to the site in question directly and check your data. This is a much safer way to check things out.

HOW SAFE IS YOUR PASSWORD? Is your password 12345? Or abcdef? Or qwerty? Or something similar? If it is, be smart and change it right now! But what to change it to is the question. Making a difficult to guess password and one that you can easily remember is two different things. The days of simple and short passwords have gone. The longer and harder you make it, the more secure it is.

DO YOU use the same password for many things? Most people do. Multiple passwords make it much harder to remember for you, but does make your life’s data much harder to hack. IF you were hacked today, would your email password be the same as your bank password or your gmail or itunes or LL Bean? So many things require passwords these days, it’s hard to not use the same one or same ones all the time. So what to do?


DON’T MAKE your password something easy to guess. If you are a RedSox fan, 2004Redsox is an easy to figure out guess. Or your car is a 2011Fusion. Yes, it’s numbers and letters. But it’s also something that the general public for very inexpensively ($5 to $10) can find out you have and use as guesses to gain access to your life. It’s much better to use things that you keep secret from everyone. Do you dream of going to Ireland in the future? Then pick a year and a city in Ireland and make that your password for your bank. Go ahead, change it now to something so different from what you currently have. DO the same for your email, places you shop and more.

WRITE DOWN THESE CHANGES. I write down the site, date changed, user ID and new password. WRITE IT DOWN. do not put this in Evernote or on the cloud. Don’t put it in a spreadsheet or a word processing document. Because if you get hacked, you may not have access to those places. Better to write down in a INTERNET PASSWORD ORGANIZER or similar book. I have had a password organizer at my side for more than 7 years now. It’s invaluable and priceless. Internet Password Organizers are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and other book sellers. I prefer the one I have with the black cover. It is set up like a old fashioned address book with tabs for different letters of the alphabet. Finding anything is easy! It’s much more convenient than you may think.

HOW LONG should your new password be? The longer it is, the more difficult it is for someone (think hacker) to figure out. 2013-GreenShoeLaces is much harder to figure out than just greenshoes. This is your life, your data, your pictures, your finances you are protecting. Make that password difficult!

SO YOU have a tablet, have taken some pictures, saved some documents and are concerned about backing them up. Don’t you wish you could just insert a flash drive and copy your data to it? Well now you can, there’s a new type of flash drive system that recently came out. If you are using a Android based phone or tablet, you can now copy your pics and data to a flash drive. Sizes range from 16, 32 and 64 gigs and work on both phones and tablets. There will soon be a Apple compatible version that will work with a ipod and iphone too. If you are interested in purchasing one or more (They’ll make great stocking stuffers and holiday gifts), contact Computer Care and we can order them for you. They are very reasonably priced.


WHAT ELSE to do with your tablet besides reading email and browsing the internet? I use mine as a partial laptop replacement. It’s easier to transport than my laptop for trips. I’ve added a Bluetooth keyboard which makes typing much easier. Using Google docs and sheets, I am easily editing documents and spreadsheets. It certainly is NOT a replacement for a laptop or desktop, but can be used for many similar things. I am running a Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 inch tablet. It runs on Android and is like a large version of my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone. Many things I access on my laptop, I can also very easily access on my phone and tablet. It’s very convenient. And, I can multitask (run many items at once) on the tablet too. I often have 5 to 7 apps open and can switch between them with ease. If you would like to learn more, please contact Computer Care.


BUT A TABLET is not a fix all and sometimes a full laptop is needed. These days laptop and notebook are used interchangeably. They are one and the same. Just like with everything, not all laptops are created equally. Should you decide to visit Best Buy or Staples or someplace similar, you’ll find that the average life is expected to be around 18 months. That’s why the prices are so inexpensive, they’re meant to be disposable, so that in a year and a half you come back and purchase another one. So what makes those different from what Computer Care would sell you?


  1. First we ask you what programs you are using now
  2. We ask what programs you may use in the future
  3. Plus a few other questions


FROM the info above, Computer Care will propose a few choices and explanations of those choices and what those features can do for you, how the warranty works and how Computer Care supports what we sell. And what we sell is not as inexpensive as what places like Staples will sell their products at, but a laptop purchased from Computer Care usually lasts at least 5 years and you get your money’s worth and satisfaction that you purchased the correct model.


If you are shopping for a desktop, the questions are very similar with a few more, with the same kind of satisfaction years after purchase. Plus most desktops come with a 3 year warranty as standard. Contact Computer Care for more information.


ARE YOU STILL RUNNING WINDOWS XP? Don’t know? Right click on my computer and then click properties. Your operating system will be displayed. If you are, then you need to be SUPER CAREFUL and not purchase anything online, don’t do any online banking. Don’t use passwords that you use for other applications or sites (see password article elsewhere in this newsletter). Your antivirus and other security software IS NOT ENOUGH to keep your other applications data safe!


AS OF April 8, 2014, MICROSOFT does not support Windows XP. That means no updates are available, no security breaches are being repaired. No security products can protect you from possible hackers exploiting newly discovered security issues.


AN XP computer can still be used to browse the web, do word processing and other tasks, but is NOT SAFE to do anything financial or private. You are tempting fate by doing so. The only way to fix this is to upgrade to a newer computer. Please contact Computer Care and we’ll find a new computer that will be a perfect match for you and last for years to come.


OTHER QUESTIONS, issues, slow computer, pop ups driving you crazy? Want to learn some time saving shortcuts? Contact Computer Care, We Make House Calls and can fix and make everything happen the way you want.


Thank you for your business!



Computer Care





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