Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tis The Season: TO BE EXTRA CAREFUL ONLINE

I'm all about keeping my readers informed.  Whether you are new to the internet or just not aware of some schemes or scams going on, I just want to make sure that you don't go blindly forth into the dark electronic pathways of the holiday internet pathways without some guidance, or monkey on your shoulder keeping you alert.

Holidays are fast approaching and spammers and other cretins of the digital pathways are lurking out there, waiting for the right moment to mug your computer, steal your info, or make you into a spam bot.

Only do business with known, reputable online outlets

I don't care how good the price sounds, if you step "in it", you only have yourself to blame. 

I once got swept up in a "great" price on Ebay, and got royally effed.  Fortunately, via the attorney generals office of the state from where the seller came from, I had wonderful recourse.  It also helped that I was all over this guy like a dog on a bone.  Almost so, to the verge of being a stalker.  But that's what you have to do sometimes because law enforcement is so swamped with these kinds of cases, that the crime has to pass a certain $$ threshold for them to sit up and take notice.

Make sure your virus and security suites are Up-To-Date

Make sure that you are using virus software.
Make sure that you are using the latest definitions for your virus software.
Make sure that your security suite is updated with the latest and greatest patches and updates.
Make sure your operating system itself is also updated with the latest security patches and updates.

Why?  Spammers are looking to re-connect with bunches of virus infected computers around the world to start sending out spam once again.  Spam makes up 90% of the world's e-mail.

Not to mention it annoys the living crap out of me that my own computer, my private, personal computer could possibly be used to do this.  Be vigilant.

In the end:

Be extra cautious.
If it sounds too good to be true, well, you know how that line gets finished.
Use known retailers.
Don't give out personal information for any requests:  As far as I can tell, no business will ask you for your personal information via email.

If you are asked for info, or to update your profile -
  • Close the email you got. 
  • Close the browser you just used. 
  • Reopen your browser and go to the site that just requested your info.
  • Log in the way you ALWAYS log in.
  • Check for messages inside the site that way.
Most organizations have an email associated with wanting to be apprised of spam email regarding their company.  I ALWAYS go out of my way to make sure they get the fraudulent email that was sent to me.  Maybe it's for naught, but it's something that I can do to take part in stopping this process.

Readers comments of Bruce's Thoughts are always welcomed.  Any insight, experiences are never wasted on our readers here.

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Hi - sorry for the confirmation but I need to weed out the noise from the well intended comments. Thanks for leaving a note... - Bruce