spam…not the canned kind

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface

Image via Wikipedia

Just a warning that linking posts to Facebook are being spammed. Perused my “Wall” and saw that several of my posts, quite a few in fact, did not appear as they normally do. In place of the norm, was a cryptic message saying I’d shared a link, and the URL was wp.me. I recognized that from an attempt to spam my Facebook page a long time ago. Of course I deleted all those fictitious messages, and shared a note with my Facebook readers explaining the situation.

I wanted to warn you of what’s afoot. When I’ve clicked on the Facebook icon and then clicked on the “share link” button, no security words appeared as had normally. I thought my connection to Facebook was secure so I was allowed to bypass that intermediate step. Obviously a scammer had intercepted that step and was posting his or her link to my “Wall” instead.

My husband surmises that recent WordPress modifications may have disrupted my blog’s link to Facebook, which meant I needed to reconnect manually. Duh! Would I have thought of doing that? Not likely. A heads up from WordPress might have been helpful. Looks like we bloggers need to have each other’s backs.  

As my recent posts with advice from consumer advocate David Horowitz indicate, scammers are out to get us any way they can. They’re like worms crawling out from the woodwork, attempting to feed off us.

worms

Gotta squish those buggers underfoot every chance we get. They’re bad for the environment and must be extinguished!!!

…norton virus…my cavalry…to the rescue…CHARGE!!!…see you after the bloodbath…

………hugmamma.

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scam alert!!!…(3 part-read first)

The scam truck

Image by jepoirrier via Flickr

Leading consumer advocate David Horowitz is offering extensive advice about Internet scamming. I’d like to share it in its entirety over the next few posts. If I tried to cram all the information into one, it would read like a lot of blah, blah, blah. And we all know how easy it is to zone out, or scroll down the page without really digesting what we’re reading. I’m as guilty of this as the next person.

And so…I give you Mr. Horowitz. Applause…applause…applause.

David Horowitz

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

MANY OF US spend a great deal of time reconnecting with old friends, exchanging photos and videos, and doing business on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.
     Cyber-crooks have also turned their attention to the big social sites because they’re rife with potential victims–Facebook alone has more than 750 million members–and the threats are new enough that many people haven’t given much thought to how to defend themselves.
     Protecting yourself against social networking scams entails being aware of what they look like and properly securing your personal information when you are connected to the Web. Here are some of the most common social networking scams.

OMG, did you see this picture of you?
     You receive an email or an instant message claiming a picture of you has just been posted–check it out here! Immediately, you click on the link, which takes you to your Twitter or Facebook log-in page. There, you enter your account info.
     Unfortunately, both the email and the landing page are fake. That link you clicked took you to a page that only looked like your intended social site. It’s called phishing, and you’ve just been had. A cyber-criminal now has your password, along with control of your account. From there, those up to no good can access information that may help them hack into other accounts of yours.
     To prevent this, make sure your Internet security includes anti-phishing defenses.

Description: Social Networking Source: own wor...

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Take this quiz–all your friends have taken it!
     On many social networking sites, you see questions that are supposedly funny or clever, such as what type of character you may be from your favorite movie. You may be prompted to do something fun, such as find out your I.Q. or vote for your favorite song. You enter your information and cell phone number, as instructed. You have just unwillingly subscribed to some dubious monthly service that will charge your cell phone $9.95 a month.

…intermission…bathroom break…time to raid the refrig…pet the dog…splash water in your face…

…PROCEED TO THE NEXT POST………pretty, please?…

Gonna Get Your Momma

Image by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via Flickr

………hugmamma. 🙂

ready…set…scam!…(3 part-read second)

David Horowitz making a strong point at CPAC 2011

Image by markn3tel via Flickr

Read on for more of consumer advocate David Horowitz‘s timely advice…

Tweet for cash!
     “Make money on Twitter!” and “Tweet for profit!” claim that anyone can work from home and make large sums simply by tweeting. If you fall for it you are asked for your credit-card number in order to pay a $1.95 shipping fee to get a “Twitter Cash Starter Kit.” Later, you find out that the starter kit is only a seven-day free trial, and the company then charges a monthly fee, typically around $50. It is then up to you to stop the charges, and it may be too late.

Hidden URLs
     Beware of blindly clicking on shortened URLs. You see them everywhere on Twitter, but you never know where they will take you since they hide the full location. Clicking on such a link could direct you to your intended site, or to one that installs all sorts of malware on your computer. Make sure you have real-time protection against spyware and viruses.

…now that you’re good and scared…proceed with caution to the last in this series…for horowitz’ final piece of advice…

Free twitter badge

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………hugmamma. 🙂

save yourself…from scammers…(3 part-read last)

Description unavailable

Image by swirlingthoughts via Flickr

And how does consumer advocate David Horowitz propose we stymie the efforts of cyber-crooks? Read on…

Protect yourself
     If you’re on Windows, run a security package. Use a modern browser, such as the current versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome, all of which have built-in measures for protecting you against the fraudulent sites used by social network scammers. And make sure you’ve got the current version of your operating system, since it’ll have the latest patches for security leaks.
     Be particularly cautious about any message that suggests you click off the site to perform an action such as watching a video or seeing a photo. If an acquaintance sends you a cryptic note that looks fishy, don’t hit “Reply,” but send a separate note to the person who sent it, asking if it is real.
     Be aware that a hacker could break into one of your friends’ social network accounts and use it to spam you with scam messages that might lead you to give away information. If the same hackers tamper with your account they can launch attacks on your family and friends. Protect your personal information by choosing cryptic passwords with random characters, numbers and punctuation marks. Change them periodically.

Great Blue Heron

Image by Anna L Conti via Flickr

i think scammers should get real jobs…don’t you?…

………hugmamma. 😉

gotcha!…almost

I must thank Akismet for fending off all those spammers, nasty little critters trying to mess with my laptop and make mincemeat of my brain. It doesn’t take much to throw me into a technological tizzy, I can tell you that. WordPress makes following their prompts relatively simple. I say relatively, because other bloggers, like My Life in Photos – 365 Challenge, and Figments of a Duchess have set me straight about a number of gimmicks and doodads. Thank goodness for helpful friends who don’t mind sharing information.

no spam!

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But then I get someone like Daniel Tan whose email address is powered by “harvard.edu,” trying to sell me something to bring more views my way. I fell for the come-on which said that my standing with Google wasn’t getting me the readership he thought my blog deserved. Tan suggested, of course, I click on a site that helped him with the several blogs he had. Well, I should’ve seen the invisible neon sign blinking right in front of me saying “sucker…sucker…sucker.” You guessed it! Tell an almost 62-year-old I’m pretty good at something, which I’m still not quite sure about, and I’m dangling from the end of a fishing line. Tan snagged another balloon fish.

No matter what key I pressed, and I was pretty cautious this time, having already paid $199 to back out of a previous trip down “spam” alley as elaborated in a bad bout of “virus”. I didn’t dare click on the red “x” because I’d learned that lets in the viruses. But I’d forgotten that David Horowitz, consumer advocate guru, said not to click on anything within the pop-up. I clicked on “cancel,” which got me another pop-up. Afraid that I was breeding spam pop-ups that would soon overrun my screen, I yelled for my hubby. “Help! I’m being invaded by spams!” Well, maybe I wasn’t that dramatic, but he got the message, and came running, well…striding purposefully.

My husband couldn’t even figure out how to back out of the mess. I had to tell him what Tech Pros told me when they fixed my earlier problem some months ago, as described in virus tips…from “tech pros”.  I was told to “press “cntrl” + “alt” + “delete.” On the next page, I should click on “start task manager.” On the following page, I should click on the “pop-up” and “end task.” That will remove the pop-up, without allowing its virus to infiltrate.” Somehow, we weren’t getting the expected results. So instead, my husband decided to run the Norton virus to weed out any and all viruses that may have wormed their way into my laptop’s system.

Since the process derailed my blogging efforts, although I wasn’t trying to write any posts, just checking emails and looking at the list of spams. Trying to trash them before too many accumulate, making it a chore to weed out any friendly bloggers whose posts got thrown in with the garbage. After I was shut out of other WordPress blogs some months ago, when hackers broke into its system, I’m very wary of spammers. The entire incident is detailed in “spammed” out of wordpress.com community, and  baby steps…whew!, and  wordpress “woes”, and  a hiccup…albeit a big one. The entire episode permanently scared me into considering removing comments from Akismet’s spam list. I normally just delete them all. I should’ve followed the same routine, instead of being sweet-talked by Daniel Tan.

decided to forewarn you…so you’re not hooked…by a spam that’ll give you… a virus…hugmamma.

a little of this…a little of that…

Haven’t shared trivia with you in sometime. Thought you might be interested in the following regurgitated facts from experts in the field.

…from www.fsis.usda.gov: I was surprised to learn that what I thought would cause food poisoning insofar as perishable items are concerned, was incorrect. Mayonnaise may not be the culprit, but protein sources might. 

best egg salad sandwich ever, flying star, Alb...

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Can mayonnaise in egg salad make you sick when it’s warm out? Karen ( the virtual food safety rep) says people often think mayo is the cause of foodborne illness from chilled foods such as chicken, tuna and egg salad or on deli-styled sandwiches. But since mayonnaise is made with acid (vinegar or lemon juice), it tends to prevent bacterial growth. Usually it’s the meat, poultry, fish or eggs in a sandwich left unrefrigerated for more than two hours that becomes the medium for bacteria to grow.

What about leftover fried chicken? According to Karen, food left out of the fridge for more than two hours may not be safe to eat. At temperatures above 90 F, food shouldn’t be left out for more than an hour. If you have any doubts, throw it out.

When you’ll be in the great outdoors and a cooler chest isn’t an option, Karen suggests packing such items as fruits, vegetables, hard cheeses, dried meats, dried cereal, bread, peanut butter, crackers and bottled drinks. 

…from Jackie Keller (nutrition expert/licensed and certified wellness coach: Debunks popular myths.

My Weight Loss Coach

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Myth: Detox diets jump-start weight loss. I advise against detox diets, as they can cause the body to go into starvation mode and slow down the metabolism. If you want to cleanse your body, eliminate bad-for-you, processed foods and replace them with nutrient-dense foods.

Myth: Cutting carbs will help the pounds come off. The weight loss that low-carb dieters achieve in the first two weeks of carbohhydrate deprivation is measurable and not surprising. Carb-cutting will cause the body to shed water weight, as carbohydrates are stored in the body with water. That water weight will come right back on, and such a yo-yo weight loss is counterproductive and bad for overall metabolism.

Myth: Fat is the enemy. Research shows that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats–which are found in foods such as fish, olive oil, avocados and walnuts–can actually improve levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce the risk of heart disease. These healthy fats can aid in weight loss and even delay hunger pangs when consumed in appropriate amounts.

…from David Horowitz (leading consumer advocate) @ www.fightback.com: Warns against scams. In my February 27, 2011 post, “ever have one of those years…?” I talked about the first one. So trust me! It can happen to you.

McAfee
Image by biggraham via Flickr

A message flashes on your computer screen: “Warning! Your system requires immediate anti-virus scan.” A free scan is offered. What do you do?
This incredibly common scam is almost guaranteed to occur as you use your PC. Upon first look, it would appear that clicking “No thanks” would be the right solution. Wrong. Clicking anywhere in the on-screen alert can open the program further or direct you to a website you have no interest in going to. Worse, clicking anywhere in the on-screen alert can instantly infect your computer with a virus that can be difficult or even impossible to remove. (It cost me $199 to have Tech Pros remove it.)

The solution is to hold down the Control and Alt keys and hit “Delete.” Once the application tab pops up, select “End Task,” then do a full scan of your computer with the anti-virus software you already have. (That’s exactly what the expert at Tech Pros told me…after I paid the $199.)

You are in financial trouble, and as a result your credit is suffering. You have been approached by a variety of services offering to repair your credit. What do you do?
Although many companies offer to repair damaged credit, it can be difficult to tell which are legitimate. The most common scam involves a company advising you to stop paying your creditors and deposit money into a special account instead. In reality, the debt-settlement company withdraws fees from your account for “services,” long before it negotiates with your creditors, if it negotiates at all.

If these companies send you an unsolicited email or advertise on the radio touting a stellar track record, it may be a scam. Stick with a legitimate nonprofit counseling outlet with an established track record, and always try to negotiate directly with your creditors first.

Ebay Explained 2006 (KLCC)

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You have made an online purchase and the item never arrives, or the item is not what you thought you were buying. What do you do? 
If you made the purchase from a reliable company, review the return policy and keep all receipts once you ship the items back. …However, if you made the purchase through a third-party entity on a website such as craigslist or eBay, the solution can be  bit more complicated.

Eiko's credit card

Image by eikootje via Flickr

Look for telltale signs of a scam before charging your credit card. For example, buying tickets can be risky, as scammers often change one digit in the theater address or the ticket number, tricking you into buying tickets you think are real, only to be told they are fake once you try to enter an event.

Beware of merchants who provide you with only a cellphone number; they do this because cellphones can’t always be tracked. Look out for sellers who ask you to wire money, retail websites that don’t list an address or a phone number, and companies that don’t have much of a presence or any reviews online. These likely are scams.

…more than enough…to contemplate…hugmamma.