Friday, December 19, 2014

Top 10 Scam Forecast for 2015

Top 10 Scam Forecast for 2015 (2014 figures in parentheses):
1. (1) Phishing and ID theft. Sadly, we think the gap may widen even further between ID theft and other scams.  The outlook for data protection is not good with the residue of past breaches, new ones, and hack attacks on newly digitized health records all adding to the woes.

2. (3). Hit-and-run scams. This makes quick and easy money for the scammers with little or no risk. Don’t be surprised if a phone caller demands a wire payment from you — just hang up!

3. (2) Lottery and sweepstakes. Here’s hoping the message finally starts to get through to the public, especially seniors, about this trick. But progress will be slow.

4. (4) Malware. This will remain a persistent threat but we expect to see a further switch in emphasis to malware downloads on smartphones, notably those using the Android operating system.  If you’re an Android user, install a reputable security app and don’t install downloads from unofficial sources.
5. (6) Bogus online sites and telesales. This year we’re adding in telesales to this category. The worrying feature is the growth of illegal robocalls by scammers who don’t care a bit about the Do Not Call Registry.Look out for more free air ticket scams (usually an advance fee trick) and bogus “survey” calls (usually a disguised sales call).

6. (5) Grandparent/imposter scams. As with lottery scams, we think further, increased publicity could help reduce the level of this scam.

7. (7) Advance fee scams. Don’t expect to see any easing in the incidence of advance fee scams. In fact, we may see some growth in double-scams where people are asked to pay upfront to supposedly recover money they lost in an earlier scam.
8. (-) Healthcare and Affordable Care Act (ACA) scams. This is our newcomer for the year. In 2014 we reported on the “free medical alert” scam.  Now there’s evidence of con artists trying a whole new range of tricks by claiming either they’re working on behalf of Medicare or offering cheap ACA insurance, which turns out to be non-existent.
9. (8) Economy-related scams. Even if the economy picks up, the huge expansion in self-employment and small businesses has created a stack of potential victims for the crooks, so this category is not ready to drop out of the charts just yet.

10. (9) Investment scams. Interest rates could start to rise in the coming months, which could make some phony investments less attractive. But if inflation begins to rise, expect to see more gold and bullion scams. Meanwhile, any turbulence in currency markets could lead to more scams in this category.


Merry  Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Thursday, November 13, 2014


More than 90 percent of Americans feel they've lost control over how their personal information is collected and used by companies, particularly for advertising purposes, according to the results of a survey recently published by the Pew Research Center. 

Eighty percent expressed concern over how third parties like advertisers accessed the data they share on social media sites. Pew did not gather the names of which sites specifically respondents meant.

The survey, which polled 607 adults online, was the Washington, D.C.-based think tank's first in a series to tackle Americans' views toward privacy after the leaks around government surveillance made by Edward Snowden last year. The majority of respondents said people should be concerned about whether the government is listening in on their phone calls or viewing their online communications and other sensitive data.

But beyond government surveillance, the findings also reflect people's attitudes amid the increasing sophistication by which Internet companies leverage people's data for advertising.

Some respondents said they have taken actions to protect their privacy, such as using a pseudonym, but a majority of respondents agreed that achieving anonymity online is not possible. People's concerns around privacy might be part of the trade-off in using a free service. Some 55 percent of respondents said they were willing to share "some information about myself with companies in order to use online services for free."

Fewer people might be willing to make that trade-off, however, if they understood how bits of information about them is pulled together and sold to companies through complex processes, said Joseph Turow, a professor of communication at the University of Pennsylvania, who studies digital marketing and online privacy.

"These findings reflect a major tension at the core of people's relationship with the Internet," he said in an interview. It's a tension that goes back many years. In a 1999 survey conducted by Turow, parents characterized the Internet as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, he said, because they were both afraid of it, and considered it an important and useful service.

But companies are now getting smarter in tracking people's online behavior across devices. Google and Facebook are refining their techniques for connecting the ads people see online to whether they bought items in a physical store. Facebook's recently relaunched Atlas system lets partnered advertisers leverage Facebook members' data across the wider Internet.

To preserve privacy, the recommendation to delete cookie files doesn't really apply anymore, because more tracking is being done on mobile where cookies don't work. Perhaps instead people should contact companies like Google and Facebook, and ask them to be more transparent about exactly what data they sell, and to whom, Turow said.

Government agencies like the U.S. Federal Trade Commission can help to preserve privacy too, or at least help companies become more transparent.  Snapchat entered into an agreement earlier this year with the FTC to settle charges that it deceived users about the amount of personal data it collects. Pew's Rainie said the nonprofit would explore more of the responses people say they can take in the group's upcoming surveys.

Based on article by Z. Miners, IDG News Service, 11.12.14

Friday, October 24, 2014

Money Wiring Fraud Prevention Tips

Money wiring services and reloadable debit cards are still criminals’ payment method of choice when it comes to raking in their ill-gotten gains from scam victims.
So much so, in fact, that a couple of the big money wiring companies themselves have agreed to pay compensation of $200 million to reimburse victims, and one of the leading debit card firms has announced that it will abandon its main reloadable card in 2015.
The attraction to the crooks is simple: Both payment methods are untraceable. Law enforcement is usually unable to track down where the money went.
Wiring and reloadable cards are, of course, perfectly legal and play a very useful role in legitimate money transfers and payments.
But they’re also perfect for scams, like:
  • Advance payment (where victims get a dud check and are asked to wire part of the value to a scammer-in-disguise, before the check “bounces”).
  • Distress scams (where victims receive a bogus message from a relative, friend or colleague who is supposedly in trouble and urgently needs cash).
  • Lottery scams (where victims are told they must pay tax and processing fees before they can collect their — non-existent — winnings).
  • Phony fines and overdue bill demands, most recently the widespread IRS unpaid-tax-bill scam.
You’d think that the people who provide these payment methods would be able to spot a scam when a victim comes up to them and tries to transfer money — especially to someone in countries where the crooks operate.
Actually, they sometimes do manage to stop people, mostly in their 80s and beyond, before they pay up.
But consumer organizations, notably the Federal Trade Commission, have been critical in the past, suggesting they could do more, which is why some of them have agreed both to hand money back to victims and to be monitored by the FTC.
Today, all the big money wiring companies provide guidance on their sites to try to steer customers clear of potential scams. We covered the broad details of these guidelines in an earlier issue, The Golden Rule that Halts Money Wiring Scams.
The biggest wirer, Western Union, now offers these 8 simple rules on their site to prevent fraud:

  1. Never send money to people you haven’t met in person.
  2. Never send money to pay for taxes or fees on lottery or prize winnings.
  3. Never use a test question as an additional security measure to protect your transaction.
  4. Never provide your banking information to people or businesses you don’t know.
  5. Never send money in advance to obtain a loan or credit card.
  6. Never send money for an emergency situation without verifying that it’s a real emergency.
  7. Never send funds from a check in your account until it officially clears, which can take weeks.
  8. Never send a money transfer for online purchases.      from 10/22/14

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Recent court rulings and a proposal from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have called into question the future of net neutrality—something that could have seismic repercussions for small business owners and their websites. Giving service providers the ability to control the speed at which specific content and content providers can be sent to you over your connection allows them to control the flow of data and information from both ends.  This lowers your overall performance and can create monopolies, forcing you to purchase from specific providers in order to have high quality services.  The end result will be a reduction in competition and innovation as these firms create an unfair advantage in the marketplace, forcing out smaller providers that cannot afford the pay-to-play system. The Battle for the Net is calling for those in support of net neutrality to take action by telling lawmakers: “Protect Internet Freedom. Defend Net Neutrality.” You can join the battle by signing the letter on and spreading the word on your own website and social media channels.

What is net neutrality?

The idea behind net neutrality is fairly simple. Most of us buy broadband service from a small number of large providers, such as Comcast, AT&T or Charter. For years, the expectation has been that these providers will allow Web traffic to flow unimpeded. In other words, the providers won’t manipulate the data as it flows across the network. This means content is treated equally—download speeds don’t vary depending on the source. This is important because some content providers—Netflix, for example—consume massive chunks of bandwidth due to their popularity. Without net neutrality, Internet access providers would face no restrictions on charging major content providers more money to route their traffic.

Thanks to FCC rules, net neutrality has been the standard to which we’ve become accustomed. That could soon change. A January ruling by a U.S. Appeals Court effectively dismantled the FCC’s existing net neutrality regulations. The ruling opened the door for broadband providers to start charging content providers more money for faster service. This could have adverse effects for consumers, as some movies, videos or websites may load slower if the owners elect not to pay for faster service.
In response to the court ruling, the FCC announced it would consider a plan to allow large firms like Comcast and AT&T to build so-called “fast lanes” that allow for faster connection speeds for high-bandwidth companies like Google or Netflix. The rules would also restrict the ability of Internet access providers to throttle data for customers who don’t pay for faster speeds.

How could a change in net neutrality affect small business websites?

The absence of net neutrality could have significant and wide-ranging consequences for small business owners. Internet service providers may charge businesses more money for “optimized” speeds. If a business declines to pay, website performance may suffer relative to websites with optimized speeds. This means businesses that don’t pay will be at a competitive disadvantage against businesses with faster speeds and performance.
This kind of two-tiered setup could be a major problem for businesses competing against better funded competitors who can more easily assume additional costs. Businesses that pay for high-end speed will be able to do things like process orders and send e-mails faster and more efficiently—a devastating scenario for smaller businesses.
Customer acquisition could be affected as well. Slower websites could mean fewer visitors spending less time on the site—subsequently generating far less online revenue. Because of its low barrier to entry and massive reach, the Internet has long offered start-ups and small businesses a chance to compete against bigger firms—without net neutrality, that opportunity may be dramatically diminished.
The end of net neutrality could also allow Internet service providers to enter into partnerships and contracts with preferred entities. In essence, they could pick and choose who they do business with and which content is privileged. For businesses on the outside looking in, this arrangement could be extremely problematic.
Finally, the loss of net neutrality could have a crippling effect on innovation. Without access to a free and open Internet, the environment for start-ups and smaller businesses will become much less hospitable. It’s hard to imagine small and modestly funded businesses competing against industry giants while using second-tier Internet access—regardless of how disruptive or innovative they may be.

What can we do?

We at Bluehost have always been a proponent of using open source technologies and feel that net neutrality is vital to the health of the Internet as a whole.  Please join us in this fight by contacting your local legislative leaders and let them know that you support net neutrality and are against the two-tier slow lane system.
You can also digitally sign the Battle for the Net letter that will be sent to Congress, the FCC and the White House on behalf of Internet users joining in the battle. You can learn more about the Battle for the Net and sign the letter at

Adapted from 9/10/14 - Thank you BlueHost for providing this valuable insight into the potential problem facing small businesses on the Internet - Join the Battle for the Net in support of Internet freedom and against Internet slow down.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Online, have you ever:
1.      Clicked on a pop-up ad?
2.      Played solitaire or other games?
3.      Opened an email from someone unknown?
4.      Read a newspaper?
5.      Signed up for a free trial offer?
6.      Kept in touch with someone in Facebook or Twitter?
7.      Sold some merchandise in an auction?
8.      Checked the weather report?
9.      Sent funds through an Internet money transfer service?
10.  Watched a TV show?
11.  Posted your address, phone number, vacation plans, etc. on social media?

If you checked only even-numbered activities, you’re among Internet users least likely to duped by fraudsters. If you checked any of the odd-numbered choices, you may be putting yourself in harms way, i.e. in a scammer’s sights. An AARP directed Fraud watch Network survey of about 12,000 Internet users was studied to figure out the differences between online fraud victims and nonvictims. A surprising discovery: age doesn’t matter. Nonvictims rarely engage in certain online activities (such as the above odd-numbered examples). Victims often have had recent experiences of a stressful event such as illness, job loss, or relationship difficulties. Scammers tend to target those who are emotionally vulnerable because they tend to be more easily forced into making poor decisions.

Based on AARP article 03/2014

Friday, June 13, 2014

Hackers Target Home Devices

Come home to a hot iron and smoldering clothes this afternoon? Soon, it may not be a sign of forgetfulness, but rather evidence that you’ve been hacked.  In coming years, your smartphone will be able to lock your house, turn on the air conditioning, check whether the milk is out of date, or even heat up your iron. Great news, except that all that convenience could also let criminals open your doors, spy on your family or drive your connected car to their lair.
As these technologies become more sophisticated, it opens up a broader spectrum of threats. A world of connected devices makes it possible for bad guys to have a permanent entry into ones household. By 2020, some 26 billion such devices may be connected to the Internet, up from 3 billion today, researcher Gartner Inc.  estimates. That’s almost four times the number of smartphones, tablets and PCs that will be in use.
The vision is to connect almost everything -- from cars to fridges, lamps, even toilets. Forget to flush? There’s an app for that. Problem is, data security isn’t typically a big focus for toilet, refrigerator or baby monitor manufacturers. Security lapses on such devices could allow bad guys to disrupt home life, gather valuable personal data, or even use stolen information to extort money from victims, Ollmann said.
Hijacked Robotoilet
Trustwave, a Chicago company that helps corporate clients fight cybercrime, hijacked a Bluetooth connection that controls toilets made by Japan’s Lixil Group. That could allow hackers to open or close the lid and even squirt a stream of water at the user’s behind, Trustwave said. Lixil said it’s difficult to commandeer its toilets as hackers would need to connect their smartphone to the loo using a special remote that comes with the device, making abuse “a very rare case.”
Even some tech companies have created devices lacking sufficient protection. The Ollmann Group broke into a home automation system from Belkin International Inc., a company that makes mobile phone accessories and Wi-Fi routers. Belkin’s WeMo box fits over electrical outlets to control lamps, fans, coffee makers and other appliances via a smartphone app.
Interactive Countertop
LG Electronics Inc. has Smart ThinQ technology that lets smartphone users monitor and diagnose problems in washers, refrigerators and ovens. The applications requires buyers to create a username and password. LG declined to comment. Sweden’s Electrolux SA is developing an interactive countertop, a white surface with hidden elements for cooking food and charging devices such as mobile phones without plugging them in. The countertop even comes with a virtual chef to walk you through recipes.
Though not many criminal hackers are targeting such devices today, that will change once there’s a reliable way to make money from exploiting them, said Sebastian Zimmerman, a member of the Chaos Computer Club, a German hacker collective campaigning to raise awareness of security and privacy.
Based on an article by By Amy Thomson Jun 10, 2014

Friday, May 16, 2014

Anti-Virus Virus

It's easy to believe that once you have Internet security software installed, your PC is protected and safe.

The truth is that no anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam or anti-anything-else program is 100% safe.
And, since scammers and hackers are producing new malware every day, even today's most effective security program may become vulnerable tomorrow.

To add to the risks, the FBI has issued a warning about malware that actually disables security software, rendering it useless and leaving PCs wide open to potential attack. It's a new kind of malware, known as Beta Bot, and is mostly used to target businesses. But it can find its way onto any Windows-based PC via infected websites and even USB drives.

One of the clever techniques it exploits is the genuine Windows User Account Control (UAC), which notifies users of attempts to modify the computer's settings. A window that looks exactly like the UAC pop up and asks for permission to run something called "Windows Command Processor," which, it says, is published by Microsoft.

But if you click the "Yes" button to allow the program to run, it makes alterations to the computer and disables security software.  If this happens to you, you may need professional technical help to get things back to normal -- unless you have a recent system backup you can reinstate.

But you can avoid this scam by closing the pop-up if you haven't initiated any actions to make changes to your PC. Then run your full Internet security program.

Also, a recent came from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) who issued a warning about what they're calling "last dollar scams" -- the techniques that heartless crooks use to relieve people who are already struggling financially of what little money they have. It's cruel and you can learn more about what the FTC is doing to tackle it in their article, Last Dollar Scams.


Sourced from

Saturday, April 5, 2014


This month the IBM System 360 turns 50 while Microsoft discontinues support for it's Windows XP operating system.

Fifty years ago on April 7, IBM announced the computer that the task force had designed, the System/360.                                      [ See Video ]
The system eventually became a huge success for the company -- and a good thing too. IBM's president at the time, Tom Watson, Jr., killed off other IBM computer lines and put the company's full force behind the System/360. IBM's revenue swelled to $8.3 billion by 1971, up from $3.6 billion in 1965. Through the 1970s, more than 70 percent of mainframes sold were IBM's. By 1982, more than half of IBM's revenue came from descendants of the System/360.
But its impact can be measured by more than just the success it brought to IBM.
When an organization bought a new computer in the early 1960s it "generally had to throw out all of its software, or at least rejigger it to work on the new hardware," Spicer said. "There was no idea of having computers that could run compatible software over the generations."
Amazingly, IBM has steadfastly maintained backward compatibility in the decades since. Programs for the original System/360s can still run, sometimes with only slight modification, on IBM mainframes today (which is not to say IBM hasn't aggressively urged customers to upgrade to the latest models for performance improvements).
Compare that longevity to one of IBM's largest competitors in the software market. This month, Microsoft ends support for its Windows XP OS after a mere decade since its release.  
And speaking of Windows XP, here is an Alert - If you're one of the tens or even hundreds of millions using the Windows XP operating system on your computer, you may already know that Microsoft announced it would no longer support the product after April 8. If you want to understand more, read Microsoft's Support is ending soon article.
You should also be aware of two important potential scam issues. First, the end of support will likely mean no further security updates for the XP operating system from Microsoft. It's possible that your existing Internet security software may be sufficient to protect you if you keep it up to date. But then again, it may not. You shouldn’t take a chance, if crooks look to exploit new vulnerabilities in the software.  Microsoft has said its own security suite (Microsoft Security Essentials) will continue to be updated "for a limited time."  If you use another security product, check with the producers about their plans for continuing coverage.

Secondly, crooks may also try to use this event as an opportunity to send out a whole host of malware-laden attacks, from pop-ups and phone calls to email attachments and infected websites, claiming you're at risk -- when really they're trying to trick you into installing their malware. Be alert to these risks if you plan to stick with XP. Apr’14

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Microsoft OneDrive – formerly SkyDrive

SkyDrive is now OneDrive: It's largely the same as its predecessor, with a few new tricks and new mobile apps. Microsoft's online backup and syncing service is the most flexible and all-encompassing of its ilk, with syncing and access apps not only for PCs, but also for Macs, Androids, iOS, and Windows Phones. It integrates with Office apps, both installed and on the Web, and it can share to Facebook as well. By comparison, Apple's competing iCloud is only available for Apple devices (though there is a decent Windows syncing utility). And unlike iCloud's backup, everything on OneDrive is accessible from a Web browser—even PC files that you didn't specifically upload to OneDrive. For all this power and flexibility—not to mention eminently attractive and usable interface, OneDrive is a clear PCMag Editors' Choice.

Like iCloud from Apple, OneDrive serves a lot of functions. If you just want access to documents or media files, it offers simple online storage accessible from the Web. If you want the same set of files replicated on multiple PCs it provides folder syncing. For users of Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone, it backs up settings. Because of this diversity of function, there are several different cross-sections from which you can view the service—by type of data, client, or function. The data types include documents, photos, video, music, or settings. The clients include computer, mobile, and Web, and the functions are things like syncing, viewing, playing, and simple storage. Let's take a look at the service from these various angles.

Your OneDrive Account
Anyone can get a free OneDrive account—well, anyone who's created a Microsoft account, which includes everyone who's ever signed up for a Hotmail, Live, or account. All users get 7GB free storage space, and, if you're a longtime OneDrive account holder (since before
April 22, 2012), you've got 25GB free. If you enable photo syncing on any mobile OneDrive app, you get another 3GB for a total of 10GB. This compares with 5GB free for iCloud and Google Drive (though if you convert docs to Google format, storage is free), and 2GB for Dropbox. Office 365 users get an extra 20GB, and anyone can add 20GB to OneDrive for $10 a year. Purchasers of Microsoft Surface  at %seller% tablets get 200GB for two years. Here's how the pricing compares with that of the other services:

Google Drive
Amazon Cloud Drive
Free storage
Add  20 GB
Add 50 GB
Add 100 GB
*All email attachments are counted against this.
Device Syncing
Microsoft likes to refer to OneDrive as a "device cloud" and with Windows 8.1 PCs and Windows Phones, the moniker makes sense. The service can sync settings and apps on those types of devices, while clients for iOS, Android, and Mac OS X give users of those devices access to the files stored in OneDrive's online folders.

Like iCloud for iPhones and iPads, OneDrive lets Windows Phone users  automatically upload photos (and videos) taken with the phone's camera to OneDrive's camera roll, so that the photos are quickly available for viewing online, in a OneDrive folder on a PC, in a Windows 8 PC's Photos app, or in any other OneDrive app you have installed. (As we'll see in a moment, this is now also true of the iPhone and Android OneDrive apps.) And in the OneDrive Web interface, you can view the photos as a slideshow, and even see a map of where they were taken along with EXIF camera info. A similar Web interface of this type is completely lacking in Apple's iCloud.

Another service in the realm of device syncing is the ability to sign into your account and magically reproduce a previous machine you've set up—color and background themes, social accounts, user photo, browser favorites and history, and even apps. OneDrive accomplishes this for both Windows 8 PCs and Windows Phones. In Windows 8, the service goes even further, by allowing third-party apps to take advantage of your cloud storage. Apps and sites can even use the service for single sign-on with your permission.

OneDrive Clients
OneDrive is built into Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone, as long as you've signed into a Microsoft account. But what if you use other technology platforms? OneDrive includes apps for not only Windows 7 and 8, but for Mac OS X, iOS, and Android. For other mobile platforms such as Blackberry, a mobile Web interface is available, and for desktop access when you're not at your own computer, a full feature Web app is available. The last is particularly important, and one thing that's long disappointed me about Apple's iCloud: Why can't I access photos in my iCloud Photo Stream from a Web browser, if the stuff is actually in the "cloud?"
Another OneDrive option for mobile users is the OneNote app. It's available for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, and on the Web. This lets you create notes that will be automatically synced to all your OneDrive access points.

Folder and File Syncing
Forgetting about "devices" for a moment, OneDrive offers another desktop computer-centric function—file and folder syncing. This convenience is similar to what you get with Dropbox ($9.99 a month, 4 stars).
In the past, Microsoft had separated its syncing service with names like Live Mesh and Live Sync, and (way back) FolderShare. I for one, find the joining of online storage and syncing into one cloud service a refreshing simplification of a previously somewhat confusing set of systems. OneDrive syncing on computers differs from the earlier Mesh in that you can't designate any old folder you want to be synced, only those under the OneDrive main folder. But Microsoft has made it possible for these synced folders to look less sequestered in the OneDrive world, by using Windows' Libraries. It also adds a truly cool feature called Fetch—more about that in a moment.

The desktop clients for OneDrive syncing run on Windows Vista through Windows 7 and Mac OS X 10.7.3 or later. They're quick to install, with a setup wizard that lets you create an account if you don't already have one. It then shows how your OneDrive folder will appear in Windows Explorer (or Finder), with its little blue cloud icon instead of the traditional yellow folder icon. Setup also places a cloud icon in your system tray, from which you can open your synced folder or change settings. You can change the folder's location from the default top level under your user folder.

When you place a photo, document, or other item in the created OneDrive folder, it magically appears in any of your other OneDrive clients on any of your other computers.  You can even share a whole folder, but to co-edit documents in the online versions of Office applications you have to share individual files.
For a quick test, I went over to my Windows 8.1 PC and created a new folder in the OneDrive app, which appeared seconds later in a Windows 7 machine's OneDrive folder that I had set up. Including OneDrive in Windows Explorer is incredibly helpful because you can save work from any application to your cloud storage directly, without having to go to a website.

Happily, Windows 8.1 rectifies an inconvenience of Windows 8: OneDrive syncing is built into the desktop and the File Explorer. With 8, you had to install a utility just as if the desktop were Windows 7 itself.

OneDrive on the Web and Fetch
Web access to all your cloud data is one thing you don't get in Apple's iCloud. The Web app is linked with other Microsoft online services through a top switcher menu that includes Mail (either or Hotmail), People (the social network-aggregator app), and Calendar. It's a very fast and clean interface, with a left panel of menu choices including Files, Recent docs, Shared, Groups, and PCs.

This last item may be the most interesting: For PCs you've installed the desktop client on and authorized, you can pull any files using Fetch, even if the files aren't in the OneDrive folder. When I chose the PCs option from the Web interface's left rail, I was greeted by a message saying "Security check! To connect to this PC we need you to enter a security code. This extra step only takes a minute and will help protect your computer from unauthorized access." When I clicked the "Sign in with security code" link, I was told to sign in on a computer that's connected to my account. Of course, for this to work, the PC your fetching files from has to be on and running the OneDrive client.

One Place in the Cloud for Your Digital Life
With FolderShare, Sync, Mesh, and SkyDrive behind it, Microsoft's cloud solution has come together nicely in OneDrive, combining file syncing with online backup, and cloud storage. Cross-platform support for Macs, iOS devices, and Android devices is a smart move on Microsoft's part, too. Microsoft is anything but a latecomer to the cloud: OneDrive in Windows 8.1 shows this and that the service has moved in the right direction. With the most free online storage, the only cloud service that lets you fetch any file from a PC you've set up, integration with Office and third-party apps, folder syncing, and the most platform options including mobile devices and Web interface, OneDrive is our Editors' Choice for consumer cloud services.
Based on article by M. Muchmore in PCmagazine 3/14

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Twitter Your Way to Instant Traffic

As you likely know, Twitter is something of a blend between blogging and social networking. Technically it's a micro-blogging medium because you're limited to just 140 characters per post.
With such a limitation, can Twitter actually be used for driving traffic to your website? Let's take a look...

Obviously with just 140 characters to work with you have to make the most of every word. You have to capture attention quickly in each “tweet” (the name for a post on Twitter).

Starting out is a slow process. You won't have any followers so you'll have few readers. You can promote your Twitter feed in various ways, such as encouraging people to follow you on your site, linking it up with your blog, linking it up in forums you belong to, and by following other people with similar interests or a similar purpose and hope they follow you back.

Once you do start getting some followers, their friends see your posts and profile on your followers feed. If your tweets are useful, or interesting, or entertaining, they may start following you, too.

Every time you post a new tweet, each of your followers receives it in their Twitter feed, and they could see it on their computers and/or their cell phone if they've set it up that way.

Sending regular tweets can help build a connection with your followers. Don't just send any old thing though, make each post count. If you write reviews on new software, for example, then you want to let your followers know when you have a new review for them. For me, a tweet goes out automatically when a new issue of this newsletter is posted.

You can send a tweet each time you add a new blog post or web page to your site. Remember to save room at the end to add the URL.

A lot of people search Twitter to find items of interest. If you word your tweets wisely, using a relevant keyword, your posts might be found searchers, enabling you to gain followers for very little effort.

Used wisely, Twitter can help create interest in your site and help further your brand. Even with these short posts you can set up your identity in a way that draws more followers to your niche.

Twitter is a delight to some and baffling to others. You really have to get into it to understand what’s happening. Look at other Twitterers and see how many ways they're using tweets to set their brand, establish a persona, show expertise or drive traffic to their sites.

The instant gratification of Twitter is part of its attraction. There is also a viral potential. Retweets, when someone tweets a tweet someone else made, can grow exponentially, creating a viral storm.

Retweeting is another way to gain followers. When you retweet someone else's tweet, it shows up in the original Twitterer's feed. If hey see it they may check out your Twitter feed and follow you. If the original tweet came from a users with a lot of followers, you could gain many new followers at once, and even more over time.

These are just some of the ways to use Twitter to drive traffic to your site, 140 characters at a time. And now, Here is an ebook with 101 Twitter tips . . . for free  Download 101 Twitter Tips                                              
Source: Boogie Jack Newsletter #274 2/1/14 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Top 10 Scams for 2014

Top 10 Scams for 2014

It can say with near certainty that, despite the best efforts of law enforcement and the software security industry, the growth of Internet usage will drive the number of scams ever higher.  Though there will likely not be any significant change in the components of the Top 10 Scams for 2013 chart, there may be some repositioning and changes of emphasis.

Here's the 2014 forecast:

1. Phishing and ID theft. The bad news is that the gap between this and other scams will widen, with newly digitized medical databases as well as corporate systems being key hacking targets, alongside continuing growth of social networking scams.

2. Lottery and sweepstakes, probably no change here either. Seniors, often the most difficult to educate about this crime, are the prime target.

3. Malware - this crime will grow in 2014, moving up a place in the chart because of the increased use of smartphones and tablets. Security specialists suggest that half of all Android mobile devices have no security installed. This is such a threat it could even dislodge lotteries from the Number 2 slot.

4. Bogus Internet sites and fraudulent online sales - don't expect to see any drop-off in this crime. It has however moved down in the chart because of the growing malware category.

5. Hit-and-run scams. This category moves up a slot too because of the sudden surge seen towards the end of 2013 in bogus IRS and utility company payment demands. Also, as more people wise up to the risks of wiring cash, crooks have switched to demanding their money on prepaid debit cards, giving themselves some extra cash-gathering time before awareness of this new trick spreads. As always, this category can also be affected by any major natural disaster, which drives up charity scams.

6. Grandparent/imposter scams. It's the simplicity of this one that makes it such a big earner for the crooks. Although phone calls remain a popular technique, crooks are switching to spamming millions of people using email address lists harvested from circulating messages, like jokes and pass-it-on requests. Delete those address lists before you forward!

7. Economy-related scams. Expect to see a surge in reverse mortgage scams when older homeowners try to unlock some of the equity in their property as prices start to recover. Also, the trend towards self-employment, a big feature of the past few years, could spark a new round of work-from-home scams.

8. Advance fee scams. Scammers never seem to run out of ideas for new ways of fooling people into sending them "overpayment" refunds or paying upfront for dubious services. There's no reason to think they'll run out of crooked inspiration in 2014.

9. Investment scams. There seems to be little prospect of better interest rates for savers either, so they'll continue to hunt for higher returns -- especially in precious metals and currency speculation. You can also anticipate a surge in crowd-funding investment scams as crowd-funding becomes a more popular way to raise money for small businesses, causes and creative projects, especially with recent changes in equity crowd-funding laws. Towards the end of 2013, also noted was a new surge in "pump-and-dump" schemes, in which victims are fooled or pressured into buying worthless stock, pushing up prices and enabling the scammers to sell their holdings before the price falls again.

10. Dating and sweetheart scams. This is a contender for moving up a place in the charts but it stays here for now. The driver is the growth in dating site usage by older age groups, including those whose judgment may not be as sound as it used to be. Also seen is a growth in bogus dating sites as well as crooked "sweethearts."

Not a pretty picture is it? Not just this item but our entire Top 10 chart.  As always, though, there are plenty of actions you can take to increase your security and reduce your vulnerability to those top scams -- starting with commonsense, skepticism and regular reading of Scambusters!

Based on article in, issue #575