Category Archives: Search Your Mind

Computer Scams

Computer scams come in all forms

Computer scams are more common than ever before. Scammers send millions of emails every day, pretending to be from tech support, a government office, or insurance company. They promise to send lottery winnings, offers that are too good to be true, or sales on products that will never arrive once ordered. Scammers can take advantage of people even if the target doesn’t take the bait. Thieves send emails that contain malware, spyware or viruses that infect the computer when they are opened. Users can’t detect infect files so they are unaware has been breached. Scammers contact targets through phone calls, text messages, email, and pop up ads. If you receive calls or texts from someone you don’t know, you can use a caller ID app for iPhone to identify it.

Feeding on Fear

Scammers can feed on a consumers’ fear by alerting them to security breaches, viruses, or useless software programs for malware and spyware. The target buys the product, worried about stolen identity or worse. The scammer steals the person’s information and credit card or bank account info and disappears.

Computer Tech Support 

You receive a call from someone claiming to be from computer tech support from a real company like Microsoft or Apple. The caller says there is a problem with your computer, e.g., a virus or damaged memory. The scammer offers to fix the problem for a small fee. You are asked to wire money or pay with a gift card. They ask for those because it is almost impossible to trace or get your money back. They offer to run a scan if you give them access. If you agree, the scammer pretends to run a scan on your computer and then tells you about a problem that isn’t real. The Federal Trade Commission has recorded one of the calls made by a computer tech support fraudster. The FTC has posted a  recorded call from a scammer: You can listen here.

Online Shopping

The person or company offers products at a low rate. The scammer takes the money but they never arrive. The company refuses to give a refund.

How to Spot the Scam

Con artists can trick people out of money in many different ways. Here are some common consumer scams.

Phone Calls

Scammers make thousands if not hundreds of thousands of random phone calls every day. There is no limit to the stories they will tell. Legitimate companies do not call to ask for payment for tech support or alert you to a government issue. If you do receive a call, use a reverse phone search to look up the number that called you. You should write it down so it can be reported to the authorities.

Improve Security

Thieves love weak passwords. Change passwords often or create a password using a password generator to improve your computer’s security.

Reporting a Scam

Consumers neglect to report scams because they are embarrassed or they may not know that they’ve been scammed. If you think you’ve been scammed, report it online to the Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Assistant.

 

Protecting Your Kids Online

Parents Protecting Children on the Internet

Everyone knows that you can’t have your eyes on your children 24/7, especially if they are in school and spending time away from home. Sometimes it must be enough to educate your kids as best as possible, exercise reasonable care, and hope for the best. Parents should teach kids how to be safe online, especially since children spent a great deal of time on the Internet. It’s true that kids are generally more tech savvy than their parents. But that tech know-how doesn’t have anything to do with being safe online. Kids are trusting and naïve. They need watchdogs to protect them.

Safe Sites

There have been safeguards for kids almost since the Internet was invented. However, those tech savvy kids can get around those blocks with little effort. Before turning your kid loose on the internet, set strict guidelines including the amount of time spent online as well as which sites are acceptable and safe.

Steps to Take

  1. Use safety features on websites. Let’s use YouTube as an example since it’s one of the most popular sites. If you’re using a desktop, scroll down to the bottom of the screen to the “Restricted Mode” setting. This setting will hide videos that contain inappropriate content. For the mobile app, click on the three dots (top right) to get to Settings > General. Scroll down until you see the “Restricted Mode” option.
  2. Set privacy controls on social media accounts. First, make sure that the children are old enough and mature enough to use social media. Discuss what is appropriate and limit who can see their posts.
  3. Use separate accounts for adults and kids.
  4. Set up separate accounts for your kids on your computers
  5. Use kid-safe search engines and browsers.
  6. Limit the time your child spends online.
  7. Use only safe chat rooms
  8. Teach your children not to talk to strangers. While great friendships can be made online, there is a great danger that children are being approached by predators. Teach kids to maintain a safe distance. If the stranger wants your child to call or text, iPhone app to see who a phone number belongs to and note it just in case.
  9. Teach your children about “sexting.” The Justice Department has stated that the biggest threat to children is something called “sextortion.” People send graphic messages or pictures which can cause lasting psychological damage.
  10. Avoid file sharing. Aside from being illegal, sharing files, e.g., music, videos, etc. can be a doorway to getting a virus on your phone or computer.
  11. Discuss cyberbullying. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have reported that cyberbullying affects up to 15% percent of children. The percentage is higher for kids who are minorities, disabled, overweight, or LGBTQ.

For more tips, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website.

Caller ID Apps and Online Dating

Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage! You know the song, well now it’s time to update it for 2017 and caller ID apps and online dating go together like a horse and carriage.

If you’re single and you haven’t at least tried online dating then you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage. We’ll go over why you should try out online dating and what you need to know to keep you safe.

Why Online Dating?

Nowadays, many couples meet on online dating sites and apps. Some of the most well-known ones are Tinder, Match.com, Bumble, and eHarmony. There are so many options for online dating that it’s important that you do your research and pick the one that’s best for you!

What You Need To Know

Some people like dating and other people dread it. It’s important that you think about what you’d like out of your dating experience. Do you only want the opportunity to meet new and interesting people in your area? Do you want to find “the one”?

We recommend going with the first option. Relax, take your time, and most importantly enjoy yourself. Not every date will be perfect, but that’s okay.

In addition to this, it’s also important that you be safe with online dating. After all you are meeting strangers off of the internet!

Caller ID Apps And Public Meeting Spaces

If you’ve met someone that you like and you want to invite them out on a date the first piece of information you’ll probably share with each other is your phone number. You can use an app for unknown number look ups to verify that the person is who they say they are.

If you don’t feel comfortable giving out your real phone number to someone you’ve just met you can also download an app that gives you a second number, like Burner. This is a good app to have whenever you’re dealing with people you’re unsure of.

The number one rule with online dating is to always meet in a public place and don’t have your date pick you up from your house.

Mental Pollution: How to Stop Automated Calls

At SequentiaEnvironics we want to focus on ways to reduce the mental pollution that is everywhere around us. This has gotten to be quite difficult especially today. We are bombarded with psychological toxins on a daily basis via television, the internet, aggressive marketing tactics and more. One of the most annoying of these mental pollutants are automated phone calls. In this article we’ll go over how to stop automated calls.

What Is an Automated Call?

Have you ever gotten a call from what looks like a local number? You pick it up, and instead of an actual person a recording of someone saying you’ve won a cruise plays. They instructs you to call back (XXX) XXX-XXXX to claim your prize. Annoying. And a waste of your time.

There are different variations of this too. Sometimes the recording might say that you’re going to be arrested by the IRS, that you’re eligible for a free medical alert system, or that you can refinance your home. Most of the time these claims are fraudulent and you shouldn’t pay attention to them.

If you’re receiving automated calls on your cell phone this is illegal and you should report it.

Stopping Automated Calls

Unfortunately, not much has been done to try and stop these annoying calls, but there are a few things that you can do. If you’re a T-Mobile customer you can use their automatic scam call block, other phone carriers are also working on different ways to help their customers avoid these types of calls. In addition, there are apps like Nomorobo and an iPhone caller ID app that have incorporated automatic spam call blocking features.

Having an app on your phone will help reduce the amount of unwanted automated calls you receive, but there is still more that you can do. Whenever you pick up an automated call, do not press any buttons to be removed from the calling list. Pressing buttons on these types of calls will alert scammers to the fact that your phone number is an active number and they will inundate you with even more calls.

Lastly, make sure you report automated calls to the FTC. They are working to put a stop to these types of scams and your help brings them closer to achieving this!