It’s tax time and we all know that income tax identity theft is a major problem. The most common way that income tax identity theft occurs is when the identity thief files an income tax return using his or her victim’s Social Security number along with a counterfeit W-2 that indicates a large refund is due.
In his most recent post, Steven Weisman, writes that “Filing your income tax return electronically can be both safe and convenient if done properly, but it also can be risky as evidenced by a recent study by the Online Trust Alliance, a nonprofit Internet Security firm which found that six of the thirteen companies used in the IRS Free File program had significant security issues that included failures to properly encrypt data.”
To read his entire post on Scamicide,com which offers tips on how you can make your electronic filing more secure, CLICK HERE.
Steve has been a guest on my BlogTalkRadio program several times discussing personal identity theft. To listen to my discussion with Steve about how to minimize your risk of income tax identity fraud, click on the BlogTalkRadio logo below.
No need to carry two mobile phones with you, one for business and the other for personal use.
Sideline is the FREE phone solution for anyone who needs a second phone line. The idea is that your smartphone is your personal phone, and you don’t necessarily want to use that as your business phone. That’s why you still see people carrying around two phones, which is a hassle to say the least.
Your second number works just like your first. Separate caller IDs, notifications, and ringtones make it clear who’s contacting you. For outbound communication, just open Sideline. With your free phone number, you get unlimited texting, and Sideline calling uses the carrier plan you already have.
Sideline is available on both iPhones and Android smartphones.
CLICK HERE to read more about Sideline and instructions on how to install the app on your phone.
From The Wall Street Journal
How to Improve Cybersecurity? Just Eliminate the Human Factor
The computer systems that run our world—the ones that secure our financial information, protect our privacy and even keep our power grid running—all have a critical, unpatchable weakness. It’s the humans who use them.
The information hackers and con artists need to persuade someone to trust them is more readily available than ever. If you’ve ever accepted a friend request on Facebook from someone you don’t know, even someone with whom Facebook says you have mutual friends, you’re part of the problem.
Whenever someone has information about us, we are more likely to trust them. That insight has helped hackers sharpen phishing attacks, in which they spam corporate inboxes with emails that can be targeted to individuals in ways that make these emails look more credible. These more-personalized “spear phishing” attacks are more likely to succeed because they come from someone we know—or think we know.
Criminals seeking credit-card and other personal data are targeting hotels
A few years ago, computer criminals were focusing their efforts on U.S. retailers with specialized software that exploited gaps at the cash registers. Now, they are turning to the lodging industry, taking advantage of uneven security at hotels and the hotel-based restaurants, spas and gift shops typically owned by other companies, people familiar with the incidents said.
Cardholders aren’t responsible for unauthorized purchases, but they must scrutinize their bills for fraudulent charges.
To read the complete article in the Wall Street Journal CLICK HERE
The Internet has changed the rules for traveling. Gone are the days when keeping in touch from abroad was both a challenge and expensive. More college aged children are spending summers traveling and taking advantage of semester abroad programs. The following are some of the things parents and students must know before leaving home:
– What is the Internet situation where the student will be living?
– Does he/she have an International mobile phone?
– Do you and your child have a plan to reach each other in an emergency?
– Are both of you aware of the differences between phone and data services, domestically and overseas?
– Have you checked your wireless provider’s international program? (i.e Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.).
– Have you considered whether or not your child should rent a phone while traveling?
– Are you familiar with the rules surrounding Internet services abroad such as Skype, iChat, e-mail, texting, and accessing the web?
My daughters have both spent 4 months studying abroad. Despite daily phone calls to and from the United States, my total phone bill for the time they were away was under $200. If you need assistance understanding the rules of international travel and would like to know how our communication costs were kept in line, give me a call at 917 921-4518 or e-mail me at email@example.com
The open enrollment period for Medicare is between October 15th and December 7th.
Medicare scams are common during this time. Medicare is not issuing new cards to Medicare recipients at this time and they will never contact you by phone and ask for your Medicare number. Steve Weisman, in his daily post on Scamicide.com, writes that “Medicare is not issuing new cards to Medicare recipients at this time and they will never contact you by phone and ask for your Medicare number. Never give personal information to anyone who calls you on the phone because you can never be sure who is actually on the other end of the line.”
CLICK HERE to read his entire blog.
As a parent, do you have the basic computer skills to maintain contact with your college student? Does your technology support your efforts, and do you have the most cost efficient systems in place?
The following are some points that you should be thinking about before the move-in date:
– Will you need to upgrade either your equipment or services?
– How do you determine your child’s equipment needs while in college?
– Does the cell phone provider that you use at home (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) have a strong network at your child’s school?
– What can you do to keep your communication costs down?
– What are the most cost efficient ways to stay in communication with your child in college?
– How do you keep in contact with your child who is studying abroad without incurring large telephone charges?
– Has your child’s school granted you online access to key school resources?
– Does your child know how to reach you 24/7?
The chances are that your child may be more up-to-date on the latest technology than you. It is important that you discuss a strategy to communicate in a cost efficient manner. If your child is studying thousands of miles away, or perhaps in any country, you do not want to incur telephone charges that approach the cost of tuition!
Most universities no longer provide phones in their dorms. The use of cell phones and other mobile technology tools has significantly enhanced our ability to maintain our relationships with our children in college. Are you prepared?
Below is a link to my recent radio program where I discussed this and many items that you need to know before loading the car and heading to campus.
If you have any further questions, I can be reached by phone at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 10 is finally here! What’s all the noise about and what do you need to know.
Below are some of important points you should be aware of:
– Windows 10 is available starting July 29th.
– The new operating system will be offered as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users (for the first year). After that time, you will be able to keep using it for free. Starting next year, Windows 10 will be $120 for the Home version and $200 for the Pro version.
– While I definitely believe that you should upgrade (particularly if you are unhappy with Windows 8), I would wait awhile, since all new operating systems experience growing pains, and it’s important that Microsoft fixes any unexpected bugs in the system.
– There are a number of new features that you will like. First, Edge is a new browser, basically replacing Internet Explorer. The other is Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Now. Several sources report that it still needs some work, but its worth taking a look at.
On my recent BlogTalkRadio program, Carl Mazzanti, CEO of e-Mazzanti Technologies (Microsoft New York Metro Partner of the Year in 2015) and I discussed these and other important things you should know about Windows 10.