Technology

Tips to Shop Safely Online


online-shopping-conceptShopping online this holiday season could leave you with your identity stolen, or at least an expensive surprise when a thief charges a ticket to Fiji on your credit card. Swearing off online shopping isn’t necessary, though. You just need some simple steps to protect yourself from online fraud, which ticks up this time of year as more people shop.

1. Strong passwords and phrases

Using a hack-free password may sound elementary. Many people, however, continue to use passwords that are too easy for attackers to figure out. To make a strong password, use some special characters, numbers or, better yet, a phrase. Phrases like “Iamthegr8est” are harder for a dictionary attack to break. Also, using different passwords for different sites is never a bad idea. So don’t leave all of your accounts open to a single password.

2. Beware of free Wi-Fi

Sometimes you’re sitting in the coffee shop, and you think, “Now would be a good time to get that gift for someone.” Don’t do it. Unsecured Wi-Fi networks are vulnerable to people listening in. A fraudster can just let his or her computer gather up all the data flying around the room, and sort out the usernames and passwords later. If you’re going to shop online, do it from a password-protected network. “A lot of people connect to Wi-Fi and don’t think anything of it,” Hanson said. “Every single thing that you type is vulnerable.”

3. Don’t be phish bait

Sometimes an email can look like it’s from a trusted company or bank. Many people don’t check before they click the links, or they send back Safe-Online-Shoppingwhatever information the institution asks for without first requesting more detail, said Hanson. “Sometimes you get an email that says ‘we’d like to expedite something, click here.” Remember that emails from major retailers or banks never ask for personal information or passwords. And when in doubt, call.

4. False friends

Scammers often take advantage of the clumsy typing skills of the average person, or the fact that few people pay close attention to the Web address of a site they are shopping on. For example, Amazon’s Amazon Payments site is hosted only on certain domains — and no others. If you see an email or are directed to a website where the Web address looks close, but doesn’t match, then it’s likely a fraud, and your information could be at risk.

5. Look for the lock

6.HTTPS_On browsers such as Firefox and Safari, there’s a small lock icon next to the site address, and the “https” on the address bar. The lock shows whether the connection to the site is encrypted. If you don’t see the lock, it’s probably not a good idea to send any credit card information over that link.

 

6. Credit cards, not debit cards

Sometimes it may seem like a good idea to use a debit card, because the money comes right out of an account and keeps you honest —gift_card_1no running up huge debts. However, credit and debit cards have different rules. Generally, it’s easier to get your money back (called a charge-back) from a credit card if you get scammed and a thief uses the card. It tends to be harder to do the same on debit cards, if they offer such protection at all.  Use gift cards. That way, you need not enter your personal information on a site, and you know that there’s a preset amount of money on the card. “Most of the time, we think of them as gifts for other people,” he said. “But they are really good for this.”

 

7. Check your statements

Checking your bank statements more often is never a bad idea, but doing so during the shopping season is even more important. That way, it’s easier to spot transactions that aren’t yours. Even better, sign up for the alerts that the credit card company will send, either by email or to your phone, whenever a purchase is made. This is a good way to guard against the fraud that happens when thieves buy blocks of credit card numbers online, because the only way to know if yours is among them is when it is used. This way you’d know when that happens and can call the credit card issuer right away.

Excerpts from: http://www.livescience.com/52982-tips-safe-online-holiday-shopping.html

 

Categories: Christmas, Cyber Safety, family, holiday, Home Safety, Home Tips, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prepare to Sell Your Home With Professional Photography


4downloadYou only get one chance to make a first impression.  most buyers utilize technology in search of the perfect home long before they ever see it in person.  That’s why I use professional photography by Showcase Photographers to highlight your home’s best features and impress potential buyers right from the start.  Before the photographer arrives, it is important that everything looks inviting, comfortable and simple.

As your Real Estate Professional I will guide you through the selling process and staging your home for professional photography and for potential buyers touring your home.  Following are some easy tips to help you get your home ready for showcase.

EXTERIOR: 

  • Remove all cars (parked vehicles in front of the home can be seen through windows on interior
    photos), 
    bicycles, boats, garbage bins, hoses, alarm signs , empty pots or pots with dead plants.
  • Sweep off patios, decks and walk-ways.
  • Remove fallen limbs from the yard.
  • If you have patio cushions, please arrange them neetley on the furniture.
  • Remove grill covers.
  • If yu have a pool, make sure the Polaris or cleaners has been pulled out.


Marvellous-Interior-Of-Homes-Decorated-For-Christmas-With-Interior-Of-Beach-Homes-And-Interior-Homescapes-Also-Interior-Of-Timber-Frame-HomesINTERIOR:

  • Open all blinds, curtains, sheers (including in the garage)
  • Turn on all ceiling lights, lamps, under counter lights, and turn OFF all ceiling fans.  Replace any non-working bulbs.
  • Kitchen: Remove all soaps, sponges, drying racks, dirty dishes, food,off ofimages (1)dounters and top of refrigerator, hide the garbage can, take towels off the fronts of appliances, and remove everthing from the exterior of the refrigerator.
  • Bathrooms:  Remove all personal items from countertops (razors, toothbrushes, soap, perfumes, personal
    photos, etc.
    ) In the shower, hide shampoos, razors, sponges, soaps, squeegees, etc.
  • Picture-150All pet beds, toys, bowls, food and supplies should be hidden.  Also, plan to confine your cats or dogs in a room.
  • Attempt to hide cords from you electronics as best you can — if you don’t wish to unplug them, move a big plant or some other decorative item to help do the job.
  • Clean mirrors and shower doors, removing any smears. Clean windows go a long way when potential buyers are touring your home.images
  • Assess lighting in each room.  If you feel a room is too dark, bring in a few lamps to compensate.
  • Remove small area rugs.  If you have wood floors or nice tile, it is better to show those then “hide” them with rugs.
  • Put all remote controls in drawers or under pillows
  • Please make sure items hidden under beds do not show at a distance.

 

© Showcase Photographers 2014

Categories: family, Home Tips, Landscape, Organization, Organize, Real Estate, Technology | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Keep Your Cell Phone Info Safe


Many people don’t think twice about downloading phone applications, whether to play a game, deposit checks or keep in touch with friends and family. But before you install another app, read these downloading safety tips.

Phone-Applications-Downloading-Safety-thumb-230x152-616-thumb-230x152-617What’s at Risk?
Apps often ask for access to your personal information before you can open them. This information can include but isn’t limited to:

  • Your contacts and call logs
  • Calendar appointments
  • GPS location
  • Your phone’s unique ID
  • Internet data

App Safety

  • mobile-phone-appsDon’t download just any app. Ensure you’re downloading phone applications from reputable, trusted sources. Your best bet is your smartphone’s official app store.
  • Watch out for fake apps. Copycat apps are disguised to look like the real thing. You can tell them apart by checking developer names and reviews.
  • Research the app thoroughly. Check app store reviews and ratings, read up on the app developer and don’t skim over the privacy policy — this will reveal what data the app collects and shares.
  • Review the app permissions. Verify that phone applications won’t access unnecessary information. For example, it makes sense that a social networking app would want access to your phone contacts, but a game app shouldn’t need access to your text messages.
  • Beware of “free” apps. Free apps or games are sometimes supported by advertisements, which could collect your personal information and sell it to third parties.

More App Safety Tips

  • Photo+Video-Safe-HD-ProClose or log out of phone applications when you aren’t using them. This will prevent apps from accessing your information.
  • Don’t share passwords with your children so they can’t accidentally download malicious programs.
  • Make sure your phone has a remote lock or wipe function in case it is lost or stolen. Thieves are less likely to steal personal information from a locked phone.

 

Categories: Cyber Safety, family, Real Estate, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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