I’ve dealt with this a couple of times now so I wanted to bring it to your attention again.
The AT&T support “scam” is not new to me. I am going to use quotation marks around that word because I can’t say whether it was true fraud or just deceptive business practices. The story goes something like this. A local internet customer (either with Frontier or now the cable company) has an old @att.net, @sbcglobal.net, or @snet.net e-mail address. They have problems with the account. These e-mails were provided through a partnership of ATT and Yahoo in the past. Frontier did not take over the e-mail accounts and legitimately, they are not servicing them. So, the customer such as calls ATT for support after searching for the phone number on the internet. I have to stop right there and say that they may not have truly reached ATT. Therefore, “ATT” doesn’t really want to deal with it so they recommend an outside firm that charges anywhere from $200 to $800 for support with the ATT e-mail account and perhaps other computer issues. In my opinion, the ATT employee that made this referral may have been doing this unofficially, without the blessing of ATT. Either way, it is shady to me. The calls may be routed to India. The customer gives them access to their computer.
If it were me, I would want a professional to examine my computer to see if there were any traces of access that “ATT” or the other firm still had to my computer. I would back up my data and then I would do a “clean install” of Windows or mac OS for security purposes to truly eliminate all threats. This procedure takes 1.5 to 2.5 hours.
A TV show that I enjoyed watching used to advertise new episodes by saying “ripped from the headlines.” For this update, I will start with — ripped from the customer files…
Your computer files can be so valuable. You may need documents for legal purposes. You may require samples of your work for future career endeavors or to get a deal completed. Important photos can help you create promotional materials for or commemorate an event. Your files are evidence — possibly of something exemplary or even wrongdoing.
My point here is that separations happen. Employment ends. You may be forced off of the board of your HOA or community organization. Business partners become entangled in disputes. Friendships and marriages terminate. Hard drives fail. Fires destroy homes.
Cloud based backup services like Carbonite or Backblaze, even iCloud, are useful tools. If you are running a computer with a desktop operating system like Windows or mac OS, and have important files on there, you should also have an external hard drive that backs up your entire system automatically. Services like Dropbox and One Drive that allow you to store and synchronize selected folders can also play a key role in your technology scheme. Today’s modern cloud based e-mail services can hold messages and attachments spanning many years worth of communications.
However, if this data really matters to you, you should think about manually making physical copies of certain items on a periodic basis. If your life, career, or project depends on it — protect yourself. iPhones and iPads can be plugged into a Mac or Windows computer and backed up locally to that machine through Apple’s free iTunes software. Love it or hate it, Microsoft’s Outlook e-mail program (Windows or Mac) can be used to back up all of your e-mail into a single file. Again, if it’s critical to you, a periodic archive may be a good idea. Who could forget floppy disks from 25 years ago? Today, we use flash disks (or thumb drives) to copy smaller batches of files and folders. These disks are cheap. It would not hurt to have a few on hand (or an additional external hard drive) to copy specific items when the situation arises. Here are Samsung 32 GB flash drives on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-BAR-Plus-32GB-Champagne/dp/B07BPHML28/ref=dp_ob_title_ce
Multiple copies never hurt. There are potential dangers with living our technological lives on autopilot.
For those of you who have ATT Yahoo accounts, you should take note that your ATT Yahoo account (including snet.net, sbcglobal.net, and att.net) will not work with most Yahoo services after June 30, 2017. With some of these services, the ATT Yahoo account will need to be converted to a regular Yahoo ID. In other situation, it will be necessary to create or use a different Yahoo ID. Take a deep breath, the one major exception is Yahoo Mail. There will be no changes to how you access e-mail at this time. Please read this update from ATT
Connecticut residential internet customers should keep in mind that they have no connection with ATT anymore. The ATT e-mail accounts were not absorbed by Frontier. I want to reiterate my plea for ATT Yahoo e-mail customers to migrate to a Gmail or independently owned e-mail account. Yahoo is now owned by Verizon, a major ATT competitor. Further restrictions on Yahoo services, including mail, may be around the corner. Be proactive.
Need to sync your Google contacts, calendar and tasks with Outlook? Even with Outlook 2010 and 2013? Even in Windows 8? Using Windows? Buy Gsyncit!!
Remember, your ability to sync with Outlook and a free Gmail account will forever change in Jan. 2013. You will either need to update to a paid GApps account or use a tool like Gsyncit.
Here’s the e-mail trick Petraeus and Broadwell used to communicate.
This article from the Washington Post and the linked AP story were the basis of yesterday’s post on the use of Gmail by General Petraeus and Ms. Bromwell.