When stressing to my clients the need to use a password manager — I mention my 2 favorites – 1Password and Last Pass. I have been using both for years. Overall, I think 1Password is better because it is an actual program on the computer, not only an “embedded app” in the browser (like Chrome or Firefox).
Having a printed copy of your passwords is very important. Unfortunately, 1Password for Windows does not let you easily print out a list of all passwords (while their Mac version does). Therefore, for clients that are exclusively Windows users — I highly recommend Last Pass.
If you have never printed a copy of your Last Pass passwords or its been a while — complete this short exercise today.
Open your browser
Click Last Pass button
Sign in if necessary
Click Last Pass button
Click More Options
(Last Pass may ask you to sign in with your master password again)
Site data will decrypt and appear on screen
You can then print this page (or pages out) like any other web page
**Note: please repeat if you have stored secure notes in LP and want to print them out — instead of “Click Sites”, it would be “Click Notes”
Still Falling for Tech Support Scams
I think I do an exceptional job at educating my clients about consumer issues as they relate to technology. It still blows my mind that some of my clients continue to fall for “tech support scams.” Some of these scams may be outright fraud — money for the taking with no intention of services ever being provided or the intentional infection of the computer and subsequent (hallelujah) we’ve fixed your computer ma’am. Others may employ unethical business practices, actually coming to you through a pop-up ad or a phone call with the intention of providing tech support services. They will typically imply that you have a corrupted computer and they can fix it. You may be asked to pay a one time charge of $300 for the incident or be offered a “deal” of $800 or more for “lifetime” support. I am calling scam on both types of schemes. They could ask to get paid by credit card, but their favorite method is the CHECKING ACCOUNT NUMBER. Do you know that anyone with even limited technology / payment processing skills can run an ACH on you as long as they have your routing number and checking account number found at the bottom of your check. This is really scary. A recent customer was told by a scammer to put their filled out check on the scanner and let them remotely scan it for payment purposes. Before I even helped her, I had her go to her bank and close the account. In the future, this is how I will handle it. We can always take care of the computer later, you must take care of your identity first. In this most recent example in my consultancy, the tech support scam incident was likely triggered by a malicious pop up ad telling them that their computer was out of date and in trouble.
If you really want to block ads from even getting a breath of internet on your computer – let me know. Most of you have browser based ad blockers. I am not talking about that. I have something better in mind, on a per computer basis, that prevents the ad servers from seeing the light of day.
Microsoft or Apple or Google are not going to mysteriously pop up on your computer with a phone number (or call you) telling you that you have a problem and that you need support.
^^^ Please copy this sentence to your memory. Read it several times. Then, copy it and paste it into Word or your word processing program. Make the print really big! Print it out. Tape it to your wall or your desk. This is a $1000 tip offered completely FREE! Merry Christmas!
A Note on Saving on Services
Numerous clients have contacted me since last week’s update about saving money on home telecommunications services. With some I have been able to help save on services – in a big league way – and in one case I was not. I don’t think I oversold this idea. If you shoot me a private e-mail, I would be glad to let you look over my Comcast bill and see that I pay $112.xx indeed for TV + a very fast internet package, with three TV’s and owning my own Internet equipment. I have been asked about saving money on the cable modem, which runs about $11 / mo. A good one — Arris or Netgear brand — will cost you $100 and easily last 3 years, short of “Acts of God”, etc. The math works in your favor. However, if you have phone service from Comcast, you will have to pay about the same $11 a month for a combined modem / router device. These cost more than a standalone modem in the store — and may not be worth it to buy outright. The reason why I have always advocated for a separate cable modem (rented or not) and router (owned by you) – is because it is SUPERIOR ON TECHNICAL MERITS. It’s not a matter of cost. And since I have been asked this recently — well Mr. Computer — do you use a separate cable modem and router? Yes I do. I have a Netgear modem and a Synology router.
With that out of the way, there are basically three ways that you are going to save in the BATTLE FOR COST CUTTING — 1) hoping you qualify for a package discount on like services because its been a while (and by that I mean like a year or two) since you qualified for such a promotion, 2) MAKING SACRIFICES, or 3) Cutting down to Internet only and then subscribing to a service like Hulu Live TV at $40 which will give you most of the channels you want. If you insist on the “24 hour cattle ranching channel” (or pick your niche channel) that is the highest cable tier, I don’t know how successful you will be at cost savings. I could easily be paying $200+ a month. I got it to where it is, consistently, by making sacrifices. If you want to save, please let me know your circumstances. We should look at the cell phone bill also!
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.