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Welcome to the Computer Wizard Blog 

News and tips to make your technical experiences safer, easier and more enjoyable!

The identify thieves are constantly working on new ways to steal your identity and critical personal data such as passwords, credit card and bank information.
So let’s look at the many ways they are currently working.
1. Popup windows on your computer
2. Email scams
3. Phone calls
So if you happen to get a popup, try to close it, if you cannot close it, shutdown your computer, and restart it. In most cases you can then go back to using your computer. In some rare cases you will need a computer technician to eliminate the problem.  
NEVER give anyone remote access to your computer unless they are a local person who you know and trust. If you’re ever in doubt about the legitimacy of a message you’ve seen from a vendor (such as Apple or Microsoft, contact that vendor directly (i.e., look up their actual number instead of calling the number given in the message) or, better yet, contact your IT support person. 
Your best option is to have an ongoing relationship with one technician instead of trusting your private information with revolving techs from a box store.
We will look at the other 2 options in the next blogs.
Email scams are simply another version of the same thing. The 
best choice is to not open any email you suspect as being a scam. 
If you you do open it, you can verify the sender by clicking on the 
senders name, often you will see it is not from a legitimate 
sender. 
Apple and Microsoft do not fix your computer and therefore any 
email that you receive saying you have been hacked or that your 
computer is at risk is always a scam! Regardless of who sent it!
Phone calls about your computer are ALWAYS scams, no one
can see your computer information unless you give them access. 
So if you receive a call saying you have been hacked or that your
computer needs to be cleaned up or repaired, it is always a scam. 
What normally happens is that the scammer asks for permission to 
access your computer in order to fix the problem. Once you give them 
access they are literally hacking and stealing your data, and then 
they charge you $350.
So now you just paid a hacker $350 to steal your data. 

 

I work on these issues several times a week and have never 
found a computer that had any of the issues that the hacker tried
to convince my clients that they had.  
What is a VPN and why do I need it?
When you turn on your computer and connect to a wireless network you are literally allowing anyone that is connected to that network to view and monitor everything you are sending or receiving on your computer.
To make this easier to understand, it works much like your phone, when you are using your phone everyone around you can hear everything you are saying. So your conversation is picked up by anyone close enough to hear your voice. So if you could add a VPN to your voice, then anyone listening would only hear garbled noises. You could talk about personal details and they would not be able to understand what you are saying. 
Now lets talk about your computer and how a VPN works.
A VPN is a “Virtual Private Network” and it  provides a private and encrypted connection to the internet, that basically creates garbled messages that are sent and received in a way that only your computer can understand.
 
  For more information about VPN’S Call me at  (239) 298-2400 
Backup Options. – Cloud or Local?
I often am asked whether to do backups or not and where and how to do them.
First and foremost you should backup regularly, preferably every day, 
As is always the case the cloud backup is an easy solution, and requires less attention. A local backup requires additional hardware and maintenance.
For a local backup you will need additional software, and you will need to check your backups regularly.
Many cloud backups are free, although the free ones have limited space and often charge for additional backup space. 
Call me if you have further questions and I can assist you in choosing the right backup for you.