Online Safety

We all know to be careful and look out for ‘phishing’ emails – those unscrupulous scammers who make out they are the real company, but just want to get our login details so they can rob us.

I’m always wary when I receive messages from my bank, eBay, Paypal and any other big company. First rule is never to use the link in the message to go into my account – I don’t even use ‘reply’ in eBay’s messages.

Today I had a message from Paypal. I made the usual checks, the first being that they used my name so it was likely to be genuine. It wasn’t asking for login details either. I hovered my cursor over the image link and it wasn’t taking me anywhere strange. It was also about how to protect myself from phishing – so off I went.

It took me to this PayPal website – click here – and towards the bottom are two links to test your online safety knowledge. Have a go. You won’t be able to beat me as I got 100% on both, but it’s always worth testing yourself – and following the recommendations should you fail one or two.

I haven’t looked at the Get Safe Online website before. It’s very good. So good that I’ve popped a link to it here and will keep it in my permanent links section on this blog.

I know of someone who received a phishing message purporting to be from his bank. He followed the link through and logged in. I happened to have received the same phishing email at my desk (we worked together) so piped up something like, “That’s a very good phishing message about (nameleft out) Bank. None of you are with them are you?” My friend turned purple and immediately phoned the bank – and so started the tedious process to change login details for all of his accounts (which took days and days and days).

So, be warned. 

Until next time…

–Lynda

Ebay action day

I was buying something on eBay today (a new mobile phone – one needs to be VERY careful buying these on eBay [article theme!!!]) and came across something else I need so went to my Auction Sniper account to set up a bid in case I can’t do it ‘live’. I’ve put in a maximum bid, and I won’t be too worried if I don’t win this as there are other listings and sources – eBay isn’t always the least expensive.

I actually enjoy the thrill of bidding live. Getting the timing just right so that no-one else has time to beat me (unless they too are using something like Auction Sniper). Anyway, this time I decided to automate the process as the listing finishes over the weekend and I’m likely to be busy.

While I was in Auction Sniper I checked out a couple of their links and came across Auctiva. This is a FREE program which makes the job of listing items on eBay not only easier and prettier, but also has a lot of features FREE for which eBay charges a fee.

What I’m looking for is a quicker and more effective means of listing lots of items. TurboLister is very good, but I keep thinking there must be a better way. (I was even thinking of developing my own database to suit my purpose – but why re-invent the wheel?) I’ll let you know how I get on with Auctiva once I’ve found time to get started.

The few things I have found which look very useful are free hosting of images, lots of templates and a linked domain name with email support for just $6.95 (£3.50 approx). I chose to go with www.acme-ebooksstore.com 5 minutes ago so it isn’t working at time of writing as it still needs to be set up by them.

If you pop over to the Auctiva website, go into the products tab and you will see more details and the help pages include a tutorial. So that’s where I’ll be headed this weekend.

Until next time…–Lynda

New Computer – my programs part 3

Migrating to another computer is one of my least favourite tasks, and over the last 20+ years, I’ve done it many times both at home and as part of my job. I usually allow for the need to do so every 2-3 years. It’s only because my laptop started playing up that I decided to take the plunge a bit sooner rather than later. (It’s always better to bite the bullet before something breaks and you’re desperate!)

Here’s the next set of 5 programs that I find very useful.

1. Spam is always a pain. Most of my accounts go into googlemail, but the spam filters aren’t exactly helpful – many addresses still appear in my spam box even though I keep telling The G that I don’t want them. Getting very fed-up with this, I decided to reinstate my Mailwasher program; I’d bought it many moons ago, so just needed to get the latest version and set it up again. I have set MW to check mail every 10 minutes and my email program, Eudora, every 2000 minutes (this is so that it doesn’t conflict with MW). Once MW has collected all my messages, I can go through them and mark them as Spam or Friend. As it learns, it becomes more efficient. It’s certainly easy. I still have to check my google spam box, but at least I can vet the other stuff which still comes through. Check out Mailwasher on the Firetrust website.

2. This is something for the UK only – SmartStamp. Royal Mail’s neat little program which lets us print our own stamps. Absolutely invaluable! Especially for my eBay selling activiites. (It helps that my son is a postman and puts my packets directly into the post when he goes to work.) With a small postage scale, I can always fulfil my orders very quickly and don’t have to worry about queueing up at the post office or buying stamps. Brilliant. Find details on the Royal Mail Website.

3. Shortkeys Lite. A very simple program which lets you insert common phrases and even long paragraphs with just one or two keystrokes. For example, using ]lh I can set up to insert the URL of this blog. I’ve also used it to autocomplete rather long email messages or certain paragraphs. The free version lets you have 15 items. Click here to go the Shortkeys website.

4. I use two monitors. Makes it much faster and considerable easier to do everything. Saves that constant up-and-down of windows all the time. DisplayFusion lets me have a different background on each monitor. Check out the website here (free for basic version).

5. Finally, for this series of ‘new computer – my programs’ I give you Evernote. This is new to me. I discovered it after I’d downloaded MS OneNote (which requires payment after the 60 day trial). What I’ve been looking for is a means of keeping all my bits and bobs – web pages, snippets, scans, notes etc, in one place. The sort of things we’d have as hardcopy in a file – or should that be ‘pile’. The basic program is free, or you can upgrade for a very small fee. Early days yet and I’m not sure it will do all that I want, but it’s very clever. All that remains is for me to be clever enough to remember to use it. Learn more about Evernote here.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed these insights into what I use on my computer. Nothing about photos or music, perhaps I’ll add those in future.

Until next time

–Lynda

PS Don’t forget to check out the amazing 90 Day eBay Powerseller Challenge!