Monday, May 6, 2013

WARNING ... Computer Safety

Hello fellow bloggers and faithful readers.  The new look and layout for Her Peculiar Life has been interrupted by a professional computer hacker.

Today, I am posting from the public library because while home alone our OG accepted an unsolicited telephone call from a "fishing hacker".  This criminal preyed upon her youthful inexperience and literally guided her through the steps necessary to install a "fishing program" from his web-site onto our home computer and she unknowingly gave him all information necessary for remote access to our home computer. 

We are now having our entire computer hard-drive "wiped out" and all programs re-installed, just like a brand new computer.  The admissions clerk at our computer repair shop informed me that by 9:00 AM this morning she'd had 3 other phone calls regarding the same scenario.  It appears these criminals are targeting our area.

Please warn your children, teens and elderly parents to NEVER accept any phone calls or e-mails from companies contracted by or claiming to be Microsoft.  Made sure they understand that Microsoft will NEVER phone your home.  Microsoft will never contract or outsource to any company that would phone your home.  Please educate them on safeguarding all access to your computer.  Inform them that they are to NEVER allow anyone remote access to your computer(s) nor should they ever download, run, or install any programs or systems to "help" or "improve" your home computer's function.

If you do find yourself a victim of this type of activity.  Please do the following IMMEDIATELY.

DO NOT CONTACT THE FOLLOWING VIA YOUR HOME COMPUTER - a fishing program has been installed and any new account numbers, PIN's or passwords will be "fished" off by these criminals.

1.  Contact your banking institution(s) via telephone to notify them that your debit card(s), account number(s), routing number(s) have been compromised.  Ask them to issue you new debit card(s), new PIN's, and new passwords.

2.  Contact ALL your credit card companies via telephone and report your credit cards lost or stolen.  Ask for new cards with new account numbers.  Ask your credit card representative to verify that all charges up to the time of your call are yours and only yours.

3.  Contact ALL vendors via telephone with whom you do on-line business.  Explain what has happened and ask for new account numbers AND PIN's.

4.  From your office computer, the library, a neighbor's computer, etc. change ALL your on-line account passwords. (ie, e-mail, blogs, Face Book, twitter, etc.)  Do not use your home computer OR your home's modem and router to make these changes.

5.  If you used your home computer to file your taxes, contact your local social security office and place a FRAUD alert on yours, your spouse's, and dependent's social security numbers.

6.  For any documents or photos you MUST retrieve from your computer take the following steps:
a.  unplug your modem and router from the electrical socket (these fishing programs use your home internet connection to send and receive info.  These programs are disguised and your hard-drive must be wiped clean in order to extricate it.)
b.  open and print all documents, photos, etc. that you do not want or can not loose forever.

7.  Take your computer in and have the hard-drive wiped out and all your programs re-installed.  This may be an opportunity to upgrade to newer versions of your programs.

8.  After you've retrieved all necessary information and your home computer is disconnected from your internet service.  Contact your internet provider and set up a NEW user ID and password for your service.  DO NOT reconnect your computer until the hard drive has been "cleaned". 

9.  You may also consider obtaining identity theft insurance.  Why?  Because the "helpful" professional on the other end of the phone just stole your and every member of your household identities.

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Thank you for taking time to read my blog and leave a comment. I try my best to respond to each one. God Bless You, Mrs.B