Saturday, February 6, 2010

Be Scam-smart.

Eeek! It's really been months since my last post?? What's up with that? Why is it that you can lose touch for so long? I have a whole list of valid reasons.... umm .. ok.... excuses, but I won't bore you with all those.

This week was a real trial for me as I experienced having my e-mail and Facebook accounts hacked and all my contacts spammed. What a nightmare, I spent hours getting my internet life back in order; however through the experience I learned a few valuable lessons which I'm sure all you smart moms already know, but I figured I'd share them anyway.

I am not always diligent about backing up my important information, we all know we need to do it, but it's easy to forget or think you'll do it next time 'cause you're in a hurry right now. DO IT.
I don't typically make a backup of my e-mail contacts. Fortunately this week when my e-mail account was 'hijacked' I had an alternate account in place with a relatively current contact list. My hackers changed my e-mail password and other vital information, sent a scam message to all my contacts, forwarded all my mail to their address and then deleted all the contacts in my account. With my alternate account I was able to quickly send out a message to my contacts notifying them that the previous message was fraudulent.
  • Create a free alternate e-mail account (eg. gmail, hotmail etc.)
  • Import your contact list
  • Include your own, other e-mail address in the contact list, that way you will also receive any message sent to your entire list.
I feel like I'm pretty careful about this, but even just entering your name and e-mail address on an unknown website can put you at risk. I'm not ready to give up my internet use, but I am consciously reducing my presence and visibility. I have cancelled a number of subscriptions and membership accounts that are not so important to me.

This is one I have been careless about; I have a difficult time remembering which username/password I chose for a particular website, so I got in the habit of using mostly the same characters repeatedly. I can see this is not so smart so I am working on changing this. Keeping a list may be a good idea. Also, changing your passwords regularly can help.

It is a sad truth that we have to be on guard so much of the time. Hoping for safe, happy web times for you!!

Smart Mom


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