Getting Comfortable With The Basics

Glenn

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Freezing Credit Is Now Free.

Freezing Credit Is Now Free. Here’s Why You Should Do it Now.

Turning on a credit freeze is now more straightforward and more friendly to activate and temporally lift than ever. Placing a security freeze on your account makes it more difficult for criminals to use stolen data to open fraudulent accounts, or borrow money, in your name.

Credit bureaus gather and hold records of your accounts and payment history that credit card companies and lending institutions use to decide whether you'll pay your bills. If your credit file is frozen, the bureaus won't provide information to lenders unless you “thaw” the freeze first, using a (PIN) personal identification number.

Under the current federal law, credit freezes are now free nationally for everyone. The three primary credit reporting bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion, and Experian now provide free credit freeze and un-freeze service. For credit freezes work effectively freeze must be placed at all three bureaus.

Free security freezes have been made available more than a year after the massive data breach at Equifax. It compromised the personal information, including Social Security numbers, birth dates, and other personal details, of over 145 million people, almost half of the United States population. Even with the scale of that breach, and many other incidents, security freezes have not caught on. An AARP survey found that less than 1 in 6 people had frozen their credit files.

Consumers realized that the breach created risk, but didn't think anything would happen to them, people tend to underestimate their own risk. 

The credit freeze process is not as easy as it could be, consumers are required to place freezes at the three bureaus separately, and keep track of three PINs. It’s not possible to know what credit bureau a lender might use; consumers usually must lift the freezes at all three bureaus when applying for new credit.

The three credit bureaus now provide smartphone apps, that consumers can use to freeze and thaw their credit more easily. They are available for both Apple and Android phones (At this time I can only recommend the TransUnion apps, the other two bureaus apps try to upsell to paid products). Consumers need to be careful when using the website and apps; they may be used to market other, fee-based products and services. You do not have to pay credit freezes are now entirely free.

Credit bureaus also offer s service called a credit “lock,” they promote as a more convenient way to protect your data. However, some of these offerings carry fees. Most consumer advocates favor freezes because the rules are set by law, rather than by the credit bureaus themselves.

It's also recommended freezing your file at a less well-known reporting agency the National Consumer Telecom and Utilities Exchange (NCTUE). They provide credit information to some cellphone, pay television and utility companies. (Consumers have had cellphone accounts opened in their names, even with freezes on their credit reports at the main bureaus.) There is no cost for a NCTUE freeze.

The law allows parents to create and freeze credit files for their children under 16, to prevent their identities from being used fraudulently. Information on how to protect your children's accounts is offered by the Federal Trade Commission.

Freezes will not protect you from all types of fraud, like a criminal using existing credit card numbers, or pretending as you online to claim your Social Security benefits. To help prevent those types of theft, check your credit card statements regularly for questionable charges You should set up and monitor an online Social Security account, to prevent criminals from opening one first and diverting your benefit checks. 

You should check your credit report periodically. Each of the three credit bureaus must provide one free report a year at annualcreditreport.com. (Having a security freeze will not prevent you from getting your free annual report the FTC tells you how.) I suggest getting a report from one of the three bureaus every 4 months, on a rotating basis. These reports will help you to keep an eye on your credit reports for free by only accessing each bureau one time a year.

Identity thieves can intercept new credit and insurances offers sent through US Postal mail to get your ID information. You can opt out of receiving offers these offers for 5 years online or permanently if you use the mail-in form. 

Visit optoutprescreen.com you can choose to opt out for 5 years online or download a mail-in form to be permanently removed from the pre-approved credit and insurance offers.

Visit these websites to set up security freezes:


Identity theft resources at the FTC website

Protecting Your Identity

  • Credit Freeze FAQs – If you’re concerned about identity theft, data breaches, or someone gaining access to your credit report without your permission, you might consider placing a credit freeze on your report.
  • Financial Readiness in Times of Disaster – You’ve got batteries, a tank of gas, and water. Are your financial papers and personal documents stored safely in case of an emergency?
  • How to Keep Your Personal Information Secure – Safeguard your personal information, whether it is on paper, online, or on your computers and mobile devices.
  • Identity Theft Protection Services – Describes identity theft protection services you can buy and free and low-cost alternatives you can use to guard against identity theft and recover if identity theft occurs.

Discovering Identity Theft

  • Identity Theft – Here's an overview of what to know and do about identity theft.
  • Warning Signs of Identity Theft – Warning signs include credit or debit charges you don’t recognize, bills for accounts you didn’t open, and IRS notices that say you filed multiple tax returns.

Identity Theft: Specific Issues


Customize Chrome’s New Tab Page

Customize Chrome’s New Tab Page, No Extensions Required By Justin Pot, www.howtogeek.com

Do you use an extension to customize Chrome’s new tab page? That’s not necessary anymore: you can now customize the default new tab page.


Here’s What’s New in Google Chrome 69 by howtogeek.com

Chrome 69, which marks the browser’s 10-year anniversary, is a huge release. The slick new theme is the most visible change, but there are more new features. For example, you can now personalize Chrome’s New Tab page with background images and custom shortcuts.

Google Chrome Help

Google Chrome Help by support.google.com

How can we help you?


Remove unwanted ads, pop-ups & malware by support.google.com

If you're seeing some of these problems with Chrome, you might have unwanted software or malware installed on your computer:

  • Pop-up ads and new tabs that won't go away
  • Your Chrome homepage or search engine keeps changing without your permission
  • Unwanted Chrome extensions or toolbars keep coming back
  • Your browsing is hijacked, and redirects to unfamiliar pages or ads
  • Alerts about a virus or an infected device

In the future, avoid unwanted software by only downloading files or visiting sites that you know are secure.

– Google Doesn’t Just Let Apps Read Your Email

No, Google Doesn’t Just Let Apps Read Your Email by howtogeek.com

There’s a story spreading in the news today that Google is letting companies scan through your email and sell the data, but this is really misleading. So what’s actually going on?

The way the story is framed makes it sound like something very nefarious is being allowed. Google is letting companies scan my Gmail account?


Opinion: Why does no one get how email apps and Gmail add-ons work? By Corbin Davenport, www.androidpolice.com

There are legitimate security concerns about Google, most recently around its handling of user location data. However, there are a growing number of media outlets and U.S government officials bashing the company for allowing Gmail add-ons and third-party mail clients to read user messages – which is required for them to function.

Chromebook vs Laptop

Chromebook vs Laptop by tech.co

If you’re working to a tighter budget for your next laptop – say, under $400 – then it’s a decision between an entry-level Windows laptop or a Chromebook.

The key thing to know about Chromebooks is that they aren’t as versatile as a Windows laptop

Are Your Password Security Habits Improving

Are Your Password Security Habits Improving? (Infographic) by entrepreneur.com

From the French presidential election to Gmail, a number of incidents have unfolded this year revealing how vulnerable our online security is. That’s why it’s more important than ever to make sure you go above and beyond to secure your digital privacy. And that can be as simple as changing your password every once in awhile.

– 5 best password managers for Android

The 5 best password managers for Android by androidpolice.com

Our accounts hold invaluable information about us — about our work, our finances, and our social lives. Keeping that information safe from prying eyes is paramount, and to do that, we need solid passwords. Assuming you're a typical person living in the modern age, you probably have accounts and passwords for about a million websites and services, and it can be hard to keep them all straight. Password managers take the onus of remembering dozens and dozens of (hopefully) unique strings of characters off our stupid brains, and once you've used one, it's hard to imagine going without. 

Credit freeze: A freebie that you actually want

Credit freeze: A misunderstood freebie that you actually want by freep.com

On Sept. 21, the three big credit reporting agencies will have to give consumers credit freezes for free.

Just one year ago, consumers woke up and discovered that hackers had one heck of a field day with their Social Security numbers and other information in a massive data breach at Equifax. 


Credit Freezes Will Soon Be Free by lifehacker.com

With the one-year anniversary of the Equifax breach just behind us, here’s a reminder that you will be able to freeze your credit reports and sign up for year-long fraud alerts for free starting Sept. 21 thanks to a federal law passed earlier this year. 


Know the difference between a fraud alert and a credit freeze by komonews.com

It's been one year since Equifax let us know that hackers stole the personal information of half the adults in the country. But a surveyshows most of us have not taken steps to freeze our credit reports.

– Office 365 Home Update

Office 365 Home Update – Now with more users, and sign-ins.

Starting October 2, 2018 subscribers to Microsoft Office 365 Home accounts will allow more users to access the subscription and increase login limits.

Microsoft Office 365 Home at $99/year gives access to Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and 1 TB of OneDrive storage for each user. Office 365 Home was limited to 5 users with 10 device installs total, five of the devices could be PCs, and the rest could be tablets or phones. With the new terms, Office 365 Home is now going to cover six people instead of five, and each allowed 1 TB of OneDrive storage.  Device limit has increased as well, with no limits to the number of devices Office is installed on, and each user can be signed into Office on five devices at a time. 

These new changes come at no additional cost. Office 365 Home still costs $99/year, or $9.99 per month directly from Microsoft. You can save more by buying the Microsoft Office 365 Home 1 year Product Key Card from Amazon or Costco, they both offer it for about $85.

Grandparents this is a great gift for your grandchildren.
You can have a copy of Office 365 and five remaining subscriptions to give to your grandkids or anyone you choose. Microsoft Office is the standard in business, being familiar with these tools is essential for young people entering the workforce.


Why Microsoft’s Office 365 is a Great Deal by howtogeek.com

Microsoft’s Office 365 service has been a great deal for a long time, and it’s getting better. Starting, soon Office 365 Home will let six users install an unlimited number of Office applications.

 

Google Titan Security Key review

Google Titan Security Key review: A $50 hardware 2FA bundle with outdated connectors by androidpolice.com

Those of us that care about our online security probably use some form of two-factor authentication to secure our most important accounts, but even the strongest password and the longest authentication code are still subject to something as simple as a phishing attack, which is why so many have switched to hardware security keys. Google helped to create the Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) hardware authentication standard, and now it's releasing its own product to consumers: the $50 Titan Security Key.


How to Set Up and Use the Google Titan Key Bundle by howtogeek.com

Google recently released a set of two-factor authentication (2FA) security keys called the Titan Security Bundle. This set includes a traditional USB-based Universal Second Factor (U2F) key for use on a computer and a combination Bluetooth/USB key for mobile. Here’s how to get it all set up.

Why I Can’t Quit Chrome

Why I Can't Quit Chrome by gizmodo.com

Google Chrome was released to the world 10 years ago today. I’ve been using the browser since it launched on OS X in 2009, and let me tell you what, I feel trapped now. This power-hogging, data-gobbling piece of software is where I spend most of my days, although not necessarily because I want it this way. As hard as I’ve tried, I just can’t quit Chrome.

How Two Friends Built a Remote Astrophotography Observatory

How Two Friends Built a Remote Astrophotography Observatory by petapixel.com

Deep Sky West is a remote astrophotography observatory in New Mexico, USA. It offers the opportunity for any astrophotographer around the world to use the site to access clear skies without the need to travel there, and to use advanced astronomy and photography equipment without the need to own it themselves.  DeepSkyWest

Two-Step Authentication on Your Microsoft Account

How to Set Up Two-Step Authentication on Your Microsoft Account by lifehacker.com

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: You should use two-factor authentication everywhere you can. It’s an easily enacted security measure that should give you a lot more peace of mind. 

Technically, Microsoft protects its apps with “two-step verification” rather than two-factor verification. 

Google’s hardware 2FA Titan Security Keys

Google's hardware 2FA Titan Security Keys available starting today for $50 at the Google Store by androidpolice.com

If you're conscious of your own digital security in the modern era, then odds are you use two/multi-factor authentication to secure your more important accounts, but not all methods are equal. If you're especially concerned — or especially "high value" in security terms — hardware-based keys are the better choice, as they offer additional protections against things like phishing attacks. And starting today, those invested heavily into Google's ecosystem can pick up the previously announcedTitan Security Keys over on the Google Store.


What it's like to live under the Google Advanced Protection Program by androidcentral.com

I am not what I'd call a Very Important Person. I still consider myself a journalist of sorts (and it's what's on my college degree), but I wouldn't say I practice it in the way I did back when I made newspapers. I also am neither an activist, business leader, or am on a political campaign team.

Am I really a candidate for Google's Advanced Protection Program? Do I really need the strongest account security Google offers publicly?

Why Your Router Has Two Wifi Bands and How They Work

Why Your Router Has Two Wifi Bands and How They Work by gizmodo.com

Few devices are as essential to the smooth running of a modern-day digital household than a wireless router, so it’s strange that this black box is so little understood. Here we’ll outline one of the key features of many modern routers, dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz support, so you know exactly what it is and how to take advantage of each.

Things you didn’t know Google Docs could do

25 incredibly useful things you didn’t know Google Docs could do by fastcompany.com

When you’re working in a word processor, every second you save matters. And while Google Docs may seem simple on the surface, it’s practically overflowing with out-of-sight options that can help you get more done with less effort.

The best part? They’re all already there and just waiting to be embraced. All you have to do is find them—and then remember to put them to use. Here’s a head start.

How to Juggle Multiple Google Calendars

How to Juggle Multiple Google Calendars by howtogeek.com

If you only have one Google account, managing your calendar is pretty simple. But once you bring your work account, shared family calendars, and even specialty calendars into the mix, keeping things organized becomes more challenging.


How to Set Up Google Family to Share Your Google Services by howtogeek.com

If you pay for a book on Google Play Books, your significant other should be able to read it, too. The same goes for movies, music, and even apps or games—if you make a purchase, everyone in the family should be able to enjoy it. Thanks to Google Family, they can.

Google Datally adds new modes

Google Datally adds emergency bank and bedtime mode by androidandme.com

Mobile data limits are tricky creatures. Plans vary wildly in how they handle data limits and it can be confusing for users. It’s particularly bothersome when you hit your data limit and are left stranded with no or slow data. To help users, Google released Datally, an app that helps you better manage and conserve your data. Today, Datally is gaining two new features: emergency bank and bedtime mode.

Google’s New Gmail Features

Gmail’s biggest redesign is now live by theverge.com

The world’s most popular email service is getting a big overhaul today. Google is making official the changes we saw leaked earlier this month, with email snoozing, nudging, and confidential mode making their debut alongside a substantial visual redesign for Gmail on the web. The new Gmail begins a global phased rollout today, which is to say that it won’t be available to every one of Gmail’s 1.4 billion users right away, and the first to get it will be invited to opt in rather than being able to just turn it on themselves.


Google’s New Gmail Features and How Best to Use Them by tech.co

This year, Gmail’s 1.4 billion users are getting their first major upgrade since 2011. From a game-changing “snooze email” function to the exciting option to make sent messages “self-destruct”, we run through the key features of the new Gmail upgrade.


How to Find Contacts in the New Gmail by howtogeek.com

The new Gmail started rolling out last week, and it’s awesome. But many people are asking the same question: where did Contacts go?

The previous version of Gmail, now called “Classic Gmail,” had a drop-down at the top-left for quick access to Contacts and Tasks.


Google will force you to switch to the new Gmail whether you want it or not — here's when you'll get it by businessinsider.com

Google recently announced a massive update to its popular email platform. So far, it's given personal account holders and company admins (who run company's G Suite accounts) the choice to leave their Gmail inboxes as-is, or to opt into the new Gmail, which comes with a new look and a lot of new features. If they don't enjoy the experience, users and admins are welcome to opt back out.

That's no longer going to be the case in a matter of months, as Google announced


How to undo the Gmail update – and what features you'll miss if you do by independent.co.uk

The new Gmail update features a snooze email function, a fresh design and a 'confidential mode' that protects outgoing emails.

However hundreds of Gmail users took to social media to complain about Google's new design. Fortunately for them, there is a way to switch it back to the old version, but only for a limited time.

 

Create virtual cards that protect your money

Create virtual cards that protect your money. at privacy.com

Privacy is the safest and easiest way to shop online.

Freeze, unfreeze, and set spending limits. Get real cashback rewards. Take control of your money.

Privacy provides a service that allows you to checkout online without sharing your real credit or debit card information online. We allow you to use any name and billing address with the merchant you would like, so your private information remains secure and private.


Privacy.com Review by echeck.org

When you pay for something online, you are putting your financial and personal details at risk. No matter which form of payment you use, there is always a risk, and there is no way for you (the consumer) to know just how big or small the risk is. The sheer number of massive hacks and leaks over the last ten years is proof enough that we have no idea how safe our payment information really is. Privacy.com adds another layer of privacy.


Privacy.com's virtual Visas are burner debit cards that keep online shoppers safe by pcworld.com

Slinging your credit card information all over the web may be the norm when you’re online shopping, but playing fast and loose with those precious numbers is just begging for identity theft to happen. A new company dubbed Privacy.com thinks it has a solution to the problem. Instead of handing out your actual debit and credit card numbers, Privacy.com lets you create “virtual” debit cards that are locked for use with a single vendor, or “burner” cards that are valid only for one-time use.


One Response to Privacy.com Review: Get Virtual Card Numbers which Allow Using Any Name & Address by doctorofcredit.com

Privacy.com allows consumers to make payments online safely and anonymously. For security or privacy reasons, people don’t always want to use their regular payment methods online and expose their card/bank details, name, and address to random online vendors.


Privacy.com is a VPN for credit cards by theverge.com

In 2016, it’s remarkably hard to buy something anonymously. Bitcoin would be the easiest way, but most places don’t accept it. Even walking into a store and paying cash, there’s a decent chance you’ll be asked for your name and zip code. Paying online is even harder. Use a credit card or a traditional payment service and the odds are your purchase will end up in an anonymized database, used to target you the next time advertisers want to find someone who’s bought a burrito, a pair of jeans, or a lamp in the last month.


 

Understanding Mesh Networking

UNDERSTANDING MESH NETWORKING, PART I by https://inthemesh.com

Mesh networks are an integral part of the burgeoning decentralization movement, and critical to realizing its vision. In this two-part article, we will provide a broad introduction to the concept of mesh networking: what are mesh networks and how did they evolve, why are they technically challenging, and what are the protocols that make meshing possible. Understanding mesh networking conceptually can help us make sense of the products on the market and to appreciate the operational constraints. Although mildly technical, the article will not assume any background in mesh or even general networking. 


UNDERSTANDING MESH NETWORKING, PART II

mesh networks are an integral part of the burgeoning decentralization movement and critical to realizing its vision. In Part I we discussed the history of mesh networks and some challenges in making them work. The basic multi-hop mobile wireless mesh networking concept has been around since the 1970’s, under different names such as “packet radio networks,” “mobile ad hoc networks,” and “sensor networks” and has found applications in the military, first response, and recreation amongst others. Challenges specific to mesh networks include managing the link performance tradeoffs (e.g., throughput vs. range), decentralized access control and decentralized routing.

How to send self-destructing emails in Gmail

How to send self-destructing emails in Gmail by cnbc.com

Google announced a new Gmail feature called Confidential Mode earlier this year that lets you send self-destructing emails. The feature is now available to everyone.

Confidential Mode also prevents recipients from forwarding the email to other people, copying or pasting anything from its contents, downloading the message or printing it. Keep in mind that people can still snap a picture or take a screen shot of the message, so it's best to use Confidential Mode for its self-destruction properties.

Apple Pay Now Accepted at Costco Warehouses

Apple Pay Now Accepted at All Costco Warehouses in United States by macrumors.com

Apple Pay is now accepted at all Costco warehouses in the United States, at in-store checkouts, according to the company. Costco has been equipping its warehouses with contactless payment terminals over the past several months, and as of this week, it has activated contactless payments at all of its 750 locations

PowerShell cmdlets to speed network troubleshooting

10 PowerShell cmdlets to speed network troubleshooting by techrepublic.com

As Microsoft releases newer versions of its Windows client and server OSes, it continues to double down on PowerShell (PS), the framework developed for managing systems and automation. With its ever-expanding list of commands, called cmdlets, PS is poised to aid in configuring just about any settings found within Windows.

– Grammarly, an online grammar checking too

Grammarly Review: Is Grammarly Worth All The Hype? by bloggingocean.com

Do you make a lot of grammatical and punctuation errors? Don't worry; you are not the only one to face this problem.

Grammarly, an online grammar checking tool, claims to make writing a lot easier by proofreading your content in real time as you type. Off late, it is gaining a lot of popularity and is being used and recommended by many people.


Grammarly – Advanced grammar and spell checker for iPad and Mac by michaelkummer.com

Grammarly is an advanced grammar and spell checker for iOS and the Mac. It helps me to write better copy at work and in my capacity as a blogger. If you write as much as I do, I would highly recommend to check it out.

Find your recently uploaded pics on Google Photos, even if they date back many years

How to find your recently uploaded pics on Google Photos, even if they date back many years by androidpolice.com

I love Google Photos and I keep recommending it left and right to anyone I know. But Photos isn't perfect and there's still a lot that the service could do to improve the user experience. For example, the ability to order photos in different ways is missing — you get reverse chronological and that's it. If you're only backing up recent images as you take them, that's not an issue, but if you're uploading older photos, it becomes near impossible to find those images and edit, share, or make albums of them. You might scroll and scroll, try to search for the date if you remember it, and sometimes nothing works. There is one little trick though.

OneDrive – backup your desktop

OneDrive makes it easier to backup your desktop clutter by engadget.com

Microsoft rolled out a new OneDrive folder protection feature to its business users in June — now it's available to regular users, too. The feature lets you choose which folders you want to automatically back up to Microsoft's cloud service — desktop, pictures or documents — and it'll keep this activity in sync across multiple Windows 10 PCs, which is handy if you're a fan of downloading files to your desktop.

How Does File Compression Work?

How Does File Compression Work? by howtogeek.com

Software engineers have always developed new ways of fitting a lot of data into a small space. It was true when our hard drives were tiny, and the advent of the internet has just made it more critical. File compression plays a big part in connecting us, letting us send less data down the line so we can have faster downloads and fit more connections onto busy networks.

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