Archive for the ‘Security’ Category

‘IRS’ scam and what to do about it

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, Sept 28, 2016; Updated Mar 18, 2017

I’ve now gotten two of those calls, and it is likely that everyone – especially senior citizens – will get at least one of them. Normally I don’t pick up the phone unless I recognize the number. The first one  (9/28/2016) was a 509 area code, which is just across the Columbia River from where I lived in Portland, and is where many of my former coworkers with whom I exchange Christmas cards, live. So I picked it up.

On the other end of the line was a recorded message that went something like this:

This is (male name), an IRS officer. Did you know there is a legal petition filed against you? Call me back immediately at 509-983-0040.

The second call (3/17/17) was with a female voice, but did not give a name. She said:

an arrest warrant has been issued. Call me back immediately at 907-891-8644.

If you get one of these calls, DO NOT CALL THE NUMBER. Note, there are many different scam numbers they use.

When I got the first call, my first thought was, “I wonder if this is that IRS scam I’ve heard about on the news?” So I googled the number, and got this: Scam Call Fighters (1), where it says: (more…)

Recent phishing/scam email examples

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, January 15, 2017

I the last week I’ve gotten several phishing/scam emails, so I thought I’d share them with you to help you know how to recognize them.

Phishing is fishing for private information such as usernames, passwords and credit card accounts. Wikipedia (1) defines it as:

“the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.”

A scam is “fraudulent scheme performed by a dishonest individual, group, or company in an attempt obtain money or something else of value” according to the Business Dictionary (2).

The examples below appear to be from the trusted businesses: FedEx and USPS. But if you look at the sender’s email address, you can tell the sender is pretending, in an attempt to gain your trust and get your information. (more…)

Protecting your online data, etc. after you die

Thursday, June 16th, 2016
Cell phone vs Smartphone

Cell phone vs Smartphone

By Catherine Haug, June 16, 2016 (image, right, from Tek Handy (2))

I saved an article from an old 2014 AARP magazine, and it just resurfaced in my pile of to-do things. I’d intended to pass on the information therein via a post on The EssentiaList, but you know how it goes with to-do lists when the pile gets too deep…

You can read the entire article by Carrie Arnold on the AARP website (1), but here’s a few highlights.

The article begins with this quote: “Ever worry about what happens to your online financial data, Facebook posts, iPod collection or other digital properties after your death? Here’s how to get a handle on it all.(more…)

Online & smartphone security: Fraudulent Email

Saturday, December 26th, 2015
Cell phone vs Smartphone

Cell phone vs Smartphone

By Catherine Haug, December 23, 2015 (Image, right, from

Fraudulent email, a type of cyber attack, can be received on your desktop or laptop computer as well as mobile devices.

There are many different types of fraudulent emails.The best way to protect yourself from these is to “Regard All Unsolicited Email with Suspicion,” and “Treat Email Attachments with Caution.” (6) (more…)

Online & smartphone security

Monday, December 21st, 2015
Cell phone vs Smartphone

Cell phone vs Smartphone

By Catherine Haug, December 21, 2015 (Image, right, from

I’ve been collecting information on protecting yourself online and on your smartphone, which I share here. The more we get involved in the cyber world, the more vulnerable we are to cyber attacks.

Includes: 1. Security for smartphones and cell/mobile phones; 2. Tips for protecting all your mobile devices; 3. Tips for secure Online and Mobile Banking from your Smartphone (and other mobile devices); 4. Tips for making safe online purchases on your mobile device; 5. Bogus malware warnings on your computer screen; See also: Online & Smartphone Security: Fraudulent emails

Estate Planning for your digital/online accounts

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

By Catherine Haug, May 22, 2015

The information in this post is paraphrased from an article in the AARP Magazine, February-March 2014 issue: Online, Forever After, by Carrie Arnold.

Have you ever wondered what would happen with all the things you have online:  financial data, social media posts, photos, music, books, etc. purchased from iTunes and other online sources, passwords, etc.? I found this AARP article quite enlightening about topics I’d not thought of before.

The most important thing is to start planning now, before the unexpected happens. (more…)