CHEAP PHONES STILL WORK

A reader wrote to tell us his young daughter got separated from him and his wife during Mardi Gras. Instead of it being a desperate situation, she called and told him where she was. “I found her in short order,” He says. His daughter uses an old LG flip phone with $10 a month service from Kajeet.com. This made us think of other ways out of tough situations. Since she had an old-fashioned flip phone, it lacked apps, including the Uber app for calling a cab. With services like Uber and Lyft, no cash is required because a credit card is linked to your account and charged automatically. So if you have no money — say you’ve been robbed or […]

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AT&T PRETENDERS

A reader was recently scammed by someone pretending to be an AT&T technician. Here’s how he got there:

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CONSUMERS BEWARE

How’s this for a kick in the gluteus maximus? You pay for anti-virus software but it doesn’t get rid of the virus, so they offer to remove it but want to charge you several hundred dollars. According¬† to hundreds of complaints on a website launched by Consumer Affairs, the worst offenders are¬† Norton, McAfee and CleanMyPC. A Norton user, to take just one example, found he couldn’t install the Norton program; his computer froze. Norton tech support told him if he paid $155, they could get it installed. Another Norton customer was told it would cost her $300 to remove a virus. Another guy said his computer ran slowly for two years until he discovered that Norton was a resource […]

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THE RISKS OF APPLE PAY

According to a 2015 Mobile Payment Security Study of 900 security professionals, half say mobile payments such as Apple Pay are not safe. Nevertheless, nearly all expect paying by phone to become a lot more common in the next 12 months.

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SWITCHING ANTI-VIRUS PROGRAMS

A reader writes that he’s been using Norton Security on his desktop computer for years, and it works fine. Now it’s up for renewal. Should he pay the $38 or get the free Avast?

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FREE ANTIVIRUS PROGRAM

PC Magazine recently did a review of leading free anti-virus programs. Their top picks were Panda Free Antivirus, BitDefender AntiVirus Free Edition, and Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Free. Avast, which we’ve used for years, was number four out of ten. For tough problems needing paid support, we recommend HelpHelpNow.com (with which we have no connection).

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FAKE TECH SUPPORT

A reader told us she got a call from a guy saying that her Windows computer was about to crash. She took it seriously because he claimed to be from Microsoft. This is a scam and not a rare one.

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BEWARE OF TV ADS

We’re amazed at the info a website can collect about us without our doing anything but visiting.

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WATCH OUT FOR THE UPDATE AD

Our screen kept nagging us with messages that we needed to update Adobe Flash Player, a program necessary for video playback on the web. But since we knew we already had the latest version , we ignored it.

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READER PROBLEM

It turns out McAfee isn’t the only anti-virus company that wants to charge you big bucks whenever you have a problem. A reader alerted us that this happened with Avast, the free anti-virus we have often recommended.

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