A reader asked us whether it’s true that the new Windows 10 collects information on your computer usage. Yes it does, but no, we’re not worried about it (anyone watching us needs serious help). If you’re concerned, there’s a free program to shield you.
AARP.org/fraudWatchNetwork has access to information about identity theft, investment fraud and the latest scams. Cell phone apps are slightly safer than using a computer for online banking, but AARP says either one is safer than mailing in a payment. If you’re a victim of fraud, call AARP’s hotline at 877-908-3360.
Having our smartphone hacked — and heaven only knows what kind of information became available from that — made us wonder if we could have had our identity stolen. The next thought was: what would that information be worth to somebody. So we did the research rounds on the web and beyond and found that a stolen identity — the requisite numbers and passwords — sells for about $20 on the hacked-info black market. That’s it? Twenty bucks? What about our priceless collection of Pez dispensers?
Data breaches will cost companies $2.1 trillion globally by 2019, almost four times this year’s rate, according to Juniper Research. It’s because we’re putting almost everything that involves money online. The average cost of each data breach will exceed $150 million by 2020. (Remember: cyber-crime is a growth industry.)
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).
After we alerted our readers to scammers pretending to be from Microsoft, we heard about scammers pretending to be from AOL. A reader told us she frequently gets emails saying “out of AOL storage space.” This is a common ploy directed at both AOL and Microsoft Outlook users.