CELL PHONE SERVICE GETS CHEAP

We love our cell phone service from Google’s new “Project Fi.” It only works with Google Nexus phones, but if you get one, your bill might be as low as $25 a month with tax.  Now they’re expanding it. Google Fi currently works with three phone carriers. If the signal is strongest from T-Mobile, for example, that’s who they’ll connect to. If Sprint is better, you’ll be using Sprint. They’ve recently added U.S. Cellular. A Google Fi account gives you unlimited text and phone calls for $20 a month. Each gigabyte of data (which is what you use up when you’re on the Web and all those words and pictures come in), is $10. But you get money back if […]

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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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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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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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HACKERS WIN

Hewlett Packard recently sponsored a hacking contest in Vancouver, Canada, to see if anyone could break into “unhackable” programs, web sites and browsers. It may come as no surprise that there were people out there who were fully capable of hacking into the unhackable.

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DIRE PREDICTIONS

Here are some scary predictions for 2015 from MalwareBytes, makers of a free popular anti-spyware solution. We have used it for years. — “File-less Payloads” We’ll see an increase in malware that isn’t an actual file on your computer but runs only in your computer’s memory. These are real tough to get rid of. — “Ransomware” This is malware that messes up your phone and the party who placed it there demands a payment to remove it. Of course, if you’ve backed up your phone’s data, you can revert to the original factory condition and then re-load. — “Wallet Malware” Using your phone to pay at the counter is just one more function that makes your phone vulnerable to attack, […]

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WE GET SCAMMED

It happened like this: Joy got one of those Roku sticks you plug into your TV set so you can get dozens of extra channels. It didn’t work. Joy said it must be a problem with the Sony TV. So Bob, ever helpful, went on the web and searched on the term “Sony support.” He clicked on the first one that came up and dialed the number for Sony Support. Boy, was that a mistake. The smooth-voiced gent that came on the line advised us that we had a bad virus situation and took control of our computer with one of those remote control programs that let you do that. The screen began to fill with hundreds of error messages […]

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