Something(s) old and something new
February 19, 2022
Something old #1 – Fake tech support scams
I know we've talked about this before, but the fake tech support scammers are still out there. Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, the FBI, or anyone else will not call you about your computer. So you know that when, not if, someone calls you, it's a fake tech support scammer trying to take your money.
You also know that while you're on the internet, any screen or web page that comes up telling you about terrible things going on in your computer and telling you to call the number on your screen is also a scam.
The two rules here are don't talk to them when, not if, they call you. Oh, and shut off your computer as soon as you see one of those scary screen/web pages.
Sure, you know these things. But tell your friends and family, too.
Something old #2 – Account recovery options
Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, all the various AT&T email addresses, and most social media sites like Facebook, Nextdoor, and TikTok, have, variously, account recovery options.
It used to be when you forgot your password; you could answer a couple of security questions to prove you're you and get on with resetting your password.
But there were problems: 1) many people don't remember the answers to their security questions (who was my second-grade teacher?) and 2) people that weren't you could look up the answers to those security questions.
All of which brings us to the improved way to reset passwords. Sites will either send you a text with a code, email you a code, or email you a link to reset your password.
The catch is you need to have your current cell phone or landline number and or an alternate email address on file with the site. It doesn't do you any good if the site sends a password reset code or a link to a number you got rid of years ago or, even worse, the same email address you're trying to reset the password for.
Sending you a text with a reset code proves that you're you because you have your phone. If your landline phone is on file, the site can call the number and 'read' you the code.
Emailing you a code or a password reset link to an alternate email address also 'proves' you're you because you can access the other email address.
But what if you don't have a cell phone or landline on file or an alternate email address? Or what if you've changed your phone number or don't remember the password to your other email address?
Then you're stuck with remembering the answers to your security questions. (Where did I meet my spouse? What was the first beach I went to? Do they want my first full-time job or my first part-time job?) Maybe you set up the account so long ago that you don't know the answers. If all else fails, look around on the site for a support chat feature or a phone number.
NOTE: Google (Gmail) and Microsoft (Hotmail, Outlook), and Yahoo! are notoriously hard to reset passwords with if you don't have up-to-date recovery information. There's no phone number to call, and they don't have a support chat feature. Always make sure your recovery information is current for all your accounts.
Darn autocorrect, or maybe not
I tried to say, "I'm a functional adult," but my phone changed it to "fictional adult," and I feel like that's more accurate.
Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at email@example.com.