I’ve written several articles about specific scams that are occurring on a regular basis on the Internet. They seem to subside for a short time – a very short time – and then a wave of them happens again.
One of the worst – as far as I am concerned – are the ones where the email recipient is being told they must verify their email. These have some common traits with most Internet scams:
1) A sense of urgency – they want you to take care of this immediately
2) A time limit – they give you within 24 hours to act
3) A threat – they tell you your email will be locked.
The first thing you have to understand is that nearly everyone gets these on occasion. I have received them myself in which they are made to look like they are from CharlesWorks. So when our clients get these they tend to become very worried very quickly.
I can’t stress enough that most legitimate companies will not send out messages like these. To fall prey to these can be a real nightmare. With access to one’s email these days the bad guys can wreak havoc in one’s life. The worst cases are called identity theft!
Don’t be the unfortunate one who falls prey to these scammers. If you have been “notified” of something serious – call your provider up and speak with a representative. Just like at my company – it’s a lot easier for us to allay your fears than to have to try to clean up the mess that can happen with compromised accounts.
It’s increasingly difficult sorting the good companies from the bad ones on the Internet. There are still ways to find the best, reliable web development companies. We’ve compiled this recommended checklist as a starting point. The order these are in isn’t necessarily important since ALL the points are very important!
Check to see if your web development company:
□ will ensure that YOU own your website when it’s paid for
□ is legitimately registered to do business within its State: NH MA ME VT
□ has been in business for at least 10 years
□ has several or more people
□ carries Workers Compensation on its employees
□ carries liability insurance
□ maintains a committed presence in networking groups
□ is accredited and has a good rating with the Better Business Bureau (https://BBB.org)
□ understands your community and reciprocates by referring business to you
□ has a phone contact where one can at least leave messages
□ has an email contact where one can send information
□ provides automatic site updates at no additional ongoing charge
□ backs up websites every night for at least a month
□ provides website encryption (SSL) at no additional ongoing charge
□ does not require hosting or domain contracts
□ does not overcharge you by selling you inflated monthly maintenance plans
□ provides partial hour web work billing (9 minutes work charged 9/60 of hourly rate)
□ can respond to most maintenance requests in 3-4 days
□ has general familiarity with trademark and copyright issues
□ is proficient with WordPress through experience and training
Over upcoming weeks check here for details about each. Contact us with any questions, we exist to serve you!
Compromised email can be an important component of identity theft. People take much of today’s electronic communications for granted.
Think about what’s connected to your email accounts – activities like shopping and even online banking to name a couple. Hackers getting into your email can give them an open doorway into many aspects of your financial and personal life. The losses incurred through compromised email can be enormous.
Good security practices are great deterrents. Start by using strong passwords to mitigate such losses.
Wireless connections can be “sniffed”, meaning hackers can wait nearby and record the information being sent and received over the connection.
Always access your email using encryption. Encryption makes it close to impossible to decode the wireless traffic. With email clients like Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail or even a mail apps on phones, make sure encryption is turned on. With webmail through web browsers be careful to access it using https:// to ensure an encrypted email server connection.
Free wireless hotspots are a haven for hackers. You are pretty safe as long as you are using encrypted connections.
If you don’t understand how to set up and use encryption, call your web hosting, email or device provider for help. Don’t risk potential losses.
In keeping with the basics, a common issue we see at CharlesWorks involving our web clients in general has to do with passwords.
A trick to remember with passwords is to keep them simple yet complex and different enough so they aren’t easily guessed. A very good way to have a secure password is to use words or combinations of words that mean something to you but not anyone else. It’s also more secure if you use a capital letter where one would not normally be expected. Here’s an example of making a typical word into a secure word just by changing which Letters within the word are capitalized:
Or you could go a step further by using numbers in place of some of the letters so you have both numbers and capital letters:
To really beef up security, in this example we’ll make it 2 words separated by a hyphen or a number:
Using a couple words in this manner will pass the security requirements for many systems. You can use a couple words that you can remember and therefore don’t have to write down anywhere.
Needless to say, post-its on your monitor should be avoided. Hopefully this CharlesWorks tip will help get you away from that habit!
Charles Oropallo, CharlesWorks founder and owner, Peterborough NH
Welcome to The CW Corner!
Charles Oropallo from CharlesWorks in Peterborough, NH will be bringing you articles on popular web topics with helpful hints. Most are expected to be simple and some are for the more experienced. All should be useful and educational by many readers. We will address:
- Passwords with our focus on making them secure – yet easy to remember.
- Common Internet scam information about domain name renewals to perhaps save you a lot of grief going forward.
- More Internet scam information about Directory Listing scams to again save you a lot of grief.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in layman’s language and how it works.
- Current web design products like WordPress – a free content management system for building websites.
- Some information about spam and how you get onto those spammer’s lists.
- Common myths and misconceptions about domain names aimed at helping you protect your online brand.
- The ease (or not) of website self-maintenance for do-it-yourselfers.
- The importance of shopping local and supporting your own community.
- Things to know about email security on your phone or on your computer or on your tablet.
- Website hosting and the advantages to local servers vs cloud storage.
- The occasional pitfalls of having your friends help you with your web needs.
- Reviewing your website now and then.
- A little about email etiquette and things to avoid.
- A common email extortion to ignore.
- Secure Socket layers (SSL) and the surrounding hype.
- Some tips and thoughts about choosing domain names.
- Free counters and issues surrounding most “free” web stuff.
- Info about a common “you need to update your email” scam.
- A brief explanation of “the cloud” as applied to the Internet.
- Social media – Facebook in particular – and how it relates to your web presence.
- How long you have to get site visitor’s attention.
- Who owns your domain and info about domain ownership.
- Checking up on your web content and the minimum needed.
- Checklist to help you find the best web developer.
And more! We’ll try to keep this page updated over time with the topics we cover each week!
There is a lot to share!
Feel free to email Charles with questions/suggestions. Check out The CW Corner each week here to see our new articles!
Charles Oropallo (Charles@CharlesWorks.com) started CharlesWorks in Peterborough NH in 1998. His team has provided website design, hosting and related web services for thousands of web clients on four continents.