Another Phishing Scheme, Not Really PayPal

Written: November 30, 2015

I first started using PayPal along with eBay over a decade ago and found that the combination of online payment with shopping was convenient, fast and secure. There’s only one problem with online payment systems, they are a constant target of hackers trying to steal our identity and money. A phishing scheme is something that looks on the surface like a legitimate request from a trusted vendor, like PayPal, but in fact it is really a disguise for the bad guys trying to gain your username and password. Just this morning I received the following official-looking email:

PayPal scam

The logo is an official PayPal logo, but then again anyone can copy and reuse a corporate logo and insert it into an email. Taking a closer look by clicking on the From field in the email I noticed right away that this wasn’t a legitimate message from PayPal:

PayPal from address

PayPal doesn’t use an email address of mcaji8@suddenlink.net, ever. They would use something like security@paypal.com. PayPal does recommend that when you receive a suspicious email to simply forward it to them at spoof@paypal.com.

PayPal does know my real email address, so that should appear in the To field, but in this phishing email it doesn’t:

PayPal to address

See how this fake email is using the same address in both the To and From fields? That’s another give away that this is not a legitimate email message.

The final proof of this malicious email is in the big blue button for: Check it Here. By just hovering my mouse over that button I can tell where it links to, and that shows the bogus address:

PayPal button

Certainly PayPal doesn’t use web addresses like www.uptownpaint.com to ask for my login credentials.

Summary

Be very hesitant to reveal your username and password for any online account, unless you are 100% certain that it is legitimate. By just checking the email fields like To and From, or the action Button you will protect yourself from a phishing scam trying to steal your identity.

Windows 10 – November Update

Written: November 19, 2015

Like many other businesses I use Windows 10 and right about now your PC should be nudging you to upgrade with the latest update. When you do agree to update, then expect that the download will take at least one hour, so just let that start in the background. During the actual update you may want to go to lunch, or plan to do this at the end of the business day so that you don’t lose any time during working hours.

windows 10 november update

Changes

Microsoft has an official list of the changes here. On the Start menu the columns go from three to four, and you can resize the tiles. You can now cram up to 2,048 items in the Start menu, which is way too many for my taste. Microsoft will now start to suggest apps for you.

Find My Device is useful if your laptop has gone missing, look in Control Panel, then Security.

Boot times could be up to 30% faster now with this update.

Glitches

Some people have found that their installation gets stuck at 44%, especially if you have an SD card inserted.

Other users found out that default app choices got reset with this update.

There are reports that several programs may be removed during install, like: CPU-Z, speccy, 8gadgetpack, a Cisco VPN client, SATA drivers, SpyBot, F5 VPN, Steam, Origin and Adobe CS, ugh.

updating windows

all your files, windows 10

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If At First You Don’t Succeed

Written: November 3, 2015

My previous blog reported on a defective HP printer after only 5 months of very light use, so today after a bike ride I returned home to find my replacement HP Officejet Pro 6830 printer all ready to un-box and setup. I was giddy with excitement, because who doesn’t like receiving a free gift in the mail? The old printer was unplugged, cartridges removed, then the replacement printer was plugged in and I re-used my previous cartridges. Setup went along only so far, and then I received a warning page about my cartridges telling me to, “Install the Setup Cartridges”.

HP 6830 printer

I tried a second set of cartridges that I had bought last week and used on my defective printer, but these weren’t accepted by the replacement printer. I phoned HP tech support and spent the next 54 minutes following inane instructions from a person living in a far away land where English was not their first language. Out of curiosity I took the brand new cartridges sent with the replacement printer and tried those, suddenly my setup screen advanced a few more steps until it reached Printer Alignment. At this step out came a page in pretty cyan colors, but not other colors, followed by a dialog, “Alignment Failed”.

Tech support promised to send out yet another replacement printer to replace the first replacement printer. My oh my, how can a major company like HP stay in business when their consumer printers seemingly don’t quite work as advertised? After buying HP products since the 1970’s I’m not sure why I would ever buy anything from HP for the rest of my adult life. How can such a great brand like HP have so much trouble making their printers work, out of the box?

No more HP ever

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HP Printer Support

Written: October 29, 2015

As a small business owner I avoid using paper wherever possible, and instead prefer to use email, PDF documents and share documents in the cloud. I do have a need to print out envelopes, invoices and other documents, but my use is very light. My old HP inkjet printer had recently died, so in May 2015 I went to Staples and found a replacement inkjet printer, also from HP called the OfficeJet 6830.

HP 6830 printer

For five months it dutifully worked as designed so printing was routine, however just this past week on the display I saw a message, “Problem with printhead”. Uh oh, that doesn’t sound too good I thought. I tried a few things to remedy the situation:

Nothing was working, so I finally phoned the HP support number at 800 474-6836. Ironically the automated system really wanted me to go back to their web site and report the problem, but I persisted and spent the next 25 minutes and 13 seconds on the phone speaking with two different people until the manager said the magic words, “We will ship you a replacement printer at no charge.”

Whew, now that is the kind of customer service that I can live with and talk about. Of course, there was no reason that I had to spend that much time on the phone to persuade HP to fix a problem that they are very aware of, because their user forums are filled with hundreds of identical complaints about “Problem with printhead”. In an ideal world HP would be proactive and issue a product recall, like in the auto industry, then contact me and alert me to the issue and tell me the steps when my printer showed the problem.

In the business world it is very important to keep your customers loyal, because if they love your brand they may just stick with you for decades and start telling all their friends about you in the process.

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