Are You Being Inundated by Automated Scam Calls on Your Mobile Phone?
There have been rising complaints among consumers regarding the noticeable increase in robocalls over the past few years. Robocalls are cheap to make and garner the services making the calls, millions of dollars in return. Remember the federal "Do Not Call List" which was implemented years ago? Although it does block many fraudulent calls, many calls come from overseas who disregard our laws. The Do Not Call List registry received 4.5 million complaints in 2017, but it's not difficult to understand the tenacity of robocallers when you understand how they try to defraud you; interest rates, credit cards, student loans, business loans, IRS (you owe money to the IRS), search listing, travel, pre-approved loans, home security, and utilities.
I remember when I purchased my first mobile phone. Robocalls were never an interruption to my day. Now it is. I receive up to 5 or 6 robocalls per day; sometimes everyday. My favorite are the calls who use what appear to be local phone numbers in the attempt to make me feel more confident in answering the call. Although some phone companies offer blocking services, not all individuals have access to the blocking tools, free or otherwise, necessary to circumvent robocalls. It will be a difficult problem to resolve across phone networks, but it appears that some state legislators are working to cirumvent companies who are basically coming after your personal information. Rule of thumb: don't give your personal information out to anyone. Companies with whom you do business will not call you and ask for personal information, credit card number or logon information.
Related information: "Google Phone Spam Filtering Beta Program" and "Yes, It's Bad, Robocalls and Their Scams, Are Surging"
Fake ad blockers in the Chrome store had over 20 million installs
Google removed the impostors from the Web Store after AdGuard revealed their existence.
If you can't find that ad blocker you recently installed from the Chrome Web Store, you might want to do some browser spring cleaning. Google has killed five top-ranking ad blockers after AdGuard published a report revealing they're fake extensions with extra code that harvest info on the websites you visit.
Google Phone Spam Filtering Beta Program
In 2016, the Google phone app began alerting users to potential spam calls via Caller ID by flashing a large red banner, indicating the "call may be from a suspected spammer". The Google phone app maintains a thorough directory of businesses, so if a call is received by a business with bad history, the screen alerts the user that the call may be from a suspected spammer. Users can block the number and report the call as a spammer, and conversely, they can mark it as legitimate.
Google is taking additional steps to help users ignore spam calls by automatically sending them to voicemail instead of letting them ring; filtered calls will appear in history and voicemails will show up in the respective tab. In the coming weeks, Nexus, Pixel and Android One devices will gain spam filtering. Users who want to join the beta will be required to provide in-app feedback as with most beta programs and are reminded that the beta Google Phone app is in development, that it may be unstable and have a few problems. Users wanting to participate in the app can do so by going to the Google Play Store listing for the Phone app and scroll down to “Become a tester” in order to join.
Beware of Verizon Wireless Scam
Today I got a call that claimed to be from Verizon’s Fraud Department. They claimed that a fraudulent purchase was made on the account out of Florida and that they needed to get my account password. I let the guy talk, as opposed to just hanging up on them (or falling for the scam and providing him with my account information).
Verizon doesn’t do this. They have an SOP and cold-calling their customers isn’t part of it. Same with calls from barely-understandable “Technical Support Department” people telling you that a computer in your house has a virus. It’s all a scam.
Anyway, the moral of this story is to treat calls like this with hostile skepticism. Hang up, pick up the phone and call the company in question directly. Provide the company with the information you secured from the phone call and the number from which they called. You never know who will be helped by this share.
iOS Content Blockers
Mobile device browser content blockers are becoming popular as more websites offer up more advertising in the way of ads and tracking, images, scripts, social media buttons and comments making the browsing experience less than enjoyable. Content blocking has become more popular among consumers and are a way of telling publishers and companies who advertise on websites that they want a less intrusive web experience. There are many ad blocker apps available with some differences in terms of options, and many allowing what is called “whitelisting” for those consumers who want to support sites they visit frequently by allowing advertising impressions.
Some ad blockers are free to download and try out, but to get a full list of features which enable the software more effective, you will need to pay via an in-app purchase.
How does an ad blocker work?
People are accidentally setting off Apple’s Emergency SOS alert
If you sleep on your Apple Watch the wrong way, you might get a wake-up call from the police. That’s what happened to Jason Rowley, who tweeted about the incident earlier this week. Using his watch as a sleep tracker, he ended up holding down the crown button to trigger an emergency call to the police, who showed up in his bedroom at 1AM. Rowley told us the police were friendly and helpful, and accustomed to WatchOS misdials like this one.
Will Apple Release iMessage Syncing to the Cloud Soon?
Syncing iMessages on iCloud across devices was announced during the WWDC last year and briefly made appearance in the beta release iOS 11 but never made it to the shipping version. However, Apple has introduced it to beta testers in iOS 11.3.
Why is this important?
Twitter Apps for iOS, the Apple Watch and MacOS
Apple Watch users noticed in September 2017, that Twitter had disappeared from the Apple iTunes App Store, no longer referencing it as compatible with the Apple Watch. In fact, the Twitter Watch application was removed in iOS version 7.8. In my opinion, the Twitter application for the Apple Watch was by far the best Twitter application for the Apple Watch. Although some applications may not be ideal for the Apple Watch, I feel that Twitter’s Apple Watch application was spot on, and for anyone using Twitter, would have been one of their core applications.
MacOS High Sierra 10.13.2 Causing Finder Crash
[Update January 25, 2018] Apple's High Sierra OS 10.13.3 update seems to have solved this problem for many users, myself included. So if you have not updated, I recommend doing so.
After updating to MacOS High Sierra 10.13.2 (from 10.13.1), I found that I could not connect to my NAS unit or other Windows computers on the network without Finder crashing and the inability to relaunch without rebooting my Mac. Thus far, there is no official fix or definitive answer from Apple for this problem or OS update, leaving many users looking for methods to connect to their NAS and/or Windows servers.
Apple’s response to battery controversy: have a new one for $29
In attempts to make amends for iPhone slow down “misunderstanding.”
Te past few weeks have been tumultuous for Apple ever since the company confirmed it slows down iPhones as their batteries age. In a message posted to Apple’s website today, the company formally apologized to customers while explaining how iPhone batteries age, what Apple has already done to prevent unexpected device shutdowns, and what the company will do to address customer concerns.
Apple may be looking to cut iPhone X costs in 2018
The rumor mill has it that Apple is looking to cut iPhone X costs for consumers in 2018 models including many, if not all iPhone X technologies in new models with rumored code names "Lisbon" and "Hangzhou." This price decrease is said to be directed at the Chinese market but is expected to be seen elsewhere. If these code names are accurate, it would be the first time Apple has considered using a city name for their iPhones, which generally have alphanumeric code names. The iPhone 8 is said to be called Ferrari.
Apple iPhone X pre-orders are still scheduled to begin October 27th with the first shipments scheduled to arrive on Nov 3rd.
Choosing a Password Manager for your Data Security
We live in a fast moving digital world filled with a plethora of electronic devices which we have come to depend upon to record personal information, house our photos, compose and receive email, prepare work documents, create art and use online services to connect to our banks and favorite shopping sites. But this convenience comes with a downside: the risk of compromising our data. It makes sense to spend some time determining what kind of protection plan we need to put into place to keep our data secure.