E-Waste
By The Computer Guy / Information / / 0 Comments

The yearly amount of electronic waste is rapidly increasing more than any other kind of waste.

 

Do you have old computer’s that are too old or broken to use? Are they just laying around the house without having a use, or even paying rent? Once computer’s reach a point we refer to as B.E.R, meaning Beyond Economical Repair, they’re basically a paperweight that’s too big for regular paper. This is where e-waste can help.

 

If you look onto the back of a soda can, it usually states that it should be recycled, and some states offer rewards for doing so. This is to encourage people to recycle properly to reduce landfill, pollution and help re-use precious materials. E-Waste disposal is a similar concept.

 

Contents

1. When is a Computer Classified as B.E.R?

  • Knowing when your PC or Device is in need of replacing is important to make an informed decision.

2. Why E-Wasting is a Clever Idea

  • Benefits to Proper Device Disposal

3. What Can Be E-Wasted?

4. E-Waste Recycling – How it Works

  • What’s invloved and How to Get Access

5. Re-Using Devices at Home


 

When is a Computer Classified as B.E.R?

 

B.E.R (Beyond Economical Repair) is a term used for a computer that will cost more to fix than it’s used worth.

 

Of course, when possible it’s always preferred to fix someone’s machine, getting it back to running in good condition. However, if the hardware in the machine has an age close to its life expectancy or too many parts are damaged, the repair cost will exceed the used value of the item.

 

Tip: Look up your item on Gumtree and see if it will cost more to repair your item than what they’re selling for second hand.

 

Imagine taking an extremely old car, one with dings in the sides, worn brakes, torn seatings and the paint job is extremely scratched up. Of course, you can always opt to go ahead with repairs to fix these issues but the cost to fix all these issues may cost more than what you could sell the car for. It’s also hard to predict if anything else goes wrong- what if the engine light comes on in a week?

All in all, it just seems more reasonable and buy another car, even if it’s not brand new with a bow on top, it’ll be a better use of money.


 

Why E-Wasting is a Clever Idea

 

When a device breaks or is classified as B.E.R, many owners will simply leave it sitting in storage gathering dust or put it directly into the rubbish, even landfill. Throwing out electronics without properly disposing of them is extremely harmful as most contain sharp, metal hardware and dangerous chemicals. This is terrible for the environment and adds more unneeded waste to our landfills.

Australians discard almost 20kg per person annually but on 5% is recycled!

e-waste

Not only is it bad for the environment but you can put your personal information at risk, especially if where and how you dispose of the waste is careless.

By simply throwing out electronics without them being properly and professionally sanitized or processed, it becomes a risk that a stranger will find your old hardware. This gives them access to any data stored on the machine’s drives, including saved passwords, internet history, pictures and documents. Even if the hardware is damaged physically, the data may still be recoverable.

The world only has a finite amount of resources. By Recycling and E-Wasting electronics, this allows the materials used in these devices to be used again rather than extracting more from the earth. In turn, this also means more products will be able to

 

Reluctant to E-Waste?

People tend to become attached to their devices, and not in the ‘oh teens have their heads stuck in their phone doing the snapchats and twitters’  way. If one spends a significant amount of money on something, sometimes people will refuse to throw it out as they think its a waste. Of course throwing the an iPhone straight in the garbage as soon as leaving the Apple store is, but this is more about not wanting to let go of devices that have lived a long life.

There are times that people can insist on fixing something that’s not worth fixing because they’ve ‘already spent so much on it’. This isn’t uncommon and it’s understandable, but there comes a time when things just need to be replaced all together. Every product has a life expectancy.

You can always trust a reputable establishment to properly erase your old data and dispose of your goods properly. Find places with good reviews and recommendations, or ask some friends for places they’ve gone to before! It’s never too hard to find a trustworthy place.

 

To keep our environment clean and protect your personal information, it’s worth considering properly E-Wasting your gadgets, computers and devices.

 

 


 

 

What Can Be E-Wasted?

 

The ‘E’ in ‘E-Waste’ stands for ‘electronic’, so that alone gives a broad idea of what can be given. Almost anything electronic can be e-wasted! This includes:

  • Laptops and Desktops
  • Printers
  • Phones and Tablets
  • Keyboards and Mice
  • Headphones
  • Cables
  • Hard Drives
  • Light Bulbs

 

Each are processed in diverse ways however the general idea stays the same. Recycling and properly disposing as seen fit to not be wasteful or harmful.

Different companies will collect different items. It’s never a bad idea to call ahead of time to see what different items are generally collected by the company. For example a computer focused company may not accept printers and light bulbs, vies-versa.


E-waste Collection – How it Works

 

Most places require you to drop off the devices you wish for them to properly e-waste and… that’s it! Super-duper simple!

 

There are more than 1,800 collection points across the country where householders and small businesses can drop off their unwanted televisions, computers and accessories for free.

abc.net.au

 

 

Some places may charge for their services and labour to properly do so, it’s always a clever idea to do some research before jumping ahead with anything. Microsoft Registered Refurbishers will usually provide great e-recycling and e-waste services free of charge for laptops and desktops. Devices like printers can carry a small fee due to multiple factors with their parts and hardware.

After the e-waste has been collected, there are various processes which they will go through to clean and wipe all data. Using specially designed software programs, any storage disks are completely wiped of information. Reports can also be created to guarantee every single piece of old data has been completely removed. This ensures the previous owner of the item’s data on the device has no traces left-  from pictures to passwords saved in the browser.

All parts of the hardware are cleaned and dealt with accordingly. Batteries and any other parts with harmful product in them are contained to prevent leakage into the ecosystem.

 

 

Professional E-Waste Companies and E-Waste Collectors have the equipment to:

  • Safely clean and wipe all personal data from electronics
  • Sanitize drives and devices
  • Dispose properly of equipment
  • Safely contain dangerous goods found in electronics

Re-Using Devices at Home

 

Have you ever upgraded your phone or computer when the one you currently had was still usable? You just wanted something newer, something faster.

If your device isn’t ‘dead in the water’ and can still be used, there are other options for it! Donating used items to charities or offering them to PC refurbishes is a great idea to help those who may need it. Small businesses accept used parts and products. This may be for them to refurbish and use for sale or donations. Local Businesses also can specialize E-wasting and properly disposing of products, which includes professionally cleaning and wiping data.

There’s also always the option of good ol’ ‘hand me downs’, which is actually extremely common. This is the general idea of cleaning off your device of the applications and data from when it was yours and gifting it to a relative or friend. Just like with clothes and toys, old electronics that still work can be passed down to younger siblings or kids in the family for them to use! This is also a good idea to save money by not needing to buy a new device, and if it does break then it’s not a couple hundred or more dollars immediately lost!

Maybe you have grandparents or that one aunt who owns way too many candles, and all they’d like to do is use Facebook and play some solitaire if they’re feeling adventurous. Well, old laptops and desktops that may have seen their day can be perfect for them! If there are extremely old parts that just need a tune up, that’s a simple fix.

 

Consumers should know are always alternatives to dumping old devices. Deciding to properly dispose of, or re-use old electronics, is a great benefit and a step in the right direction. 


Check Out Our Other Posts:

SSD vs HDD: Battle of the Hard Drives

Being Safe Online: What to Know and How to Take Caution

Online Scammers: Protect Yourself from their Nasty Tricks

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By The Computer Guy / Information / / 0 Comments

Have you ever switched on the power and listened to your computer whir to life? Or hear some humming coming from inside when you’re searching and sorting files? People sometimes ask what that noise is, and sometimes they’re indifferent, but it’s good to know what this noise is from and what it says about your computer.

 

What are Hard Drives?

 

There are a lot of parts to a computer, one of the most known is the hard drive. It’s where everything is stored away, from your family photos to that one assignment you did for a class and may have left to the last minute. Everything is nestled into that one small part of your machine.

Since we rely on them so much to safely hold our valuable data, it’s always a good idea to know a bit about them and how reliable they are, their speeds and types. Sure, we know there are portable hard drives, USB’s, ones that go inside your PC and SD cards, and that alone is a decent amount of information, especially if you know what each of them is generally used for. But what about the inside?

 

 

If you look inside a hard drive, you can see a lot of small parts- but that’s probably the only way you can describe hard drives in general. In fact, there are two main types of hard drives; Mechanical and Solid State.

It’s often though that all hard drives are the same on the inside, but that’s not the case. Over time as technology has evolved, more secure, faster and even quieter hardware has come onto the market. Therefore, we have several types of Hard Drives!

 

 


 

 

Comparing the Difference

 

A (Very) Brief History

Mechanical drives have been around since the 1950’s. Drives around that time were about the size of a fridge-freezer combo, and only held about 4 Megabytes of data. Now you can get 5 Terabytes of storage on a disk that’s no bigger than a block of cheese!

SSD’s are newer technology. The original concept of microchips storing data has been around since the late 1980’s, recently has this technology become available for everyday PC users.

 

1956: IBM ships the first hard drive in the RAMAC 305 system. The drive holds 5MB of data at $10,000 a megabyte.

– PCWorld.com

 

Mechanical Drives (HDD)

Another name this type goes by is a Hard Disk Drive, hence the acronym being different. This is quite literally referring to the metal disk inside the drive. The inside of these could be compared to an old record player! It’s the same concept of the disk being read by an arm which moves around, finding different grooves to gather information on what to relay to the user.

Since these drives have been around so long, the ways they have been made and developed became more affordable to the point where they’re basically the standard for a computer, except for those that have had SSD’s installed. By having mechanical drives in a retail laptop, for example, the price can be set to something more affordable for the every-day customer who doesn’t need anything super flashy.

Even though they’re ‘older’ technology, it doesn’t mean that mechanical drives are bad at all! Like with anything, if you invest to get a decent quality drive from a reputable brand then they can live a long happy life.

Mechanical drives are recommended for storing copious amounts of data, like games or video footage, especially since they’re more affordable per gigabyte. Since storing data doesn’t require a fast processing speed like booting programs would, often the D Drive on a computer will be mechanical!

 

Bonus Facts!

  • Portable Hard Drives are mechanical!
  • The disk in a HDD will spin at either 5400 or 7200 Rotations Per Minute (RPM)
  • Prices of mechanical hard drives has dropped by an average of 34% a year
  • HDD’s have two sizes; 2.5” or 3.5”. Smaller ones are used in laptops

 

 

This is what the inside of a Mechanical Hard Drive looks like!

 


 

Solid State Drives (SSD)

Unlike Mechanical, a Solid-State Drive has no moving parts. This completely erases the issue of ‘wear and tear’ over time. The chip technology used in USB’s and phones is the same as that in an SSD, meaning all data is stored and sourced electronically. Utilizing this means there is no physical screws or surfaces that can scratch, becoming damaged and unreliable after a certain amount of use.

Benefits to no moving parts include the reduced noise! SSD’s send and receive information electronically, so there’s no rattling parts, motors or disks spinning. This means that whirring when you boot the PC becomes essentially silent, not to mention it boots faster!

The fact that SSD’s don’t have any moving parts speeds up your PC’s boot time and allows it to load faster! With a rotating disk like in a mechanical, user’s wait for the disk to get up to speed before loading . Along with that, there isn’t a disk for the drive to search when locating data! The storage is tracked electronically creating easy and fast access to programs and files.

SSD’s are in fact newer technology, and are in high demand because of both technology companies and consumers. The cost per gigabyte is higher with SSD’s than it is with mechanical drives, making them inefficient for substantial amounts of data storage. This is the reason people with desktops, and sometimes laptops, have more than one hard drive!

 

Bonus Facts!

  • SSD’s have the same components as phones, SD cards and USB’s!
  • Flash Memory, what SSD’s use, was introduced to the marked in 1984
  • All SSD drives are 2.5″, the same size as a laptop HDD
  • Revenues SSD’s brought worldwide totalled $585 million in 2008, and have sold over 67.3 million units as of 2012

 

This is what the inside of a Mechanical Hard Drive looks like!

hard drive

 

 


 

Utilizing Your Hard Drive – How to Get the Most Out of Them!

 

Take Care of your Drive!

It’s not something a lot of people consider but there are steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the most out of your drive!

Turn off your computer at night or when you go out!

If you aren’t leaving things to update overnight or uploading a video while you sleep then you should always turn off your PC! Other than saving power, you’ll extend the life of your hard drive. A lot of mechanical drives slow down when they have been actively running for a long time. Imagine if you ran a marathon, then after the event is over instead of going home to relax, you must just keep walking around the block. Of course, you’d be exhausted quickly if you weren’t given a chance to rest. It’s the same for your hard drive!

 

Be careful with laptops!

Of course, this just seems like common sense, right? As well as turning it off when it’s not in use, closing the lid before it fully shuts down or jolting the machine while it’s on can disrupt the hard drive. Remember how they spin at up to 7200 rotations a minute? Causing the machine to harshly move while its spinning that fast can scratch the disk and cause an area to no longer be useable!

If you have a laptop with an SSD in it of course this issue won’t be too much of a problem, but you still should be careful. It’s not recommended that you body-slam your PC into the floor or anything like that.

 

Which would be better for me?

Depending on a person’s budget different options are always recommended. Before jumping into any decisions ask yourself:

 

  • Do I need a large amount of storage space?
  • Is my computer running slowly now?
  • Do I travel with my laptop a lot?
  • Can I hear the hard drive working in my PC?

 

 

 

It’s recommended that before making the switch or upgrading that you check the health of your Hard Drive. You can do this with a program or see a professional. There’s also the choice of having both. A lot of laptops may not be able to fit two hard drives, but can be fitted in depending on the hardware it already has.

A lot of desktops use two hard drives to up the efficiency of their computer. This typically consists of a Solid State where Windows loads from, allowing the computer to boot up quickly and run smooth. The second drive, labelled as the ‘D:’ drive, is where data gets stored, still have a large amount of room. The majority of the time, this drive is mechanical.

 

Hard Drives are a big part of your PC, and knowing what’s best for your computer can be greatly beneficial for its performance. Research never hurts when looking into an upgrade or just a change, and more space doesn’t always mean better performance.

 

 

Check Out Our Last Blog Post

 


 

Related Articles

 

Timeline: 50 Years of Hard Drives

What are Hard Disk Drives

Computer: The Hard Drives History

 

 

 

 

The Computer Guy 2017

By The Computer Guy / Online Safety / / 0 Comments

Being Safe Online: What to Know and How to Take Caution

Do you go online on your PC? Are you being safe online? How do you know if you’re being protected while browsing the web?

 

Contents

1. Introduction

2. Taking Caution

  • Pop-Up Advertisements
  • Scam Emails
  • Downloading and Torrents

3. Is your Software Outdated?

4. Programs That Help Being Safe Online

  • Windows Defender
  • CCleaner
  • Subscription Programs

 

It can be hard to know if you’re being safe when online if you have never been told how! The one thing a lot of people who come to us ask is if there are any extra measures that can be taken when online to protect your personal files from being attacked by Malicious Software (Malware for short).

Unfortunately, there are people online that aren’t just there for the cute cat videos and shopping. There are emails with a virus that can lock or damage your computer, and believe it or not that panel that came up on the side of the page saying you won a new iPhone, isn’t true.

 

However it’s good to know that there are steps you can take to make sure you’re being safe online.

 


 

Taking Caution

Our last post, “Online Scammers: Protect Yourself from their Nasty Tricks“, covered some bases mentioned in this section. If you’d like to read more on this topic be sure to have a look at it!

 

Even if you’re being as careful as you can be online, it’s easy to get caught out. Here’s a few things to know that’ll help you protect your info online!

Pop-Up Advertisements

Advertisements are everywhere online, it’s how websites make money, how companies promote their products and the way a consumer can find new goods. All around it doesn’t seem that bad, it’s just like ads on the television, right?

Well, not exactly.

Most online advertisements will allow you to click and open the website which the goods or services are being sold. However the link attached to the ad can also take you to a website that contains harmful material.

Some internet users may remember screamers, which was a practical joke on the internet for a while. In short, a video or website would seem calm and user friendly, then out of nowhere a disturbing image accompanied by a loud screech or unpleasant noise would appear. This was usually with the intention to scare whoever opened the link but was overall harmless. Well, this is somewhat similar to ads with malicious intent. Instead of a scare and raised heart rate however, you may get a virus or malware on your computer.

Good examples are the panels that sometimes appear saying that you’ve won a phone or some other fantastic prize, with the hopes you’ll fall for the lie and click the ad. There are even some that appear to look like a Windows pop up saying you have a virus and you can ‘click to scan’.

Here are some examples of what these pop up ads may look like:

Being Safe Online        Being Safe Online         

 

A good thing to note also is that Microsoft will never prompt you call a number or call you on your phone saying they’ve detected a virus. Most of these are scam call centers with the intent to get your passwords or credit card information.

 

 

Scam Emails

Most people will use emails to send photos or files to friends, catch up with family or even talk to a pen pal overseas. Millions of emails are sent daily across the globe, further helping us communicate. Some companies even send out promotional emails to alert a customer or member of a sale that’s currently going on. Unfortunately, some emails contain files that can lock your computer, or even damage it.

Have you ever gotten an email from an insurance company asking about payments even though you aren’t with them? What about an email from Australia Post saying you have a parcel and it’s waiting for you? Even an ‘overdue electric bill’ from some organisation you’ve never worked with.

Well, most of these are scams.

A majority of the time, opening these emails won’t instantly kill your PC and files, but downloading or opening attachments and links will. It’s strongly advised that if you get an email that seems suspicious, even if it’s from a friend or contact, to instantly delete it. If a friend sends you files you weren’t expecting or a link you don’t trust, message them to ask if it was them or delete it. If it turns out to be something they did send, then they can always send it again! It’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

A Few Things to Note:

  • AusPost Never Email! They’ll usually mail you a physical card if there’s a package for you to pick up!
  • If you get an email from a company you’re with that still seems sketchy, call their official customer service and check it was them!
  • DO NOT REPLY to scam emails. It’s best not to open but a lot are randomized. They’ll send emails to every address they can come up with. Replying confirms that they found an active email and results in them sending more or sharing the email.
  • Don’t give out your email to random websites.
  • Block email addresses that send you scams or advertisements

 

Downloading and Torrents

It’s no secret people like to torrent and download the latest movies and TV shows. Whether it’s the last episode of Game Of Thrones or the biggest Blockbuster movie, a lot of people seem to want it NOW and they also typically want to avoid paying for it. Remember that video clip that would play at the start of every DVD you borrowed? ‘You wouldn’t steal a car. You wouldn’t steal a purse.’ And so on? It may have been overlooked a lot but it’s correct, that distributing copies of movies and torrents are classed as stealing.

 

“TorrentFreak found Australians represented 11.6 per cent of downloads, outstripping the United States at 9.3 per cent, and the United Kingdom with 5.8 per cent.”

-News.com.au

 

The best advice when it comes to downloading torrents? Don’t.

 

Besides the fact that it is in fact illegal, easy to track and carries fines, it also puts your computer at great risks. Downloading files of movies and TV Shows from an online site, or even streaming them often bring the risk of downloading malware into your computer, not to mention the absurd amount of pop-up ads which appear.

Sure, your friends may have said they use this one website and ‘it’s so good! There’s no viruses and its secure!’, but how true is that? How do they not know there aren’t hidden viruses? How do they know it’s not going to suddenly change to harm your computer? This goes for game downloads, tool bars, fake programs that claim to speed up your PC and adult entertainment sites as well. All have a chance to harm your computer through pop up ads and malware.

Full News.com.au Article: Read Here

 


 

Is Your Software Outdated?

Now of course if your computer is just for writing documents or playing chess, you may not even need to go online. Though as of today, a vast majority of the population use online websites, emails and games. The internet is something all modern computers are capable of accessing, however sometimes it’s better not to.

Most people are familiar with Windows and the different versions that come out, like Windows 10 and Windows 7. However as Microsoft is always making new software and it gets to a point where they no longer actively support their outdated software.

Windows XP was brought into the market in 2001 and is still vastly used today by businesses who require older software to run machinery. However for the day to day user it’s advised that if your PC is still on XP that you upgrade to Windows 7 or higher. Microsoft withdrew their free support for Windows XP in April, 2014. They did continue the security updates for another year on XP however that support was terminated in July of 2015.

This means that there will be no more security or software updates to the operating system, therefor making it extremely vulnerable when used online. With no updates or active support it is easy for people online to access your computer, and possibly any personal information you may have on there.

 


 

Programs That Help Being Safe Online

 

» Windows Defender

Most PC’s now are on Windows 10, which comes with its own form of Malware protection known as Windows Defender. This program is free with Windows 10 and is designed to help keep your PC safe with options to scan your computer for malicious files.

Windows defender actively monitors your device to ensure it is safe from threats. It includes scans for virus and threat protection, the health and performance of your device and firewall/network protection. It also includes options to run quick or full scans on your PC if you feel your files may be at risk.

 

 

» CCleaner

A free program designed to actively clean your PC from temporary and junk files with the intention to improve your computers performance.

What are temporary files?

Temporary files are generally created to store information while a file is being created online or through a program. This is what can be recovered if something goes wrong and the program closes or your computer turns off before you can save. Have you ever used Microsoft Word and it has some documents you’re able to recover even though you didn’t save them? Those are generally extracted from the temporary files!

Some temporary files however won’t delete themselves. For example when you view an image online, a temporary file may be created for that image, but it won’t be deleted when you close the webpage. These aren’t large files however the space they take up can add up pretty quickly. This is where CCleaner goes through to delete the no longer needed temporary files, and cleaning up more space.

 

» Subscription Based Programs

There are a number of paid anti-virus and scanning programs available. Most work off a yearly fee and can supply anti-virus protection software for one or multiple computers. This works well as an extra measure though they aren’t crucial to have. Some programs are extremely reliable while others are not. A lot of the time the ‘free’ versions of anti-virus software can include advertisements. They can also clash with programs like Windows Defender. It is recommended that you consult a technician to see what software would be best for your personal computer.

 

 

Useful Links

 

Microsoft Official Updates

Windows Defender Info

Microsoft Official Support

Our Services

 

The Computer Guy 2017

scammers
By The Computer Guy / Online Safety / / 2 Comments

Scammers are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to get your money or personal details. Their ultimate goal is to exploit their target though morally wrong means such as lying, tricking or harassing until they get what they want. Avoiding users with malicious intent isn’t easy and there are always going to be people like that online, but it’s good to know there are ways to protect yourself

 

Scams target everyone

Scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels across Australia. There’s no one group of people who are more likely to become a victim of a scam, it’s fair game. Scams succeed because they look authentic and catch you off guard when you’re not expecting it. They exploit the desire to be polite, respectful and generous, as well as the adrenaline and excitement people get when they are informed they’ve won something. Scammers often do an act known as ‘phishing’, which simply means that they only want your bank account, credit card details and passwords.

 

 

Types of Scams

These scams come in all shapes and sizes. Ranging from a pop up window saying that you’re their 10,000th viewer and have won a new iPad, to impersonators pretending to be Microsoft and saying they have found a virus on your computer. Since there are so many places you can come across a potential advertisement or email that is dangerous for your computer, it’s easy to mistake them for something legitimate. As time and technology progresses, scammers are becoming more perceptive and crafty with their scams.

 

 

 

Phone Scams

 

Sure, everyone has had a tele-marketer call their phone asking if they want to buy a new mop, and it’s common knowledge now that you can just hang up, or joke around with them if you aren’t interested because why would you listen to this person up-sell a $50 mop when the one at Kmart down the road has one that does the same thing for $15? Seems easy enough to avoid and not fall for, right?

Well what if you got a call from someone saying, “Hello, I’m a representative of Microsoft and we have detected a very harmful virus on your computer.” A lot of people may panic. Imagine being told your precious computer full of family photos and documents, is in danger. Of course, a natural first reaction is to ask them to fix it, and that means giving them access to your computer.

They may ask you to go onto your computer and grant them permission to access it, and you might see some screens pop up or some coding. The way it looks from the surface seems completely legit; and that’s why so many people fall for it. Unfortunately, they lied about who they were and by giving them access, they can now see everything on your device. Every saved password, every file and every program.

After they have ‘fixed’ your computer they will ask for a credit card to pay for the ‘service’ provided. If refused money some will lock the computer  until money is given. Some may even ask for multiple payments, requesting a moderate amount at first, then later demanding more be paid.

 

However avoiding these scammers is no different to a tele-marketer, and it only takes one simple step to avoid these. Hang up the phone.

 

 

Some good things to know about phone scams:

  • Microsoft themselves will never call you. If you have an issue or question, you have to call their customer service and not the other way around.
  • The only time you may be alerted of dangers on your computer is by anti-virus software such as Windows Defender.
  • Scammers cannot do anything until you grant them access
  • NEVER give out personal information to someone online or over the phone
  • If a scammer accesses your details, change your passwords as soon as possible
  • When you’re unsure if your computer is safe or has a virus, take it to a professional

 

Email Scams

While some are more obvious than others, email scams have been around for a while and are still insanely common. They start as advertisements about ‘The New Diet Pill that Has All The Doctors Mad!’ and a woman who is ’70 but looks 30 thanks to a miracle cream’, simple stuff that some people believe but is easy to spot out when it’s a fake. Then they escalate, saying there’s a ‘package at the Post Office so download the receipt to go collect it’, and even emails from insurance companies and Paypal saying you have overdue bills. As legitimate as they seem, these emails either want you to type in your credit card details or accidentally download a virus inside a document they send. The viruses generally look for your passwords or account information, and can even be ransom ware.

 

There are always ways to avoid getting caught

Before opening the email consider these questions:

  • Who sent the email? Does it seem sketchy?
  • Are you affiliated with the company who emailed you?
  • Are there spelling mistakes? (Scam emails usually have typos)
  • Is the text generic? (“Hi valued customer!” instead of your name)
  • Have you received an email from them before?

 

If the email is a spam email, delete it straight away. Replying to these accounts confirm that you actively use the address they messaged and may result in more spam being sent to you.

It’s never a bad idea to do some research on companies that email you out of seemingly nowhere. For example, AusPost don’t send emails if there’s a package for you to collect but instead they mail you a card. The only time PayPal send emails when changes occur to your account/their policies or if you send or receive payments. If you get an email you’re unsure about, go to the company website and call their customer support.

Emails from a friend are always nice and usually extremely trust worthy. Though you may just send letters to catch up, documents for work and school or pictures there’s always a chance that it’s not safe. Some scammers try to target your email with the purpose of using it to send messages to your contacts and phishing them for information. If you ever are sent an email from a friend that looks shifty don’t be afraid to ask them if it was them, or just delete it.

 

                   

 

Pop Up Scams

Pop Up Scams tend to work based on the shock factor. Similarly to phone scams, some sites may open a link to pages that claim there’s danger. Some can be very difficult to close, or begin downloading some form of software to your computer. A lot of these are accompanied by flashing colours and loud noises such as sirens or a voice recording. Tactics like these are what scammers use to start your ‘fight or flight’ response in the hopes that you’ll panic. The outcome is usually either clicking a link to fix the problem they stated was there, or not being able to close the tabs in time before something is downloaded.

These may also be dangerous to people who are sensitive to loud, disruptive noises and flashing lights. While they’re used without warning unfortunately there is little repercussion for sites using these tactics. 

 

Pop Ups are generally easy to avoid, however some of the following may cause them to appear:

  • Downloading or Torrents
  • Playing Games on an Unsafe Website
  • Streaming Movies and TV Shows online
  • Using Online Video Converters
  • Adult Entertainment Websites

 

Secure Services like Netflix and safe downloads from official websites (such as Adobe or Microsoft) will NOT cause Pop Ups to occur.

 

      

 

Protect yourself

Most scammers avoid questions that can catch them out and prove they’re illegitimate. Just asking questions, like requesting their address, can catch them off guard as most are based overseas.

 

It is illegal for a foreign business to sell overseas investments to Australians if they do not have an AFS licence. Australian companies also need an AFS licence to legally sell investments in Australia.

-ASIC

 

Taking caution never hurts. The more users proceed with that extra bit of caution when online the less scammers can catch out innocent people who may not know how easy it is to get scammed. The biggest advice that anyone can give about online safety is to never assume that you can trust what you see.

 

 

Not everything you see on the internet is true.

 

 

Useful Links

 

About Phishing

Types of Scams

Report a Scam

Online Fraud 

 

 

The Computer Guy