Public Service Announcements...


Cleaning for a Reason

New Identity Theft Scam: Jury Duty

Boeing Employee/Retiree Hotline

Breast Cancer Petition

Deceiving E-mails

Do Not Call - The FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule

Information on SARS

Google security

Spy Ware and Ad Ware

Fighting Phone Solicitors and Junk Mail

E-Mail Virus Protection

Viruses, Hoaxes, Chain Letters, Etc.

Career Strategies - Talk Radio


This page has been set aside for Public Service Announcements. This is information that we think is helpful to the community. If you have a public service announcement you'd like to share with the community, please send it via e-mail to stephenwgill@earthlink.net.


Cleaning for a Reason

Jan 1, 2011

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If you know any woman currently undergoing chemotherapy, please pass the word to her that there is a cleaning service that provides FREE housecleaning - once per month for 4 months while she is in treatment!

All she has to do is sign up and have her doctor fax a note confirming the treatment. Cleaning for a Reason will have a participating maid service in her zip code area arrange for the service.

This organization serves the entire USA and currently has 547 partners to help these women. It's our job to pass the word and let them know that there are people out there that care. Be a blessing to someone and pass this information along.

http://www.cleaningforareason.org/

Great information. You may not know someone going through chemo, but someone on your email list might.

Please forward!


Jury Duty Scam to get your SSN

July 2, 2007

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New Identity Theft Scam: Jury Duty

The scammer calls you claiming to work in the local court and claims that you've failed to report for jury duty, and that a warrant has been issued for your arrest.

The victim rightly claims they never received the notification.

The scammer asks for confidential information for "verification" purposes, specifically: SSN, DOB and perhaps even a credit card #.

For a fully write-up on this, see the Snopes article at

http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/juryduty.asp


Boeing Employee/Retiree Hotline

February 17, 2006

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Boeing TotalAccess

Boeing TotalAccess is the source for Boeing pay and benefits information such as health and insurance, pension, and savings for Boeing employees and retirees, and former employees and retirees of McDonnell Douglas.

Here's a hint from Microdata/McDonnell Douglas alum Arnold Hoffman on using voice-activation on the Boeing TotalAccess line to reach an operator:

The secret to the voice activated prompts is to say NOTHING even though the system will request input many times. Finally, it gives up and you get a real live operator. She will then verify some information and give you a BEMS ID. Through the mail, you will receive a password that should allow you to get through the system. Since I don't have a password yet, I can't say how easy or hard this will be. The toll free number is 866.473.2016.

The Boeing TotalAccess center is open from 7am-8pm CST.

You can also visit the Boeing: Employee/Retiree - Benefits and Compensation page:

http://www.boeing.com/employee-and-retiree.page#/retirees

To contact Boeing TotalAccess:

Call toll free 1-866-473-2016 or email TotalAccessServices@boeing.com


Breast Cancer Petition

August 18,  2004

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Breast Cancer Hospitalization Bill

Important legislation for all women. Please send this to everyone in your address book. If there was ever a time when our voices and choices should be heard, this is one of those times. If you are receiving this it's because I think you will take the 30 seconds to go and vote on this issue...and send it on to others you know who will do the same.

There's a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act which will require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy. It's about eliminating the "drive-through mastectomy" where women are forced to go home hours after surgery against the wishes of their doctor; still groggy from anesthesia and sometimes with drainage tubes still attached.

Lifetime Television has put this bill on their web page with a petition drive to show your support. Last year over half the House signed on. PLEASE!!!! Sign the petition by clicking on the web site below and help women living with breast cancer get the care they need and deserve!!

There is no cost or monetary pledge involved. You need not give more than your name and zip code number.

http://www.lifetimetv.com/health/breast_mastectomy_pledge.html

This takes about 2 seconds. There's also a link at the bottom of that page to email the pledge to a friend. Pass along this important issue to everyone.



Deceiving E-mails

June 16,  2004

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The Old Phishing Hole

According to several sources, the fastest-growing cyber-threat this year is an activity called phishing. In a nutshell, phishing is an attempt to trick you into giving up personal information, which is then used for identity theft or other financial crimes. Here's how it works:

You receive an e-mail that appears to be from a financial institution, your ISP, a major retailer or some other agency that you do business with and are likely to trust. This e-mail tells you there is some problem with your account, and you must log in and verify or re-enter certain information, like your credit card number, passwords or social security number. The e-mail even contains a convenient link that takes you right to the agency's web site, or so it seems. The industry group that tracks these crimes says that 15 out of the top 20 phishing scams pose as a bank or other financial institution. Earthlink, AOL, Ebay and PayPal are other popular targets.

Quite often, the e-mail will contain obvious spelling or grammar errors, because the criminal has a native language other than English, or because like most criminals this one is somewhat stupid. But not always. Some of these phishing letters and web sites appear amazingly authentic. The e-mail address appears correct (it's spoofed, of course) and the browser shows the correct URL for the agency this is supposed to be. It's actually a graphic that is positioned on top of your browser's real address bar, but you wouldn't know that to look at it. No matter how authentic it may appear, if you respond and give the crooks the information they seek, the next step is to clean out your bank account, run up your credit cards or open new credit with your stolen identity. It will be an unpleasant mess, any way you look at it.

So, how can you protect yourself against this? First of all, do not under any circumstances click the link provided in the e-mail, and do not reply to the e-mail either. You can be sure that no legitimate institution will ever ask to you to respond to an email (or a phone call) and give personal information that they are already supposed to have. It just isn't done. However, if you feel the need to confirm this, you can contact the agency by typing their URL into your browser, not by clicking a link, or you can call them. But don't use a phone number that's provided in the e-mail.

This might all seem like just common sense, but one thing that makes phishing work is that it almost always starts out with alarming news. Your account will be closed, or someone has already stolen your identity or opened a fraudulent account in your name. Whatever the story, it's something that's upsetting that needs to be handled right away. It's easier to do the wrong thing when you are a slightly rattled and in a hurry, and the e-mail makes it even easier still with the phony link.

There is a variation of this that targets online businesses using greed instead of fear. The e-mail claims to have deposited a large (but believable) amount into your PayPal account for whatever goods or services you are selling, and they just need you to log into PayPal to confirm receipt, using the handy link. Of course, once they have your login info that PayPal account will be cleaned out faster than you can say "What happened?"

If it's any consolation, these financial firms and other businesses being mimicked by the phishers are even more concerned than you and I, because they usually wind up holding the empty bag at the end of the day. A number of them have formed an organization to combat the menace and keep the public informed. It's called the APWG, for Anti-Phishing Working Group. Earthlink is one of the members, and they are offering a free browser toolbar that alerts you before you connect to a known phishing website. It's available to everyone, Earthlink customer or not. You can check out the APWG website and download the toolbar here:

http://www.antiphishing.org/index.html

There are a couple of close cousins to phishing that we might as well mention while we are on the subject. One of them is an email announcing a Microsoft patch or update that you can get by clicking the link. Just be aware that Microsoft does not announce their patches this way, and it is a pretty sure bet that if you click on that link, something bad will happen.

The other one is the old Nigerian scam, where an email claims that the sender has come into millions of dollars in some questionable way that makes it difficult for them to get it out of their country. If you help them get it into the US, they will give you a healthy percentage of it, definitely enough for you to quit your day job. They just need your bank account information to transfer the money, or they need a cash advance from you to bribe the appropriate officials. It ain't gonna happen, folks. There may very well be individuals in Nigeria coming into large sums of money in questionable ways, but I am quite sure they do not announce that fact to strangers over the Internet.

With a little bit of caution and common sense you should be OK, but there is another small step you can take to help bring these cyber-crooks to justice. If you get a suspicious e-mail that looks like a phishing expedition, forward it to the company or agency it is pretending to be from, or send it to APWG, or both. Everyone who might have gotten scammed but didn't will owe you a debt of gratitude.


Do Not Call - The FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule

June 26,  2003

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Giving Consumers A Choice to Limit Telemarketing Calls

The National Do Not Call Registry gives consumers a choice about getting telemarketing calls at home. Consumers will be able to register online or by phone. Registration is free. Most telemarketers will be required to synchronize their call lists with the registry every three months. Enforcement begins October 1,2003. Go to http://www.donotcall.gov to read more.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation ís consumer protection agency, manages the National Do Not Call Registry. Congress passed the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act in 1994;one year later, the FTC adopted the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). The TSR prohibits deceptive and abusive telemarketing acts and practices, and protects consumers from late-night telemarketing calls.

Most of the 26 states that have active do not call lists will transfer the numbers on their lists to the National Do Not Call Registry. A list of states transferring their do not call lists to the National Do Not Call Registry will be posted at http://www.ftc.gov/donotcall. Consumers in states that are transferring the numbers on their do not call lists to the national registry do not need to re-register. But consumers in states that are not transferring numbers to the national registry should register their number on the national registry if they choose to limit the telemarketing calls they get at home.

Click here to read more about the National Do Not Call Registry and to register one .


Information on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

May 2, 2003

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The following PowerPoint presentation was forwarded from Angel Melendrez on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS. Please share this with your family, friends, and colleagues.

Click here to download the presentation. Choose "Save" to save it to your local file system or "Open" to open it without saving.


Your Personal Security

May 2, 2003

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The following message is from Greg Lawson...

Lawson Family and Friends:

I received the information at the end of this e-mail from a friend. I went to google.com and entered both my 1899 and 0323 phone numbers and was shocked to learn that anyone with my phone number can get a highly detailed map to my home. Carol and my cell phone numbers were not >included in their database.

Many people are unaware of this danger. I personally, don't want any "Tom, Dick, or Harry" having a direct map to my house (and the map to our house was perfect!) just by having my phone number. Go to http://www.google.com and then type in your phone number. See how accurate the map is that is linked to your phone number.

I opted out and suggest that for personal security reasons you do the same. If you have trouble opting out send me your phone numbers and I will do it for you.

Please share this information with your family and friends.

Greg

The E-mail that I received follows:

There is a new feature that makes it possible to type a telephone number into Google's search bar, click the search button, and have a MapQuest page returned as a result. Any person wishing to discover the physical location of a phone number, be it a home or business address, could use this feature to locate a physical street address, and receive explicit directions on how to get there from anywhere in the country.

One positive use of this feature could be to determine the location of, say, a party for whom you may only have a telephone number. On a negative note, this feature could also be used by an angry party to find out where you live.

Google has made available an option that will allow anyone to remove their telephone number from the database that is linked to the mapping feature. You will first need to check if your number is listed in this manner by attempting a search - entering your full telephone number separated by dashes (e.g., 404-524-5811). If the number appears in the mapping database, an icon resembling a telephone will appear next to the first or second entry on the results page. Clicking on this icon will take you to a page containing a description of the service, and a link to request your number be removed from the database.

 


Spy Ware and Ad Ware

May 23, 2003

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Speaking of privacy and the web, you may have heard of so-called "spy ware" and "ad ware". Ad ware is software used by internet advertisers to track usage of their sites (or their customer's sites) by placing "cookies" on your computer.

Reputable websites use cookies in the way they were intended - a secure way to recognize registered users when they return to a site. If you use web portals such as Yahoo, MSN, Lycos, Microsoft, and many others, you may wonder how they know it's "you" when you return to the site days, weeks, or months later. It's done using "cookies", which are small text files that store settings, location, and other helpful information. Websites that have a login almost always use cookies to store settings and login name.

However, some websites use something called "spy ware" and "ad ware". This is actual software that is installed on your system as a DLL, ActiveX control, or EXE file. Most websites will prompt you to install the plug-in, but if they are bundled with other software you may not even know it's on your system. These insidious programs track usage, last sites visited, started programs, cookies, and even your system configuration. Then this data is sent back to the software publisher (usually an advertiser). Yes. Your program and internet usage and even system configuration information is being shared with advertisers!

Here's what you can do about it. There are several utilities that will scan your system and locate these nasty nasty programs, produce a report, and allow you to delete the program and related cookies. Most of the utilities are available as shareware, with retail Plus or Pro versions to purchase. Retail versions are similar to virus protection software and run in the background preventing spyware and adware from being installed. With the shareware versions you simply run the program one a month (or more often) to detect and "clean" your system. 

Spybot

Ad-aware

Both of these programs are free downloads from PCWorld.com. I used Spybot to scan and remove these creepy crawlies. Although I received several warnings about program dependencies, everything seems to be fine. The amazing thing is that my system seems to be running faster.

Give it a try!

John Luttrell
BasisMedia Communication
http://www.basismedia.com
johnluttrell@basismedia.com

P.S. microdata-alumni.org doesn't use cookies. We have no idea who you are when you visit us. Let me know if you have questions about spy ware or ad ware.


Fighting Phone Solicitors and Junk Mail...

May 9, 2003

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Here are some great ideas to fight those pesky telemarketers and some hints on cutting down on postal junk mail. They come from a variety of sources, including Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes.

Three Little Words That Work !!

1. The three little words are: "Hold On, Please..."

Saying this, while putting down your phone and walking off (instead of hanging-up immediately) would make the length of each telemarketing call so much more time-consuming that boiler room sales would grind to a halt.

Then when you eventually hear the phone company's "beep-beep-beep" tone, you know it's time to go back and hang up your handset, which has efficiently completed its task.

These three little words will help eliminate telephone soliciting.

2. Do you ever get those annoying phone calls with no one on the other end?

This is a telemarketing technique where a machine makes phone calls and records the time of day when a person answers the phone.

This technique is used to determine the best time of day for a "real" sales person to call back and get someone at home.

What you can do after answering, if you notice there is no one there, is to immediately start hitting your # button on the phone, 6 or 7 times, as quickly as possible. This confuses the machine that dialed the call and it kicks your number out of their system.

Since doing this, my phone calls have decreased dramatically.

3. Another Good Idea: When you get "ads" enclosed with your phone or utility bill, return these "ads" with your payment. Let the sending companies throw their own junk mail away.

When you get those "pre-approved" letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and similar type junk, do not throw away the return envelope.

Most of these come with postage-paid return envelopes, right? It costs them more than the regular 37cents postage "IF" and when they receive them back.

It costs them nothing if you throw them away! The postage was around 50 cents before the last increase and it is according to the weight. In that case, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool little, postage-paid return envelopes.

Send an ad for your local chimney cleaner to American Express. Send a pizza coupon to Citibank. If you didn't get anything else that day, then just send them their blank application back!

If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn't on anything you send them.

You can even send the envelope back empty if you want to just to keep them guessing!

Eventually, the banks and credit card companies will begin getting their own junk back in the mail.

Let's let them know what it's like to get lots of junk mail, and best of all they're paying for it...Twice!

Let's help keep our postal service busy since they are saying that e-mail is cutting into their business profits, and that's why they need to increase postage costs again. You get the idea!

If enough people follow these tips, it will work!


E-Mail Virus Protection...

May 9, 2003

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HOW TO PROTECT YOUR ADDRESS BOOK!

I learned a computer trick today that's really ingenious in its simplicity.

As you may know, when/if a worm virus gets into your computer it heads straight for your email address book, and sends itself to everyone in there, thus infecting all your friends and associates.

This trick won't keep the virus from getting into your computer, but it will stop it from using your address book to spread further, and it will alert you to the fact, that the worm has gotten into your system.

Here's what you do:

First, open your address book and click on "new contact," just as you would do if you were adding a new friend to your list of email addresses. In the window where you would type your friend's first name, type in AAAAAAA. Same in space labeled screen name.

Now, here's what you've done and why it works:

The "name" AAAAAAA will be placed at the top of your address book as entry #1.

This will be where the worm will start in an effort to send itself to all your friends. But, when it tries to send itself to AAAAAAA, it will be undeliverable because of the phony email address you entered. If the first attempt fails (which it will because of the phony address), the worm goes no further and your friends will not be infected.

Here's the second great advantage of this method: If an email cannot be delivered, you will be notified of this in your Inbox almost immediately. Hence, if you ever get an email telling you that an email addressed to AAA could not be delivered, you know right away that you have the worm virus in your system. You can then take steps to get rid of it!

Pretty slick huh? If everybody you know does this then you need not ever worry about opening mail from friends.

Pass this on to all your friends.


Viruses, Hoaxes, Chain Letters, Etc...

May 27, 2003

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How many times have you seen an e-mail in your Inbox that says "You May Already Be A Winner" or "Make BIG Money From Home" or "Vacation Giveaway" or the inevitable "Size Matters...", well you get the idea. It's pretty obvious to tell the good messages from the bogus offers, right? Well, not always. Suppose you get an e-mail forwarded from a friend or colleague that's entitled "IT Technical Support: VIRUS ALERT". Oh boy, another virus. Your hands get sweaty, your pulse goes up, you try to remember the last time you updated your virus protection software (you ARE running virus protection software aren't you?). Thoughts of days or weeks of lost work run through your mind. Good thing you have a back up (you ARE doing back ups right?).

Okay, paranoid enough yet?

Well it's the paranoia factor that causes a fair amount of panic and even damage to computers when, in fact, there was no real virus to begin with. IT WAS A HOAX. Yes, a hoax. The trouble is that the panic and even deleting of files caused by a virus hoax can be as painful as a real virus. Consider the following:

Hello everyone,

I received this message about the "little bear" virus that affects primarily Hotmail users. The virus is called jdbgmgr.exe and spreads via msn messenger and email address books. The virus is not detected by McAfee or Norton Antivirus and may be in your computer for 14 days before causing any harm. It can be erased before eliminating your computers' files.

To eliminate the virus, follow these steps:

1. Got to Start and click on "Find"
2. Search under "Files and Folders" and enter jdbgmgr.exe
3. Make sure you are looking in the "C" drive.
4. Click on "Find Now"
5. If the virus appears (the icon is a little bear with the name jdbgmgr.exe) DO NOT OPEN IT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES
6. Highlight the virus (do NOT double click) and press SHIFT + DELETE and it will be erased from your computer.

IF YOU FIND THIS VIRUS IN YOUR COMPUTER, SEND THIS MESSAGE TO ALL THOSE LISTED IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK SO THAT IT WILL NOT DO ANY HARM TO THEIR COMPUTERS.

The problem is that the file "jdbgmgr.exe" is a standard utility file on Windows computers. It's not a critical file, but it's a perfectly valid file and is not infected with the "little bear" virus. But, when this e-mail first went out and well-meaning friends sent it to other well-meaning friends who sent it to other friends, it spread a panic about a virus that didn't even exist. Regardless, a large majority of readers who got the message from a buddy immediately followed the directions and deleted the file.

So, the "virus" that wasn't a virus really was a virus, but it really wasn't a virus. Confused? Well, so was I until I found a GREAT website that has a huge database that debunks virus hoaxes, free offers, chain letters, prayer wheels, and all that other malarkey that clutters up our e-mail Inboxes. The website is called "Urban Legends and Folklore" and can be found at:

http://urbanlegends.about.com

Not convinced that forwarding hoaxes, free offers, chain letters, etc. clogs up the internet? Consider this. If I forward a message to 10 friends and the following day they each forward it to 10 other friends, and the following day they each forward it to 10 other friends, and so on, the numbers add up pretty darn quickly:

Day 1:  100
Day 2:  1,000
Day 3:  10,000
Day 4:  100,000
Day 5:  1,000,000
Day 6:  10,000,000
Day 7:  100,000,000
Day 8:  1,000,000,000
--------------------
Total:    1,111,111,110

That's right. After 8 days we're talking over a BILLION e-mails! All from one well-meaning friend...

Anyway, the next time you get a message from a friend, colleague, or family member and you suspect that it's a hoax or "to-good-to-be-true" check it out at Urban Legends before you forward it on to another well-meaning friend. Or, if you just want to laugh for a few minutes, take a look.

Remember the e-mail years back about "Mrs. Field's cookies"? Yup, it's there and is a hoax. Now if only the message about Free Beer was true.

Have fun,

John Luttrell
BasisMedia Communication
http://www.basismedia.com
johnluttrell@basismedia.com

P.S. For information on real viruses check out the McAfee Virus Information Library at: http://vil.nai.com

 


Career Strategies - Internet Talk Radio

August 12, 2003

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Here is a great way to get information and advice on furthering your career!

If you want a better job or a better career plan, then this is the Internet radio program for you! Brent Wood explores the fast paced world of career planning and answers your career questions!

Tune In career expert Brent Wood every Wednesday at 10AM PT (1800 UTC) in our live streams as he brings you great guests and answers your career questions!

http://www.talk2k.com/career/default.htm

 

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Disclaimer

The articles presented in this Public Service Announcements section of the Microdata-Alumni.org site provide information we feel might be useful. While we use reasonable care to see that this information is correct, we do not guarantee it for accuracy, completeness or fitness for a particular purpose. Microdata-Alumni.org shall not be liable for damages of any kind in connection with the use or misuse of this information.