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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, January 26, 2014

In this Issue:
Special Feature: Identity Theft in the Modern Age: How to Keep Your Finances Safe Online
Tips & Tricks: Top 25 Most Popular Anti-Spam Tips, Tricks and Secrets: Do Not Threaten Spammers
Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - OS X Mavericks
This Week's Topic: Windows 7 - Personalize Font Settings
Special Feature: iPad Basics - Getting to Know the iPad
Websites of Interest: Food Replacement for Healthy Eating; Top Baby Names of 2013; Documentary Lovers; How to Handle the Most Common Roadside Emergencies


Special Feature: Identity Theft in the Modern Age: How to Keep Your Finances Safe Online

By Christian Abbatecola of longisland.com

Stories of identity theft have been making a great many headlines recently. Most notably, Target Corporation has found itself in hot waters over the compromising of tens of millions of credit cards, as well as millions more pieces of personal information.

More recently, a Rockville Centre woman was sentenced to prison for using Craigslist to post fake job and apartment advertisements, then stealing the personal information of victims and using it to apply for fraudulent state income tax returns and bank loans. Earlier this month, PSEG sent out a warning to its Long Island customers that a phishing scam was being used to defraud individuals by a person pretending to represent the utility company and requesting personal info.

The ID theft and phishing phenomenon is hardly new. In August, Governor Cuomo released a statement alerting parents to a rising wave of child identity theft, noting that children are now 51 times more likely to have their IDs stolen and credit lines fraudulently opened in their names than are adults. April saw an Old Brookville woman sentenced to 12 years for a $10 million Medicare and HIPPA scam, and there were countless other incidents before that.

With so many scammers, thieves, and others trying to abuse the credit and finances of unsuspecting victims it is important to be wary of untrustworthy individuals and websites, and to use caution when transmitting sensitive information over the web. Following these tips could go a long way to keeping yourself and your family safe from fraud:

Be Careful on the Internet

Use secure and varied passwords. Try not to use the same word or phrase for every account, and remember that longer passwords with numbers, upper and lower case letters, and other varied characters are harder to crack than short, simple ones.

Don’t visit disreputable or untrustworthy websites, and make sure you’re on the website you mean to be. Scammers will sometimes create phony websites with URLs similar to those of popular sites in hopes of capitalizing on people who entered the wrong web address into their browsers, and steal credit cards from online shoppers.

Don’t download files from unfamiliar websites or email addresses. This is one of the easiest ways for Trojans to sneak their way onto computers.

Be cautious about clicking hyperlinks in unsolicited messages—it’s another easy way for email scammers to direct you to harmful websites.

Install a firewall and antivirus software on your computer, and run scans regularly. If you believe you’ve caught a virus don’t access any sensitive information (email, banking websites, etc.) from that computer until you’ve gotten rid of the malicious software.

Use Caution When Banking Online

Online and mobile banking is a great convenience, offering the ability to keep track of your finances, transfer funds, and even deposit checks no matter where you are, but it comes with the risk of having your account information regularly transferred over the web. If you’re going to bank online, be sure not to expose yourself to any potential threats.

Never send sensitive information such as credit card, social security, or account numbers via email or text.

Don’t access your bank’s website or app while on an unfamiliar or unknown wireless connection. Thieves can set up public WiFi hotspots in popular places and use them to peek in on the activity of anyone using the connection.

Check your balance frequently. Looking at current statements isn’t just a great way to keep track of your account balances and keep your spending in check; it’s a simple and practical method for spotting unauthorized and fraudulent charges.

Shred trash containing personal information. Physical mail can be just as hazardous to your security as email, so make sure you’re shredding paper bank statements and similar documents before discarding them.

Report Suspicious Activity Immediately

If you believe your Social Security number has been compromised you can contact the Social Security Administration online or call their fraud line at 1-800-269-0271.

Call your bank the moment you realize you’ve lost your credit/debit card. Putting a hold on the account or even cancelling the card will prevent thieves from using it if it has been stolen.

Likewise, you should report suspicious charges and withdrawals you don’t remember making as soon as you notice them. Even small fraudulent charges can be a sign of greater problems to come.

Monitor your credit. Each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) is required under federal law to provide you with a free credit report every year. If you use all three, you can get a free report once every four months.

Statements received for unfamiliar accounts, new credit cards you did not open, and collection notices for debt you don’t owe are likely indicators that someone has stolen your identity.

Similarly, errors on your credit report, being denied for a card when you have good credit, and missing mail or email could be signs of identity theft.

Keep Your Children Safe

Monitor your children’s internet activity, and talk to them about the importance of being safe online.

Be Aware of any suspicious mail or email sent to your child. If your kid receives a pre-approved credit card, contact the bank and inquire as to why it was sent.

Be careful when sharing your child’s personal info, especially his/her social security number. Parents are less likely to monitor their child’s credit than their own, making children prime targets for scammers to use in creating false IDs and opening fraudulent credit lines that could go undetected for years.

Obtain a credit report for your children in the same way you would for yourself. Is any activity is detected, report it immediately.


Tips & Tricks: Top 25 Most Popular Anti-Spam Tips, Tricks and Secrets: Do Not Threaten Spammers

Spam, spam and spam. How to avoid spam, how to filter spam, and how to complain about spam are the items on this menu of junk mail fighting tips. With the help of Heinz Tschabitscher of about.com, we are presenting an ongoing series of tips and tricks that you can use to minimize the amount of junk mail that you will receive in your email inbox.

Spam is bad, and spamming is bad. It's natural to get emotional about receiving tons and tons of unwanted email, but this should not make you threaten spammers.

Sometimes, explanation and education will do the trick, but if you have to resort to threatening, do it with legal means (by means of the law, such as a refusal to accept any mail from people and organizations affiliated with spammers).


In our next edition: How to Make Sure Your ISP Doesn't Filter Your Newsletters as Spam


Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - OS X Mavericks

From gcflearnfree.org

Mac OS X Mavericks is Apple's newest operating system for Mac desktops and laptops. It has better energy efficiency, redesigned apps, a more powerful Finder, and many other features. We'll show you some of the new features as well as the fundamental skills that you'll need to navigate Mavericks.

New Features in OS X Mavericks
Perhaps you just bought a new Macintosh computer that includes Mac OS X Mavericks. Or maybe you've recently upgraded to Mavericks from a previous version of OS X (pronounced O-S Ten). On the other hand, you may be a Windows user who is considering switching to a Mac.

No matter your situation, we're going to show you some of the many new features in OS X Mavericks.

What is Mac OS X Mavericks?

OS X Mavericks (version 10.9) is the most recent operating system designed by Apple and released in 2013. It is generally used with Apple Macintosh computers (Macs). Like other operating systems, it allows you to run programs, organize your files, browse the internet, and more.

Although Mavericks is new, other versions of Mac OS X have been around for years. Previous versions include Mountain Lion (version 10.8), Lion (10.7), Snow Leopard (10.6), and Leopard (10.5). If you are upgrading from OS X Lion or Mountain Lion, Mavericks will be a relatively minor upgrade.

New Features in OS X Mavericks

Each new version of OS X usually includes a lot of new features, and OS X Mavericks is no exception. Below are some of the most important changes and features.

Finder Tabs
If you ever need to browse through different folders at the same time, OS X Mavericks allows you to open tabs in a single Finder window, instead of opening multiple windows.

File Tags
OS X Mavericks introduces a new feature called tags, which are similar to labels in earlier versions of OS X. Tags make it easy to organize your files and folders into different categories, so you can find them quickly. You can even apply multiple tags, if desired.

Multiple Display Support
Many users complained that Lion and Mountain Lion did not work well with multiple monitors. OS X Mavericks addresses this issue, making it much easier to use multiple monitors at the same time, even when using full-screen apps.

Energy Efficiency
OS X Mavericks includes several changes that will make your computer more energy efficient, which can help to improve the battery life for laptops. This can also help to reduce energy costs for desktops.


In our next newsletter: Upgrading From an Earlier Version of OS X


Today's Topic Windows 7 - Personalize Font Settings

From gcflearnfree.org

You can adjust the Font Settings on your desktop based on your preferences.

To Change the Font:

From the Search bar in the Start Menu, type and select Fonts.
Select the Font you desire from the Fonts pane.

To Change the Font Size:

Adjust the Font Size by selecting Change Font Size from the menu on the left of the Fonts pane.
Select the desired font size and click Apply.
Note that a larger font size may interfere with how some items are displayed on the screen.


You can also adjust the ClearType for your screen. ClearType helps improve the readability of text on LCD monitors and screens.

To adjust ClearType, select Adjust ClearType text from the menu on the left of the Fonts pane and follow the steps for selecting the text that appears the best to you.


In our next newsletter: Gadgets


Special Feature: iPad Basics - Getting to Know the iPad

From gcflearnfree.org

Once you have an iPad, your next step should be learning about the physical features of the device, and the accessories that came with it. This includes the different buttons and ports; how to charge the battery; and the importance of protecting the screen.

Device and Accessories

The iPad currently comes with the following accessories:

USB cable (for connecting to your computer as well as the power adapter)
USB power adapter (for charging the battery)
Documentation (including warranty)
Buttons and Ports

The round button on the face is called the Home button. You press this button when you want to exit an app and return to your home screen.

Dock connector. This is where you plug in the including cable to sync your iPad and your computer. This is on the bottom edge.

Speakers. The built-in speakers on the bottom of the iPad play music and audio from movies, games, and apps.

Hold button. This button locks the iPad's screen and puts the device to sleep. Holding it down for several moments will turn the iPad off.

Antenna cover. This small strip of black plastic is found only on iPads that have 3G connectivity built in. The strip covers the 3G antenna and allows the 3G signal to reach the iPad. WiFi-only iPads don't have this; they have solid gray back panels.

Mute Button. Like on the iPhone, toggling this switch will mute the volume of the iPad or restore it. On iPads running versions of the iOS prior to 4.2, this was the screen orientation lock, which prevented the iPad's screen from automatically switching from landscape to portrait mode (or vice versa) when you changed the orientation of the device.

Volume Controls. Use this button to raise or lower the volume of the audio played through the speakers at the bottom of the iPad.

Headphone Jack. - Plug in headphones here.

Charging the Battery

Charge your iPad anywhere with the included power adapter. To use it, plug the adapter into a power outlet, then connect the iPad using the USB cable.

Care and Protection

Other accessories, like a case or cover for your iPad, are sold separately. If you don't have one yet, now's the time to look for something that fits your style, budget, and personal needs. The Apple Store has several options to choose from, including the popular Smart Cover. The Smart Cover was designed specifically for the iPad, and can also be used as a stand.

If you're not interested in the Smart Cover (or any of the cases in the Apple Store), don't worry—you can find hundreds of alternatives if you search online or in stores. No matter what you choose, a good case or cover will go a long way towards protecting your device, so you can enjoy it for years to come.

You should also make sure you have a soft, lint-free cloth for wiping fingerprints and smudges off the screen. Never use household cleaners, alcohol, or other abrasives.


In our next edition:
Apple ID


Websites of Interest:

Food Replacement for Healthy Eating

Top Baby Names of 2013

Documentary Lovers
Online library for people who want to learn more about the world around them.

How to Handle the Most Common Roadside Emergencies