Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’

Scam Warnings!

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

There have been a lot of scams going around online recently, some of which seem frighteningly real and are completely fake – designed to scare the average computer user into forking over money to ‘fix’ a ‘problem’. Some recent examples would be: the FBI/ICE Virus, or ‘Microsoft Windows’ technicians actually calling over the phone.

These viruses have been seen frequently in our shop since mid-2013: The FBI, ICE, Homeland Security or similar Viruses. Upon starting your computer, you may be presented with a window that completely locks you out from your desktop. It will cover your whole screen and is intelligent enough to disallow all access to the Start button, Control+Alt+Delete, the Task Manager and every last thing that is useful in beating it. This virus may demand you pay it a fine usually between 200 to 400 dollars or more because your computer was found to be harboring some taboo material, such as child pornography and the FBI has frozen your computer for evidence. This is false – and paying the money will NOT allow you access to your computer again, and could potentially make it worse as it could allow them more control over your computer.

The way this virus asks to be paid is with a Moneypak Green Dot pay card code. This way, the payment is completely untraceable and non-refundable. Do NOT purchase any card for this or give any bank/card information to anyone or anything you don’t know.

Additionally, another recent scam warning is some ‘Microsoft Windows’ representatives calling people’s homes, warning them that their computers are in imminent danger. There are a few things immediately wrong with this, that you should remember. Number one: Microsoft, the actual company will not call individuals for any reason. Anyone claiming to be with Microsoft and calling you without you first knowing the person in real life is almost always lying to you. Number two: Nobody over the phone will know the status of your computer, unless this is a person or business you have previously authorized to have regular checkups with, or if a virus has already infected your computer. If someone calls you and you do not know who it is personally – and they also claim your computer is heading for an imminent issue, virus, or problem, they are lying to you. It is a good idea at this point to hang up and call a reputable computer repair company to get the computer or laptop cleaned up of malware and viruses to be safe.

Aside from legitimate shopping websites such as eBay, Amazon or any online retailers you trust do not give out your credit card or any payment info to anyone. Especially if they claim that they can fix or improve your computer or that your computer is going to be unusable. If you are concerned about the issue or have continuous, coincidental issues such as pop-ups, problem warnings, or “DO THIS NOW OR ELSE YOUR COMPUTER WILL BECOME A PAPERWEIGHT” scares, call Cold Snap Technology at 218-744-1210 and ask about anything you are not sure about, or feel free to stop by; we would be glad to help you.

Online Shopping – General Safety

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Online shopping is a boon of the modern world – allowing one to purchase a wide variety of items through the Internet, and have their purchases shipped directly to a PO box or their home or business address. This of course will raise security concerns in a world of technology where anything is possible, such as ‘Is my Credit Card number safe?’ or ‘Is the seller reliable, will I get my items?’ and so on. In the broad spectrum of resources to purchase online, there are a few things you may want to keep your eye on to know you’re safe.

Most of the secure websites prevalent on the internet use a protocol known as “HTTPS” (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) to securely transmit data between yourself and the website you are on. What this does is add an extra layer called “SSL” (Secure Socket Layer) or the more modern “TLS” (Transport Layer Security) which basically encrypts all of your information including things such as your credit card number or your address. These layers also verify that the server receiving the information is the only one as intended, and no other destination will suffice. When you shop online and are ready to check out, look at the website bar (usually at the top of the window). Some browsers will highlight it in a green background, otherwise just personally ensure that whatever it says, it begins with “https://”.

Some websites also have additional ‘third-party’ certifications where another trusted source has given them the right to display that they were tested (these tests are usually quite demanding) and approved as a secure shopping environment. One of these companies is named TRUSTe, and if you see their logo displayed on the website you are purchasing from, click on it and ensure that it leads you to the website “” and no other. This would go for any other of these stringent third-party logos, so if you’re unsure of where you are purchasing from, take the time to do some research and don’t be afraid to do some Google searches.

Depending on your browser (this would be called Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox to name a few) and what version of the browser you are running, you may also see a padlock in the address bar with a green verification of that particular company. One such company for example would be eBay Inc. When you go to “” and click on the cart icon, or attempt to check out, not only does it transform to the HTTPS protocol, the padlock also shows up in the browser bar (using Google Chrome). When you click on the padlock it explains why it’s secure, and in particular at the time of this article, eBay is secured through a “VeriSign” Certificate. VeriSign is another dependable third-party association responsible for rigorously testing and analyzing the capabilities of an online vendor.

There are other ways of protecting yourself, for example a separate bank account so that if the very unlikely happens and the account is compromised, they only gain access to the account you shop online with, and not your account where the majority of your money may stay. Another way is to use other forms of protection, for example PayPal. Not all vendors, but a decent amount will accept PayPal payments. PayPal stores your information for you on their server and when you make a purchase using PayPal, the person or company you are buying from never receives your financial information and instead gets the money from PayPal themselves.

Ultimately, shopping online as technology expands is a safer and safer alternative to manual shopping. If you live out of town, or in a town without any specialty stores and availability just is not present, try shopping online. Just follow a few security steps and be watchful of where you are shopping – generally if it’s a big retailer (Target or Walmart websites, eBay, Amazon, iTunes, etc.) you will be just fine, and if it’s not, keep your eyes open for anything that just does not seem right.