NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, April 2011
President' Corner
by Wes Eckles, President
(click to email author)

It's Income Tax Time. Are You Prepared?

Tip 1 - This is the super active season for scams involving Web pages that look like they belong to the U.S. IRS site. The phishing attack or scam presents a freighting warning or promises an expected or unexpected refund. The message most likely will have links leading to phishing Web pages, or will contain malicious attached files. If you receive these types of messages don't reply to the sender, don't send sensitive information, and don't click on any link in the message!!! The IRS will not contact tax payers by email to let them know a refund is on its way. They know where to send a refund if you e-file and told them where to send the refund. They will not ask for a lot of confidential information by email. Mouse over the link in the message. You should see http://www.irs.gov/ if it is a true link. However, the false link will look something like this: http:/xx.xxx.xxx.xxx/www.irs.gov/www.irs.gov/portal/info.html, where the "x" is a number.

Tip 2 - If you use a computer tax program to prepare your tax return take the following precautions: * Before starting to work on your return do a full scan of your computer with an up to date anti-malware program. * When you have finished the job, burn the data files to a CD or DVD. Delete the tax record documents and returns from your computer. Use an utility that performs a secure wipe of the data.

Tip 3 - When you do online banking, pay credit cards, and go to your investment account, it pays to take similar precautions. Go to FIND.PCWORLD.COM/71160 for security tips.

Tip 4 - I discussed suggestions for saving "Downloads" in my last Tip article. I neglected to tell you that it is ok to rename the downloaded file to a name that tells you what the file is about. For example a file name "Abc-Setup" tells you nothing about the file. You could change it to "Duplicate- File-Finder-Setup" that tells you what the downloaded file is about.

Tip 5 - Do you use the Webmail service Gmail? When you are not on line at the Gmail site, you will not know if you have mail. "Spiffy" is a program that will automatically let you know that you have mail. It can handle up to five email accounts. Go to FIND.PCWORLD.COM/70825 to download the utility.

Coming Soon Department - Did you know that the U.S. is already wired for broadband internet? If you receive your electric power from the power line grid, you are "wired" for broadband. The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Standards Association has spent five challenging years to develop IEEE 1901. This method covers communications over AC or DC power lines of any voltage. Under ideal conditions data delivery at rates up to 500 megabits per second (Mbps) in LAN applications. This translates to about 100 Mbps in a real environment, using the normal electric wiring found in houses, apartment buildings, hotel, and businesses. The standard may lead to bringing broadband internet access to under served areas by power lines. For more information, go to http://WWW.IEEE.ORG and search for IEEE 1901.

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