Microsoft Windows Scam

IMG_0433.JPG Image by Keenandijon,com.

Below is an email I received from my friend Ben.

HI Lois! I wanted to make you aware of a big scam being perpetrated on many senior citizens. Unfortunately, my 87 year old uncle just fell prey to it. My uncle received a call from some guy claiming to be with Microsoft Windows. Microsoft had detected that his PC was being hit with a computer virus or malware. He sounded very official and my poor uncle complied with his instructions to make some specific keystrokes on his PC. He unknowingly gave the phony guy access to his PC’s MS Windows OS which was then put in a frozen state. It became non-functional.

Again, he described the problem as a virus and malware and told my uncle that he could assist him remotely. In order to fix the problem, he had to pay $200. The so-called service guy would provide him with four years of protection. This incident would never happen again. He told my uncle that he would send him an electronic invoice on his PC screen.

My uncle needed to sign it electronically and give the caller his credit card information. At this point, my uncle finally thought that something was wrong. He hung up on the scammer and frantically called me.

My uncle had the scammer’s Caller ID. It was an 800 number. I called it and the scammer answered claiming he was at at a Microsoft’s Windows customer service office. There was a lot of noise in the background as if it was some sort of a boiler room operation. When I questioned the guy he hung up. I called back and he hung up again. Then he totally blocked my number from getting through.

I then called Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, WA and was connected to their corporate security folks. I explained what had happened to my uncle. The guy at Microsoft said that they were aware of the scammers and that they were already working with the FBI on a massive investigation.

Microsoft told me that the real end game for these scammers is to get the Credit Card information from the targeted seniors and then sell that information to other criminal elements. It’s a shame that seniors are so trusting.

TTYS.

Best, Ben

Box It Up

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I want to scream every time I have to fill in one of those little boxes that requires you to copy the same letters that appear above it. It’s not that I am lazy, it’s just that there are many times I don’t get the letters correctly.

I find myself muttering “Funny, that looked like “a ‘W’.” There are times when I get so frustrated with those little boxes that I just abandon the sites that use them. I never quite understood the true purpose of the little boxes even though techies told me they were for security.

A well-known TED Talk features the creator of the little boxes, Luis von Ahn. He calls them Captcha. You really should watch the video below because it explains why the boxes were created and the truly valuable purpose they serve.

A quick explanation is that Captcha helps the site owner decipher if a computer with a possible virus was trying to enter the site versus a human.

The term CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart. It was coined in 2000 by Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Nicholas Hopper and John Langford of Carnegie Mellon University.

My “Kickstarter” Journey

IMG_0411.GIFPaolo Parente studied with Gianni Versace and Domenico Dolce of Dolce & Gabbana in Milan.

“This whole thing of aging and wishing to be younger, I just don’t understand it. Life is this long trip, and each age needs to be lived for what it is.”

Those are the words of Paolo Parente, creator of Dust: Tactics, a very successful tabletop strategy game. I am now working with this internationally-known game illustrator. Paolo and my client, Shane Samole, founder B&D Group, will be developing a video game under the name “Dust Evolution.” Much like Dust: Tactics, the video game will blend World War II history with science fiction to create an exciting and visually unique new world.

I haven’t promoted a video game in quite a while, so I wanted to take all my DigiDame readers on this journey with me. The first order of business is a Kickstarter campaign so my client can raise the funds he needs to launch big time. Kickstarter is a worldwide crowdfunding platform based in the United States. That means the public has the chance to donate money in order to help start creative projects. Wikipedia says Kickstarter has reportedly received over $1 billion in pledges from 5.7 million donors to fund 135,000 projects, which include films, music, stage shows, comics, journalism, video games, and food-related projects.

I will be giving you a close look at what it’s like to start a Crowdfunding campaign, how we raise money, how we promote it, and how we make it successful.

What does this mean to you? I will be giving you the information you need to start a new company in your senior years. Or you can pass the information on to your children and/or grandchildren.

I am here to help you. I always want to share and hope you will do the same.

Stir To Prevent Being Shaken

IMG_0404.JPG Quirky.com image

I have heard the worst stories about the so-called “date drugs” (GHB, Rohypnol, Xanax, etc.) this year. I don’t even want to repeat the ugly predicaments that a number of people have unfortunately gotten themselves into.

I was certainly happy to hear about a nail polish that is being tested that can tell women if their drink has been tampered with. All they have to do is quickly stir their drink with their polished finger. If the color changes, don’t take another sip.

Appropriately called Undercover Colors, the nail polish was created by a group of students from North Carolina State University. So far they have raised $100,000 for testing and manufacturing. They hope to complete the testing by the end of this year and have product on the market by early 2015.

The sooner, the better!

Phony Phone Calls

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Some sort of bug is hitting cells phones. If this happens, you are better off knowing about it in advance, even though there is nothing you can do to correct the situation.

A friend of mine is going through it right now. He spelled out the details for us.

Two days ago, I got off a plane, disabled the airplane mode on my cell, and suddenly discovered I had 40 plus voice messages. I didn’t recognize any of the incoming calls. Not one of the numbers were in my contacts.

“After listening to a few of the voice mails, I realized the some of the messages were similar. ‘Hey you called me? What is this about? You called? I’m calling you back. Who is this? Why did you call me?’

“It seems, even though I was 35,000 feet in the air, (with my iPhone in airplane mode) my cell phone was being used to call random people.

“I called AT&T and was told that this was indeed becoming a big problem. They didn’t know if it was a prankster or just some weird virus. The only thing they could say was that they had nothing to do with it and there was no way of stopping it. My only options were to learn to live with it or change my phone number.

“It’s been two days, and my phone keeps ringing with angry or confused callers. I changed my outgoing message to explain the problem so now I get fewer voice messages. It’s very frustrating. I love my iPhone but I feel like I am being attacked.”

The reason why I devoted space to this situation is because my friend’s phone is still making random calls. I am helping him by asking folks if they ever heard of a mishap like this one? If so, please share what you know. My friend needs a cure, quick..

Chairless Chair

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IMG_0399.JPG Noonee Images

Lucky us. We just may be the group of seniors who will never need a cane or walker to help us get around. All we will have to do is snap our fingers and our legs will lock into a sitting position.

I know that sounds far-fetched, but a start-up in Zurich, called Noonee, has developed a device that is a wearable exoskeleton. Wikipedia defines an exoskeleton, as a “mobile machine consisting primarily of an outer framework (akin to an insect’s exoskeleton) worn by a person and powered by a system of motors or hydraulics that delivers at least part of the energy for limb movement.”

Noonee calls their device a “Chairless Chair” because it is a wearable exoskeleton that can support various positions, The device’s frame is constructed of aluminum and carbon fiber. It weighs approximately two pounds.

It is currently going into trials with various factory workers who stand on their feet for long hours. Noonee will give them the ability to press a button, and “puff,” they will be sitting in the Chairless Chair.

It’s not inconceivable that the Chairless Chair will be a reality a few years from now. Till then, take a lot of vitamin D.

Learn more about the Chairless Chair at Engadget, a tech site.

A Facebook Friend

IMG_0358.JPGStephen Sorokoff with his wife Eda, (far right).

Many people don’t realize it, but if you belong to Facebook, your online friends become your virtual family. You live their lives with them everyday. Most of the time you know more about your Facebook family than the ones you are related to.

Stephen Sorokoff is one of my Facebook friends. I know him better than he knows me. The only reason we are connected is because we have mutual friends, Chuck Steffan and Ron Abel ( pictured in the center of the above photo). I’m not even sure if Stephen is aware that we follow each other on Facebook.

It doesn’t matter. I enjoy all of Stephen’s postings because he lives life to the fullest. He is my ideal of how a senior can have it all: work, play, lots of time for family. Sorokoff prospered in the textile business and then reinvented himself as a writer and photographer for show biz magazines. If there is a concert, a cabaret act, a Broadway Show, or nightclub performance, you will see the Sorokoffs in attendance. He posts his comings and goings everyday so we can all enjoy his passionate and entertaining journeys.

I was very surprised today to learn that Stephen was taking a break from Facebook. His reasoning is understandable, but it’s a rather sad statement on the rest of the world.

This is what Stephen Sorokoff said on Facebook. “I think I will leave FB for a while. I just don’t have enthusiasm about posting enjoyable activities while at the same time following the evil that exists on our planet. The insanity and speciousness of our world is getting to me. It was David Pearl first, and now another journalist beheaded.

“There is a lack of understanding of Israel’s predicament to defend itself against these types of terrorists. I used to ask my now deceased father how the world did not understand and did not have the courage to stand up to Hitler. I cannot understand how the world is letting people who only want to eliminate us obtain the Atomic bomb.

“Women and children are being buried alive. Where are the indignant letters? the editorials? the marches? It just doesn’t seem right to be posting about nice times and I certainly don’t want to start debating FB friends about these issues. Check my friend Roy Niederhoffer’s page for that. He’s way more intelligent and better at this than I am. There are no grey areas or root causes for me. The show must go on and I’ll be back when I feel better.”

Any comments on what you just read?

Thank you