Thursday, 2 December 2010

What every genealogist doesn't need this Christmas

You're accustomed to seeing lists of gift suggestions at this time of year. Technology and books are always high on my list (hint). Turning things around, here's a warning about something you don't want, and how to avoid being a victim, courtesy of an email from Pierce Reid in Toronto.

"A couple of days ago, a local volunteer's email was compromised.

An email was sent out apparently from her user id saying she was overseas, had got into some sort of difficulty, and needed money to get back home. Recipients of the email were asked reply to her to get further information. NOTE: The "Reply to:" address was at live.com, not her regular ISP.

This was a variation of a standard scam, but it got some of her friends concerned for her 'situation'. I think it would be useful remind your readers not to send money or financial or other private information based simply on an email, even if the email pointed them to an apparently legitimate web site.

Another point to note, for users to protect their own ID: take care when using shared computers, or even their own laptops (which could fall into the wrong hands). When using a browser to access email, be sure that you don't ask the computer to remember you on that computer, and remember to fully sign out of your email (not just close the browser) before leaving the computer. (I only access my email from my laptop using a browser interface, and not a mail client like Outlook/Windows Mail or Thunderbird. If I lose my laptop, the finder can't get access to my email.)"

Along the same lines, Dick Eastman has a helping of always timely advice" ... all hard drives WILL crash someday. The only question is "when?" Make your backups today."

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