General security of this website
Our website has security installed which prevents web crawlers from connecting (over 3,000 blocked attempts already) and also prevents spam from being sent out from this site. I have actually used three different types of security software on the general “belt and suspender” theory. Our web host also maintains site security.

Use of Wi-Fi routers
If you are using your own Wi-Fi router use WPA2 Personal (AES) securitys for this netwrok, if possible. The WPA is not considered secure. The Apple website has more details. https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT202068 . The same principles apply to routers connected to Windows machines.

Hacker takeover of computers – October 2016
A recent trick of hackers who have installed malware on your machine is to contact you and say that your computer has been hacked. They will then offer to fix the problem for you and ask for a credit card. NEVER do this. Now the hacker not only has control of your computer and can installed (or has installed)  a keylogger which allows the hacker to record all key strokes including passwords, but they have your credit card also. If this happens to you, immediately notify your bank to make sure your credit card is not used and the hacker’s charge does not go through. Notifying the police might also help, although the hackers may be out of the Province or in another country altogether.

CRA Fraud Alert – April 2016
Telephone Fraud: A number of Canadians, particularly the elderly, have been receiving fraudulent calls from individuals purportedly from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  There has been a substantial increase in complaints where fraudsters request payment through the purchase of iTunes gift cards.
During these calls, the caller claims the taxpayer owes money for penalties or unpaid taxes and instructs them to produce payment for the funds required.
 DO NOT TAKE ACTION.  Ask yourself why the CRA would be asking for personal information over the phone or email that they likely already have on file for you as a taxpayer. The CRA contacts you by mail only in cases where you owe money.
If you suspect you may have been a victim of fraud, report it to your local police.
see fraud scams involving the CRA.

Revenue Canada also does not use email or phone to contact tax payers, nor does it ask for arrears by phone or distribute refunds by email or Interact transfer. Refunds are only distributed by cheque send to the tax payer’s residence as reported on the latest tax return, or by direct deposit to the tax payer’s bank if this has been arranged for previously.
Therefore the following is clearly a fraud.
CRA-fraud-1

Browser Security = Robert MacIntyre – January 2016

Each of us should protect our own computer from virus attacks and prevent spreading of malicious malware. The following are some suggestions.

If you want more information on any of this, please contact me, at robert@maryandrobert.ca

Install and maintain security protection

Some security systems cost money but may be easier to maintain. Among these are Norton from Symantic www.symantec.com, and McAfee from www.mcafee.com/uk, and Kaspersky from kaspersky.com/
Free programs for the Macintosh include i antivirus available from ianti virus
Free programs for Windows machines include AVG and Ad-Aware.
Any of these programs can scan and clean your whole hard disc of any installed Viruses, Trojans, Worms and other forms of Malware.Yes, you need to install and use one of these.
Free programs are cheap but the paid ones offer better protection. I personally have switched to Kaspersky because it is reported to be the strongest.

Maintain an up to date operating system.

The current Microsoft system is Windows 10, which costs anywhere from $90 to $200, depending on options. Older systems, including XP are no longer supported by Microsoft, although they may still run, but they are not secure.
In all cases, it is important to leave all Microsoft security features on, including automatic updating. Microsoft plugs security problems in its software on a monthly basis.
The current Macintosh system is Mac OS 10.12, Sierra, which requires the newer dual core machines. Older systems are still supported and, again, it is important to leave software update turned on and to accept security updates, although these are much less frequent than on Windows machines.
If you are planning to purchase a new computer, consider the Macintosh which is safer so far and subject to far fewer security exploits. Even with a Mac, you need to keep the automatic updates turned on and accept all requests to update software. An April 2012 update was required to fix a Java Trojan that loaded from any webpage with running Java.

Choose a secure browser

Keeping your browser current is important for two reasons:
1. the newer versions are likely to be designed to handle current web pages
2. the newer versions are built with greater security and protection

FireFox This is a free down load.
It is faster than Explorer and more secure. Being open source, it is updated regularly to meet current threats and standards.
Chrome also is available as a free download. Developed by Google, it is fast and easy to use.
Opera
 Available free from www.opera.com, this browser, developed in Norway is the preferred browser in many countries.
Safari, developed first for the Macintosh, it is now also available for Windows
machines.
Microsoft Edge.
If running a Windows 10 machine, the current browser is Microsoft Edge.
Internet Explorer will still work on older operating  systems. Since Microsoft  is no longer supporting Windows XP it may be in the process of phasing Explorer out
No longer supported
Internet Explorer on the Macintosh – outdated and very buggy
Netscape 9.0 – Earlier versions are still available but Netscape recommends all Netscape users switch to FireFox  or Flock.
Bookmarks
If you have a large file of bookmarks for your browser, you can transfer these to a new browser. or keep the synchronized across multiple browsers, with Xmarks, another free application available at www.xmarks.com.

Protecting your personal Identity by Paul Facciol ( With Thanks to the Alliston Probus)
Protecting your identity – May 2015 

CopierIn 2010 a CBS News Investigative Correspondent studying Identity Theft went to a firm in New Jersey that sold used photocopiers mainly to countries overseas. CBS randomly purchased 4 photocopiers, each costing $300.00 and removed the hard drives from each machine. On those hard drives were thousands of documents with personal information including one machine with the Social Security Numbers of employees from a Construction Company. The three other machines had hard drives with personal information from a major Police Department in New York State and a major Health Company.
It is extremely important to understand that the same issue with hard drives applies to your HOME COMPUTERS, HOME PHOTOCOPIERS AND HOME FAX MACHINES. All information that you pass through these units is stored on the hard drives or other recording devices such as ink ribbons on some older photocopiers or fax machines. As an example, three years ago I was working on some major new reports for a company that I had a contract with and my computer crashed. I did not have any backups for all these reports which was devastating to me. When I purchased a new computer the technician who came to the house to set it up removed the hard drive from my crashed computer and within 15 minutes had all the documents transferred to my new computer.
TIP OF THE MONTH: IF YOU DECIDE TO TRASH, RECYCLE OR SELL YOUR HOME EQUIPMENT YOU MUST REMOVE AND DESTROY THE HARD DRIVES OR RECORDING DEVICES OR HAVE SOMEONE CLEAN THE HARD DRIVES OR OTHER RECORDING DEVICES BEFORE YOU RELEASE YOUR EQUIPMENT. IF YOU DON’T ALL THE INFORMATION ON THOSE HARD DRIVES CAN END UP IN SOME FOREIGN COUNTRY OR SOME LOCAL CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION WHERE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION IS REMOVED AND YOUR IDENTITY STOLEN COSTING YOU A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF MONEY AND MAJOR AGGRAVATION.

A call from a distressed relative – April 2015

relative “Hello Grandpa/Grandma, this is your grandson (grandson’s real name given), I am in Montreal and have been in a car accident and need $2,000 right now to fix the car so I can come home, I am not hurt that bad. I beg you to send me the money right away. Please! Please! do not call my parents they don’t know I am in Montreal with my friends.”

Tip of the Month: It is understandable that to receive such a telephone where the caller knows that your grandchildren call you Grandpa/Grandma and that they have the real name of your grandchild can be very upsetting and your first reaction is to send the money right away. DON’T DO IT!!!!. Take the information from the caller as to where they want the money sent and hang up. Before sending any money call your family to provide them with the information that you just received and find out where your grandchild is at the moment. In all likelihood you will discover this is a fraudulent attempt to steal your money and if that is the case turn the information received from the caller over to the local police as soon as possible. (By the way, one of our residents who experienced this fraudulent attempt called his son’s home before sending money and his grandchild answered the phone.)

I am aware of at least two residents in our community who have received similar fraudulent telephone calls.

Telephone Scam –March 2015

phoneThere is a new Identity Theft scam currently spreading throughout the United States and will no doubt start in Canada.

The victim receives an unsolicited telephone call from someone claiming to represent the US Government demanding that the victim immediately pay outstanding taxes, normally around $5,000, or they will be arrested immediately. The caller generally has a good understanding of the victim’s financial status and some personal information. The victim panics and sends the money to the address given by the caller.

There have been many victims to this new scam. If you receive a similar unsolicited telephone call demanding money by someone claiming to be from the Canadian Government take the caller’s name, address, telephone number if they give them to you then HANG UP. Call the local police department and provide them with the information. If you receive another call tell the caller that their information has been turned over to the police and that you are sure they will hear from the police soon and HANG UP.

Identity Theft – January 201

SpyIdentity theft is the use of your personal information, without your knowledge or consent to commit a crime. This is one of the fastest growing crimes in Canada and seniors are the primary targets.

It is important never to divulge personal information to others, particularly when requested through the internet, unsolicited phone calls or mail. Thieves look for the following information from their victims: full name, date of birth, social insurance number, full address, mother’s maiden name, driver’s license number, PIN numbers, passport numbers and credit card information such as numbers, expiry dates and 3-digit security numbers. Thieves can use this information to access your accounts, apply for loans in your name, make cash transfers, obtain passports and much more.

The best way to guard against identity theft is to monitor your financial accounts frequently and check your credit report regularly for any unusual activities.

If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft or if you have unwittingly provided personal information to someone on the phone or on line contact the police , your bank and the two national credit bureaus (Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada) and place a fraud alert on your credit reports.
[It is also possible with most Canadian Banks to add an alert feature which will send you an email within a few minutes of any chance being put on your credit or debit cards. If you recognize the charge you can ignore. If you don’t the above measures may be necessary. – RMac]

Protecting your Pin (personal identification number) – January 2015

credit cardIf your wallet is stolen criminals will try all the numbers they can find in your wallet and basic numbers (like 1234) to access your bank accounts.

Remember to always shield your personal identification number when using an ATM or PIN pad at a merchant or bank.

 MEMORIZE your personal identification number for payment cards. NEVER:

 Tell anyone your PIN.

 Write your PIN on your cards or keep it in your wallet.

 Use your date of birth, street address, or last digits of your telephone number for your PIN.

 Use basic numbers like 1111 or 1212 for your PIN.