Don’t Be A Victim: What You Can Do to Prevent Identity Theft and Credit Fraud

The rise of technology has benefited society in countless ways, but it has also made it easier than ever for bad actors to commit identity theft and credit fraud. A serious threat, identity theft involves a would-be imposter intercepting your personal information – such as your name, credit cards, bank accounts, driver’s licence, and even your Social Insurance Number among others – with the intention of using your identity to commit fraud.

Protecting Your Personal Information

Although identity theft is all too common these days, there are ways you can prevent it, or at least reduce the risk of becoming a target to these criminals. Sometimes, the perpetrator may even be someone you think you can trust, possibly a relative or friend, so you should never share your personal information with anyone. There are other steps you can take to protect yourself from the dangers of identity theft, including the following:

1. Avoid carrying around your personal information with you everywhere. Do you really need your passport, birth certificate, Social Insurance card, or extra credit cards to go to the store or your friend’s house?
2. Whenever you use your debit or credit cards, always take the receipts with you and shred them before disposing of them.
3. Never leave your purse or wallet unattended in plain view, even inside a locked vehicle.
4. Don’t create passwords and personal identification numbers that are too easy to guess, and try to memorize them if possible.
5. If you find an offer that seems too good to be true, it probably is – scammers will often ask you to enter your precious PI to enter a fake contest or qualify for a phony refund.

Keep An Eye On Your Credit

The best way to fight identity theft in real-time is through a credit monitoring service. This will allow you to monitor your credit report anytime you want and can alert you if suspicious activity has taken place. With a helping hand, and a proactive approach, you can be prepared for identity theft and credit fraud. Be aware, and try not to let it happen to you.

Have a nice day!

What Can You Do With Your Old Smartphone?

Have you ever really thought about what you can do with your old smartphone(s) when it’s time you’ve decided you no longer want it? You’ve pulled it out of that dusty drawer and now you don’t know what to do with it. Who knows, maybe you have a few smartphones stashed away somewhere? It’s not your fault, technology moves quickly or maybe your phone is at the stage of burnout. Well, I have a few ideas of what you can do with your old smartphone besides giving it away to large corporations that already make tons of money anyways. 

Did you know – just because there is no cell service on your old smartphone(s) that doesn’t make it completely nonfunctional? 

Don’t forget your smartphone is basically a mini computer. If it’s still working, it may still have some uses. Sure, it might be a little slow, but there are quite a few things you can do with it. And don’t you dare think of throwing it in the garbage can because at this point in time,  we damn well know that’s just messed up and it’s definitely not the answer. Here are some ideas of what you can do with it instead: 

Think of it like spring cleaning. Before you decide on whatever you want to do with your old device, perform a backup of your precious data and head over to settings and complete a reset by erasing ALL content and settings. This is final so make sure you have EVERYTHING that’s important off there and on somewhere that’s safe and easily accessible so you can live with no regrets. If you end up giving it away or do keep it after all, a reset will refresh everything and make that device feel good again – like spring, a nice feeling of renewal.

  1. Giving it away/donating. If you are thinking about giving it away, either to family or friends, or even donating it, you should see how the phone’s overall performance is. Old devices are usually stored in that old drawer for a reason after all 🙂 Even though you’re giving it away for free, if it can be helped, you should never give away a phone to anyone who is going to be completely clueless to what they are getting, because that just wouldn’t be fair. Do a little testing first.

Give the phone a complete charge, and once it’s reached 100% charge it for another two hours to ensure you’re giving it a really good charge. Once the battery is fully charged, unplug it. If you haven’t already, connect to wifi. Play around with the phone a little bit to see how it’s functioning. Check the battery percentage – does it seem to be holding a decent charge? Or is it draining too quickly? Make a test phone call to make sure the speaker and microphone are working correctly. Since there will most likely be no cell service you can download an app like Google Hangouts or Skype to do a check phone test. If all seems to be good with the device, you’re ready to give it away, partially tested for the new user. Since you already deleted your data, you are being responsible and won’t have to worry about any of your data being leaked. 

If the device seems to be functioning poorly, you can still give it away but you should let the next user or company know some of the known issues that you found out while testing. 

  1. Selling. If you still don’t know what to do with your device at this point, consider selling it. You will want to do a little more in-depth testing with the device to make sure everyone is happy on both ends. But don’t let that discourage you –  knowing the health of the phone will help you a lot when it comes time to sell your old device. Since you already backed up your data and reset all settings to factory default, by now you should already know the status of the battery sound and speaker. You might want to make note of the body. Are there dents, scratches? Check the charging port, is there any corrosion, or is the port loose or wobbly when plugged in? Things like this are very important in an ad and are very important to a buyer, so you want to provide as much detail as possible. Testing your device’s software and hardware has never been simpler than just downloading an app. Kinda weird right? I recommend downloading a helpful app diagnostics tool that will diagnose any issues with your device. For iPhone I use “Phone Diagnostics” (created by Test & find Repair Shop) and for Android I use “Phone Check and Test” (created by inPocket Software). These apps have helped me a lot and almost always provide accurate information. Once the tests are done, this app will help you know more about your phone and will help with your decision on the price your phone is worth. 

Occasionally I come across good deals on smartphones. Sometimes they are fixable, while others are just not worth my time. When I do come across the ones that are not worth my time, lately I’ve been thinking of things I can do with them so they don’t turn out to be completely worthless. When I say not worth my time, I mean cracked screen and battery issues to the point where the only way the phone is slightly usable is by having it plugged in all of the time or at least most of the time. Once you get connected to wi-fi, here are some ideas you can try to get the most out of that expensive smartphone when you don’t know what to do with it or it feels like there’s nothing left:

  1. iPhone/Android smartphone media entertainment centre. Stream video or audio from your phone to TV, speakers or headphones – and there are a few ways to do this by turning your old smartphone into a media centre!

For TV – HDMI or Airplay. Once connected you can mirror your screen to the TV. This is good for many reasons. You can stream horizontally for the full widescreen size effect. There are so many apps to choose from in the App Store, not just iTunes – Netflix, Amazon, sports and even more to stream your favorite TV apps. 

Music player: Speakers. Turn your smartphone into a music player. Your old device will probably support Bluetooth. Connect your favorite Bluetooth speaker to your old smartphone and turn it into nothing but a MP3 player to listen to your favourite tunes out loud! The App Store has so many music apps to choose from – Apple Music, Spotify and your favorite Radio apps. Who knows what else you can find when you search music!

Music Player: Headphones. Same idea as the speakers, but with the sound in. Have a great experience with just your old smartphone and a pair of headphones. Don’t limit yourself to music – you can enjoy some peace and quiet while meditating with your favorite meditation apps. Nothing else to disturb you when it’s just a music player instead of a fully functioning smartphone.

  1. A real dedicated gaming device. How many of you currently have games on your smartphone? Probably most. Turning your old smartphone into a gaming centre is the perfect solution for your mobile gaming needs, especially if you want to save some space on your current device. Mobile games take up a lot of space, so why not transfer them to your old device and organize your mobile gaming library?
  2. E-book reader. If you don’t mind reading on a small screen, this could be a cheap solution for e-book lovers. Turn your old smartphone into an e-reader by using the Kindle or Kobo app or downloading PDFs into your files. This option also gives you more storage space for all those books. 
  3. A universal remote. Most digital media players offer remote apps – Apple, Roku and Amazon Fire TV to name a few. Download these apps on your old device and you have yourself a handy universal remote! 
  4. Security camera. If you don’t already know, home security cameras can be expensive. If someone (or something)  is lurking around your home at night, be it on two feet or four, you should be able to have the luxury of a camera to detect any intruders. Well, if you have an old smartphone laying around, you can turn it into a home security camera for basically 0 dollars! Try to make it as discreet as possible. 
  5. Kids camera. Let’s be honest here. Kids take terrible pictures – their arms aren’t fully developed, their pictures are blurry and out of focus and just generally bad, and it’s not their fault. Get them familiar with your old smartphone – that way when they are older they will be ready to whip that smartphone camera out like a pro. 
  6. GPS. It should be connected anyways, so if you need a GPS this could be a great solution for a road trip in the car or just biking around the city. Make sure to test it before leaving home.
  7. Money making device. If you like to make some money on the side, your old device could bring you in a small amount of dough. There are apps you can download that will allow you to watch videos, play games and more in exchange for points you can redeem for rewards such as gift cards or PayPal payments. To save wear and tear on your primary device, you can run these apps on your old smartphone instead. Cha-ching!! 😉

And if you really don’t know what to do with it – please, recycle it the proper way. A certified company will know exactly what to do with it. Be kind to our planet, let’s not pollute it with more e-waste.

Google Chromebook Tips and Tricks: Accessing Google Calendar From Your Shelf

Access Google Calendar by creating a shortcut. To do this, follow these 7 easy steps.

  1. If you have more than one Google account, make sure you are signed into the right one.
  2. Go to https://calendar.google.com/ and on the top right click on the 3 dots (below the x)
  3. Click on “More Tools”
  4. Click “Create Shortcut”
  5. Check over the settings and click “Create”
  6. Head over to your launcher and find the Google Calendar Shortcut
  7. Don’t forget to pin it to your shelf for easy access by right clicking and selecting “Pin To Shelf”

You have now created a shortcut for your Google Calendar! No more excuses or frustrations!

Pinterest is Great, But There is Something I Just Have to Share With You

I absolutely love Pinterest, but I’m just going to be honest here – some links can direct you to bad websites. But that’s okay, you just have to be careful. Keep in mind it’s not just Pinterest. This goes for every platform and website that you visit out there. It was Pinterest’s platform however that inspired me to write this post. I use Pinterest a lot, and I have come across some VERY SHADY websites. The ones that claim they’re going to hijack you and shit. You know the drill, they try to trick you and take all of your information and you’re left being knocked down and feeling vulnerable if they get you. Ugh, disgusting.

Accidental clicking happens, but don’t just click if you don’t know the source it’s coming from. When browsing the internet, you should already be practicing safe clicking. Scammers are everywhere, accidents happen, but the sad thing is there is nothing that can be done about it besides being careful.

My question that I want to ask you guys is, how many of you just click away because you think that since you’re on Pinterest the links must be safe? I don’t know, that maybe sounds dumb… but that was me. I just clicked on everything like a stupid idiot because I thought I was sorta safe since the browser was within the app. Haha, seems stupid now. blushes The bad links that I have come across are super strange, like “Congratulations, you are a winner!” with your IP or Windows 10 hijack. I have always closed the in-app browser tab right away, closed the app, cleared the cache in the web browser app and restarted my device. And I strongly encourage you guys to do the same if you come across a suspicious link.

I highly suggest that if you are a Pinterest user and come across an unknown website, you should check the link to see if the website is safe or not by going to the Google Safe Browsing site. This tool can not only be used for Pinterest, but everywhere, every link out there; if you are unsure of a website, this is the tool that should strongly be used. This will slow down the scammers and tricksters so why not use it?

I know, it’s a massive pain, but honestly it’s better to be safe than sorry. Not every website is a bad one, but it really is hard to filter out which ones are good and bad.

When browsing, especially on Pinterest, if you click on a link that directs you to a bad website, please report it immediately. Doing this will help Pinterest keep other users safe as well. Pinterest is a site where you can find happiness, it’s soothing and relaxing. It should be a fun, worry-free place. I mean, it has to be right? Everything is based on your likes and interests. Don’t let the bad links bring your world crashing down. Please be smart about what you are clicking.

Have a great day, and happy clicking!

Pinterests Terms of Service:

Fido Internet Review: Update

It’s been almost a year since I wrote about Fido’s Internet. I believe it’s time you guys need an update to see how Fido is holding up. After a year, I’m giving Fido’s internet an 8 out of 10.

It looks like once you’ve reached a year with Fido, they may just offer you affordable deals you can work with.

Like I said it’s been a few months and I’m still satisfied. I have experienced some disconnections, but I have been using more devices on the network than I was a few months ago – 4 consoles, 2 PCs, phones, tablet, TV and possibly more. Seems like a lot of devieces connected at once, but that’s just life. I’m not sure, but I think it’s my device usage all at once that could be choking out the internet and making it cloggy ONCE in a while. It doesn’t happen a lot, about twice weekly and at random times. But really, that’s nothing. Not all the time, but when there are a few devices connected at once on the same network, at the same time, we can’t really expect a 100% connection all the time. That’s just a bit unrealistic.

If you are experiencing modem issues, this usually calls for a reset. It’s time to give her a little rest. There is so much feed going through to the modem to satisfy our needs. If problems occur, reset it. You can do this by unplugging the power cord at the back of the modem. The normal wait time before you should plug it back in is around 1 minute, but I like to give her around 10 minutes. 5 minutes off and 5 minutes to get her gears going again. Reconnect the power adapter to the modem after 5 minutes. Once this is done, I find I don’t seem to experience as many disconnections. Before you even think about saying 10 minutes is too long, it’s actually not. That 10 minutes could be used to take a break or complete another task while you’re waiting. And who couldn’t use an extra 10 minutes away from internet anyways?

I have yet to get a LAN cable to see if it makes a difference… but using a LAN cable should make the connection stronger. If you have a LAN cable around the home and are using devices that support it, I would definitely be using it. Preferably Cat6 or higher. You can’t rely on wi-fi entirely to do a great job.

I’ve also taken a peek into the modem settings. You can check yours too by typing 192.168.0.1 into any web browser on any device. When you get here you will see username and password. Username is always going to be “cusadmin” which is the default and your password is what your wi-fi password is. Once you get into your Hitron modem, you will see lots of information about your device. To see how many devices are connected, just click on the basic tab on the top. If you see devices you no longer wish to keep on the list, you should remove them. Devices that are no longer being used shouldn’t be on the list as it will take up space which you don’t need anyways. This might help the connection be more stable. Another thing you can try is a device reboot. You can do this by clicking on Admin and at the very end click on device reset, and now the orange box that says Reboot. You can also change your username and password here as well.

These tips and tricks have helped me and I hope they help you too if you are experiencing disconnections. It’s true – usually a great deal means it’s garbage and there could be something fishy about it. But in this case I believe it’s worth it. You can’t expect a solid connection 100% of the time and for the price you just can’t beat Fido internet. You are better off trying the troubleshooting tips and go get a stress snack or get your body moving while you wait.

If you’re considering Home Internet from Fido, I would still go for it. The flaws aren’t that bad to want to change to another company that is probably way more expensive for what you get, and you could experience even more issues, so why bother if this option is more affordable and just as good?

Another good thing you can take advantage of (especially during this time) is that you can self-install it yourself. This keeps you and others safe. Self-install and home delivery means no contact and nothing to worry about in this department.

In Ontario – I’m very happy with Fido.