Genuine or Scam? Learn the Tell-tale Signs & Teach Your Kids

We all know about Scams, right? According to Wikipedia, ‘Scam is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual through email’. So we are absolutely clear that these are unsolicited e-mails that are sent by cyber crooks to get our personal details like name, birthday, bank account number, passwords, credit card numbers etc. In other words, a scammer’s sole intention is to defraud or con the receiver.

The content of these mails are typically “too good to give a miss” type. They offer tempting discounts; unbelievably low prices; quick get-rich schemes, or dating services for almost free! Some of the offers are so good that it’s hard to resist them. Often, despite our awareness of scams, we are lured into the trap thinking, “OK. Let’s see what it entails. After all, I am aware of such scams and will not fall into the trap. What if this really happens to be a good offer?”

Not only gullible kids but even experienced senior citizens fall prey to such scams regularly. It’s not greed that’s always responsible; the desire to make a good bargain or gain some easy money the right way also lead to such actions.

This site shows the various types of e-mail scams in existence. The scary thing is that cyber crooks are dreaming up new scams everyday about which the public is unaware.

Take, for e.g., this mail sent to me.

How do I know it’s a fraud?

Þ     Its sent to many undisclosed recipients

Þ     There are many grammatical as well as spelling errors

Þ     She assumes I am a man!

Þ     Her private e-mail and the e-mail she wrote to me from are different

Þ     My service provider has already marked the message as suspicious

This is how McAfee warns me of a fraud mail:

Now here is an e-mail I received a few days ago. It obviously falls under the category of a Nigerian bank scam.

Share this with your kids and have some fun quiz time!

What are the telltale signs of a scam?

  • Grammatical errors
  • Sent to many undisclosed recipients
  • Not addressed to me by name
  • Writing currency in United States American Dollars
  • How does this person have the authority to transfer such an amount from the bank?
  • How does this person know me and why has he selected me for this transfer?

As parents you should make your children aware of such scams from an early age and keep updating their knowledge with all the latest news/stories that you come across from time to time. Knowledge is power! Empower your kids to identify and avoid trouble…and scams are trouble with a capital T.

Also, have advanced security software installed that will do the dirty work for you- identify and mark spam and scam messages. You can also download McAfee Site Advisor for free!

Happy surfing!


Get Your Teen Tech-Ready For College!

Sonny boy has turned 18! And he is now enrolled into a prestigious Engineering college! My heart is simply bursting with joy, pride and love. But there’s no time to sit back and enjoy the feeling for there’s a lot to be done! Not only do I have to buy clothes and books, I also have to purchase a smartphone (his birthday gift) and a laptop, which, today, is an essential part of college education.

All the time, I am repeating instructions on how to be a careful, responsible person in this dangerous adult world. I have gone over our list of Do’s and Don’ts which also includes tips on how to keep his gadgets and his data safe. There are hundreds of cyber criminals waiting for an opportunity to enter a system and steal data. But like in the real world, a judicious mix of caution and security software can ward off most cyber dangers.

The McAfee Security Advice Center has proved to be a boon. Additionally, I used the ready list of tips to ensure my teen is tech ready!

My check list for parents of college-going kids:

  •  Security software installed on laptops/PCs?

When you buy your child that computer or laptop, ensure you simultaneously purchase an advanced security software from a reputable vendor. Be on the lookout for software that is inclusive of antivirus and antispyware protection, as well as a two-way firewall to protect them from network threats. You can try McAfee Total Protection, which is cost-effective too as it covers three PCs. Another option is to try McAfee AllAccess, which offers a unique solution for computers, tablets and laptops

  •      Mobile security software for smartphones?

It does well to remember that smartphones are nothing but mini-computers and are subjected to the same security risks. So the first thing to do when you buy a smartphone is to install a mobile security software, which not only offers antivirus and anti-theft protection but also offers web protection, app privacy, and call and text filtering. In addition to this, such advanced software can help you to remotely locate, lock, and wipe data on a lost phone. The McAfee Mobile security is good bet

  •      Bought a computer lock?

This lock is a securing device for the teen’s notebook. It will help him/her to secure the device by inserting the lock into their computer’s lock slot and affixing the attached cable to a table leg or other stable structure

  •      Taught teen how to back-up data?

Together decide upon an easy-to-use backup system so there are no excuses, and drill into them the need to take a weekly back-up

  •      Teen knows about safe downloading and sharing online?

By this age, the teen must be well aware that it is illegal and a punishable offence to download pirated software and music. The consequences may include fines and jail time. They must also be aware of what kind of information it is safe to share on social networks and be conscious of protecting their own reputation. Give them the mantra “Don’t post any updates or pics that you wouldn’t want your Grandma or future employer to see

  •     Instructed them to be extra careful about persons they meet online?

It’s good to repeat this instruction that you must have given a hundred times already. College kids often forge friendships online and then meet up in person. Both boys and girls can be duped by unscrupulous elements in this way. Remind them never to share any personal information online that could compromise their Internet security

The beauty of McAfee® All Access is that it offers consolidated protection for all your web-based devices. This way you will have your peace of mind as you will be sure that your teen as well as the rest of your family can safely work, surf, shop, and interact online.

So parents, enjoy the dual emotions of joy and sorrow of a child leaving for college, and adulthood, without the fear of their safety troubling you.

Motherhood! It’s bliss, but fraught with worries… McAfee lessens at least some of those worries 🙂

Is Your SNS Addiction Getting Out of Hand? – All Names Aren’t Cool

The news that went viral on social networking sites last week made me smile and shake my head and say, “Oh dear, oh dear”, in a real Miss Marple fashion. The Internet community was agog with the news of a newborn being named Hashtag! Nothing extraordinary perhaps, given the penchant among modern parents for bestowing unique names, but it surely makes it evident that the Mother is a Twitter addict. Other Internet-induced names that kids have been christened with include “Facebook“and “Like“. I am waiting for names like “Subscribe”, “Follow”, and “You-Tube”.

Parents have the right to choose unique names for their kids, names that reflect their love and liking, and I don’t argue that. But parents also need to come out of their new-found ecstasy and give a good thought to the future consequences of having such names. The names must not become a burden that the kids would want to get rid off at the earliest.

As Cybermum, my concern is with two issues here.

The Mother: With the fast growing use of technology in every sphere of life and the rise in the use of smartphones among kids, it is but a given that there will evolve more online communities and children will join such platforms at even earlier ages than the current 13. So if the Mother herself is a self-declared Twitter or Facebook or G+ addict, can she really control her child on social networking platforms or say a Big “No” to the child? A parent’s behaviour gives the kids arsenal to defeat them in parent-child tussles. Take for example an imaginary kid named “Status”, who would one day surely tell her Mom, “Well! I am from Facebook, aren’t I, so I have every right to go back to my origin”, or the like.

How can a Mother caution her child against something she herself so obviously is addicted to?

The Child: It does well to revisit one’s childhood memories and recall how kids tease those with funny names. Just think of you and your friends in junior and middle school. Did you never tease someone? What was it about- was it for a funny name, behavioural problem, dressing sense?  Had you ever been teased? How did it feel to be mocked and bullied? Do you want to subject your child to the same humiliation?

Kids can be quite cruel at times in their words and actions and this can have a negative consequence on the bullied child. A weird name will be like an open invitation to taunt and tease and torture from Day 1. Your kid might be able to take it for a while, even retort back if strong in character, but what if it continues and the child feels lonely, bullied, embarrassed? What if the child loses self-confidence and goes into depression or becomes a rebel and hates you for being the cause of the torture?

Would you like your action to lead to bullying of your child?

So go ahead. Have a lovely time looking for a unique name for your child – Google, ask your friends, take your parents’ advice. But make it a name your child will be proud of, a name your child will rejoice in.

And while on the net, remember to play safe. Use good security software and teach your kids by example.