Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category

How to Protect Yourself From the Damage of Identity Theft

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

How to Protect Yourself From the Damage of Identity Theft | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County real estate | Barry TwynamThere’s no question technology has improved our lives, whether we live in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region or elsewhere. It has streamlined communications, made it easy to buy the things we want, and lets us manage our finances wherever we are.

Technology, however, has also made us vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves who prowl the Internet 24/7, attempting to steal personal information including social insurance numbers, usernames and passwords, driver’s licenses, passport info, signatures, bank accounts and PINs. According to the most recent report from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, in 2009 more than 11,000 Canadians fell victim to identity theft, with a loss of more than 10 million dollars.

“There are many steps Canadians can and should take to protect themselves from identity theft,” says Ryan Michel, senior vice president and chief risk officer at Allstate Canada. “You can get started by adding personal record management to your annual spring cleaning check-list and by making a point to shred old bills, receipts, statements and personal documents.”

Here are five other suggestions:

  1. Don’t give out personal information over the phone, through mail or the Internet unless you initiated the contact and trust the company.
  2. Don’t carry your social insurance number with you and don’t ever give it out unless absolutely necessary (tax and employment purposes).
  3. Review your credit card and bank statements monthly and look for unusual patterns. If your bills don’t arrive on time, follow up with creditors.
  4. Don’t use easy-to-guess passwords or PINs like your birth date or address. A combination of letters and numbers is best. Change your passwords regularly and consider subscribing to a service that encrypts passwords for added protection.
  5. Speak to your insurance provider about home insurance options that cover expenses associated with identity theft.

And if you do become a victim of identity theft:

• Call the police immediately and ask for a copy of the police report.
• Contact your financial institution and other companies that provide services to you to cancel credit cards and have new ones issued.
• Contact credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit reports.
• Change your online passwords.

Michel points out that additional tips and helpful information are available at www.allstate.ca/learningcentre.

March is Fraud Prevention Month and it presents an opportunity for Canadians to be more proactive about protecting themselves online.  Check out The Little Black Book of Scams from the Competition Bureau of Canada for tons of information about how to protect yourself and your family, and put an end to scammers.

Questions or comments about the information in this article?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

(Most of the content of this article courtesy of www.newscanada.com)

Moving? Here’s What to Do With Your Modems, Routers, PVRs and Home Security Equipment

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Those of us who live in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton area and elsewhere have a lot of equipment in our homes. Some of it we’ve purchased and it’s ours to keep or dispose of as we wish. But what do we do with the equipment that we’re renting from the companies that supply us with phone service, internet, cable television, security alarm monitoring and the like? And what about the service agreements that accompany that equipment?

Recently, a client whose home I sold a number of months ago contacted me for help in retrieving components of the security system in her former home. She thought she was doing the new owners a favor by leaving the equipment for them. Instead, she found herself having to pay the bill for service to her former address even though she and her family were obviously not benefiting from it!

Policies and procedures vary from company to company, but some things hold true for every company of this type. Bottom line: If you’re moving, let your service providers know! Contact them directly and ask what is to be done with the equipment in your possession. At the same time, ask them what happens to time remaining in your service contract. Neglect to do this and you may continue to be billed, whether or not you are receiving service.

Moving?  Here’s What to Do With Your Modems, Routers, PVRs and Home Security Equipment  | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

TELUS

(TV, internet, home phone). Customer service 1-888-811-2323

When you move, disconnect everything (routers and modems for internet connections, set-top cable boxes and PVRs for television service, etc.) and return it to TELUS. Pack it all up, ideally in the boxes the equipment came in, or some suitable packing box, and include your name, account number, phone number and the service address (that is, the address where the equipment was used). Take it to your local Canada Post office and the agents there will send it off to TELUS at no cost to you. (One person we spoke to at TELUS said that Canada Post supplies the boxes too, but this may be something you want to check out yourself.)

Do NOT leave the equipment you used for the people who will be moving into your home. Even if they decide to use TELUS as their service provider, TELUS prefers a clean break from you and a fresh start with the new customers.

Wondering if you can take your equipment with you to your new residence? Call and ask.

Moving?  Here’s What to Do With Your Modems, Routers, PVRs and Home Security Equipment  | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

Shaw

(TV, internet, home phone).  Customer service 1-888-472-2222

Very similar policies to TELUS in that you need to disconnect everything and return it to Shaw if you are moving out and canceling your service. Don’t forget to include important information such as your name, phone number, account number and service address.

Spruce Grove does not have a drop-off location. Shaw customers will need to take their equipment to one of three locations in Edmonton:
Edmonton West: 10450-178 St NW (Mon-Fri 8-6, Sat 10-5, Sun 12-5)
Edmonton East: 7633-50 St NW (Mon-Fri 8-6, Sat 10-5, Sun closed)
Edmonton South: Southgate Mall, 5015-111 St NW (Mon-Fri 10-9, Sat 9:30-6, Sun 11-5)
Equipment can also be dropped off at selected UPS stores. Contact Shaw for updated hours of service at the locations mentioned above, as well as for the nearest UPS store that will accept Shaw equipment.

Shaw affirmed that customers can take their equipment with them to a new residence but advised calling first to confirm this and to book connection in your new home.

Like TELUS, Shaw does not want you leaving your equipment for your home’s new residents.

Moving?  Here’s What to Do With Your Modems, Routers, PVRs and Home Security Equipment  | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSecurity Companies

Security companies such as Alarm Force (Customer service 1-800-267-2001) and ADT (Customer service 1-888-854-1778) differ in their policies regarding the hardware you rent or purchase from them. Online information for them and other companies like them is readily available. (By the way, did you know that the city of Edmonton requires an Alarm Permit for anyone with a security system in Edmonton? This permit must be canceled when you move, as it is not transferable to a new address.)

Can You Keep Your Home Security System When You Move?”, an article from SafeWise,  outlines policies from companies such as ADT, Vivint and others. Another article with useful information for alarm system clients is “Tips for Moving: Easily Reinstall Your Security System” from A Secure Life.com.   All companies appear to be willing to work with their clients to move the equipment for them to their new residence if it’s not hardwired into the home, or advise how to move it yourself, or provide new equipment and a new monitoring service after the move. As with cable and internet companies, CONTACT YOUR PROVIDER! This way, you can let them know you are moving and your intentions with respect to the service. That means letting them know whether or not you plan to continue the service so that the equipment can be properly deployed. It may even be possible for the new owners of your home to take over your security system contract, but make sure this arrangement is crystal clear to all parties!

As with nearly everything else in life, good communication will go a long way to preventing problems and misunderstandings!

What experiences have you had dealing with service companies? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Cyber Security

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Cyber Security | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamLike most people, I use a computer and mobile devices daily for personal and business reasons, but I don’t consider myself an expert in any way, and to tell the truth, I find the whole cyber world a little worrisome.  I’m not totally comfortable putting my faith in the security of online banking sites, or giving out my credit card information to online vendors.  I think I’ve taken plenty of precautions by investing in good security software and by following the advice of computer experts for things like password choice, web browser settings and so on, but still, I worry that there are other things I should be doing. 

Recently I heard Get Cyber Safe  advertised on the radio.  Upon investigating it, I found it to be a great site that I would highly recommend to my family, friends and clients in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton area and elsewhere. 

Sponsored by the government of Canada, the About Us page of the site explains that:

Get Cyber Safe is a national public awareness campaign created to educate Canadians about Internet security and the simple steps they can take to protect themselves online. The campaign’s goal is to bring together all levels of government, the public and private sectors, and the international community, to help Canadians be safer online.

The campaign is an important component of Canada’s Cyber Security Strategywhich is dedicated to securing government systems, partnering to secure vital cyber systems outside the federal government, and helping Canadians to be secure online.

The campaign is being led by Public Safety Canada on behalf of the Government of Canada.”

Sections of the site take the reader through the risks associated with online activity, and then address protecting yourself (especially your identity, your money and your family), and your devices, including computers, mobile devices, home networks and data storage.  The website Get Cyber Safe has something for everyone, expert and novice computer users alike, with lots of information explained clearly and plainly. 

Your comments and questions are always welcome!  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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