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In this news letter I will admit how I fell prey to a scammer's web site and the ordeal involved. It was a good lesson learned. Also I have a link to some pictures for the Water skiing Santa Show and a quick update on CryptoLocker.

WATCH TV ONLINE: BUYER BEWARE

These days a lot of us shop online and think nothing of punching in our credit card number to any web site that claims to sell what we are looking for. This story is certainly not my proudest moment, nor easy to admit since I should know better, but I figure it is worth sharing so you might avoid my mistake. It was New Year’s Eve and we were in the kitchen about to prepare chicken marsala. It was five till nine and we just heard about a college basketball game that we wanted to watch and which was to start at 9. I thought it would be a good idea to stream the basketball game in our kitchen while making dinner. How hard can this be? I should have this going by tip-off. Do a quick Google and found something that looked legit. I was even more convinced when the first username I tried was taken. Shortly after punching in my Credit Card information, I quickly realized that I had an account on a web site that just ran me in circles and was not going to show me the game.

Invario Washington DC

This is the site that got me.

Lessons Learned

I immediately called my credit card company. The good news about credit cards these days is that you are not personally liable for fraudulent charges on your card. This also seems to extend to cover you even when you have been an active participant in the providing the data to the thief.

Much to my shock, however, canceling my card turned out to be harder that I would have imagined. The fraudulent transaction was still “pending” and the credit card company was not taking my word for the fact that I had been scammed. It turns out that it is more difficult to cancel a card with pending transactions than to refund a fraudulent transaction after it has posted then cancel the card.

Knowing that I was not liable and concerned about the considerable balance of points I might lose if the card was cancelled, I just gave up. I did not want to be on the phone at the stroke of midnight.

Several days later I was able to call back during regular business hours. I explained that I had gone to a “known fraudulent” web site and before I could say another word the card was cancelled like it or not. My points did transfer over to the new card.

Thoughts on streaming TV

Here is the official web site to watch the Olympics online. Here is a link to a list of streaming TV scam web sites to avoid and yes the one I used in on there.

If you want to watch TV on your computer then here are a few suggestions of where to start. Most do involve some expense or service upgrade.

  1. Check the web site of the network that the program you want to watch is on. This is probably your best option to be able to watch for free.
  2. Check your cable company’s web site. Both Comcast and Verizon offer streaming packages that might add a little to your monthly bill.
  3. Amazon, Netflix and Hulu all offer streaming services.
  4. For sports check the web site of the league i.e. nfl.com, nhl.com but these upgrades seem to be the most expensive.
  5. For college sports check with the web site of the school or conference that you are interested in following.
  6. Stay away from google.

I know there are many ways to find what you want to watch for free, however this is a dangerous way to go. First of all, in this situation you are the thief and not the web site. These “pirate” web sites have tons of pop ups, ads and “apps.” I strongly recommend NEVER installing any app, plugin or software when attempting to watch TV for free.

CryptoLocker

As I mentioned in an earlier newsletter about the ransom virus that makes your files unreadable, there are now more versions of this virus out there. Be careful with e-mail attachments!

Water Skiing Santa

As I mentioned before I was an Elf in the Water Skiing Santa show at National Harbor this past Christmas Eve. Even though the temperatures were not so bad, there as a strong wind and the water was the roughest I have ever been in. Here are some pictures.

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FEEDBACK

If there is an IT topic you would like to know more about please e-mail me your suggestions.

Dave Wilson