The Norman Transcript

Business

December 9, 2012

Be aware of scareware as you enjoy safe holiday shopping

NORMAN — Every year about this time I have to reassess the Internet Christmas shopping situation.

Billions of dollars, in electronic form, are flying down wires, through the air and across the Internet, more this time of year than any other. This keeps the Internet bad guys busy, too, working on newer ways to steal your money.

“Scareware” (software designed to scare you into doing something) is one of the biggest threats this season. There you are, merrily bouncing from one shopping website to the next, when, suddenly, a window pops up telling you your computer has multiple viruses, or “registry errors” have been found, or the FBI has scanned your computer and is fining you for illegal activity. The bad guys are hoping these scams will scare you into paying them for phony repairs you don’t really need. To learn how to thwart scareware scams, read the column on my website titled, “Careful where you click,” from March, 2011.

Identity theft is another danger, and shoppers should move cautiously. However, it is possible to be too paranoid. A survey by Consumer Reports Webwatch shows that, due to concerns about identity theft, many people have stopped buying things online and even reduced their overall use of the Internet. While these paranoid measures are no doubt effective, they’re a bit like me avoiding getting mugged by never leaving the house.

To put things in perspective, many of the greatest dangers regarding identity theft have come, not from careless practices on the part of individual Internet users, but from lax security practices by major corporations. Bank of America, MCI, Choicepoint, TJ Maxx, Wachovia, Visa and American Express are only part of a huge list of organizations that have “accidentally” exposed the private financial information of millions of customers to criminals. However, these incidents, for the most part, had nothing to do with the Internet or scary hackers.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Business
  • Ideal Homes to dedicate Oklahoma’s first Home for HOPE

    Ideal Homes dedicated the company’s first Home for HOPE on Wednesday at 13209 SW 5th in Yukon....

    July 27, 2014

  • Todd Lamb to keynote luncheon

    Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb will provide the keynote address at the Norman Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative Lunch at 11:45 a.m. Aug. 6 at the National Weather Center. Lamb will speak on state issues that may impact local business and ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Builders Association of South Central Oklahoma learns about storm water proposal

    The Builders Association of South Central Oklahoma invited Norman Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary to talk about the new storm water fee proposal at its luncheon Thursday....

    July 27, 2014

  • Backing up everything, everywhere, not as easy as it should be

    Though we may wish or believe otherwise, computing devices are still somewhat of a hassle to use. Some devices, like Apple’s iPad, come close to being fully realized machines, but even iPads have their clunky side....

    July 27, 2014

  • Is using E10 or ‘pure’ gasoline more economical?

    An analysis by AAA Oklahoma shows that at today’s prices, E10 motor fuel is cheaper to use than 100 percent gasoline, despite the fewer miles per gallon produced by E10, which is a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline....

    July 27, 2014

  • Appellate judge retiring

    The Honorable Charles A. Johnson retired from the Court of Criminal Appeals after 25 years on the bench. Johnson was appointed to the court on Oct. 31, 1989, by Gov. Henry Bellmon to fill the unexpired term of Hez J. Bussey. After 59 ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Candy Basket celebrates 25 years

    Perhaps it’s the chocolate covered blueberries whose deliciousness still lingers. Or maybe it’s the blood orange and wild honey white chocolate ganache that won’t soon be forgotten by your taste buds. At The Candy Basket there is decadence ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Bramlett & Associates adopts new name reflective of business

    Bramlett & Associates Multimedia LLC (Bramlett Multimedia), 215 W. Main St., announced this month that the company will change its name after 12 years in business and will do business as BOLD-Multimedia. The announcement, made first to ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Toothpick holders convention coming to Norman

    Lynne Ryan has been collecting toothpick holders her entire life. “My parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.L. ‘Bud’ Gibbs started our collection in 1936,” Ryan said. Ryan was born in 1940, and she grew up crawling around toothpick holders, as have ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Protect your online banking, shopping with encryption

    In my free, one-night class called “Fight the Internet Bad Guys and Win,” I teach everyday computer users how to stay out of trouble on the Internet. How to avoid virus infections, how to discern between the genuine and counterfeit, and ...

    July 20, 2014