Community Service … Leona Fails

The Psychological Tricks of Covid-19 Scammers:  While we are isolated by the virus, more people are vulnerable to deception.  The AARP Bulletin lists 4 ways to turn the tables on scammers:

1. Cut them off.

2. End suspicious online friendships.

3. Cultivate your real friendships who can be sounding boards on unusual offers.

4. Do your homework.

Visit to learn about the latest coronavirus scams.

Cyber Security

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month…Rick Loek
I’ve touched on this before and held a presentation about cybersecurity at our local chapter meeting.  It is my belief that there is no way to avoid cyber-attacks.  You may not be online, you may not have a smart phone.

Nonetheless, companies  you utilize  or  even don’t utilize, are online.  Equifax’s data breach is a prime example.  Why be concerned?  Well, if your identity is stolen or compromised it can take years to recover from this nightmare.

Have you ever locked your credit?  Per, consumers can enroll for complimentary identity-theft protection and credit-file monitoring. The credit protection service is free for 12 months for consumers — not just breach victims — who sign up by Nov. 21. Read the full AARP article here: scams-fraud/info-2017/equifax-cyber-attackdatabreach-fd.html.  REMINDER: Never ever give personal financial information in email, never!  Look at for more useful posts and resources


 Cybersecurity –
 Safety Is An Illusion…Rick Loek
I recently spoke with a former boss.  He has created and test marketed some new software for app developers.  Apps are those programs people are installing on their phones and iPads. This new software helps protect apps from being hacked.  What he has shared with me is that apps, including banking apps, can be hacked.  Anti-virus software seems at this time to be unable to catch these attacks. For banking on your phone or iPad consider only using secure browsers such as Chrome, Safari, etc.  Your other apps hopefully aren’t tied to your money. Look at for more useful posts and resources.


President’s Message

President…Ken Schieck
I hope that many of you have had a chance to visit our new website at Our treasurer, Rick Loek, has created this site and also offers training courses on how to publish articles on it.  If you would like to be on the team that publishes articles, contact Rick directly.
Valentine’s Day will be history when we convene on Feb. 21 for our general meeting, but wouldn’t it be fun to wear red? Speaking of Valentine’s day, our 8 year old granddaughter has combined this with another holiday and calls it “Valgiving” (for Thanksgiving!). She and her mom couldn’t celebrate Valentine’s day in their new house last year, so she wants to make it a yearly celebration at her new house from this point forward. (Funny how kids think.) Celebrate your grandchildren’s creativity, especially when it comes as a surprise.
On a more sobering note, there was an article in the Campbell Express a week or so ago about an ‘AARP SCAM ALERT’; you are offered a government grant which never has to be paid back.  The kicker is that you have to provide your checking account information. Never give that information to people you don’t know. Report scams to local law enforcement and go to the AARP Fraud Watch Network at for more information and tips on fraud prevention.
Happy beginning of spring cleaning. And be careful; Margaret and I are both victims of falling and tripping.

Cyber Security

Cybersecurity—Security Is An Illusion…Rick Loek
In or around 1996 I was excited to be learning a new programming language, Java. This new language was very much an infant. I was at the first developer conference having lunch with the chief security person. I started asking questions about security. He says to me, “Rick, security is an illusion. At best there are levels of security.” What did he mean? Basically you can do what you know to do to protect your computer and your identity, but you are still exposed. My late father once had some odd activity on his credit report. I requested that he call the credit agency and freeze his account. At that time they would freeze the account for free. If you called to unfreeze it they may or may not access a fee. I found this page to be loaded with useful information on protecting yourself from scammers.

Cyber Security

Cybersecurity Stop. Think. Connect™…Rick Loek

Stop. Think. Connect is a program that was launched in October of 2010. The program was created by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Anti-Phishing Work Group (APWG) and The U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They have created a website with many resources.  There is a tips and advice section https:// that contains useful advice in various languages and a variety of topics.

Topics such as:

  • Keep a Clean Machine
  • Be Web Wise
  • Protect Your Personal Information
  • Be a Good Online Citizen
  • Connect With Care
  • Own Your Online Presence

Usernames are something I’ve not given much thought to until my Wells Fargo account kept getting locked down. It seems some other website was compromised and my generic user-id was being entered on Wells Fargo secure site. I found that unique user IDs on banking websites are also needed.  This happened a couple of years ago.  I was using a simple user-id.  Not only do passwords need to be carefully distinguished, so do user-ids.  For example, davesmith as a user-id on generic website might be okay.  For banking and the like consider davesmith182 or dave182smith.  Some variant that can’t be guessed.  Look at for more useful posts and resources.

Cybersecurity — who “owns” your account?…Rick Loek

Who owns your online accounts? What happens when you die? Have you ever read the agreement you acknowledge when you create an account? Twice yearly I attend extensive training from Ed Slott, CPA and his team. The Wall Street Journal calls Ed Slott the nation’s best source of IRA advice. Additionally you may have seen Ed Slott on PBS during pledge week. He is one of the all-time top fundraisers for PBS. If you look closely at the show – you will see me in the audience! At our October 2016 training with Ed Slott we dove into the subject of digital estate planning. Do you have accounts you “share”, that is, you have one “joint” account? Did you know that online accounts are never joint?

Here are various types of online accounts:

  • Email; iTunes and similar digital media collections; Blogs, Domain names and websites
  • Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites
  • Dropbox, Box, One Drive Google Drive, Shutterfly and other cloud storage accounts

At this point we have taught some of our chapter members to publish content on the Internet; they can boast that they are creating webpages – might have been fun at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Are you unknowingly a “hacker”? Anytime someone accesses information without proper authorization, that is exactly what they‘re doing – hacking! In many cases today, it is illegal for anyone other than an account owner to access a particular online account. For example Per Yahoo’s terms of service agreement: “No Right of Survivorship and NonTransferability. You agree that your Yahoo! account is non- transferable and any rights to your Yahoo! ID or contents within your account terminate upon your death. Upon receipt of a copy of a death certificate, your account may be terminated and all contents therein permanently deleted.”

What’s the solution? There is some legislation that can be suggested and adopted by various states. At the time of the training in October California was not one of those states. Maybe we can see what AARP can do to help lobby for a solution? Until something changes you should be aware that when a person passes away – access to their account is likely not authorized, even if their trust and estate documents make provision for such access.

Look at for more useful posts and resources.