I just wanted to take a moment out of my busy day of filtering my email, removing spam comments from my website and watching the Unavailable numbers flash on my caller ID to say Thank You to all of those hard working scammers out there. My day would be a bore without your constant assault on my life. Without you, I might actually have to be productive in life. You are the Ying to my Yang, the moon that controls the tides of my paranoia, the dirty finger in the pie of my life.
If only we could meet in person–oh, we’d have so much to chat about! But since you have to remain hidden in your dark, slimy labyrinth, I just wanted to say thanks here.
For those of you who aren’t as appreciative of the scammers in your life, use the following techniques to fight scams.
Ways To Protect Yourself Against Scams
Dear Scammer, thank you for making it necessary for me to run OpenDNS. OpenDNS is really easy to use. Just create a free account online and change your DNS settings in your router to protect your entire house from known bad sites on the Internet.
With OpenDNS you can provide across-the-board web filtering for everything on your network. You will need to go into your router settings and change your default DNS setting from those of your Internet Service Provider to those of OpenDNS. The OpenDNS servers are 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199. They will have instructions on how to make these changes in your router on their website. Once done, you will be filtering out a lot of the bad websites before they reach your computers. They even have an option to white-list website you may want to access but have been caught in their filter by mistake.
Dear Scammer, thank you for forcing me to use Gmail. I made the switch several years ago because my email Inbox was a minefield of phishing scams and other dangerous links. Gmail provides some of the best SPAM blocking services I have ever seen. I am now able to forward my other mail through Gmail so it comes out squeaky clean. Learn how to forward your mail through Gmail here.
Use A Password Management Tool
Dear Scammer, thanks for making it necessary for me to use LastPass. I never would have known just how easy it was to use a long, complex and unique password on every site. LastPass is a free password management tool you can use on your computers. For a small fee they even have a client that runs on your mobile device. LastPass will scan the passwords you have used on your computer. It will determine how many duplicate and weak passwords you are using and help you generate ridiculously long passwords you don’t even have to remember. The only password you need to remember is the one to login to LastPass. Read more about how to set up LastPass here.
The Ten Commandments Of Avoiding Scams
Dear Scammer, thanks for forcing me to come up with the ten commandments of avoiding scams. They have been a great help to my family and friends.
- Be wary of everything and everyone online.
- Be vague in profiles when signing up for online services or websites. People do not need to know your address, real name or where you’re from.
- When someone calls from Microsoft alerting you that you have viruses on your computer, just hang up. Never allow anyone remote access to your computer when you get that call.
- Never click links in emails. They can be spoofed or lead to malicious sites.
- Do not respond to text messages or emails–even to unsubscribe.
- Avoid using public computers or hotspots to access your email or banking institution.
- Make sure your antivirus software is up to date. Scammers can install malware or unwanted browser toolbars on your computer if your security is lacking.
- Create a dummy email account. Use it when signing up for one-time things online. You want to avoid subscribing to shadywebsite.com’s email lists and later having that email address sold to someone else.
- Setup Parental Controls For Kids. Controlling how and when your kids are online can protect your computers and network from hackers and scammers. Learn how to setup parental controls here.
- Don’t Friend everyone. While Friending everyone makes you look more popular to others, granting everyone access to your social network gives scammers a foothold into your life.
So thank you, Dear Scammer. While you have essentially ruined the Internet by spewing your garbage, you have forced us all to be more wary of everything we do online. Use the above ways to protect yourself against scams or provide some of your favorite methods in the comments below.