Email from the FBI? Really?

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. I received an email that says it's from the FBI’s “Department for Illegal Internet Downloads,” advising that my computer was used for illegal file sharing and files were removed from my computer. This can't be true, can it?

A. Congratulations! You are the lucky recipient of yet another grammatically challenged, doofus-generated email hoax. Good for you for not falling for it.

The message you received includes the sentence, “We hereby inform you that your computer was scanned and the contents of your computer confiscated as an evidence, and you will be indicated.” (Yes, the brain trust behind this hoax used the word “indicated,” not “indicted.” Law enforcement need not check any MENSA meetings for suspects.)

Unfortunately, many people have received this or similar hoaxes and have become victims, some even contacting the FBI in the process. Though the FBI does have an interest in tracking illegal downloads of copyright-protected material, they do not have a "Department for Illegal Internet Downloads," and they certainly aren't sending out messages stating that a computer's contents were confiscated. Puleeeeze!

Though little more than an annoyance most of the time, the perpetrators behind these hoaxes do have the potential for being dangerous, particularly if they ever get their hands on a dictionary or spell checker.

Whenever something like this arrives, you can't go wrong if you reach for the DELete key and don't give it a second thought. If you're not sure, you can always check with www.snopes.com or hoaxbusters.org.

Q. I use Word for keeping my journal, and until today, at the top of the screen there was a place where I could choose any size or style of font I wanted to use. That area at the top of the screen is gone. Can you help me get it back, please?

A. It sounds like your Formatting toolbar might have taken an unauthorized vacation. Click View > Toolbars > Formatting. That will return your ability to select font size, style, and other format-related options.

Q. Somebody sent me a .JPG photo as an attachment. How do I get the photo to appear as my Desktop background? I can get the photo’s icon onto the Desktop, but can't figure out how to get the photo to fill the background. Thanks in advance, Mr. M.

A. You have the photo’s icon on your Desktop, so double-click it to open (display) the photo. Then right-click the photo and select Set as Wallpaper from the menu that appears. That’s really all there is to it.

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:

Food 411
A searchable directory of food-related Web sites with a primary focus on where to purchase food-related items online, whether it be goodies for cooking, or serving, or complete meals delivered to your door. The main menu on the home page is essentially a list of lists, but it is comprehensive and fairly well organized. The “Food Reads” section has links to related magazines, books, blogs and recipe sites.
www.food411.com

Pollution Information
Have you ever wondered just how clean (or polluted) your hometown is? Scorecard.org allows you to compare pollution levels in communities and states, discover who the worst polluters are, and search for specific company offenders, locations and chemicals. Type in your ZIP code and the site will cough up lots of information that you’ll wish you never knew.
www.scorecard.org

World’s Healthiest Foods
Coming on the heels of the pollution information site, it seems only fitting to have something a bit healthier. This site provides the latest scientific information about the benefits of healthy foods and the specific nutrients they provide. Read about 130 core foods, with links to informative articles about the referenced victuals Bon appetit!
www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php

For plain-English answers to your questions by email, plus helpful PC tips, subscribe to Mr. Modem’s Weekly Newsletter. For information, visit www.MrModem.com.