Alert awareness

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q.  I recently received an alert that said my PC has a number of security problems. It was accompanied by an offer to scan for malware, etc. My McAfee Security runs daily and shows no problems. I'm inclined to think this is a scam. What do you think, Mr. M?

A.  Any alert that appears out of nowhere and tells you anything about your computer should be considered a scam, malware or worse. Think of it this way: Even if the alert was legitimate, for it to analyze your computer without your permission means that your computer was hacked -- broken into, which is illegal, for starters. Beyond that, a company that actually hacked into your system would have to be incredibly stupid to announce, "Hey, we just accessed your computer without your permission and we found some problems. If you pay us X dollars, we'll fix the problems.”

This type of scam is successful because too many people react in knee-jerk fashion instead of thinking it through. They receive the message and think, “Holy modem! My computer has problems. I'd better get them fixed." So they click the accompanying link and end up paying the intruder money to “fix” a problem that never existed in the first place.

Any time you receive a message of that type, that is not emanating from your own security software, delete it and don't give it a second thought.

Q.  My health club sent out some promotional DVDs that are smaller than normal, like mini DVDs. Does my computer need to have some kind of adapter for these? I put one in the slot but I'm afraid to push the tray in for fear it will get stuck in the computer.

A.  The DVD should be fine to use as is. As long as the center hole is the same standard diameter of any other DVD and the disk doesn't physically fall through the slider tray, it should not present any problems. 

If the tray does not physically support the DVD, then a mini DVD adapter is needed. You can either run a Google search for “mini DVD adapter” or check Best Buy, Radio Shack or any other consumer electronics retailer.

Q.  I am using WordPad with Windows 7. After I enlarge the font on a document, is there any way to tell whether it's going to print out as more than one page?

A.  With your document displayed on the screen in WordPad, go to Print > Print Preview and you will see how many pages you have to print.

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week

Classical NPR
Here you can find articles about Classical music and listen to live audio streams. Be sure to take a look at the items listed under Features. The Interviews section is also noteworthy. If you love classical music, this is one site worth checking out. Visit it once and you'll be Chopin at the bit to come Bach.

Have you ever wondered what the government is squandering our money on? If your blood pressure is running low and it needs a boost, this is the place to turn. Use any of the tabs on the left side of the page to visit various categories, all of which could appropriately reside under the heading “Boondoggles.” The Recovery section tracks the loans, grants, contracts and bailouts that were frittered away under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, also known as “stimulus.”
You will have to establish an account and provide your Social Security number, but if you do, you will have access to your Medicare account. Among other information, you can see what your doctors billed Medicare and how much (or how little) they were reimbursed.

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