RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Steering Clear of File Sharing Fraud

September 10, 2015 2:51 am

Users of file sharing websites, take note. The Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) urges caution when accepting files through email, even if the message appears to be from someone you know.

“Criminal hackers are exploiting consumer trust in popular file sharing services,” says Bill Fanelli, CBBB chief security officer. “The emails look authentic, and they appear to be from someone the user knows. But the link goes to a fraudulent site that tricks the user into entering their login credentials, then installs malware on their computers, and sends phishing emails to everyone on their contact list.”

According to Fanelli, the basic attack is simple: you receive an email from someone you know with a link to a file that says it is from a file sharing site such as Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive. If you click the link, there are two typical scenarios.
In one version of the attack, a file containing malware is downloaded. Malware typically succeeds by exploiting a weakness in a software program or the operating system.

A more advanced version sends the user to a page that resembles a popular cloud-based file sharing service, and requests the account name and password for the user. Once those are entered, they can be used to log in to the user’s real account at that service. In addition, because most people use the same password for multiple accounts, hackers may now be able to access bank, credit card, and other financial accounts.

In both scenarios, one of the actions taken by the hacker is to access the user’s contact list and send similar emails to everyone on it, which is how the scam is spread.

To prevent file sharing malware attacks, the CBBB encourages users to heed the following advice.

1. Do not click on links from unsolicited emails. Be cautious with all links, as phishing emails can mimic people and companies you know.

2. Keep systems up-to-date with the most recent versions of all software that you use regularly.

3. If you believe an email is authentic, pay attention to the linked site. Make sure the URL is expected (for instance, dropbox.com, not dropbox.scam4u.com).

4. Look for two-factor authentication (a second way to identify you besides your password) and activate it whenever you are given the option. Many legitimate sites now use a second step to help reduce fraud.

Source: BBB

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Homemakers Can Save for Retirement, Too

September 10, 2015 2:51 am

A recent report by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® (TCRS) and the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement (ACLR) explored the unique circumstances surrounding homemakers’ retirement, offering proactive steps to improve overall outlook.

“Homemakers contribute greatly to their families and society, as parents, caregivers and role models to their children,” says Catherine Collinson, president of the TCRS and executive director of the ACLR. “Because their work is unpaid and comes without employer or retirement benefits, homemakers face even greater retirement risks than workers due to their reliance on others for income.”

According to the report, most homemakers in the U.S. are women (81 percent), married, cohabitating or in a civil partnership (90 percent), aged 18 to 44 (56 percent), and are a parent of one or more financially dependent children (55 percent).
When presented with a series of word associations about retirement, workers and retirees were more likely than homemakers to cite positive words such as “leisure,” “freedom” and “enjoyment.”

The report highlights the following key recommendations for homemakers.

• Become personally involved in your family finances, from daily budgeting to long-term planning. Working with your spouse or partner, calculate retirement savings needs and develop a financial plan for achieving those needs. As part of that plan, be sure to have a backup plan for unforeseen circumstances such as separation, divorce, or loss of a partner. Consider seeking the expertise of a professional financial advisor.

“It is a myth that only workers retire,” says Collinson. “Homemakers also need to plan and prepare for financial security in old age. For everyone, and especially homemakers, a separation, divorce or loss of a spouse or partner can be devastating both emotionally and financially.”

• Consider working on a part-time basis to reduce future retirement risks. Part-time work brings income and greater access to government and employer retirement benefits. Staying in the workforce can also help keep job skills current and make it easier to find higher paying and/or full-time work, if needed.

“Clearly, it is difficult for homemakers to save, given the unpaid nature of their work. However, homemakers are not off the hook for their future retirement. Getting into the habit of saving, even if it’s just a little bit, along with careful planning, may help homemakers improve their long-term prospects,” says Collinson.

Source: TCRS

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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