Don’t Let Scammers Hack Into Your Life Peace of Mind Post I n 2020, our personal information is more vital, and more For certain websites, like the accounts above, using a secure password website like Keeper or TRICKS AND TIPS FOR CREATIVE PASSWORDS MAY 2020
accessible, than ever. Most of us know that we need to protect our Social Security number and banking information, but have you thought about how using your family or pet name in a password might compromise your security online? It can take months or years to recover from someone gaining access to your personal information in online accounts, so it’s important to assess and strengthen your online security. May 7 is World Password Day, so this is a great time to dive into some creative password tips and tricks! To create a strong password, I recommend using many special characters along with various numbers and capital letters. A lot of people use a capital letter at the beginning of their passwords, but I recommend putting them at random. Of course, such a unique password may feel difficult to remember. I forget my passwords all the time. Because we use them for everything, it can be difficult for me to keep track of all of them. Using a group of words or phrases that are unique to me, and related to the account the password is being used for, helps me to remember my passwords. For instance, if I’m creating an account on websites like SmartPak and State Line Tack, which provide horse tack and supplies, then I will use a password related to an experience that only I would know from my years of horseback riding. If I’m really lost when it comes time to fill in a password, then I think back on the group of words or phrases I would have used related to that account, and this helps me to remember. It usually only takes a few minutes for this trick to work! “Using a group of words or phrases that are unique to me, and related to the account the password is being used for, helps me to remember my passwords.”
LastPass can be an easy way to keep track of login
information. But for sensitive accounts, such as my banking and investment accounts, I don’t rely on secure password websites or
my own memory. To ensure the passwords for these accounts are properly protected, I keep them written down and locked away in a safe. While I could safely keep these important passwords on a secure password website, writing them down and storing them in a lockbox gives me the full peace of mind that hackers can’t access them. Protecting your passwords is important, but it’s also important to make sure they can’t be easily guessed by scammers and hackers. Be mindful of what you post on social media. If you’re really engaged in social media and openly share a lot of your personal information, then be cautious of using that information as part of a password. For example, if your dog is all over your social media pages, then it’s best to not use its name in your passwords. Hackers and scammers aren’t just trying to steal your passwords, so whenever you’re online, be a cautious clicker. If you get an email from someone you know but don’t recognize the email address it was sent from, then be skeptical. Look at the email address carefully, and if it doesn’t match your friend’s name, then look at the text of the email but don’t click on any links or open any attachments. If you notice anything remotely odd, then reach the person via another channel to ask about the email. And remember, never open any email that claims to be from the IRS, as they only send information via physical mail. Use this month to assess the strength of your passwords and make sure your life online is safe and secure. I hope these tips will help you create strong passwords for all your different online accounts and maybe even to remember them!
How to Navigate the
D epending on your wants and needs, buying a home in a 55-plus community might be a financially savvy way to set yourself up for retirement. But is it the right decision for you? Here are a few financial pros and cons associated with moving into one of these neighborhoods. Pro: The homes are in excellent condition. Oftentimes, 55-plus communities provide maintenance services, including housekeeping and landscaping. Also, it’s likely that only a handful of people have occupied the home since it was built, so buying in a 55-plus community means you’ll get a property in excellent condition with less wear and tear. Con: You’ll have to pay a monthly fee. Unfortunately, all the great stuff doesn’t come free. Usually, you’ll have to pay an extra monthly bill, similar to a homeowners association fee, to live in a 55-plus community. Some communities include all maintenance and amenities in the monthly rent or mortgage (some even cover utility bills), but make sure you understand what is and isn’t covered before you sign a contract! Pro: Amenities are included. Most 55-plus communities include amenities like exercise classes and educational programs for their residents. They also invite community organizations and leaders to speak about local issues or upcoming elections. Some even have a clubhouse or dining hall for social gatherings. Save money by taking advantage of these programs instead of paying for a gym membership or a course at the local community college. Con: It’s a limited buyer’s and renter’s market. Most people who buy in a 55-plus community plan to retire there. If this is your original intention but your plans change down the road, you might have a harder time selling your home here than you would in a community that is open to people of all ages. Make sure to budget for those potential holding costs and plan accordingly. Regardless of where you decide to buy, be sure to consult an experienced real estate agent and a financial planner. Here’s to living out your golden years in comfort and convenience! The Pros and Cons of Buying a Home in a 55-Plus Community
SPOT FAKE WEBPAGES
The internet is a fascinating place, and in many ways, it’s like the dense wildlife of the Northwest. You can discover and learn some fantastic things, but if you’re not careful, then you could unknowingly find yourself in a dangerous situation. This is especially true of webpages that are scams on the internet. So to better navigate the wild side of the internet, here are a few things to watch out for. Look at the URL The address bar of any website holds critical information about where you are and how secure the site is. Like moss on a tree, this section could be the first sign you’re headed south. On a webpage, an attacker can control five key areas. The favicon is the name and tab of your browser. The next part is the domain name. Make sure these clearly relate to whatever you searched for. The file path — the extra information past the “.com” — should match as well. Finally, check the website content. If there are several pop-ups or multiple embedded links in the website’s content, then be wary. It could be a sales page or a scam page. Check Security Indicators Make sure whatever website you’re on begins with “https” and not “http.” When the internet was first emerging, it was
Sticky and Sweet Pork ‘Ribs’
Whether you’re celebrating your mom or those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, there’s no better recipe to grill up than these delectable country-style pork ribs.
• 1/2 cup chili oil • 1/3 cup oyster sauce • 1/3 cup toasted sesame oil • 5 lbs boneless pork shoulder, flattened • 3/4 cup brown sugar • 1 tbsp molasses
• 2 heads garlic, cloves separated • 3 thumbs ginger, chopped • 1 cup hoisin sauce • 3/4 cup fish sauce • 2/3 cup honey • 2/3 cup rice wine
1. In a blender, purée garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, honey, rice wine, chili oil, oyster sauce, and toasted sesame oil until smooth. 2. Reserve and chill 1 1/2 cups for later use. 3. In a bag, add the remaining mixture and pork shoulder. Marinate for at least 8 hours. 4. Using a convection plate on the grill, cook pork until the thickest part reaches an internal temperature of 140–145 F. 5. In a large saucepan, simmer brown sugar, molasses, and reserved marinade for 6–8 minutes. 6. Baste the pork with the brown sugar glaze for 2 minutes before serving.
Inspired by Bon Appétit
e Internet Safely
TOOLS TO MAINTAIN YOUR INDEPENDENCE Don’t Work Harder, Work Smarter As you age, it can be challenging to do even the simplest of tasks. Your mind can be nimble, but your hands may not work as well. When this happens, it doesn’t hurt to get creative. I have a friend whose grandmother laid out her “tools of the trade” on the kitchen table before she began cooking. These included small C-clamps for opening childproof pill bottles and a grabber for items on high shelves. But tools don’t have to be limited to the kitchen; there are many tools you can use to help manage independent living. As you age, getting dressed can become more challenging than it used to be. There are several fun tricks and tools you can use to help with this. To zip coats, jackets, and even your pants, lace a string through the pull tab to give you more leverage. Afterward, put it in your pocket for the next time you need it. Tying your shoes also requires a lot of finger strength and dexterity. Switching to no-tie shoelaces like Xpand and Coolnice will enable you to put on your shoes with laces instead of switching to loafers. When it comes to shopping, your smartphone is your best friend. Take a photo of your car and the surrounding area to refer to later, when you need to find where you parked quickly. If you always forget something despite making a shopping list, then take a picture of your pantry to remind you to grab anything that you’re missing. If you use a purse and tend to misplace it, then consider using a fanny pack for your shopping trips. You
developed on the hypertext transfer protocol or “http.” Now, any web address with just an “http” is not secure. If there’s no “s,” then the site can be manipulated. Another indicator that the site is secure is if you see a padlock logo to the right of the “http” address or the term “verified company.” Trust Seals
Whenever a company invests in its customers’ security, it will advertise that fact. These seals indicating security are commonly placed on home, login, and checkout pages. It’s similar to putting a sticker in your window indicating you have a security system. These are just a couple of clear indicators of the safety of the site you’re on. I’m always here for my clients, so if you’re concerned or have any more questions, reach out as soon as you can. I can do a quick once-over of a site to ensure you’re in a safe neck of the woods.
S U D O KU
won’t forget it anywhere and this helps to prevent theft. Color-coding your keys can help you can quickly identify which
key goes to which door. After you’re done shopping, use a pair of rubber gloves to help you
open any difficult packaging. Gloves give you a better grip on whatever you’re holding and prevent you from hurting yourself if you need to use a knife.
These are just some tools you can use to maintain your independence. If you have any others, let me know next time you’re in the office! I always like to pass along useful tricks and tips to other clients.
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I N S I D E This Issue
Don’t Let Scammers Hack Into Your Life
Is a 55-Plus Community Right for You? How to Navigate the Internet Safely Sticky and Sweet Pork ‘Ribs’ Tools to Maintain Your Independence
A $60,000 Robbery With No Jail Time
THE $60,000 HEIST YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF CRIMELESS THEFT IN CYBERSPACE
The thief was CO2’s own head diplomat, a player called “The
In 2017, sometime between Sept. 11 and 12, a total of $60,000 worth of digital assets were stolen from people around the world. The conspirators didn’t hide their identities, and they faced no criminal charges. As it turns out, there are no laws against stealing spaceships in a video game — even if they’re worth thousands of real-world dollars. EVE Online is a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) that was launched in 2003, and it was on this game that the theft occurred. This science-fiction game is all about spacefaring, but one notable feature of the game is that it allows players to purchase in-game assets with real money. This attracts players who can spend large sums on the game, with some of the game’s largest spaceships costing $9,000. But one thing to note in EVE Online is that no matter how much you pay, once you lose an asset, it’s gone forever. Because of the risk-reward nature of the game, many players unite in huge factions for safety and to pool their resources. One of these groups, Circle of Two or CO2, was the target of the 2017 attack. Within a matter of hours, CO2’s bank accounts were drained and the space stations holding their fleets of ships were sold to their enemies. It was clear from the beginning: This was an inside job.
Judge.” For years he’d worked his way through the alliance’s ranks, only to use the access he eventually gained to rob it blind. But greed may not have been his only motivation. He’d had public disagreements with CO2’s
leader called Gigx, and a rival faction was able to capitalize on this internal conflict. During an in-person EVE Online summit
held in Iceland, representatives from The GoonSwarm Federation convinced The Judge to leave CO2 and commit the single largest robbery in gaming history on his way out. In the real world, The Judge’s actions were completely legal — currently, international law doesn’t treat such virtual objects as personal property. But this perception may be changing. As in- game purchases become more widespread in video games, legal lines have blurred, causing an increasing number of lawmakers to rethink what constitutes “ownership” in the digital age. But, for now at least, it seems like a good time to be a space pirate.
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