Each week, I receive tons of questions from my listeners about tech concerns, new products, and all things digital.
Sometimes, choosing the most interesting questions to highlight is the best part of my job.
This week, I received questions about how to skip lines at the airport, avoiding ransomware, eBay scams and more.
Do you have a question you’d like to ask me?
Q: My email has gotten so loaded up with junk that I am skeptical when I get any messages from my bank, utilities, and even you. What do I do?
A: Spam takes many forms, and many of us face a tidal wave of vague threats, phony offers, creepy solicitations, and unsettling photos before we’ve finished our first cup of coffee. You’re right to be skeptical.
Use common sense and never respond to an email asking for account numbers, password resets, or personal details. When in doubt, call the company in question. You’re not alone. If you’d like a more personal reflection, take a look at my own inbox. Tap or click to see five scam emails I received by email last week.
Cut through Customs
Q: I’ve heard there is an app that helps you get through customs easier after you’ve traveled internationally. Is it safe?
A: I used the Mobile Passport myself the other day coming back from Italy, and it’s great. Enter in your passport details, answer a few questions, and when you land back in the United States, tap Submit. You’ll get a QR code to expedite processing.
At Customs and Border Control, look for a sign that says, “Mobile Passport.” That line will be a lot shorter than any other line! The free version works fine. I don’t think you need the pay version unless you travel internationally once a month. Tap or click to learn a few insider tricks to this time-saving travel app.
Best app ever
Q: What’s the one app on your smartphone you couldn’t live without?
A: That’s a tough question because I regularly use social media, food delivery services, and a calendar to keep me organized. But there’s one that I would love to recommend to you, my app! The Komando App is the easiest way to listen to my radio shows and stay updated with my tips, columns, podcasts and even alerts about security flaws and data breaches all on your phone or tablet.
It’s free to download and very easy to use, and it’s available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play. Just search for Komando with a K, of course. Or, tap or click to find the Komando app for any mainstream device.
Q: What’s the best online auction site?
A: eBay is still the reigning champion of online auctions. The 24-year-old company has managed to stay current, and its gross merchandise volume is $94 billion per year, which is nothing to sneeze at.
This is good news for people who like eBay’s format and don’t mind its Wild West atmosphere; many entrepreneurs run entire businesses through eBay and do not need a “regular” job. That said, eBay is cluttered with junk and scammers, and it’s easy for some stranger to dupe you into a flawed or falsely advertised product. Tap or click for five sneaky eBay scams to watch out for.
Q: I’ve been hearing about cities that pay big bucks to get out of ransomware. How do they get it in the first place?
A: LooCipher is probably the scariest ransomware to date, and you’re right, cybercriminals behind it are targeting city services, which could result in any number of injuries and deaths. Major U.S. cities are panicking over this issue, as well they should. Because the “weak link” isn’t a failed firewall or a turncoat on the inside; it’s just a regular employee, opening his email and clicking the wrong link.
One corrupted folder can wreck an entire network, and it can cost enormous amounts of money. This is a far cry from an individual user getting locked out of his personal computer. Sometimes agencies will decide to pay the ransom; sometimes they try to figure it out internally. Either way, the ransomware can cause unspeakable damage, and city governments may reel from its effects for years. Tap or click to learn more about LooCipher and how to avoid spreading it.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer.