Page 20 WiregrassSeniorsMagazine.com Computer Tips - For Seniors Online Scams & Dangers If you grew up using a typewriter instead of a mouse this article is for you... Common Online Scams and Internet Dangers: Tips for avoiding Email Scams: -If an email seems too good to be true -- it usually is. Why would someone in another country randomly choose YOU to give money to? It just doesn't make sense. - Unless you have connections to royalty, why would all these Prince's be sending you emails? Best just to ignore letters received from so-called Lords, Prince's and other royalty. - Still not convinced an email is a fraud? Do a Google search to see if the sender is a known fraud. - New internet users are better off getting a free online email account (gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc.) rather than one that comes from your cable company. If you ever change cable companies, you would lose the email as well. Common Email Frauds - Spotting Nigerian Scams, Fake Lottos, etc. The Nigerian (or 419) scam is a type of advance fee scam in which perpetrators try to trick their victims into giving them money under false pretenses. Often the victim receives an email about an inheritance they are entitled to. The catch is they must first send a check to the sender for the inheritance tax and other fees. Other examples include fees to extend credit or return checks or offers to sell crude oil at ridiculously low prices. Please remember not to trust email from anyone you don't know. Choosing Strong Passwords Strong passwords are at least eight characters in length, though 14 or more characters is ideal. The key to creating a good password is to choose something that is not easily guessed by others. Avoid using any part of your name or special dates (birthday or anniversary) in your passwords. The best way to create a password is to use a pass phrase and then use the first letter of every word and punctuation. For example, "I hate passwords; they are just too hard!" becomes "Ihp;tajth!", which is a very strong password. To go even further, substitute a good mix of special characters (% or @) or numbers for letters, and vary the capitalized letters in the phrase. It is also possible to just use the phrase itself, but not all Web sites will support passwords of that length (our previous example would be 41 characters), and they are difficult to type correctly every time. If a Web site limits the use of special characters, spaces, and length of the password, concentrate on varying capitalization and using numbers to substitute for letters.