Cyber predators – The most dangerous of all predators.

August 8, 2006

Your daughter is growing up and showing an interest in the internet. She wants to surf the internet and become a member of websites like Myspace, Friendster, Xanga and Facebook. Her friends are doing it so why shouldn’t she? Is what she asks you. And you are scared.

It’s every parent’s nightmare – The dark and ugly side of teen blogging. Teens all over the world are blogging phone numbers, age, addresses and other personal information that makes them vulnerable to anyone who wants to track them down.

We need to protect our kids online . So, how do we keep our kids safe from cyber criminals?

1. It is observed that  generally kids having problems at home, school or with relationships become an easy target for cyber predators. They are first befriended by these cyber criminals who soon become their soulmates and later manipulate and victimize them.

2. Parents, keep the communication lines open.Win their confidence. Ensure that they share their web experiences with you.

3. Also parents need to become net smart. Learn computers.Catch up. Not knowing computers shouldn’t be your excuse for not ensuring your child’s online safety.

4. Learn to log on. Know their passwords, screen names and account information. Parents, study what your kids are doing online.

5. Talk to them about the dangers of cyber predators and online crimes. Make the kids understand the repercussions of their actions.

6. Teach them not to give too much personal information over the internet as it is viewed by millions of people and could fall into the wrong hands.

7. Keep the computer in a public area like the living room or the family room.

8. Install monitoring software which will help monitor your child’s internet activities.

9. Enable computer filtering features.

10. If your child has a Myspace account , ask them to make it private so that only friends can view their profile.

11. Teach them not to meet anyone physically, whom they have ‘met’ for the first time on the internet.

12. Tell them the dangers of sending their photos online and to avoid sharing files. they should also learn to say ‘no’ when they are asked to install extra software as their online activities can then be monitored by any one.

Most importantly teach them that people are not what they seem online. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry. 


Work from Home – An honest opinion

August 5, 2006

The internet offers unlimited opportunities for people who are looking out for work from home jobs. The opportunities are unlimited and unfortunately so are the scams.

The only way to weed out the scams is to thoroughly research any such program which promises to give you work from home opportunities.Be wary of jobs that sound too good to be true. The safest bets are the Free Lancing sites wherein you can post your resumes and bid for jobs.

Beware of stay at home jobs which ask for money before you even take the job. Chances are that  they are not legit. Why should you pay the employer to work for him?

What these ‘paid to work free home jobs’ will do is to sell you outdated lists or a list of companies who may need your services. But , you can find that list yourself . So why pay?

Do people judge you by your appearance?

August 4, 2006

Yes, people do  judge you by your appearance and the fact is that good looking people do have a decided advantage over their simpler bretherns, whether it comes to their relationships or their career.

The fact of the matter is that good looks do count.

This is because we as a society are obssessed with looks. We think that attractive people are better people. So we are ready to give them that extra chance. Good looking people are thought to be more confident than plainer people and so get breakthroughs easily.

However, it is important to remember that looks will just give you that initial break and that they are not enough. Even good looking people need to be good at what they are doing in order to be successful.

Hence folks, Beauty counts but so does Brains.

Phishing – A computer crime

August 2, 2006


Today got another email saying that I had won $100,000,000 in a randomly selected email accounts on the web. I was asked to submit a lot of personal details in order to collect my prize money.Earlier on receiving a similar email I was taken in (groan..!) and supplied the details and never heard from those guys again.

This time , I was a little more educated and knew that this was a case of phishing.

Friends , here’s some details on phishing .Hope you’ll benefit from it.

Phishing or Carding or Brand Spoofing is a term used to ‘fish’ for ‘users’ financial information or passwords.

Phishing is a computer crime in which phishers fraudently acquire sensitive information like credit card details and passwords.Phishing is carried out using fake emails or instant messages, where the phisher masquerades as a trustworthy person or business like a bank or an online organization such as eBay or PayPal.

The fake email directs the user to a bogus Website ( set up to steal the user’s information) where the user is asked personal information such as passwords, credit card details, social security nos.and bank account numbers. The messages look quite authentic, featuring corporate logos and formats similar to those of the legitimate messages.

How to identify phishing messages.

1. Emails containing spelling mistakes or bad grammar.
2. Lack of personal greeting.
3. Misspelled URLs or the presence of subdomains.
4. The presence of ‘@’ symbol in the URL. Most browsers  tend to
   ignore all characters preceding the @ symbol.So a web address may look like a page of 
   PayPal but will take you to
5. Presence of an IP address in the link.

How to avoid getting phished.

* Do not reply to emails or pop-up messages asking for personal
  info. Do not click on the link in that message too.
* Use updated anti-virus software and a firewall. The anti-virus will
  protect you from accepting unwanted files containing software can
  harm your computer or track your activities on the Internet without
  your knowledge.
  A fire-wall will make you invisible on the internet and block all
  communications from anauthorized sources.
* Do not email personal or financial information.
* Regardless of who sends them, be cautious of opening any 
  attachment or downloading any files from emails.
* Look for the ‘lock’ icon on the browser’s status bar for secure
* Install anti phishing software . It can be got for free at
* Review credit card and bank statements as soon as you receive them
  and check for anauthorized charges.

Last but not the least, forward emails phishing for information to and to the company, bank or organization which is being impersonated. Also, file your complaint at if you believe that you’ve been scammed . Remember, victims of phishing can become victims of identity thefts.

Change your child’s outlook forever.

July 28, 2006

Your little darling is your ‘gift’  from God. A little praise directed towards your child will go a long way in changing your child’s life and re-arranging his attitude. An expression of warm approval and admiration will be like honey to their souls . It will boost their self esteem and leave a lifetime impact.

Here are a few ways of influencing your little people –

  • Whenever your child does something nice – praise him.
  • Take your child’s hand and squeeze.
  • Get silly together by acting out , singing silly rhymes, reciting tongue twisters or having a staring contest.
  • Give your child regular rides on your shoulders.
  • Rock your child and sing.
  • Say ‘ You are so creative .I wish I could do that.
  • Praise the small things.
  • Use terms of endearment however silly they might be.
  • File your child’s artwork and essays so that he or she can take pride in developing their skills.
  • Make bookmarks with your child’s photo and laminate them.
  • When your child makes a wise decision , praise him or her with ‘ What a smart choice ! That’s using your brain ! ‘
  • Snuggle in bed together . Let your child your affection and physical support.
  • Smooch’ em.
  • Give them a  ‘praise pop’ for something well done.
  •  Carry your child’s picture on your key chain.
  • Sometimes speak only in their secret made – up language.
  • Have a T-shirt made of your child’s picture on it and wear it often.
  • When you come home tired , take him or her on your lap and say’You know ! You are the bright spot in my day!
  • Ask your child’s opinion in something major like purchase of a car.
  • When you see your child , give him or her a big smile and hug and say ‘ Hi, How did I get such a fabulous kid?

Outsourcing homework – My neighbour writes my tables for me???

July 26, 2006

The other day read an article about kids outsourcing their homeworks. The reason being that they are hard pressed for time, have to manage studies and extra-curricular activities , project works , home works etc. and so they outsource their homeworks for a nominal fee.

Why do school pressurise kids to such an extent that they have to resort to such measures?

Why not give homework in moderation?

Don’t they realise that the very purpose of homework is defeated if children get it done by others with no contribution from their end?

We as kids used to take the help of our elders to do our homework , but getting it done completely by others was unheard of.

The purpose of homework is to make a child revise what he or she does in school . Children are given projects so that they do some research and so increase their knowledge base.

This trend of completely  outsourcing homeworks should be discouraged and schools should make it a point to give homeworks which is under the scope of the child to complete.

Encashing foreign cheques

July 24, 2006

 Somedays back I received a $10 cheque from one of my favourite survey companies. I deposited it in my bank on the same day.Today while checking my account I realised that I had been charged $5 for clearance of the cheque.

I was very disappointed . Half of my hard earned money gone in charges?

For all you friends out there , who would like to know something about encashing foreign cheques.

 For encashing foreign cheques , most banks charge a minimum amount irrespective of the cheque amount.By choosing a suitable bank you can ensure that bank charges are minimized.

In India , Nationalised banks charge a small commission and postal charges for encashing foreign cheques and are preferred for low value cheques. Private banks charge about Rs.300 – Rs.500 flat fee irrespective of the cheque amount and usually take 21- 30 days to credit your account.

Most bank employees are ignorant of these charges and will tell you that there are no bank charges which can be misleading.