Computers

Tech Q&A: Spotting a skimmer, breezing through security

Illustration picture.

Illustration picture.

How to spot a credit card skimmer

Q. My credit card information was stolen at a gas station. The crooks used a skimmer. What are these and how can you spot one?

A. Thieves attach skimmers to ATMs, gas pumps and other places people swipe their credit and debit cards. This sneaky bit of electronics steals the magnetic strip information from your card. The thieves use it to clone your card and then they can drain your bank account or run up huge bills. Credit card companies are switching to EMV cards, but it will take time before every retailer has them. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to spot skimmers. Click here to see photos of overlay and more advanced skimmers.

Breeze through airport security lines

Q: I keep hearing about long TSA lines at the airport. Is there any way to get through security faster when I go on vacation?

A: First, pack your things with TSA in mind. Use bags that are butterfly-style, trifold-style or sleeve-style so they fold out for the X-ray scan. You can also download the app My TSA (Free; Android and Apple). My TSA provides TSA PreCheck locations, estimated wait times, packing tips, videos and more. Other than that, relax and give yourself plenty of time to get through security. Remember, you’re going on vacation.

Stop Windows 10 from automatically upgrading my PC

Q. Windows 10 automatically installed itself on my work computer. I do not want this to happen to my home computer. How can I stop this invasion from happening?

A: Microsoft announced that the Windows 10 upgrade had been added as a "Recommended Update," instead of an "Optional Update." This change means that Windows 10 will automatically be installed, unless those with older versions of Windows say otherwise. You can change this. Click here for the exact steps along with screenshots.

Sell photography online

Q. You recently spoke to a caller on your national radio show about this topic. I’m a photographer, but getting noticed is hard. What’s the easiest way to promote my work?

A. Two photography sites worth looking into are Imagekind and FineArtAmerica. You can use these sites as an online retail space for your work. They do take a small percentage of the sale, but they also handle the order details, including printing and shipping. If you’re not interested in selling your prints individually, why not produce and market an eBook? Come up with a catchy title like, “10 Things Every Photographer Needs to Know.” Click here for step-by-step instructions to publish your own eBook and make money.

More control for your Facebook timeline

Q. One of my old friends from college keeps sharing pictures of me on Facebook that I’d rather not see. Can I block these images on my timeline?

A. You can always remove or hide these images from your timeline by clicking the down arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the post, then selecting, “Hide from timeline,” or “Delete.” You can also prevent others from posting on your timeline altogether by adjusting your Facebook settings. In the drop down menu, click “Settings,” then in the “Who can add things to my timeline?” section, choose “Only me.” Click here to see the steps, along with screenshots.

Bonus:

Q. I am concerned that my daughter is using her iPad and iPhone to keep her kids occupied. How can I tell her she’s ignoring my grandchildren?

A. Many parents are using tech to get things done. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends just a few hours a day of screen time for kids over 2 years old and none at all for those under two. I cover this topic in great detail and offer recommendations in a recent podcast. Click here now to listen or download my podcast, “Is tech destroying our kids?” Then, share it with your daughter and tell her your concerns.

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On the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.