Phone stalking, health reports, and more: Tech Q&A

Confirming a Hack

Q: With all the data breaches, I am wondering if the hackers have my email account sign-in and password. How can I know if my email account has been hacked?

A: If you’ve had the same email account for years, you have probably received that fateful message from a friend: “Hey, I think your email was hacked.” Your friends can often tell because they start receiving weird and unnatural messages from “you.” In the past, all you had to do was change your password. But hackers are more sophisticated. They may root around your email in search of valuable information, and you may have no idea that they’re there. That’s why you have to use a more thorough method. Click here to check whether your email account has been hacked.

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Health Credit Reports

Q: Is there someplace online I can see my health credit report? I know insurance companies use this to determine how risky I am.

A: Not long ago, consumers were punished for checking their own credit scores. We now consider that ridiculous; you have as much right to check your credit as you do your bank balance. You’re also wise to ask about your health records because these can also culminate in a “credit score” that most people are unaware exists. This is a timely question because many patients, from all walks of life, are frustrated that insurance companies conduct so much business in secret. If an insurer can decide your fate, the statistics they use about your health should be available to you. Luckily, there are ways to find this secret number and see for yourself how your medical history stands. Click here to find your secret health credit reports.

Smartphone Stalkers

Q: Recently, a woman was stalked because some creep accessed her phone while she was at a convenience store. How did this happen?

A: Many people are familiar with file-sharing and how an unsecured Wi-Fi connection can allow people nearby to dig into your shared documents. Apple offers a feature called AirDrop that facilitates sharing photos, videos, images, documents and more. AirDrop has three options in the settings. You can have AirDrop Receiving Off, Contacts Only, or Everyone. If it’s set to everyone, anyone within a certain range can send things to your gadget, even strangers. Click here to learn more about this vulnerable iPhone feature.

High-Tech Personal Defense

Q: I want to listen to your podcast about hi-tech body armor, knives, and brain-fingerprint technology. Can you give me the link?

A: The world can be dangerous, and there are lots of reasons you may need to invest in personal security. You can buy the same bullet-proof gear that law enforcement uses to stay alive on the beat. These aren’t just Kevlar vests and tasers, but a range of high-tech devices that will save you from bodily harm. Curious? Subscribe to my podcast on iTunes or Google Play and hear this groundbreaking episode, along with other essential advice. Click here to listen to the podcast about weapon-resistant gear available for everyday consumers.

Defining Alexa Skills

Q: I keep hearing about Amazon Alexa skills. What are they?

A: We can file this question under, “Everything you wanted to know about Alexa but were afraid to ask.” As the name suggests, a skill is something that Alexa can do. A skill is like an app; you download a skill from Amazon, and voila! Now Alexa can call an Uber for you. Tell Alexa to dim the lights and the device will communicate with the smart bulbs in your living room. Many skills take practice, and you may have to coordinate your Echo with the other smart devices in your home. Click here for the best Alexa skills.

What questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

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Learn about all the latest technology 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.