Do the holidays have you in a daze? With so much going on in December, it's easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. We urge you to take a deep breath and keep your focus on what's truly important to you. Hopefully, we can help by equipping you with valuable online resources.
In this December issue, you'll find a warning about common holiday scams plus instructions on how to keep your Facebook account secure. Be sure to review this important information. Just for fun, we share cool pins from Pinterest to inspire wrapping, baking, and gift giving plus handy sites about holiday decorating, tipping, and more. You also don't want to miss this month's amazing videos, including one on how the Internet works.
The goal of each of our eNewsletters is to keep our subscribers informed regarding their Internet connection and to improve their Internet experience. We think you'll find this information interesting.
To see what's inside this issue, simply scroll down the eNewsletter or click on the links within the index to the left. Thanks for reading!
- The eCurrents Team
Scam Alert – Don't Let Scammers Spoil Your Holiday Season
The holidays should be a happy time filled with food, family, and friendship. Unfortunately, they're also a big season for fraud. The Better Business Bureau is warning holiday shoppers and donors to look out for these common scams:
Disreputable shopping sites Be suspicious of sites offering electronics, popular toys, or luxury goods at prices that are too good to be true. Every year holiday shoppers pay for a supposedly great deal online but receive nothing in return. Always look for the BBB seal when shopping online and click on the seal to confirm it is legitimate. When purchasing items on auction sites, research the seller extensively and listen to your doubts if the deal doesn't sound legit.
Bogus charitable pleas People tend to be more generous during the holidays, which creates a great opportunity for scammers to solicit donations to line their own pockets. Always research a charity before making a donation, particularly when receiving an online plea.
Phishing emails Common phishing emails around the holidays include e-cards and messages pretending to be from companies like UPS or FedEx with links to package tracking information. Don't click on any links or open any attachments to emails coming from a questionable source. Keep in mind that typos and grammatical mistakes are common red flags of a phishing email. Also, make sure you have current antivirus software and that all security patches have been installed on the computer.
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This Month's FAQ – What Does GIF Mean And How Is It Supposed To Be Pronounced?
Question: What does GIF mean and how is it supposed to be pronounced?
Answer: GIF is an acronym that stands for "graphic interchange format," which is a compressed file format for images that can be used to create simple, jerky, looping animations. The word, traditionally used as a noun, is a longstanding part of Internet meme culture and has been in use for 25 years. However, Oxford American Dictionary claims that 2012 was the first year GIF went from merely being a noun to also being used as a verb. GIF was named the Oxford Dictionaries US Word of the Year for 2012.
GIF may be pronounced with either a soft "g" (as in giant) or a hard "g" (as in graphic). The programmers who developed the format preferred the soft "g." As the story goes, they wanted to pay homage to the commercial tagline of the peanut butter brand Jiff and supposedly quipped, "Choosy developers choose GIF." However, the pronunciation with a hard "g" is now very widespread and readily understood.
Sites Of The Month – Great Sites To Check Out In December
Go-To Holiday Guide www.countryliving.com – Other than perhaps the North Pole, you'd be hard pressed to find a more bountiful place for all things holiday. You'll find ideas for homemade gifts, clever gift wrapping, low-cost holiday decorating, festive desserts, and more.
Tips on Tipping www.emilypost.com – The holiday season can create confusion with respect to tipping. How much should you give? And who should be on your list? Emily Post comes to the rescue with guidelines on tipping as well as gift giving.
Discover Your Next Destination www.triptuner.com – This is a fun and unique way to figure out where to go on vacation. Move the six sliders to indicate where you fall on various scales, such as Urban/Lively to Remote/Quiet. Your responses will instantly generate a list of destination suggestions.
Library Of Free eBooks www.openlibrary.org – Calling all bookworms! Check out this lending library featuring over 1,000,000 free eBook titles. Simply create your digital library account, then search by subject or author. You can also browse the "Return Cart" of recently returned books.
Two To View – A Couple Of Amazing Videos You Don't Want To Miss
How Does The Internet Work? This video takes you deep beneath the surface of the most basic Internet transaction. Follow a packet of data as it flows from your fingertips; goes through circuits, wires, and cables; moves to a host server; and then travels back again—all in less than a second!
Rain And Thunder On Stage At first glance, this looks like a typical choir. But instead of using their voices to sing, they use their hands to create the sounds of rain and thunder. It's so amazingly realistic, you may feel like you should grab an umbrella to stay dry!
Short Tutorial – How To Keep Your Facebook Account Secure
It happens all the time. A Facebook users tries to log in to his/her Facebook account and the password no longer works. This often means a hacker managed to get access to the account and change the password. To reduce the chances of this happening to you, Facebook recommends taking security precautions:
Think before you click. Never click on suspicious links—even if they appear to come from a friend or a company you know. This includes links sent on Facebook (ex: in a chat or post) and links sent in emails. If one of your friends clicks on spam by accident, that link might be sent to all of their Facebook friends. Remember to never re-enter your Facebook password or download something (ex: an .exe file) if you aren't sure what it is. If you're asked to re-enter your password on Facebook (ex: you're making changes to your account settings), check to make sure the address of the page still has facebook.com/ in the URL.
If you don't know what it is, don't paste it into your Internet address bar. Pasting unfamiliar text into your address bar could result in events and pages being created from your account or other "spammy" actions.
Pick a unique, strong password. Use combinations of at least six letters, numbers, and punctuation marks; don't use words that can be found in the dictionary. When in doubt, change your password. You can reset your password by going to your Account Settings page, which is located in the Account dropdown menu at the top of every Facebook page.
Never give out your username or password. Never share y