By Kim Komando
How to spot a fake email?
Q. I got an email from Amazon that was a security alert about my account. How can you tell if it’s legit or not?
A. The fake email is a favorite of scammers trying to steal your information. Major companies don’t send out emails that haven’t been checked by a team of professional writers and editors, so poor writing is a dead giveaway. They also won’t ask you to click on anything or download an attachment. Do this and test yourself. Click here to see if you can spot the 5 telltale signs of a fake email.
Spy apps on your phone
Q. I think my ex might have slipped a spying app onto my phone. How can I tell?
A. If it’s an app like Mspy, WebWatcher or SpyToMobile, they’re designed to avoid detection. If you’re running an iPhone, check to see if there’s an app called Cydia installed. If so, that’s a sign your phone is jailbroken, which is something a lot of spy apps require to install. However, some of them don’t need that anymore. If you’re worried, your best option is to do a factory reset on your phone, and that will wipe out any spy app. Learn more about how spy apps work and how you can keep your gadget safe from them in the future.
Do you really need a computer?
Q. My computer is dying and I need a new one, but I don’t have a lot of money. Is there something else I can use instead for basic tasks?
A. For basic tasks, such as Internet browsing, email, Facebook, playing casual games and watching online video, many people are turning to tablets instead of computers. They can be less expensive, more portable and are just as fast. Find out if a tablet will work better than a computer for you.
Benefits of a Bluetooth speaker
Q. I got a portable Bluetooth speaker as a present. What’s it good for?
A. I use my Bluetooth speaker mostly in the kitchen, so I can listen to music, podcasts and audiobooks from my smartphone without dealing with a pesky headphone cable getting in the food. It also works great for the garage, outdoors, or sharing music from your gadgets with a group of friends. Learn more about what a Bluetooth speaker can do and other ways you might want to use it.
Gift card scam
Q. I saw a post on Facebook offering $25 Amazon gift cards for just $10 each. Is that for real?
A. This is a classic gift card scam. If you bought the gift cards, they’d likely be empty, or the person you sent the money to would just disappear. If you pay with a credit card, the person then has your card information. Most likely they’d have you pay with a wire transfer so you can’t reverse the charge. Get the scoop on two more dangerous online shopping scams you’ll encounter this holiday season and how to avoid them.
Bonus: Which iPad should you buy?
Q. I’m in the market for an iPad, but there are so many models now. Which one should I buy?
A. If you’re looking for a cheap travel tablet, go for the still-solid iPad mini 2. For a versatile around-the-house tablet, the iPad Air 2 is best. If you want to be artistic, the new iPad Pro is with a serious look. Find out more about the available iPad models and when each one makes sense to buy.
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. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.