Ask Mr. Modem: Beware Of E-mail Trickery


Click to read more about Mr. Modem

Q. I received an e-mail from my daughter that had no Subject line and the message only contained a link. I clicked the link, which turned out to be a Canadian company selling Viagra. Is there anything I can do to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again?

A. You can always count on Mr. Modem to state the obvious, but the best way to make sure it never happens again is to not do it again. In short, links do not click themselves.
It also pays to be suspicious. For example, even though the message appeared to be from your daughter, if there was no Subject line and she normally includes a Subject line, that’s a red flag. The fact that the message was blank except for a link – no greeting, no explanation – that’s red flag number two.
My standard practice is that unless a message includes a personal greeting or reference – something that lets me know the message is legitimate – I delete it. Harsh? Perhaps, but all it takes is a simple, “Hi, Mr. Modem. Here’s a link to a video of a cat on a pogo stick I think you will enjoy.” Tell me that and I’m there in a heartbeat.


Q. I would like to give your “Top 50 Computing Tips” eBooks to several friends. If I purchase Amazon gift cards, do I receive actual plastic cards that I then snail mail to my recipients?

A. You have that option, but it is easier to simply locate the book(s) you want to give on Amazon, then click the “Give as Gift” button to the right. Provide the name and email address of your recipient, a message, then click the Place Your Order button. Your recipient will receive an email from Amazon and a link that will transmit the book to your recipient’s Kindle, iPad or other device. For direct links to all my books on Amazon, visit the eBooks section on MrModem.com.


Q. When I press PrintScreen to print selected text on one of my two monitors, it prints what appears on both monitors. Is there a way to print from only one monitor?

A. If you hold down the ALT key and press PrintScr, the active screen (where your selected text and cursor are located) will be captured to the Windows Clipboard. Then go to a destination location, such as a document or email, right-click and select Paste. Your captured screen image will pop into your document, which you can then print.

Mr. Modem’s Sites Of The Month

Batmobile History

If you watched television in the 1960’s, you probably saw the original “Batman” series. KAPOW! This site takes a close look at the real star of this show. THWACK!

Brainwaves Center

Practical applications of neuroscience research designed to test, improve and maintain mental skills. It’s humbling; very humbling.

This Day

Hosted by Nikon, this site provides a high-tech twist on run-of-the-mill “On This Day in History” sites.

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