Protecting Yourself From Phishing Scams

imageI received an email last week that I thought looked a bit suspicious- and it reminded me of how important it is to be vigilant to protect yourself against phishing scams.

The email looked like it came from EBay and it claimed that there had been some suspicious activity on my account. It had a link for me to click on that would take me to my account to look into the supposed ‘unusual’ activity. Luckily, I knew right away that it was a scam- simply because I don’t have an EBay account! However, it was so cleverly done – the email looked so realistic that it would have been very easy to fall for it.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve received a suspicious email. In fact, just last fall I received a similar letter from Target claiming that my credit card had been a part of the whole credit card scam- and in order to make it right I needed to click on the link in the email. Yet again, I knew it wasn’t real since I hadn’t used a credit card at Target.

These days the criminals are getting more and more sophisticated- and it would be easy to fall for one of their tricks. By providing a link in the text of their message they are hoping that you will click on the link which will most likely install spyware on your computer. By using spyware, the criminal is now able to see what you type on your computer. They then watch and wait for you to log on to your banking website and enter your user name and passcode.  As soon as they have this information, they can now get into your account or steal your identity.

Even Microsoft had a similar case with a fake message pretending to be from the security division of the company! In the email they ask the user to log in to verify their account- and before you know it, you have just given out your personal information!

So what to do?

The best advice is to never click on a link from an email, no matter who sends it. If there really is suspicious activity on your account- either go directly to the website and log into your account or call the company directly. When you go to the website, look at the web address and make sure that it is a https site (as opposed to http). This ensures extra steps have been taken to make it a secure site. Lastly, never respond to a spam email – even if all you are doing is asking to be removed from the distribution list. By responding, you are confirming that it is an active account- which gives the phisher information about you.

Other important tips* to keep your computer and information secure:

  1. Make sure you are protected with an anti-spyware software such as Webroot, Zone Alarm, Ad-Aware.

  2. Updates! Keep your computer up to date with your anti-spyware and operating system (Windows, OS X).

  3. Scans! Your anti-spyware software will do scans on your system. Your first reaction may be to cancel the scan if you’re working on your computer. STOP! Don’t cancel that scan. Save what you’re working on and take a break from your computer. By doing this your computer has a chance to find a spyware that might have gotten past the protection.  You may also schedule scans to occur at times when you are not using your computer, such as the middle of the night. NEVER disable your scan settings!

  4. Lastly, be careful where you surf, what you download and what attachments in e-mails you view.

* Tips from Vermont Government Information Security website

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Walk of Life

IMG_1064A friend of mine recently went down to Florida to help her dad move out of his home and move into an Assisted Living*. While living in his own home he had become anti social- staying indoors most of the time.

Before the move, my friend wanted to go see a tree that she had planted several years ago in memory of her mother- and asked her dad to take her there. He reluctantly agreed to go and proceeded to climb in the car. Since the tree was only about 75 feet away, my friend insisted he get out of the car and they could walk. After a little resistance, eventually he gave in and together they walked down the road- and this is where an amazing thing happened.

As they slowly walked they started running into people he knew. People he hadn’t seen in months.

They stopped to talk, to laugh, to socialize. They shared stories, caught up on news and saw old friends.

All of a sudden- after months of feeling lonely and depressed- he felt alive, connected and loved. Just this simple task of getting outside and going for a short stroll opened up his world and brought him joy.

When my friend shared this story with me I knew it was something I wanted to share here because it is something so simple- and yet so rewarding. So I encourage you- if you have been cooped up in your home for too long- get outside. Go for a walk. Even if it’s a short one, being in the fresh air will re-invigorate you. Seeing other people will re-connect you and getting exercise will re-energize you.

There is no rush, take your time and take it slow. Just get out there and see the world. We’ve been waiting for you…

*Capability Homecare is a premiere homecare agency in the Greater Seattle area. We provide in home care for seniors for short or long term stays.

Hiring Caregivers, The Best of the Best!

Caregiver selection is the most important thing we do at Capability Homecare. If you think about it, in some regards our caregivers are our ‘product’ and we work hard to have the best possible ‘product’ on the market.

To do this we go through a very extensive hiring process- of which I thought I would share with you today.

  • Each candidate goes through several interviews before they are considered

  • Our in depth questioning helps determine if the candidate has the personality traits we are looking for

  • We conduct National Background checks (with fingerprinting)

  • In addition to checking personal references, we require 2 professional references

  • All caregivers are either CNA’s (certified nursing assistants), NAR’s (registered nursing assistant) or have completed 75 hours of training

  • Understanding how important communication is, we look for candidates who are proficient in English

  • We verify credentials through the Washington State Dept. of Health

We consider hiring great caregivers to be of such importance that we have two full time recruiters who spend every single day working to find the very best caregivers in the industry.  In addition to making sure our caregivers have the necessary skills and training, we ensure they meet Capability Homecare’s core values:

  • Honesty

  • Compassion

  • Empathy

  • Trustworthy

With over 18 years experience in the field of recruiting- Capability Homecare’s owner has developed a successful method of finding great employees.

We are extremely proud of our reputation of having the best caregivers of any homecare agency in the Great Seattle/ Bellevue area- and we can attribute that success to our standard of  ‘if we won’t hire this person to care for our own parents, then we won’t hire them to care for yours!’.  

To read more about our caregiver selection process, click here!

Pain is Not a Lifestyle

pain-203x300I was walking my dog a few months ago when I saw a sign in an office window that read ‘pain is not a lifestyle’. For some reason that sign really resonated with me- even though at the time I was not suffering from any pain.

Little did I know that two months later I would be suffering from back pain so severe that I burst into tears when trying to walk and am forced to spend most of my time in bed doped up on pain pills. 

So for me now, pain is a lifestyle and it is awful.

Living with this pain for the past 2 weeks has made me realize how debilitating chronic pain could be- and how easy it would be to become depressed living like this for months or even years.

It’s also made me realize how fortunate, I am to have incredible support from my family. My husband has been helping with the kids, driving them to sports practices, doing laundry, making dinner- cleaning the house… basically taking over all of my duties so that I can rest and (hopefully) heal my pain.

But what about those people who don’t have a support system in place? What about those whose spouse can’t take off work, or whose adult children live too far away to help? How will they manage the day to day tasks that need to be accomplished?

That’s what Capability Homecare is there for. We are the people you turn to when you need help- with even the most simple, mundane tasks- folding laundry, getting the mail, taking out the trash, even bathing or getting dressed- all of those activities of daily living that must get done- but  for whatever reason you  aren’t able to do them on your own.

Hiring outside help while you recover can be a lifesaver. Hiring help can get you through the tough times until you are independent again. With Capability Homecare you don’t sign a long term contract- you get help when and where you need it. You are in charge, you are in control- and you decide how much help you need. 

The best part about using Capability Homecare is that our caregivers have been carefully selected and screened. Our policy is that if we won’t hire someone to care for our own parents, we won’t hire them to care for yours. 

Capability Homecare has the reputation for having the best caregivers in the Seattle and Bellevue area- and we are extremely proud of that.  Our caregivers speak English clearly, and they are experienced, compassionate people who live to serve.

If you find yourself in need of some extra help, please let us be the ones to help you. Call Capability Homecare today 425 679-5770. 

 

*By the way, in case you were worried- I am seeing a specialist as well as a physical therapist (who is doing dry needling technique) and hopefully I’ll be back on my feet soon!

** Photo Credit: PhysioAnswers