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Fake PayPal e-mail snares consumer

Question: I got an e-mail saying my PayPal account was limited and urged me to re-enter my credit card and bank information. Is it safe to do this over e-mail?

Answer: No. The e-mail you received was a pretty sophisticated scam designed to rid you of your money. I received several questions about this and received a couple copies of the scam myself. It was pretty well done . . . one had to select "view source" and read the code to discover that if you hit "submit" the information would have been transmitted to an e-mail address in Russia. It did use official PayPal logos and fonts and looked pretty good. Just realize that no one should e-mail personal information.

Question: I have made the big mistake of ordering online with my credit card. Now I would like to get my credit card number off the Internet. Is there any way to do this successfully?

Answer: First off, you didn't make a big mistake ordering online with a credit card. Millions of people have done it with no issues. Of course, there are a few times where credit card information is compromised and usually the media jumps all over it, so it is blown out of proportion. First off, you're not liable for charges that are not yours, and secondly, the odds of this happening are very slim.

However, if you are that worried, you can contact your credit card company and get a new account number and close the old one. Some companies now give one-time numbers for use online and expire immediately, so that also can be an option.

But consider when you give your credit card information to a waiter or a clerk in a store . . . nothing keeps them from copying down your credit card information on a scrap of paper.

Question: This past week I received a spam from Bonzi.com wanting to sell me an enhancement for my computer called MemoKit, which is supposed to speed-up and stabilize my computer by 150 percent. Cost is $29.95 to download. Is it worth the price?

Answer: I have not used the product, but I never respond to spam. However, if I had $30 and wanted to speed up my PC, I would buy 256 megs of RAM.

Question: Can you help me get rid of this company's pirating of my e-mail enjoyment? It consistently consumes a great deal of my time while I am trying to read my e-mail. It is a warning that I need their "Flash Player 6." It comes on whenever I read a message or delete a file and is really aggravating as it takes 60 seconds on each action I make. I would really like to get rid of this problem.

Answer: Some of your mail or something on your computer would like you to use Macromedia's latest player. You have two choices: either install the latest player or install Ad-Aware, a free utility that rids your PC of spyware. Personally I would install the latest Flash player from the Macromedia Web site.

Question: Every time I try to print in Internet Explorer I get a script error. Can you help?

Answer: Yes, but the fix is kind of ugly. Please head to Microsoft.com and go to the support site. In the Knowledge base, search for Article Q293176. It offers step-by-step help. Other readers who get cryptic error messages in Microsoft products should search the Knowledge Base first. It often contains a lot of tips and tricks to fix odd errors.

WEEKLY WEB WONDER: Check out About.com for a guided tour of the Internet.


James Derk is new media editor for The Evansville Courier & Press. His e-mail address is jderk@evansville.net.