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Warning Signs

You may know some of the signs of possible identity theft, like unexplained charges on your credit or debit card(s), cards being declined when scanned, or sudden changes to your credit score (if you check it on a regular basis), but others may not occur to you as a warning sign. Bills and statements no longer coming to you might indicate that someone has redirected your bills. Or packages shipped to your address that you know you did not order could indicate someone ordering “in your name” but forgetting to change the default shipping address. And, weird postings from “you” on your Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or other online accounts, would indicate that someone has stolen or figured out your login for that service, made easier if you use the same login and password for all those services.

Apple seems to not be sending out security updates for OS X versions other than Mavericks. In the past, Apple has made available security updates for current, and one or two previous versions of OS X. With their currently shipping OS, known as Mavericks or 10.9, they have changed this. Since Mavericks is a free upgrade, if your Mac can support it, Apple is now only providing security updates for 10.9. Mavericks is their latest “security update.”

If you use Google services, like Gmail, YouTube, Google Voice or Circles, you have noticed a new integrated login that is Google+. Advantages include not having to sign into Gmail, then YouTube if you want to comment on a video, then Calendar, then Drive, then Voice, then whatever other service Google has bought. You get the picture. It is a way to cut down on anonymous comments and postings. The down side is that Google+ makes it much easier for Google to pull together and know what you are doing, what you are interested in, which helps them provide better marketing information to their advertisers.

A recent announcement from Google highlights how Google+ will make it easier for Google+ users, in or out of your various Circles, to email your Google+ address without having to know your full Google+ email address. It could be a wonderful feature if you have someone in a Circle but don’t actually know his or her email address. This ability will be rolled out through the first two months of this year and when it does you will get an announcement from Google about it, with instructions on how to stay in or opt out of this extended visibility. By default, according to Google, all Google+ users will be visible to each other, unless you change your “Email via Google+” setting in Gmail Settings in the General tab.

Smartphones certainly are changing what is called normal behavior. It seems more normal for people to interact through their phones when they are physically right next to each other, more normal to be recording life through the lens than the eyes and mind, more normal to over-share personal events, less normal to just be by yourself at times, more normal to let the phone do your thinking. Luckily, we can think about and even change what we want to do with our technologies and speak up for what we want normal to really mean.