Avoid COVID-19 Scams, and Tour Museums Around the World

All crises generate scams, both online and over the phone. This is true with COVID-19, so it bears repeating: don’t click on links in Facebook or Twitter posts. Go to fairviewtowncrier.com/links and click on the “Scams” link to review before trying for that free iPhone or seeking help for getting your stimulus check. And if you get a phone call, when in doubt, hang up, look up the offer online, and only then call back.

Museum visits still are possible over the Internet, including the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the British Museum, the Vatican Museum (where I stayed in the Sistine Chapel way longer than I could in real life), and a great architectural tour of the Guggenheim Bilbao from Google. The best parts, for me, are the lack of lines and that these online museums are always open. Even North Carolina museums have exhibits online, such as the North Carolina Museum of History and the North Carolina Museum of Art. For links to these sites, visit fairviewtowncrier.com/links.

Some of you may stay away from Facebook to avoid having your data gathered in their databanks. What you may not know is that they often create shadow profiles to collect and store personal information gathered from others on Facebook who have mentioned you or shared your email address and other contact information when asked to by Facebook.

Facebook also purchases massive troves of data. It helps them fill in gaps in their increasingly detailed map of networked friends and relationships, which feeds their uncanny ability to target ads down to the individual level. Unfortunately, you can’t find out if Facebook has created a shadow profile or delete it.

Microsoft 365
Microsoft has rebranded Office 365 as Microsoft 365, but current subscribers won’t see much of a difference. There will be a new Microsoft Family Safety app, as a limited preview, that is supposed to help manage screen time across Windows PCs, Android, Xbox and iOS devices, along with tracking when a family member arrives or departs locations such as home, school or work.

Microsoft 365 is a subscription service, and is only worth it if you like keeping up with the latest versions of Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, etc. and if you have three to six devices needing Office. If this is your situation, the yearly $100 fee is cheaper than buying a separate version for each computer or device.

MacBook Pro Tip
If your new MacBook Pro, with four USB-C ports, seems to be overheating at times, try plugging the charging cable into the right side and hooking your other devices into the left.

Disable Windows Tracking
SharpApp (mirinsoft.com) can help you disable tracking functions in Windows 10, uninstall preinstalled and sponsored apps, and re-enable privacy settings undone each time you go through a major Windows 10 upgrade. It is powerful and flexible but not totally intuitive. Take it in small steps.

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