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It's a familiar scenario. As April 15th approaches, the amount of tax-related spam increases. The Internal Revenue Service has identified at least 105 different e-mail scams featuring the fraudulent use of the government agency's logo and Web address.
While there are variations of the IRS e-mail scam (some promise a tax refund and others threaten an audit), your response should always be exactly the same — DO NOTHING EXCEPT DELETE IT. Do not click links in the body of the e-mail and do not provide any information. Remember, the IRS never sends e-mail messages to taxpayers. If they need to contact you about a tax refund or audit, they will do so by mail.
These e-mail messages are phishing scams aimed at bilking you out of personal information such as your Social Security number and bank account numbers. Scammers are capitalizing on the fact that more than half of all tax returns are now filed electronically. For example, a recent e-mail claiming to be from the IRS contained this message: "You filed your tax return and you're expecting a refund. You have just one question and you want the answer now. Where's My Refund? Access this secure Web site to find out . . ." When victims click on the link, they find an IRS site that looks official but is actually a fake.
The good news is that you can help shut down these schemes and prevent others from being victimized. If you receive a suspicious e-mail that claims to come from the IRS, relay that e-mail to this IRS mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org. The IRS can use the information, URLs, and links in the suspicious e-mail messages that you send to trace the hosting site and alert authorities.
Did you know that 3 Rivers' Message Center Premium Voice Mail allows you to have your voice mail messages sent as a .wav audio file directly to any e-mail address you choose? Each time a voice mail message is left an e-mail is automatically sent to your specified address. Click the message open and hear the voice mail! Plus, the voice mail remains intact in your Message Center Voice Mailbox so you can manage it when you get home.
Message Center Premium also enables you to create special greetings for specific callers. For example, you could record a message that will only be played when called from your spouse's phone, to let him or her know that you've been delayed at work and will be unreachable until a certain time. Another feature of Message Center Premium allows you to record special greetings for holidays (a specific greeting for all callers on a specific date).
Most of us are familiar with the benefits of basic Voice Mail-the ability to check your messages from any phone, anywhere, no more busy signals, etc. 3 Rivers Message Center Premium takes it a step further! If you need more incentive, sign up for Message Center Premium or Basic Message Center in March and 3 Rivers will give you the first month free ($6.95 value for Premium, $5 value for Basic). Internet and telephone packages that include Message Center Premium are available and can save you even more money. Call a 3 Rivers customer service representative at 800-796-4567 and catch the .WAV today!
Question: When I reply to an e-mail, I put my reply at the top of the message pane (above the sender's original message). Most of my friends and family do the same thing. However, I correspond with a few people who reply to e-mail messages at the bottom of the message pane. Which way is correct?
Answer: Congratulations! You come out on top in this debate. Typing your e-mail reply message at the top of previously sent correspondence is considered proper etiquette. This just makes sense from an efficiency standpoint, especially when you have a series of messages going back and forth between two people. When the most recent reply is at the top of the message pane, it's right there in front of the receiver and ready to be read. By contrast, when the reply is placed at the bottom, the receiver has to waste time scrolling down the e-mail to find it.
http://nationmaster.com/index.php - Any idea what the least populated country in the world is? It's Pitcairn Island, which has just 45 residents. What country has the most Internet users per capita? It's New Zealand. And did you know that in Taiwan, mobile phones actually outnumber people? You'll find a world of fascinating facts at this site, which provides a vast central source of statistics comparing nations in more than one thousand categories. Browse around and you'll probably discover a thing or two about your own nation. For example, did you know that the U.S. is the all-time leader in number of Summer Olympics medals?
March is Women's History Month
http://history.com/minisites/womenhist - According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women now outnumber men in this country (152 million compared with 148 million). If women of the past are any indication, today's women will continue to make valuable contributions in every field. This site celebrates Women's History Month with a look at groundbreaking American women throughout the years. For example, did you know that Victoria Chaflin Woodhull was the first female presidential candidate in 1872? Check out the list of Firsts in Women’s Achievement, the History of Women's Suffrage, and the National Women's Hall of Fame. It's an inspiring tour through the lives of amazing women.
Laughter on Ice
http://www.bladesofglorymovie.com/ - For the first time in the history of the sport, two men (Will Ferrell and Jon Heder, star of Napoleon Dynamite) compete as a figure skating pair. That's the premise behind this lighthearted comedy from DreamWorks, which promises to spin, lift, and jump its way through laugh after laugh. (The skating costumes alone are worth a chuckle.) See the trailer at this site and register for updates on special events and promotions.
Wealth of Money Tools
http://www.smartmoney.com/worksheets - Different stages of life generate different types of financial decisions. Should I buy or lease a car? How much house can we afford? How much should I save for college? How long will my money last once I retire? This site contains a broad range of step-by-step financial worksheets to help you find the answers you need. It's easy to use and a smart resource for making informed choices about buying, saving, investing, and borrowing.
Join the Fun of Fantasy Baseball
http://www.mlb.com/mlb/fantasy/wsfb/info/index.jsp - The free fantasy baseball game, MLB.com Open, starts a new season on April 2nd. So now's the time to join the fun and compete for the $10,000 prize. The easy-to-play game is designed for fantasy participants of all skill levels so anyone can take a swing at it. Play with your friends in your own private league or test your skills as an individual against a random group of eleven other participants. Get complete contest rules and register online, then check out the site's stats on team records, players, draft action, and more.
As a result of the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005, Daylight Saving Time (DST) is set to begin three weeks earlier this year on March 11th. (Congress decided that more early evening daylight would translate into energy savings.) Most U.S. states and Canadian provinces are following this revised DST schedule. Be aware that unless certain updates are applied to your computer, it's possible that the date/time settings may now be incorrect. This is because software created before 2005 is set to automatically advance its timekeeping by one hour on the first Sunday in April, not the second Sunday in March.
To help you "spring ahead" this year without stumbling, just follow these steps:
- Go to this webpage: http://support.microsoft.com/gp/cp_dst and read the introduction to see whether you need to update your PC for the new daylight savings time law.
- Select the option that best applies to you from the list and then click "Next."
- Select your operating system and click "Next."
- To download the update for the system you selected, click the "Download" button.
- You will be asked if you want to download the update to your disk or run it immediately. Either way is fine, but for the purpose of this tutorial, we will choose to run the update. Click the "Run" button.
- The "Internet Explorer - Security Warning" dialog box will appear. Click the "Run" button again.
- The first screen of the "Software Update Installation Wizard" will appear. Click the "Next" button.
- The "License Agreement" screen will appear next. Click on "I Agree" to agree to the terms and then click the "Next" button.
- The final screen of the installation wizard will appear. Click the "Finish" button.
- When the installation wizard quits, you will return to the "Update your operating system" window in Internet Explorer. Click the "Next" button.
- Some other programs will require additional updates. Select the program you would like to update and then continue. This applies mostly to Outlook users, not Outlook Express users. If you are an Outlook Express user or if you use Thunderbird or some other e-mail client, select "I do not use Outlook" and click the "Next" button. If you do use any of those programs, mark them and follow the directions.
- The "I do not use Outlook" window will appear. Click the "Next" button.
- You are now finished. As the final screen says, there is no reason to restart.
Resetting System's Clock On PC
If the time on your computer is incorrect, it may still be necessary to reset the clock on your system. To do this, follow these steps.
- Click on the "Start" menu and select "Control Panel."
- With the Control Panel open, click on the link for "Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options."
- With the "Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options" window open, click on the "Date and Time" link.
- Click on the "Date & Time" tab and adjust the clock.
- Once you've adjusted the time, click the "Apply" button and the "OK" button.
Mac OS X Users
For information on updates for your systems, go to this web page: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2019?viewlocale=en_US
Macintosh users running Mac OS X 10.4.5 or later are good to go. No update is needed. For some previous systems, there is an update linked to that page. Download and follow its instructions.
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Thanks for your business!
The Homefront Reporter Team
3 Rivers Communications
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