Let’s be honest these tips are really little life lessons. Not the kind you learn late in life, but the kind your mom teaches you while also teaching you how to tie your shoes (video). So you really already know the 3 Must Follow Tips. You just need Techlife to remind you of them because stick a mouse or track pad or touch screen in front of your brain and you forget everything as you are mesmerized by a glowing screen like a siren’s song.

Data Security by John Kirkbride

Search For Your Own Keys

You lose your keys. In today’s world how often do you ask someone for a simple answer when you could find that answer yourself. Ask your dad and he might say the obligatory, “Your keys aren’t lost, you’re the one who’s lost.” This is of course his way of connecting with you albeit an unhelpful one. But your mom might add, “Now if you were the keys, where would you be?” While at first this seems no more helpful, further thought in today’s Google It world and a little help from Techlife, will have you see your mom once again nailing it.

Sometimes when thinking about a search you aren’t sure where to look. But search is everywhere from email to the web to the computer file strcuture. How you find the “keys” means using the right words and phrases. Or as your mom put it, “where would you be” which means think like the search term. Use advanced search tools which can help narrow down the results in unique and different ways.

Stranger Danger Means Be Alert

You are selling that vintage 1992 jean jacket, the one your mom told you so, not to buy. Your dad just busts out laughing at you for the silly purchase, “Do you know how silly you looked when you wore that?” And your mom adds, “Who is going to want that old thing?” Once again your mom hit the nail on the head.

Know your audience. Maybe the jean jacket has become the latest gang fashion accessory and your buyer is someone to fear. The point is you don’t know. eBay takes some of the risk out of the transaction, as you aren’t going to meet the buyer, but you need to deal with them. Making sure you get paid means having a good eBay rating and watching your sale to see the buyer has a good one as well. For Craigslist another Techlife reader adds the advice, ask the buyer a few questions about the item before meeting face to face. Do they seem interested and knowledgeable? This works for buyers and sellers before you meet in that public well lit place.

Trick or Treat Smart

Logon Screen by Carl Silver

When you went trick or treating as a ghost with a sheet over your head, your mom or dad would joke with you, “Who’s that cute little ghost?”  They knew if they looked under the sheet they would find you. It wasn’t scary for them.

Today email can often appear to come from trusted sources, but hiding under that email is not the cute little kid you thought you knew such as your bank or social network, but it is pure evil attempting to steal or phish your log in user name and password. Today’s treat is simple, when an email arrives from a familiar source don’t click it. Instead in web mail tools like Gmail or desktop tools like Outlook roll your mouse over the link and inspect it.

Often you will see what’s under the ghost’s sheet and it isn’t pretty. Links from spammers are often very messy and not familiar or even worse close in name with the trusted name part of the domain or link. Links from true trusted sources often will be simple easy to understand links. Even better, open a new browser window and go directly to the trusted location yourself. New bank deposits or friend requests can often be seen in a notification section on the trusted source’s website.

All three of these tips come after talking to readers of Techlife who sent in various questions of, “How do I?” Keep the questions coming and think before search, buy/sell or click.