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Review website addresses carefully before calling technical support

By Staff | Mar 15, 2018

AOL has discontinued the AOL DESKTOP version, which prevents members from getting their e-mail. Going online to find an AOL tech support number to call is a fatal mistake. Don’t do it. I’ll tell you how to fix it.

Bill, the owner of Throckmorton Auto Repair, called me up and said he couldn’t get his AOL e-mail. He logged on to Google Search to find a support number and called the first number listed at aol.com/support. They told him he was number 21 in line, so Bill decided to call another support number.

He scrolled down the list, found another AOL Technical Support number and dialed it. Someone answered immediately with a foreign accent, and Bill eventually let him take control of his computer. That person downloaded a virus in the background and then asked Bill to pay $160 to remove it.

Bill, sensing a couple of RED FLAGS flying, instantly turned off his computer and hung up the phone. A very smart move, Bill! But the tech called him back demanding the money.

Now that AOL has discontinued its desktop version, people will have to open up Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or Microsoft Edge and type in www.aol.com to get their e-mail. They can make it a bookmark, or place it in their favorites, or make a shortcut icon to place on the desktop. My last Lahaina News article tells you how to do that.

So, this is what you need to do so you won’t get scammed. When searching for a website on Google, you will see a list of similar names. Let’s use Microsoft, for example. A long list of Microsoft Tech Support sites appears on your computer screen, which becomes confusing. Which one should you choose? The trick is to look closely at the website address. If it says www.microsoft.com/INDIA, you’re in a heap of trouble. If it only displays MICROSOFT.COM and nothing else, go for it.

If you get a message alert from Adobe that wants you to upgrade your Adobe Flash Player, make sure it only says www.adobe.com. Also be sure to scroll down the page, because Adobe sometimes wants to install McAfee virus software, and you’ll need to uncheck that box.

Okay, here’s another valuable trick that will help you better your Google search. Let’s say you live one mile from the Lahaina sewage plant and want to search online for a good air purifier.

Open up Google.com, click on the Tool Button on the top right, and choose Anytime. Past Hour, Past Year. Now you can see the most recent websites posted, so you won’t be going back to a 2013 company in Stinksville, N.Y., that went out of business.

All kinds of rumors swirling about Apple’s new iPhone selection coming out later this year. A new larger, six-inch iPhone makes it much easier to read e-mails and website content. You may ask yourself if you really need a Notebook or iPad anymore.

Last, but important, beware of the new scam in which callers pose as Maui Electric, demanding you pay them money or your electricity will be turned off. Just hang up on them!

Send your computer-related questions to mauimist8669@yahoo.com.