Spreading holiday scam
Q. I got a call that said I won a gift card to big retail store. Something smelled fishy so I declined. Was that the right call?
A. You bet. Gift card scams pop up a lot during the holidays. You might get a call or email saying you've won one. However, before you can claim it, you'll need to provide some personal information. That's when the scammers snag your identity. Always be wary of free stuff, especially if it's unsolicited or requires personal information to claim. Go here for more holiday scams you might run into this season.
Quickly find old accounts
Q. I'm trying to minimize the number of accounts I have online. I know there are some I started a long time ago, but I don't remember where or my login information. Is there any way to find out?
A. Your browser might actually know. To see your accounts in Firefox, go to the Firefox button and choose Options >> Options. Under the Security tab, click the "Saved Passwords" button. In Chrome, click the icon with three horizontal lines in the upper right and choose Settings.
Choose Settings on the left, and then click the "Show advanced settings" link at the bottom of the screen. Scroll down to "Passwords and forms" and click the "Manage saved passwords" link.
In Safari, go to Safari >> Preferences >> Auto-fill. Click the Edit button to view the saved passwords.
Internet Explorer does save usernames and passwords, but you can't view them in IE. You'll need a third-party program like IE PassView.
Big Facebook privacy changes
Q. My son is a minor with a Facebook account. I just noticed that some of his posts are public. I thought minors couldn't make public posts.
A. That used to be true; however, Facebook has changed some of its policies. Minors can now make public posts. You'll need to sit down with your son and explore Facebook's privacy settings and talk about what is and isn't appropriate to put online.
Of course, this isn't the only change Facebook made. Click here to learn about the other changes and how to keep your privacy regardless.
Must-have utility apps
Q. I want to do more with my smartphone than chat and listen to music. What else can it do?
A. Your smartphone can do plenty of amazing things with the right apps. Genius Scan turns your phone camera into a decent document scanner. An app like Metal Detector can turn your phone's compass into a ... well ... metal detector. Need a light in the dark? A flashlight app can use your phone screen or camera flash as a flashlight. Even chatting can be amazing with an app like Whatsapp. It gives you unlimited texting for free.
Get better customer service
Q. I dread making customer service calls. Any tips on how I can get better service?
A. Avoid the frustration of waiting on hold by using a free app like LucyPhone. It waits on hold for you, and then gives you a call when a customer service rep picks up the phone. Be sure to have your account information in front of you when you call. And always get a reference number for your complaint. It'll save you time if you have to call back. Click here for more steps to get better customer service.
Kim Komando hosts the nation's largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. Hear it locally at 94.3 WSC News Radio noon-3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, go to www.komando.com.