Happy Holidays Bring Unwanted Scams!

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Hello again. As the year comes to an end, and with the holidays in the works, there is an ever-growing risk of scams and stolen credit card information. I am going to talk about some of the common types of these things and ways to protect yourself.

One of the most common scams that I have seen is an advertisement of a “good deal” on a product that is a “must have” for the holidays. They are usually holiday coupons for phones or tablets at low costUsually these deals come via email, and the price seems almost too good to be true. Well, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. 

Next, it always seems that around the holidays that credit card theft is at a high. The utilization of credit cards in order to purchase high dollar gift cards, spent at local stores for cash back, online purchase, etc. Keep an eye on your bank accounts and beware where you do you online shopping.

There have also been a lot of scams going on that seem to come from USPS, FedEx, IRS, UPS, etc. I recently got a call from a toll number that left a voicemail stating the IRS was suing me and to call back to rectify my account. It was not an 800 number and I obviously don’t have any legal actions pending from the IRS. As for the postal service and the other couriers, if you get a call, text, or email stating that you received a package and your personal information is needed in order to receive it, disregard and do not respond, let alone provide any information. The IRS, USPS, and other organizations would never contact you by phone asking you for your information. 

Amazon, hotels, and retail chains have also been “spoofed” as well. Consumers have been getting emails stating that there was a transaction processed in error and “click here” to process your refund. This can lead to stolen information and infection of your computer. If you get an email stating you are due a refund, check your account and make sure you actually were charged for what they are stating and DO NOT respond. 

Bottom line: think twice and be cautious. If the deal sounds too good to be true, then it is! If you really think about it, if these things were actually real, you would not be contacted in the way that these scams do.

Have a happy holiday and be safe, both physically and financially!

Tech Tips for Techs: Testing email Auto-Configuration issues within Outlook

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I recently had to utilize the Auto-Configuration feature in Outlook, and, to my surprise, nobody else had even heard of this being a possibility. Therefore, I felt the need to write a blog post about it and share with all of you.

So what happens if your client is having issues connecting to their Exchange server with Outlook? Where do you start, and what information should you be looking for? Well, for starters, you need to ask some basic questions:

  1. Is this happening to one user, or to the entire company?
  2. Can you connect to Exchange via OWA and send/receive messages, or not?
  3. Are all Exchange services started on the server?
  4. Run a test from testexchangeconnectivity.com and review results. Do you like what you see?

Answering these basic questions (and I know there are a ton more, but these are a good place to start) will help you get to the problem quickly (and I could write a novel on different issues and directions to go into, but this post is about one specific feature in Outlook, to help with troubleshooting).

But what if your Outlook is not connecting to Exchange, and you know everything is correct? You can actually ctrl+right click on the Outlook logo in the icon notification location in the task bar (where the small icons are on the right), and you will have many options for troubleshooting.

OutlookAutoConfigAs you can see here, you can review its Connection Status, or Test E-mail AutoConfiguration. This test is great for troubleshooting just that. In some cases it might be the only location you can find the results you are looking for.

When you click on the Test E-mail AutoConfiguration, it will open a new window. Here, you can input an email address and password (although this isn’t needed in a local Exchange environment, only hosted). My preference is to uncheck the GuestSmart options (they seem to be a bit useless).

EmailAutoConfigI have, of course, blocked out my personal information here, but this dialogue box will give you quite a bit of details on how your Outlook is connecting and what it is looking for. If you click on over to the Log or the XML tabs, you get even more information.

My AutoConfiguration is clean. However, I have used this to troubleshoot connection issues with clients in the past, and it gives you specific Microsoft error codes that sometimes you can’t find anywhere else. Take a look at this AutoConfig, which has errors connecting on HTTPS. This is causing the client to get SSL Library pop-ups within Outlook. Through these errors I was able to track down the issue and find a resolution online.

AutoConfigIssueThis tool is extremely useful to assisting in your troubleshooting for connection issues with Outlook, regardless of whether you are using it with an exchange account or not. I highly recommend you keep this in your toolbox of tips.

 

Quick Tip: How to add a poll to an email in Outlook

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It’s Election Day again! But while you’re waiting to find out who won the midterms, you can do more than just check your news feeds: you can stage your own voting topic. I recently learned a super-easy way to add a poll to an email in Outlook. This is a great way to get feedback from everyone in the office on topics from, “Should we take the designer’s advice and paint the walls red?” to “Where should we go for lunch today?” The only catch is that you have to be running on a Microsoft Exchange server. (If you’re unclear as to whether or not your company has one of these, you might have to ask your tech support. If that happens to be Everon, you can call us at 888-244-1748.)

With a poll, you can do anything from ask a yes/no question, request an accept/decline response, or ask a question with a multiple-choice response. Here’s how, using Outlook 2010 for this demo:

1. From Outlook’s Home tab, select “New E-mail.”

Email poll 1

 

 

 

 

 

2. Click in the body of the new email. Then go to the Options tab. Select “Use Voting Buttons,” and pick from the drop-down menu. (For our demo, we’re going to use the “Custom” buttons.)

Email poll 2

3. In the Voting and Tracking options section, type your categories into the space, using semicolons to separate them. Today, for our demo, we’re doing a poll to see who had the winning costume in our Halloween costume contest. I entered seven categories, separated by semicolons, and clicked “Close.”

Email poll 3

4. Now all you have to do is add your message and subject line. Once you click “send,” your recipients will get an email with a poll line in the header.  (If your colleagues aren’t familiar with email voting, you may need to instruct them on how to do this.)

Email poll 4

5. If you’ve sent the poll to yourself, you will also have the opportunity to vote. When you or anyone makes selections, you will get an email-update on the individual’s vote (yeah, it’s not 100% private this way, but only the original poll-sender can see these things).

6. You will also be able to easily track the entire group’s responses. Go to any of the response-emails and hover over the “i” line in the header (the voting section). The line will turn yellow. Click it, and you will have the option to view all of the voting responses.

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If you select “View voting responses,” you will get a summary-tabulation of how many votes each category has, as well as a table that breaks out how individuals voted. It’s that simple!

So… where are you all going for lunch today? ;)

 

Email Frustrations From a Tech Point of View!

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Hello again world! I normally sit here and write technical articles or recent findings on a product, but I felt the desire to switch that up a little bit and talk about something that needs to be put out there. This topic is something that sometimes puts end users in a bad spot and is an utter frustration to a tech.

In my day-to-day as a tech, my primary focus is email. From email servers, to cloud based solutions, to end user support, I do it all. From my point of view, there is one thing that really grinds my gears and that is people using their “Deleted Items” folder as storage. Yeah, to some of you this may sound silly. But believe it or not, there are a bunch of people out there who will delete emails (sending them to the deleted items folder) just to clear them out of the inbox, and they will go back to them as needed. See any issues with this?

The deleted items folder is there for deleted items. Too frequently I get calls from users saying that their Outlook is acting funny (usually because their PST file* is huge), so when I start troubleshooting, I see that they have thousands upon thousands of emails sitting in the deleted items folder. Then I get told not to clear those out because they need them. Also, I get frequent calls from people who need emails recovered because they were accidentally, permanently deleted. I spend time trying to track down the email from a backup of their inbox just to find out that it was in the deleted items?!

The moral of the story is this: please stop using your deleted items as storage for emails. This folder’s intended purpose is exactly what it is labeled: DELETED ITEMS. If you are in need of creating folder structure for emails that you do not want sitting in your inbox, or if you need a solution for archiving, please-please-please call Everon. We are more than happy to help with this. This will help prevent your headaches of accidentally losing emails and will make your techs much happier when they are troubleshooting your email client or restoring email. Friends don’t let friends use their deleted items folder as storage. They just don’t. Cheers!

*Note: PST, a.k.a. the Personal Storage Table, is the file on your computer that is comprised of ALL of the email that is in your outlook, everything from your Inbox, to your Sent Items, to your Deleted Items.

How to Text Through Your Email

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email to cell phoneHave you ever wondered how to send an email to someone’s phone? It might not have ever occurred to you to do this, but it can be done. The benefits of sending emails to a phone is that you can basically text to a phone through your mail client on your machine. It’s very convenient!

In order to send a message to a phone, you need to know two things:

  1. The phone number, complete with area code.
  2. The person’s phone carrier (i.e. AT&T, Verizon, etc.)

Once you have those, you are ready to send a text through your mail client!

Here are the major carriers’ email formats to be used:

You simply take the user’s complete cell phone and add the carrier’s domain after the @ symbol. One example: if a user has AT&T, the email address would be: 5555555555@txt.att.net (of course I can’t put a real phone number here, but you get the point).

This one little tip of IT wizardry will help you stay connected everywhere. If you would like to discuss with our Everon engineers, feel free to call 1-888-244-1748.