Month: November 2018

Smishing

A Public Service Announcement

Last week I tried to log into my online banking account on my computer and was greeted with a message that it was REVOKED, a scary word.  Therefore, I immediately called the phone number supplied and after a few minutes was told that there were no notes about the action.  I was told that I should visit my closest bank branch immediately because I may have been a victim of smishing.

I had never heard of smishing.  But, I did, immediately, go to the bank where the bank officer also could find nothing wrong with my account and had to call up the chain to find out what was wrong.  She had been away so was not up-to-date on the fact that my bank had frozen a group of customer accounts who “may” have been targeted by smishing.

At that point, I asked about smishing and was given an explanation.  We reset my online banking ID and password and, after 24 hours, I was back to normal.

After talking with several people, I found that nobody I talked to had heard of smishing.  So, I’m posting this information.

First, a few definitions:

Phishing is the criminal practice of sending phony emails containing links to websites that, then, attempt to collect personal information from you.

SMS is the acronym for Short Message Service which is how text messaging works on your cell phone.

Hence, the word smishing combines SMS with phishing.  It is fraudulent text messages that usually contain links to a website that, like phishing, attempts to get you to reveal online IDs, passwords, your social security number and other personal information.

DO NOT respond to text messages that are not from a recognizable source.

Fortunately, I ignore text messages that don’t come from somebody I know or appear to be advertising, etc.  I don’t even answer cell phone calls that don’t have ID or are from people I don’t recognize.  I ignore them and let them go to voice mail.  As a result, I’m rarely subject to telemarketers.

More on smishing

“In many cases, the smishing message will come from a “5000” number instead of displaying an actual phone number. This usually indicates the text message was sent via email to the cell phone, and not sent from another cell phone.”   – Webopedia

“Put simply, smishing is any kind of phishing that involves a text message…. Another option used by smisher is to say that if you don’t click a link and enter your personal information that you’re going to be charged per day for use of a service.  …  Never install apps from text messages. Any apps you install on your device should come straight from the official app store.”  -Norton

Apparently, another technique “… makes consumers think their financial accounts may be compromised, and therefore they follow the fake URL or call a fraudulent phone number even if they suspect it is a scam. But identifying the scam is a consumer’s first defense from becoming a victim of the crime.”  -Kelly Santos, Credit.com @ Yahoo Finance

My bank recommends changing banking IDs and passwords every 6 months.  It’s a pain but, “better safe than sorry.”

In conclusion, be aware of smishing and phishing and other scams and devise your own procedures to try to avoid them.

I hope this was helpful.  Stay smart, stay safe.

All images shown here are reportedly public domain images.

After Thanksgiving Leftovers

Depending on how you celebrate Thanksgiving and what you serve for the meal, there are often a lot of leftovers, so even if you give some of them to family and guests to take home.  Turkey and potatoes seem to be the largest volume.

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a few simple recipes that make use of some of these leftovers.

For breakfast, both turkey and potatoes can be used up:

Mashed Potato Pancake

Ingredients:

1 C. mashed potatoes

1 egg

1 ½ tsp flour (I like Wondra)

A generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1 T. vegetable oil or a butter substitute like Earth Balance

Directions:

Beat the egg.  Put the mashed potatoes into a bowl, sprinkle with the flour and grated nutmeg, mix in well.  Add the beaten egg and mix thoroughly.  Form into small pancake no more than ¼ inch thick and fry in the vegetable oil or butter substitute until slightly browned.

Very nice served with a little applesauce.

 

Turkey/Smoked Cheddar Omelet

Ingredients (per omelet):

2 eggs

½ C. shredded or finely chopped roasted turkey meat.

½ C. grated smoked cheddar cheese

1 T. butter or butter substitute such as Earth Balance

Directions:

Beat the eggs.  Heat the butter over medium heat.  Add the beaten eggs and cook over medium until half set.  Sprinkle the turkey meat and grated cheese over the egg and continue to cook until the eggs are mostly set.  Gently fold the eggs over the filling to make the omelet.  Reduce or turn off the heat and let set.  Serve.

 

Then there’s lunch.

Roast Turkey Sandwiches

Ingredients (per sandwich):

2 slices of your favorite sandwich bread.

Thinly sliced turkey meat, whichever you prefer, light or dark meat.

Mayonnaise

Jellied cranberry sauce, or even some un-jellied.

Iceberg or Romaine lettuce leaves.

Directions:

Spread the slices of bread with cranberry sauce.  Spread mayonnaise on top of the cranberry sauce.  Layer slices of turkey on one slice of bread.  Add lettuce leaves on top of the turkey slices.  Place the other slice of bread on top.  Cut the sandwich as you like it.  Enjoy.

Most importantly, enjoy.

 

It’s Soup Season

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought I’d share a soup I just created.  I felt too lazy to make Shepherd’s Pie but decided that I could just turn it into a soup.

Shepherd’s Pie Soup

Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs russet potatoes peeled and cut into ½ to ¾ inch cubes

2 T. vegetable oil

1 C. chopped yellow onion

2 large carrots, peeled and diced small

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 lb ground lamb

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 T all-purpose flour or Wondra

1 T tomato paste

2 C chicken broth

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp freshly chopped rosemary leaves

1 tsp freshly chopped thyme leaves

½ C fresh or frozen green beans cut in 1 inch pieces

½ C fresh or frozen petite peas

Directions:

  • In a large soup pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute until they take on more color, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and stir. Do not let the garlic burn.
  • Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until the meat is browned and cooked through, approx.. 3 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the meat with the flour and stir to coat. Continue to cook for a minute.
  • Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worchestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme and stir to combine.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, slowly, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the soup is thickened slightly.
  • Add the beans and peas and potatoes, increase heat and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are cooked.

Adjust the quantities to suit your own taste.

 

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