Be vigilant, scammers are on the prowl

And with this new year comes more vermin searching for an opening, no matter how small.Mouse and hole

I’m referring to scammers, hackers and trolls.

The more gadgets we have, the more avenues and opportunities for a criminal to find you. Don’t fall for these frauds. From our email, smartphones, yes iPhones too, computers, tablets, blogs, websites, Amazon Echo, Google Home, or even smart TVs, we are all susceptible to these damn crooks. AND, of course, we are vulnerable on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and any of the many social media sites. Scammers are trolling for any insecurity or vulnerability in your life, online and real.

Once upon a time, long long ago, Apple products were immune. Or so we thought. But that is not the case, not now. So don’t let your guard down just because you have an Apple product. Scammers are everywhere phishing for your information.

No need to live in fear. Just be aware! Be smart!

Some things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

  • Install good security and virus software.
  • Keep all software updated.
  • Do not click on an email that requests you verify account details.
  • Be careful about downloading free mobile apps. Know who and where it comes from.
  • Never click on an unsolicited email or alert that comes from a bank,  institution or company. Go directly to their website instead.
  • On smartphones and tablets, watch out for text messages requesting you click on them.
  • Don’t recognize the phone number? Hang up or better yet don’t answer. If it’s important they can leave a message.
  • Be aware of phone number scamming. Fraudsters are now spoofing legit company phone numbers. Be careful, the person on the other line may not be a real Apple, ATT, Netflix, agent.
  • Remember if it sounds too good… well you know the rest.

Last but not least…

Think before you click. Just like crossing a street, take your time and look both ways. Let’s start the new year aware and in control. 

Thanks to Terry Ambrose, Grace Sweeney and Kevin McAllister for these tips and their timely articles on the latest scams and fraudsters.

Below are links from these savvy writers to help you avoid falling prey to a scammer. Keep reading… 

Scam Tip – Apple users beware of Apple phishing scam By Terry Ambrose

New year, new scams: what to watch out for in 2019 By GRACE SWEENEY

Outsmart the Scammers: How You Can Avoid Fraud By Kevin McAllister

Apple iPhone scam returns as new model nears By Terry Ambrose




What is the difference in a Gravatar, Avatar or Favicon?

Answer: Not much.

Just different words for an icon that identifies you or your blog/website.

Gravatar stands for Globally Recognized Avatar. Using a Gravatar enables you to use the same recognizable icon/Avatar for all websites where you engage. How to Create and Use it?

Using a Gravatar promotes your brand.

An Avatar specifically refers to a character that represents an online user. Can be a profile picture, image of objects cartoon caricature, or 3D animated for gaming.

A favicon (pronounced “fave-icon”) is a small, iconic image that represents your website. Favicon Generator, 4 Easy Ways To Add A Favicon In WordPress.

I’ve written posts about using a Gravatar on blogs in the past. But some bloggers/writers still use a blank, the Gravatar Icon or other default icons. I don’t understand.


I use my picture as a Favicon, might change that one day, as well as for my Gravatar. These icons tell readers a little bit about you and your website. If you don’t want to use a picture of yourself, choose an object that gives readers a clue. Any picture can be a Gravatar or Favicon. Use your imagination and go wild. Use a Bitmoji character. But for the love of God, please don’t leave it blank.

An author? Use an icon of your book.    Little Prince Picture Book

A writer?  How about a writing tool? Or an image of a writer.

A parent? Kids. Even cartoon kids.

Home improvement website? Paintbrush, ladder?

A pet lover? A cute kitty or puppy. 

Gamer?  Design a cool 3D image of yourself or use an image from your favorite game.

Cooking? Food! 


The ideas are endless. So why not find the right Gravatar for your website? Let the world know what your blog is all about.

So, I gotta ask.

Why haven’t you added a Gravatar or Favicon to your website?

Do you think a recognizable Gravatar helps with branding?

Has fear stopped you from creating a Gravatar?


Want to read more about icons?

Here you go…

How to change the default Gravatar on WordPress. 

Avatar Marker

Favicons and Gravatars 


Favicon Generators


Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Pinterest, Stumbleupon


Breaking News – No 5 Star Recommendation Today

Sorry everyone! No book review today.

This week has been crazy.

Spent two days in bed. Someone should’ve warned me picking up magic markers could throw out my back. Weird….

Plus this week has have been filled with nail-biting, exciting Little League playoff games. Let me tell you – the Texas Rangers have nothing, and I mean nothing on these pint-sized eleven year old kids. Each game was a thrill to watch them play their hearts out and win.

Last night we cinched 2nd place. Two more games to go. Hope my nerves can take it.

wyatt2 wyatt1a

And this week we also celebrated our youngest grandson’s 8th birthday! DylanBD2

DylanBD1 DylanBDC

The two days I spent laying flat on my aching back, I started a couple of books but they couldn’t hold my attention. The rest of the week there just wasn’t enough time nor energy. Family comes first, and is a big priority for me. So unfortunately, I’m without a book recommendation.

What’s in your kindle?

Y’all know I love to read, so send me your best recommendations for the coming week.

Y’all know that I love comments, almost as much as I love clicks.

So after you pass my post on to your Facebook and Twitter pals leave me a comment and a book recommendation.

If you’re not already, please follow me @jeancogdell on Twitter or jean.cogdell on Facebook!

This is what they don’t tell you about becoming a writer.

It’s damn hard and scary as hell.


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That brand new, super fast laptop with all the bells and whistles doesn’t a writer make. Although the salesman swore your book would almost write itself. But you do find it easier to waste time as you are sucked into more and more social media websites. Those dancing cats are funny.

 A room to work?

You work like a dog clean out that tiny room the one with the ugly chair and lamp, a years worth of old magazines, tax files and unpacked boxes. Yeah, that room. Now that the old desk shines like new and is free of dust and clutter writing should be a breeze.


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A small printer sits on the edge, filled with paper at the ready. On the right is a mug from your husband. Writer at work.  His idea of being supportive.

A muddled brain…

Late last night your eyes refused to close, your brain refused to quiet and sleep was nowhere to be found. You had enough story ideas for several breakout best-selling novels. Not to mention all the blog posts you could write. Now, as you sit in your new ergonomic chair, your mind goes blank. As blank as the white unlined paper stacked in the printer on your left.

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The only thoughts filling your mind now are nagging doubts.

What works for me?

Continue reading “This is what they don’t tell you about becoming a writer.”