Five tips to keep your holiday packages safe from porch pirates

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 11:55 AM

How to Avoid Package Theft

Online shopping has made life easier for a lot of us and is especially handy during the holidays, but it’s also created more opportunities for thieves to prey on parcels left on our doorsteps.

>> Read more trending news

So beware the so-called porch pirates. They count on our being lax, but a little preparation can help thwart their plans and leave them empty-handed, said Gary Miliefsky, CEO of SnoopWall , a company that specializes in cybersecurity.

“A more sophisticated porch pirate might send you an SMS message or email with malware,” Miliefsky said. “That would let them gain access to your computer or smartphone, and they could install a RAT (Remote Access Trojan). Then, they can eavesdrop on your orders and deliveries.”

They also might be able to locate you through the geolocating feature on your phone, he said. That would tell them when you are away from home, providing the final link in their well-laid plan.

Police tell us thieves mark their calendars with notes that say such things as  "Package theft Wednesday."

“If they know you aren’t home and that a package is scheduled for delivery, it’s going to be easy for them to steal it,” Miliefsky said.

There are, however, ways around even cybercriminals. Miliefsky offers these tips for outwitting porch pirates and keeping packages safe:

• Get permission to ship all your packages to work. That way, they aren’t left unguarded at your doorstep for hours while anyone walking by could snatch them. If this arrangement works out, be sure to tell all your friends and family members to ship packages to your work address.

• Ask a friend or neighbor to receive your packages for you. You might not be home on workdays, but plenty of people are. Trusted friends who are retired or who work at home might be happy to let you have packages delivered to them for safekeeping.

• If a neighbor can’t receive your packages and you can’t get them at work, another option is available. Miliefsky suggests trying Doorman, a service that lets you arrange for a package to be held at a warehouse until you arrive home. Then you can arrange delivery for evening hours that better suit you.

• Disable geolocation on your smartphone so that thieves – or other hackers, for that matter – can’t track your location. There’s no need to make it easier for them.

• Set up a live recording video camera aimed at your porch. That could allow you to spot a theft as it happens and alert law enforcement officials, or at least provide you with video that might help identify the thieves.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Man frustrated by lack of help at Walmart takes matters, PA system into his own hands

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 11:45 AM

Customer Uses Walmart PA When He Can’t Find Employee to Help Him

As anyone who frequents Walmart knows, it can be frustrating when you need help and can’t find anyone wearing a Walmart associate’s blue vest.

One Kentucky man had enough of not being helped in the sporting goods department so took matters into this own hands, WKYT reported. He picked up the store’s public address system and announced over the intercom, “Customer needs assistance in sporting goods, please. I’m the customer.”

>> Read more trending news 

His message was caught on video, and quickly went viral, as other Walmart shoppers commiserated about their shopping pains.

Forrest Hunter, the reported name of the man who asked for help, said that a worker came up to him shortly after he made his announcement. 

“A guy walked up and asked if I needed any help. I said, ‘How’d you know?’ Then I bought my hunting license,” he told WKYT.

The six-second video has been viewed more than 2.7 million times and shared 50,000 times.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Audi recalls 1.2 million vehicles due to faulty coolant pumps

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 1:24 PM

Audi A5 Coupe at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. Volkswagen Group of America, has recalled 1.2 million vehicles, including the 2013-2017 Audi A5, because of faulty coolant pumps. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Audi A5 Coupe at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. Volkswagen Group of America, has recalled 1.2 million vehicles, including the 2013-2017 Audi A5, because of faulty coolant pumps. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

More than a million Audi vehicles are being recalled by Volkswagen Group of America because of faulty coolant pumps. Audi is a luxury brand of Volkswagen.

>> Read more trending news 

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the company issued the recall on 1.2 million cars and SUVs with a 2-liter turbocharged engine. The recall includes the 2013-2016 A4, 2013-2017 A5, 2012-2015 A6 and the 2013-2017 Q5.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the electric coolant pump in the vehicle can be blocked with debris and lead to a short-circuit or overheating.

Dealerships will replace the pumps at no cost to car owners. Recall letters will be sent out on or before June 11. Another notice will be mailed when the redesigned parts are available, which should be in November. In the meantime, a spokesman told The AP, dealers will install a new version of the current pump.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Without mentioning Awan, House panel takes first steps to respond to IT case

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 1:05 PM

With few answers yet as to why a group of IT aides were fired by House Democratic lawmakers in 2017, a U.S. House panel on Wednesday approved a series of plans designed to tighten internal procedures for internet technology workers who have ‘privileged access’ to the House internet network, focusing on those who work for multiple members of Congress.

“It’s important that we actually get this right,” said Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), who led a task force that looked at how to more closely monitor part-time workers known on Capitol Hill “shared employees.”

Under the plan, House officials would get 30 days to report back on how they would implement the changes, which Davis said would include ‘a much needed background check system.’

“It will strengthen the regulations associated with individuals known as ‘shared employees,’ who are employed by three or more offices,” said Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), the Chairman of the House Administration Committee.

During the committee’s meeting on Wednesday, there was never a mention of the name of Imran Awan, a naturalized U.S. citizen who has become the focus of press allegations that he – and his relatives – may have compromised information on the House computer system, while working for several dozen House Democratic offices over a number of years.

No official explanation has been given as yet – by lawmakers or House officials – as to why Awan, his wife, and a handful of their relatives were suddenly terminated, and while no charges have been filed, it was clear from the proposed policy changes advanced on Wednesday that lawmakers believe tighter controls are needed for the future.

The new proposals for U.S. House employees would include:

+ A requirement for background checks “as a condition of privileged access” to the network not only for IT workers, but also for other ‘shared employees’ who do budget, payroll or other financial work for a lawmaker.

+ Setting up a task force to routinely review polices related to IT workers employed by multiple members of Congress.

+ Develop a new employee ID badge which clearly identifies ‘shared employees’ who are doing work on Capitol Hill.

+ Make it easier to block access for those workers – not only to the Congressional IT network – but also limit physical access for them if there are issues with the employees.

+ Not allow shared employees to also be engaged in an outside business activity which sells/leases/provides goods or services to any House office.

The changes were approved with little debate in an eleven minute meeting of the House Administration Committee.  There were no direct references made to the Awan investigation, and no hints at any further developments in the probe of why Awan, his wife, and relatives were fired in February and March of 2017.

As of now, no charges have been filed for any wrongdoing involving the House IT system, though Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, face federal bank fraud charges involving a home equity loan.

A federal court hearing on the next step in that fraud case has been postponed repeatedly, and is next scheduled for May 4.

U.S. Capitol Police have refused to make any detailed comments on the investigation into the IT matter.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Lemon-glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts available for one week only

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 12:03 PM

Krispy Kreme Offering Lemon-Glazed Doughnuts for One Week Only

Krispy Kreme is offering its signature doughnuts with lemon glaze, but only for a week.

Participating shops of the doughnut chain are offering the flavor from April 23 to April 29. The glaze was one of four options customers could vote for. The others, Food and Wine reported, were caramel, maple and blueberry.

>> Read more trending news 

According to a news release, the #VoteForGlaze campaign pulled in nearly 2 million votes. Maple had 18 percent of the vote, while blueberry had 20 percent and caramel was second with had 26 percent.

Depending on the success of the limited run, Krispy Kreme could sell the lemon-glazed doughnuts seasonally, Food and Wine reported.

“Experimenting with the many flavor profiles lemon presents to create an all-new lemon glaze was a fun, but serious culinary challenge,” Jackie Woodward, Krispy Kreme’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “There has been so much anticipation and zest for the new Lemon Glaze Doughnut, we can’t wait to share the joy with our fans!”

Customers can find out if the Lemon Glaze Doughnut is available at a Krispy Kreme near them at KrispyKreme.com.

Related video: Doughnuts – Fast Facts

Doughnuts - Fast Facts

Trending - Most Read Stories