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10 Common Email & Internet Scams – How to Avoid Them
Cybercrime is a very lucrative business for Internet con artists, and this is why these scams are so prevalent across the web. Thieves are out to steal your money, and if they can’t get you to directly hand over the password to your online bank account, they’ll try to steal your identity or infect your computer with spyware – which, in turn, can be used to procure personal information to access your money.
While there are many ways you can be duped online, you can arm yourself by learning to recognize the most common scams. Keep your guard up, and always keep an eye out for anything that looks suspicious.
Email Scams
Some of the earliest forms of cybercrime were email scams, which continue to this day. Here are five of the most common types:
Foreign Lottery Scam:  The foreign lottery scam is one of the most common types of email scams, in which you receive what looks like an official email from a foreign lottery corporation. The subject line offers a congratulatory announcement, and may include the supposed amount of money you’ve “won.”
Here are the sure signs your winnings are false:

The Sender Is a Person. If the sender is an individual – or is, at least, obviously not an official lottery email – then you know you’ve got a scam on your hands. For example, mikesmith1453@earthlink.com certainly is not going to be the guy to tell you that you’ve won several million dollars.
Your Name Is Not in the “To” Field. If your name is not in the “To” section of the email, then this phishing email has likely been sent to thousands of people, all in the hopes of snagging a few bites.
The Lottery Doesn’t Exist. Do a simple Google search. Does the lottery even exist? You may find that not only is the lottery fake, but that it’s a well-documented scam.
Request for Information. Scammer emails routinely request your full name, date of birth, street address, and telephone number. This is known as a phishing scam, which is designed to get you to reveal sensitive personal information. Once you respond with this information, you’ve been hooked, and may ultimately end up with a stolen identity or, even worse, a drained bank account.

The best way to avoid the common email scam is to realize this one simple rule: If you did not enter the lottery, you will not win the lottery. And even if you do enter the lottery, you probably will not win.
Survey Scam:  This common email scam looks innocent enough. You’ve expressed interest in social issues, such as global warming or the war in the Middle East, and you’ve been sent a survey that requests your input. Why not participate? Unless you’ve specifically requested to be on a survey mailing list, what you’re getting is nothing but spam.
When you click on the link to take the survey, malicious spyware or malware is installed on your computer. Once this occurs, cybercriminals can spy on every move you make on your computer, collecting passwords, bank account information, and more. Suddenly, you may see thousands of dollars worth of charges on your credit card bill for purchases you never made. This is result of identity theft, and it can ruin your life.
PayPal or Online Credit Card/Banking Scam:  This one got me several years ago, and it was incredibly irritating. At first, you may really believe there’s something wrong with your PayPal account, as you will receive an email that appears to be from PayPal with a warning message such as, “Act now, or your account will be deactivated,” or “Security breach on your account.” This can cause you to panic, open the email, click the link, and log in to your account.
The problem is that you’re not really on PayPal’s website, but rather a false website designed to look identical to PayPal. You’ve just given your email address and password to your actual PayPal account to a cybercriminal, who can now use that information to change your password and clean you out. They may even use this information to scam your friends and business associates.
Here are some surefire ways to tell if an email supposedly from PayPal is nothing but a scam:

The Sender’s Email Address Is Suspicious. Just because the sender’s name is “PayPal Security Center” does not make it legitimate. An address such as “security-paypal-center@int.paypal.uk.org” is a dead giveaway that you’re being taken for a ride. PayPal only sends emails from addresses that end in “@paypal.com.”
They Don’t Know Who You Are. Whether it’s PayPal or your credit card company, if you do business with them, they know your name and will use every opportunity to use it. Any correspondence beginning with “Dear valued customer” is a scam.
The Linked URL Is Not Legitimate. Hover your mouse over the “click here” or “take action now” link, and if you see a strange URL that does not take you to PayPal.com, don’t click.
The Email Includes a Threat. This is how they got me. I was told that there was a security breach on my account, and if I didn’t take the actions recommended in the email, my account would be temporarily suspended. I clicked on the link and input my email address, password, and account information. Thankfully, shortly thereafter, I was tipped off and was able to call and cancel my account.

Remember, no legitimate company will ever threaten to close your account if you ignore an email.
Mystery Shopper Scam:  The secret shopper (or mystery shopper) scam has several different variations, but all are designed to steal your money, your information, or both. This common work-from-home scam attempts to suck you in with an email featuring a subject line promising you a large income, simply by working as a mystery shopper. You need no experience or education, and you can make up to $200 to $300 a day doing just what you love: shopping! Sounds too good to be true, right?
It is indeed. Instead of being paid to shop, here are the two ways in which you can be swindled:

You Have to Pay Upfront. The money looks good, but in order to get your “training materials,” you must send the company money via PayPal or with a personal check. You send the money and wait for a package that never arrives.
You Receive a Fraudulent Check. This one is even worse. You provide the false company your address, and are sent a fraudulent check in the mail as your first payment. However, you are requested to send some of the money back to cover your study materials. You cash the check, wire the requested amount of money, and then discover that the check you deposited has bounced. You’re responsible for $1,000 or more worth of fraudulent check charges, plus overdraft fees.

If you didn’t apply for a job, you won’t be offered a job. They don’t just fall out of the sky. Furthermore, if you’re ever asked to spend money upfront for materials, you are likely being scammed.
Nigerian Check Scam:  Another one of the more common email scams is the Nigerian check scam. If you are subject to this scam, you receive an email from an a royal-sounding person with the name of “Sir Arthur Von-Monsoon,” or “Barrister Frank N. Stein” with a request to help recover large sums of money from an overseas bank. As a reward, you’ll receive a handsome cut of the cash. Nice, huh?
Unfortunately, there’s always a catch. It seems like a win-win situation, so you respond with your willingness to help. You are told the money will be transferred to your bank account; therefore, you must provide your bank account information. Also, there are transfer fees involved, and you have to pay those as well. Once you pay a couple hundred dollars, waiting for your huge windfall, you receive another email stating there has been some type of holdup, and you must send a bit more cash.
This continues until you, the unsuspecting victim, realize that money is only going one way: out of your bank account.
Social Networking Scams
Thanks to social networking sites, you can connect with friends, relatives, and even celebrities all over the world. The problem? You can also connect with a wide variety of cybercriminals who specialize in online hoaxes.
Here is a short list of the most common types of social networking scams:
Hijacked Profile Scam:  Recently, a girl I’d gone to high school with suddenly sent me a message on Facebook that said, “Hey girl, if you get some time, will you give me a call?”
I was immediately suspicious. We’re nothing more than mere acquaintances, and we’ve never once spoken on the phone. Though I figured her Facebook account had been hacked, I messaged her back and told her I couldn’t make long-distance phone calls. She responded by saying she had this wonderful business opportunity for me to get in on, and sent me a couple of links.
At this point, I knew it was a scam. Her profile had obviously been hacked, but the scammer was attempting to be clever by using personal details in our conversation, such as where we went to school. I ended up deleting her from my friend’s list because I couldn’t get a hold of her to tell her she’d been hacked.
You should also be wary of requests for money from friends – especially because these hoaxes can seem very real. Say you have a friend who travels often and posts pictures and updates about his various exploits. Suddenly, he sends you an urgent message claiming to be stuck somewhere overseas and needs some money to get home. Before you send any, try to contact him another way. He could be the victim of a hacked account.
Quiz Scam:  It may be in your best interests to delete all app requests, and never take social networking quizzes. Turns out those “Which Twilight Character Are You?” quizzes could end up costing you a monthly charge.
It starts out innocently enough: You see the quiz on your friend’s profile, click on it, and enter your cell phone number as instructed. The quiz pops up, you take it and find out you’re more an Alice than a Bella, and promptly post it on your profile for all of your friends to see and participate in.
When next month rolls around, you’re shocked to learn that a $9.95 fee has been added to your cell phone bill for some dubious “monthly service.” Remember that the quiz asked you for your cell phone number in order for you to take it? You were so anxious to get the results that you didn’t even stop to wonder why they wanted it. Now you know.
Suspicious Photo Scam:  This is one of the most common ways online con artists obtain login information to hijack an account. One of your friends, whose account has been hacked, posts a link on your page with a message such as, “OMG! Is this a naked picture of you?”
This causes you to panic and you click the link, only to find yourself back at the Facebook login page. You figure it’s just one of Facebook’s many glitches and login again.
By doing this, you’ve just disclosed your Facebook (or Twitter) account login information. Now, some cybercriminal is out there using your profile to attempt to scam your friends.
If you see a suspicious link, simply delete it and send a message via email or text message to your friend to warn them they’ve been hacked.
Hidden URL Scam:  As a regular Twitter user, I always use TinyURL.com to shorten my links. Plenty of legitimate businesspeople do this to get around Twitter’s character limit. However, when clicking links, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
When you receive a new follower on Twitter, check out their previous updates. Do they all look like spam? Do they follow thousands of people, yet have few followers of their own? Is their profile picture worthy of a Victoria Secret or Maxim catalog cover? If this is the case, beware. Clicking on their links could take you to a website where spyware or malware might be downloaded onto your computer without your knowledge.
Sick Baby Scam:  This one is sick alright. The sick baby scam works like this: A “friend” posts a photograph of an ill baby or young child with a caption beneath it that reads, “Little Jimmy has cancer. Click this link to donate $1 to help him and his family. Every little bit counts!”
Your heart goes out to this helpless little baby, and you click on the link, whip out your bank card, and donate some money. What you don’t realize is that the money isn’t going to help some dying child – it’s going straight to the bank account of a con artist.
Also, remember that shares don’t equal donations. Often, instead of sending money to help the “sick baby,” you’re asked to share the photo with everyone you know because each share supposedly earns $0.05. However, Facebook, nor any social networking website, will donate money based on how many times something is shared. This is almost always an attempt to phish for personal information.
How to Avoid Common Scams Online
Whether it’s an email scam or a social networking scam, there are some dead giveaways when it comes to recognizing them before they get you. Here are five ways to avoid common scams:

Delete Unsolicited Emails. One of the best ways to avoid email scams is to delete unsolicited emails. Legitimate companies will never send you pertinent information by email.
Don’t Believe Promises of Money or Prizes. Any email or social networking link that promises free money or prizes should be dismissed, as these are almost always scams.
Question Requests for Donations. Whenever there’s a national disaster, con artists have a field day sending bogus requests for donations. Instead of donating through email to an unknown charity, give to legitimate charities, such as the Red Cross.
Never Disclose Sensitive Personal Information. Any person who sends you an email asking for sensitive information, such as your bank account number or Social Security number, is up to no good. No matter what they promise you, mark the email as spam and move on.
Hover Before You Click. Whenever you receive an unsolicited email asking you to “click here,” beware – even if it sounds like a legitimate company. The same goes for social networking links that take you to what appear to be login pages. These may be, in fact, sites designed to steal your information.

Final Word
If you’ve fallen for any of these online scams, you’re certainly not alone. Online con artists are very clever, using underhanded methods to get information and money from unsuspecting people. However, you can protect your identity and your money by arming yourself with knowledge – as well as warning your children and elderly relatives – and avoid falling prey to scammers.
Have you ever been the victim of an online scam? What did you do about it?
Source:  http://www.moneycrashers.com/common-email-internet-scams/

Wrigley
Wowsers Web Design

This blog post can be found at http://wowserswebdesign.com/10-common-email-internet-scams-how-to-avoid-them/
Visit my website www.wowserswebdesign.com - a Veteran Owned Small Business - providing affordable WordPress websites to small businesses across the United States.

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Why Wordpress
Why is WordPress Our Content Management System (CMS) of Choice?
WordPress is web software you can use to create a highly functional website or blog. The WordPress Program is both free and priceless at the same time. WordPress started as a blogging system, but has evolved to be used as full content management system and so much more through the thousands of plugins, widgets, and themes. The core web design software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and when you’re ready for more there are thousands of plugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine.
Over 25 million people have chosen WordPress to power their website or blog. Most notable users of WordPress include the likes of CNN, The New York Times, Katy Perry, The Ford Story, Wheaton College, MTV Newsroom, Mashable, and WSJ Magazine.
Here are just a few of the advantages of using WordPress:

Once the website is up and running, if you choose, you can manage the website yourself! No special software required. And since it is internet based, you can be anywhere at anytime and login to your website to make updates or changes
There are an almost unlimited number of plug-ins or add-ons that have been developed to perform everything from shopping carts to contact forms. These are updated and upgraded constantly so you always have the latest technology and innovations at your fingertips.
Search Engine Optimization – The construction of WordPress website is consistent and streamlined that Google finds very inviting for indexing. Plus, with the right setup, you’re able to customize every page or post you make to give you the highest possible probability of getting your pages in high search results positions.
Since all business websites today need a business blog, you have it already there built right in. You can now interact with your visitors.
There are many, many more places to promote a WordPress website for free than a traditional website. You not only can market it to all of the places you could any other website, you can also send it to all of the blog directories. This means you have the potential of reaching many more visitors than a standard HTML website.
WordPress has a built in RSS feed. This means you have the ability to syndicate your content. This is a very powerful traffic grabbing tool. To add RSS to a traditional website, you would have to pay your web designer to create the feed for you for additional fees.
Consistency – No matter how many pages you add in page template format makes visitors less confused.
Better Time Management – Add content for your blog and then schedule those posts to publish on your site on whatever day and time you want. You could write an entire 12-week e-course, for example, break it up into 12 pieces and have each automatically post to the site at the same day and time each week for 12 weeks.
Social Networking Friendly – Automatically integrate your blog posts with social media like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin instead of having to go to each one, login, and make a post that you’ve just added something new to your website.
Engage with Current Media – Easily add audio and video to posts and pages.
Mobile Readiness – No need to produce a second Web site just for mobile users. WordPress automatically recognizes if a person is viewing the site through a Web browser or mobile device and configures the content to be viewed appropriately on either.
Free Upgrades – Unlike traditional Web site software like Dreamweaver, PhotoShop or Flash, upgrades to WordPress blog software is free.

These are just a few of the benefits of using WordPress for your business website. There are many more, so don’t wait – give us a call (520) 789-7638.  Wowsers Web Design is a Tucson Web Design specializing in Affordable Custom WordPress websites for the small and home-based business.   We serve clients throughout Tucson and beyond!

webmaster
Wowsers Web Design

This blog post can be found at http://wowserswebdesign.com/why-wordpress/
Visit my website www.wowserswebdesign.com - a Veteran Owned Small Business - providing affordable WordPress websites to small businesses across the United States.

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Half of a Ladder and a Buddha

When I first moved up to Tucson I was hesitant to let the cats outside.   One day Chaos ran out the patio door and disappeared over the back wall into the neighbor’s yard.   I had this really long extension ladder that I separated and put one half on one end of the wall and the other at the other end.   Like a manic crazy cat lady I tried to get the cat to jump back up on the wall….going back and forth between the two ladders.   As you very well might imagine . . . the cat remained rolling around on in the neighbor’s yard.    I gave up and went inside and figured the cat would come back when he was hungry – and he did.
I forgot about the two parts of the ladder leaning against the back wall of the yard.  Days, and maybe a couple of weeks went by  . . and it was a Saturday evening and I heard a loud pounding on the front door.   I went to answer the door to discover THREE (note the caps) Pima County Sheriff cars in front of my house and two deputies at the door and one walking around looking over the fence.
I am sure that the surprised look on my face spoke volumes.  The smaller of the two officers said “What’s are you doing with the ladder against the fence?”    I replied with a “What, this is about a ladder.”   The officer said that the neighbor behind me was afraid that people were crawling over the fence.   He said I needed to move the ladder and he would wait.   I shut the door and went to the back yard and discovered that ONE of the two parts of the ladder was gone.   I moved the remaining part and went back to the door.   The officer seemed satisfied and they all left.
Now what the heck am I going to do with half of an extension ladder?
I looked over the back wall and lo-and-behold what was on the neighbor’s back patio – a ladder extension that looked very much like my missing ladder extension!
I figured that it was appropriate that I too call the Pima County Sheriff Department to get my ladder back.   Though I really felt very silly explain the situation to the dispatcher.   The ONE officer that arrived at my house to hear my story I am sure was a kindergarten teacher in a former life.   He was a kind and gentle fellow and secretly I do believe he found some humor in this situation.   He went around to the neighbor…and came back in less than a half hour and said that she hadn’t seen the ladder, and he assured her that for a future situations she could contact me directly.
Well I own half of an extension ladder.  
Since “laddergate” I’ve had a few cordial conversations with her – never about the ladder.  Recently what has appeared on the wall is a statue of a Buddha.
I thought about moving him, or turning him around – more out of humor than spite. 
I wonder if this is the universe sending me a message.

Pondering Life on the Web by Valerie
Pondering Life on the Web

This blog post can be found at http://ponderinglifeontheweb.com/half-of-a-ladder-and-a-buddha/
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Is the Confederate Flag the Issue?
TV Land has pulled the Dukes of Hazzard from their TV Line up.   This reaction by TV LAND borders on just plain “dumb.”  Does anyone think by wiping out all reference to the Confederate Flag and essentially the Confederacy that this will end racism and the white supremacist will just go-away? I agree whole heartedly that the Confederate Flag has never had a place being flown on any Government building. However, it is a part of the history of the United States, and part of the bloodiest war ever, a war that had brother pitted against brother. We can’t wipe that out. The Civil War was not totally about slavery, though that was an element. The Civil War was about secession. Specifically, eleven southern states seceded from the Union in protest against federal legislation that limited the expansion of slavery claiming that such legislation violated the tenth amendment, which they argued trumped the Supremacy Clause. The war was indeed about protecting the institution of slavery, but only as a specific case of a state’s right to declare a federal law null and void. Southern states sought to secede because they believed that the federal government had no authority to tell them how to run their affairs. Sound familiar?
The issue of racism needs to addressed. The issue of why this social network platform and others allow White Supremist groups and I’ll throw in ISIS to have a forum to spread hate. The issue is if the government can in effect “tap in to” every phone conversation that any one of us is having – why can’t the means of communication (note I didn’t say the communication itself) be limited or cut off. HLN just did a post about stormfront.org (a website that promotes white supremacist activity) why is the website hosting company BLACK LOTUS in Wilmington, DE hosting this site? Don’t tell me it is because they don’t want to be accused of discrimination or the first ammendment. If NBC, Macys, and the growing list of businesses can dump Donald Trump for HIS truths as he sees them – I would imagine that enough pressure on these social media platforms and hosting companies could very well help regarding ending how these groups communicate.
Just my thoughts.
‪#‎confederateflag ‪#‎dukesofhazzard ‪#‎donaldtrump ‪#‎endracism

Pondering Life on the Web

This blog post can be found at http://ponderinglifeontheweb.com/is-the-confederate-flag-the-issue/
Visit my other website http://www.wowserswebdesign.com
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Is the Confederate Flag the Issue?
TV Land has pulled the Dukes of Hazzard from their TV Line up.   This reaction by TV LAND borders on just plain “dumb.”  Does anyone think by wiping out all reference to the Confederate Flag and essentially the Confederacy that this will end racism and the white supremacist will just go-away? I agree whole heartedly that the Confederate Flag has never had a place being flown on any Government building. However, it is a part of the history of the United States, and part of the bloodiest war ever, a war that had brother pitted against brother. We can’t wipe that out. The Civil War was not totally about slavery, though that was an element. The Civil War was about secession. Specifically, eleven southern states seceded from the Union in protest against federal legislation that limited the expansion of slavery claiming that such legislation violated the tenth amendment, which they argued trumped the Supremacy Clause. The war was indeed about protecting the institution of slavery, but only as a specific case of a state’s right to declare a federal law null and void. Southern states sought to secede because they believed that the federal government had no authority to tell them how to run their affairs. Sound familiar?
The issue of racism needs to addressed. The issue of why this social network platform and others allow White Supremist groups and I’ll throw in ISIS to have a forum to spread hate. The issue is if the government can in effect “tap in to” every phone conversation that any one of us is having – why can’t the means of communication (note I didn’t say the communication itself) be limited or cut off. HLN just did a post about stormfront.org (a website that promotes white supremacist activity) why is the website hosting company BLACK LOTUS in Wilmington, DE hosting this site? Don’t tell me it is because they don’t want to be accused of discrimination or the first ammendment. If NBC, Macys, and the growing list of businesses can dump Donald Trump for HIS truths as he sees them – I would imagine that enough pressure on these social media platforms and hosting companies could very well help regarding ending how these groups communicate.
Just my thoughts.
‪#‎confederateflag ‪#‎dukesofhazzard ‪#‎donaldtrump ‪#‎endracism

Pondering Life on the Web

This blog post can be found at http://ponderinglifeontheweb.com/is-the-confederate-flag-the-issue/
Visit my other website http://www.wowserswebdesign.com
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The Tire That Almost Altered Life As I Know It
Early this morning (3:10 a.m.) my cell phone was ringing.   Oh… a phone call at that time of the morning is never usually good.  No one calls to just say hi at 3:10 a.m.     The call was from my daughter…my heart sank and my stomach knotted.   I said hello.   All I heard was her unintelligible voice through tears.   After a little bit she calmed down enough to tell me that she was coming back from Phoenix on I-17 on the freeway and her left rear tire blew out, the car spun around and she said I almost hit the mountain.    
She said she was ok, just really shaken up and emotional.   She said she walked around the car and it seemed to be ok.   She couldn’t find her current Triple A card, so I gave her my card number – we talked for a few more minutes and then I said call Triple A and i will call you back in a few.   It took about 45 minutes for Triple A to arrive, and she got home about 5 a.m.  She was safe.   Whew!!
Early that day I was listening to the audio book –Living Life as a Thank You.   The forward of that book was written and read by Lee Woodruff.    If you don’t recognize her name you probably know her husband – Bob Woodruff, who sustained severe head/brain injury while embedded as a reporter for ABC News in Iraq.   I read their book “In an Instant” a few years ago.
I am so very grateful that Christina was safe, and is for all intense and purposes ok.   The car is ok, and a new tire is in order.
We take so much for granted.  As a parent we always want to be there to help, to shield our child from pain or discomfort, and most of all we always want to know that they are safe.
I believe in guardian angels and loved ones that have passed who watch over us.   I think Christina very much had some extra intervention last night.   Traveling at 75mph, having your left back tire blow out – could have been catastrophic at best.  
I don’t believe in luck – I believe in blessings.   And we were blessed.  

Pondering Life on the Web by Valerie
Pondering Life on the Web

This blog post can be found at http://ponderinglifeontheweb.com/the-tire-that-almost-altered-life-as-i-know-it/
Visit my other website www.wowserswebdesign.com - a Veteran Owned Small Business - providing affordable WordPress websites to small businesses across the United States.
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Where Does Animal Cruelty Start? And How Does It End?
Meet Tazzy!   She is about 7 years old and is truly the happiest cat I have ever owned.   Tazzy was given to me by a co-worker who had found her as a less than 8 week old kitten.  She was headed to the animal shelter or pet store when my heart intervened.  Now I didn’t need another cat, however I do believe that almost 100% of the time animals pick us – and they pick us for a reason.   
Tazzy is a kind, gentle, and loving soul.   I took her to the vet last week because she had a little urniary tract infection that we couldn’t seem to get rid of using our home remedy of cranberry juice/extract and probiotics/yogurt.  At the vet Tazzy wasn’t scared, she was curious.  She wandered around the little room…doing what all animals do when they go to the vet – she became a giant ball of shedding fur.   The vet commented on how she squints her eyes when she is thinking (I guess she’s thinking).   I know she is a squinter….she has done that with me as an acknowledgement of our converstation.  Yes, I do talk to my animals.   
Lately I have been atuned to the amount of animal cruelty posts I am seeing in the news and on Facebook.   A dog hanging from a tree, a dog with its muzzle taped, cats being hurt and left to die….oh the list goes on and on.  Emaciated dogs, cats, horses…pigs and more.   
I’ve always had animals throughout my life.   Dogs, cats, rabbits, and even pigeons.   I was taught by my parents to be kind to the animals.   Somewhere in my up bringing – from my parents, grandmother, brothers, I learned empathy.   Empathy, compassion and kindness was normal.    
Recently I was listening to a radio program about animal cruelty and serial killers/murderers.    There is a direct correlation between young people who demonstrate cruel behavior to animals and adolescent and adult sociopathic behavior .     
Is animal cruelty increasing?   I don’t know.  I think because of social media we are more aware of it and it is a visual that imprints on our minds (and hearts).  
What is the solution to animal cruelty?   I believe it is a multi-faceted solution, and I honestly believe that it will never be totally solved.   First I strongly believe that there should be a National Registry for Animal Abusers.   I also believe that there should be swift and stern penalties for those who are abusers.    As I stated early, animal abuse is an early indicator of potential future behavior.    I feel that our nation/society has lost some the values and morals that were common place 40 years ago.  These were taught in the home and in school.   It was acceptable to be cruel.   I think social media has also contributed to animal abuse….in a backward and odd way – it has provided a platform for the abuser, it essentially celebrates the deed – in a twisted way.   It reminds me of the arsonist standing by and watching the fire he has just set.   Cruel behavior, like the dog who had his muzzle taped, was beyond cruel and repulsive.  That picture of that poor animal went viral, around every social media platform and it made the national news. They did in fact catch the offender, however now there have been several copycat case.  Where does it end?  
 
My pets show unconditional love and kindness everyday.   I am glad they are part of my life. 
Pondering Life on the Web by Valerie
Pondering Life on the Web

This blog post can be found at http://ponderinglifeontheweb.com/where-does-cruelty-start/
Visit my other website www.wowserswebdesign.com - a Veteran Owned Small Business - providing affordable WordPress websites to small businesses across the United States.
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The Best Cookie Recipe from a Tucson Website Designer
What the Heck do Cookies and being a Web Designer have to do with each other?
A lot!!
I am a Tucson Website Designer, and a Local First Arizona Web Designer.  I specialize in Affordable WordPress Websites for the small and home based business. 
When I was a youngster growing upin Southern California, my Grandmother use to make the best Sugar & Spice Molasses cookies.   The smell and taste of the cookies use to give me that warm “Christmasy” feeling. And today they remind me of my Grandmother, and the care that she took when making these yummy cookies.   She got the recipe in a bag of flour probably in the 1940s.  She carefully and gently kept the recipe safe.  Today, the same recipe is with me, in a ZipLoc bag sitting on a shelf with my cookbooks.  It is stained and well used….lots of cookies made with love have come that recipe!
Why did these cookies always turn out so good?  She followed the recipe, and made adjustments over the years for the temperature of the oven, the bakeware used and the ingredients.
Web Designing is much like baking cookies.    Ok…that is sort of a stretch, but bear with me.    As a Tucson Website Designer, I am focused on creating a plan of success (a recipe) for my client’s website.   What ALL web designers should have to ensure success is client participation (the ingredients).  A web designer shouldn’t work in a vacuum, as the final product usually will end up like a blob of unbaked cookies on a sheet.  The client   A website that a client is actively engaged with during the creation, and actively promotes once live will be successful.  
It is a continual education with clients and potential clients that website must be fed.  And by feeding I mean that there is work that must be done to continually promote the website, ensuring that the search engines crawl through and index the site.   I often tell clients to think of their URL (www.yourdomainname.com) like seeds.   Their job is to plant these seeds in as many places throughout the internet as possible.   Through back linking to other website, commenting on other people’s blogs, being social on Facebook , twitter, etc., and by blogging.    All textual changes that a website has signals the search engines with a big “HEY YOU, COME INDEX ME” signal.  The results of these efforts should be positive for the page ranking of the website.  
Like making adjustment when baking cookies, a web designer and web site owner must be willing to make adjustments to the website.   The adjustment can be increasing textual content, new images, adjusting the keyword/keyword phrases, and most recently the importance of having a mobile ready website.  
A large percent of clients and potential clients search the internet on their tablets or smartphones.  It a website isn’t mobile ready it basically won’t get used – this is potentially is a lost customer.
The page speed of a website is really is critical.   If a website is slow to load most people click off of it and search on another website – this is potentially is a lost customer.
My testimonial about the cookies that Grandma used to bake would encourage others to bake them and eat them.   The same is true for a web designer, and their client’s websites.   Testimonials are important.  What others have to say about working with you, or about your product and/or service is an important factor in making a decision to do business with you.  
And a very important part about the process is caring – caring that the job, whether it’s making cookies or designing a website, is done well. 
As a Tucson Website Designer, my goal is a happy client that has participated in the process.    I try to make the process easy, and fun.   I believe that fast and effective communication is critical. 
I have had more than one client tell me stories about “The Last Web Designer” that wouldn’t return phone calls or emails.   As my Dad would say “That is No Way to Run a Railroad.”   I haven’t a clue where that saying came from, and my Dad worked in the aerospace industry.   However the saying fits.
I enjoy what I do and I believe that helping the small business helps level the marketing playing field just a tad.   It gives that small business owner a 24/7 business card.   I encourage all potential clients to give me a call (520) 789-7638 to discuss their vision for their website.  
And as Promised – the best cookie recipe from a Tucson Website Designer
Sugar & Spice Molasses Cookies
4 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter softened
1 cup light molasses
½ cup milk
2 eggs
extra sugar and powdered sugar for rolling
 
In large mixer bowl combine all ingredients except additional sugar.  Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed (2 to 3 minutes).  Cover; refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours).  Heat oven to 350. Shape rounded tablespoonfuls of dough into balls; roll in white sugar. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until slightly firm to touch. Dust with powdered sugar.
 
Enjoy the Day – and thanks Grandma!

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Dad, Mom and ZipLoc Bags
This post will probably seem bizarre or morbid to some – it took me a while to find humor in what happened.
When my Dad passed away (December 20, 1990), Mom had him cremated by a reputable funeral home in Sierra Vista, Arizona.  And we picked out a nice box, with an outdoors scene on the front.   After Christina and I moved in with Mom, Dad (or Grandpa) was kept on a shelf in the living room.
People use to call for Dad…and I would answer and say that he couldn’t come to the phone because he was in a box.   They did not find it as funny as I did.   In fact several callers actually hung up on me.
I remember Christina dusting the shelf one day…and Dad (Grandpa) was smack dab under the cooler vent and it was May or June.  Here in Arizona when you turn on your swamp cooler for the first time in the season you get a lot of dust and calcium “stuff” blown out of the vents.   Dad’s box, and around his box was covered.  I remember Christina exclaiming that she thought that “Grandpa was leaking.”   Ok…I found the humor in this too.    And so would’ve  my Dad.
I grew up in eye shot of the Disneyland fireworks.  And the decades that we lived in Garden Grove, California and Southern California in general my Dad never went to Disneyland.  We all did, just not Dad.   I wasn’t quite sure why – however I find humor in imaging strapping Dad’s box in a seat on Pirates of the Caribbean or Space Mountain  – just to watch the expressions on everyone’s faces.  
Well let me move along to Mom and the ZipLoc bags.   Mom spent the last few years of her life at a skilled nursing facility in Sierra Vista – that experience is another blog post.  When she passed away (October 5, 2005), I knew that her wish was to be in the box with Dad. 
Now you would think that with all of my “Box” experience I would know about how big a box for two needed to be – at that time I did not.  
When the SAME funeral home that took care of my Dad, that know was taking care of my Mom called and said “We are ready for your Mom to combine them together”  I strapped Dad in the car and off we went.  
I walked into the funeral home with Dad’s box tucked under my arm, and the little funeral person greeted me at the door with a pain and sort of OHHHHH look.   Now by little I mean, this guy was short in size.  
He took a step back and drew in a big breath and laid his finger aside his nose and then pointed at me with that same finger and said “ummmmm All of your Mom won’t fit in that box with your Dad, Did you want to take the rest of her home in a Ziploc bag.”
He may have said something after that…I was so shocked that I quickly said “My Mother would kill me if I took her home in a Ziploc bag.”  Then he went on to ramble about people taking their “Loved Ones” home in pills bottles and other assorted containers.   I stopped listening.
Well you see by the picture that Dad and Mom are in a double box, made of Mesquite by someone in Willcox, Arizona.   And every time I see ZipLoc bags it brings me right back to that moment… again, both of my parents would probably have found it funny.
I’m not sure that I could strap this double box into all the rides at Disneyland… someday we may find out. 
 

Pondering Life on the Web by Valerie
Pondering Life on the Web

This blog post can be found at http://ponderinglifeontheweb.com/dad-mom-and-ziploc-bags/
Visit my other website www.wowserswebdesign.com - a Veteran Owned Small Business - providing affordable WordPress websites to small businesses across the United States.
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A&W Rootbeer and My Dad
As a young child I don’t recall that we ate out at restaurants ….ever or often.   When we vacationed it was a driving trip / camping trip.   The few times the family drove to Minnesota I recall it to be a marathon driving trip, and there were sandwiches, and possibly an infrequent stop at McDonalds or something like McDonalds.
So how does this little bitty A&W Rootbeer mug fit in to my family vacations?   We went camping every summer somewhere along the California coast – San Simeon, the Russian River… somewhere.    On one of these trips for some reason my parents decided to splurge and take us to A&W Rootbeer for hamburgers and soda.    Four Hamburgers, 4 orders of French fries, and 4 sodas …that will be $11.00 the young kid behind the counter said to my Dad.    $11.00 my Dad said…really!!!   That is a lot for four hamburgers.   Well…the young kid said “you also get this little A&W mug.”    I think my Dad just grunted.  
As the years passed…my Dad’s wallet relaxed a little.   And the little A&W Rootbeer Mug to me is a reminder of a generation that really understood the value of the dollar, and they knew never to spend more than they had.
 

Pondering Life on the Web by Valerie
Pondering Life on the Web

This blog post can be found at http://ponderinglifeontheweb.com/aw-rootbeer-and-my-dad/
Visit my other website www.wowserswebdesign.com - a Veteran Owned Small Business - providing affordable WordPress websites to small businesses across the United States.
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