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    Here's How To Permanently Block Your Phone From Showing Up On Caller ID -- plus -- Ben's Collection Of Programming Codes For Your Phone (That The Phone Company Will Never Give You!) -- plus -- Ever Used A

    Dear Ben: How do I permanently block my identity from showing up on all outgoing phone calls that I initiate? I know you've covered this before; I don't want to have to press *67 before every call in order to keep my name and number from showing up on someone's Caller ID.
    Barbara C., via e-mail

    Dear Barbara: Contact your local phone service provider to get the mailing address to send your permanent block request letter. Be sure to include all residential or business phone numbers that you wish to have permanently blocked, as well as the address where the phone service is located. Or go to my website: sample letters and addresses for Southwestern Bell and GTE (oops, I mean Verizon) customers. And since we're focusing on special/programmable phone codes, check out the compilation of programming codes I've posted to make your life a little easier: available in this section? Reverse directory information that lets you to find where phone service is physically located by punching in just the phone number.

    Dose of Dover For The Week: The latest cyber-threat making the rounds is the "Sircam" virus; it dupes naive computer users with an innocent e-mail message and a destructive consequence if you make open up the attachment. E-mailed messages such as: "Hi! How are you? I send you this file in order to have your advice. See you later. Thanks" may seem innocent, especially if they're sent by a familiar ("safe") friend or family member, but do everyone a favor and use your head. The success of these viruses is assured through their insidious use of your computer to propagate. These viruses target the Address Book in your e-mail program, then generate an innocent looking message sent unwittingly sent from your computer (with your name/return e-mail address on it). The dangerous and potentially destructive virus is buried within the attachment and waits to be sprung by anyone dumb enough to open the attached document.
    EVEN IF YOU KNOW THE SENDER, DO NOT OPEN ATTACHMENTS UNLESS OR UNTIL YOU'VE VERIFIED IT WAS INTENTIONALLY SENT. Furthermore, it would be a very wise investment to purchase/install and keep current the latest/greatest anti-virus software available. It's not very expensive (under $30-$40) and will help protect your computer from these idiots that seem to have nothing better to do than to create computer problems around the world. I've added a new section on my website with virus-related advice and on-line resources that will keep you current on the latest viruses, as well as websites that dispel virus rumors and myths that can be just as destructive:

    An important warning for AOL users: There's an extremely convincing e-mail making the rounds to AOL subscribers that's designed to steal your credit card information. I checked it out and was stunned at how convincing this e-mail and the phony web paged specifically for this scam really are! The greatest lesson to be learned from the Internet is an important lesson of life: Sometimes, things just aren't always the way they appear. The AOL e-mail contains a "link" to a series of webpages that look so authentic, it's frightening. Messages like "since your current credit card has been declined, we must obtain a new credit card number from you unless you want your service disconnected" are designed for one purpose: To get unwitting AOL users to cough up credit card information to creative thieves doing business somewhere on the planet. Upon further examination I found their web address was hosted by a company that specializes in "domain re-direction" which sounds like a cyber-haven for con artists to me. And unlike familiar domain suffixes (like .com, .gov, .org, etc.) this domain address ends in ".nu" and originates from the tiny Polynesian island of "Niue." This particular domain has become very popular in Sweden, where the word "nu" means "now." And it's yet another reminder that no matter what the web address is, you're ALWAYS dealing with strangers when you're on the Internet. No matter what they say (and no matter what their picture looks like), ultimately there's no way to verify the authenticity of who you're actually interacting with on-line. The Internet's an incredible invention; just never let your guard down and always use with caution.
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