mobirise.com

OUR STORY

"With modern technology constantly changing, it can be difficult to keep up with. We're here to bridge the gap." - Mike Peterson

    Our founder, Mike Peterson, started Computer Medics in 1999 as a sole proprietor out of his home office in Fort Myers, FL.  He saw a growing need for onsite computer repair and training, especially among older adults who were just beginning to purchase computers.  The business name was chosen patterned after the old time doctors who made house calls, which some of the older seniors could recall.  Mike built the business through offering computer classes and technology seminars in different retirement communities, coupled with superior customer service and dedication to “going the extra mile.”  


    The first major milestone came in 2005 when Mike moved the business to Briarcliff, still operating out of his home, but on a much larger property among other service businesses.   During the next few years, the business grew rapidly, but it never lost sight of superior customer service, such as answering phone calls, scheduling appointments quickly, and creating an environment where the customer's questions would be answered in plain English and not technical jargon.


    In 2007, Computer Medics began to offer remote assistance support. We anticipated this change would become widely accepted and loved by our customers.  This service was made available to local residents as well as those with Northern summer homes. Florida's businesses are dictated by the change in seasons and Computer Medics is no exception. This new remote support offering helped smooth out the seasonal nature of the business and made it stronger.


    Over the next few years, Mike saw the growing need for customers who wanted to drop off their computers for repair and began to build the inshop business.  However, in 2013 the large influx of customers at Mike’s home necessitated a move to a retail location. Metro Parkway provided Computer Medics with a new place to call home.


    Later, Mike saw the growing need for business to business computer and networking support and decided to create a new business division dedicated to their special support needs.  Additionally, he recognized the need to provide faster guaranteed turnaround times for inshop service and priority onsite service appointments.  This proved to be a great success and added greater customer service.


    Today, Computer Medics takes pride and pleasure in providing superior customer service by offering guaranteed, prompt, professional, and reliable computer and networking support for home and business clients via onsite, inshop, and remote service.

STAFF

Mike Peterson

Owner - President
Since 1999

Scott Lucas

Commercial Support Technician
Since 2005

Alan Fidler

Commercial Support Technician
Since 2009

Bobby Belton

Residential Support Technician
Since 2010

Stephen Sullivan

Residential Support Technician
Since 2013

Ross Wagner

Residential Support Technician
Since 2014

Justin McNeill

Sales and Marketing
Since 2016

Matthew Lewis

Remote Support Technician
Since 2017

REVIEWS

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NEWSLETTERS

Here we post the latest tech information and tips.

April 2018

Reducing Internet Exposure


Since the invention of the World Wide Web in the 1990's and the resulting complex network of servers and computers, we have been exposed to vast opportunities to connect and transact with other people and companies. On the upside, our lives have been made a little easier through the opportunity to purchase products through the Internet, communicate with people, and have instant access to information. This new internet landscape is ever changing and evolving, introducing new benefits for communicating with others and digesting content such as music, movies, books, etc. On the downside, we have the pressure to be connected 24/7 with our friends, relatives, and business associates resulting in increased levels of stress. Our many digital devices and the inevitable changes after updates and upgrades is adding even more stress and causing us to reevaluate our budgets. Even more troubling is the recent revelation of major companies like Facebook and Amazon who have shared our private information with 3rd party companies without our knowledge. This can lead to identity theft, scamming opportunities and annoying advertising via email, phone calls, and texts. This article is an attempt to help you reduce your internet exposure, thereby reducing the stress that comes with these undesirable activities. Please consider the following action points:


Stop signing up for new online accounts. This means you should guard your email address and only use it with websites that you know are safe and will not share your information. Safe websites might include your doctors, your insurance agents, your banks and brokerages, etc. Unsafe websites might include social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. or websites where you are only transacting with them on a seldom basis. When shopping online we suggest you to check out as a "guest" and not "create an account" unless you plan to come back and purchasing on a regular basis.


Do not post private information, such as your email address, telephone number, physical address, etc. on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social networking sites. It has long been assumed that whatever you post on social media websites is public information that people can search and read. However, Facebook has been recently exposed after it was reported that a 3rd party application had access to private user data. Instead, communicate using phone calls and texts. Or better yet, transaction in person at a local brick-and-mortar store.

Inspect the website's or application's privacy policy, and security settings. Also, make sure the website is secure. A secure site will begin with the https:// prefix and there will be a picture of a secure lock in the web browser. Applications such as Facebook will let you control which 3rd party applications will have access to your data. Also, there are settings which will allow you to communicate privately with other people.


Do not use unsafe email providers such as Yahoo, AOL and Earthlink. It has long been known that these 3 providers have issues with security. Every few months there are media reporting major data breaching involving these companies. Our advice is to switch to a "modern" email service such as Gmail or Outlook.com. If you will call us, we will help you create a new email address, transfer your address book to the new email address, setup email forwarding from your old address, and train you on using the new email service. Finally, after you have contacted your friends and family and have changed your email address with your doctors, insurance agents, banks, brokerages, etc. we will help you cancel your old email address.


Avoid rewards programs from merchants such as gas stations, pharmacies, and restaurants. This is a big area. Merchants will ask you for your email address, phone number, address, etc. in exchange for signing you up for their loyalty program. This sounds exciting and can lead to some discounts. But now the merchant has your information which they can use it to advertise you, but even worse sell your information to companies who in turn may sell your information to dubious companies that will attempt to scam you.


In conclusion, the Internet has opened us up to a world of convenience through instant information, online transactions and social networking. However, this has given seedy characters the opportunity to purchase or steal our personal data and even our identity. It is our job to reduce our internet exposure. Hopefully this article has been helpful to this end. Please call or email us if you have any questions or comments. Click on our website if you would like to read past newsletters or would like to explore the many new service opportunities we are offering.

NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE

Computer Maintenance

People are always asking us, "How often should I have my computer cleaned and updated?" We always respond with, "How often do you use your computer?" This will dictate the interval of cleaning and updating. If you use the computer every day, then you should have it cleaned and updated every couple of months. If you use it occasionally, then every 6 months. No computer should go more than a year without cleaning and updating. That is why we give every customer who buys a computer from us a complimentary checkup 1 year later. After the cleaning we will ask them to call us at the end of the next year so that it becomes routine. This process can be done remotely and typically takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour. It can also be done on-site or in our workshop. The consequences of not having the system cleaned and updated can be slowness, popups, lockups, shut downs, virus infections, malware infections, loss of data, etc. Please call us if you have any questions about cleaning and updating. We also have Managed Service Plans where we take care of the cleaning and updating, giving you the ultimate piece of mind.

Computer Scams

Those of you who are regular Computer Medics newsletter readers will recognize the dangers of computer scams and the pain and headaches they can bring. Unfortunately, we still receive 5-10 calls per day from people who claim they have been scammed or we recognize that they are about to be scammed. The most common scams are popup advertisements on websites. The websites themselves can be legitimate (i.e. Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Comcast, etc.) however, they generally do not regulate the source of the ad content. Just visiting the site can cause the message to appear if a certain ad loads. After this happens you will typically see a window with warnings such as "your computer is infected" or "you have visited a website with illegal content" or "we have detected many problems on your computer." You will then be invited to click on a "Scan Now" button or call a 1-800 number. If you do either of these things, additional malicious software may be installed and/or a scammer will attempt to gain access your computer. Next, your data may become encrypted (locked) or your computer will start acting erratically. The final step will be for the scammer to collect a credit card number to resolve the "issue" that they created.

If you stop and call us, we will confirm whether or not the message is a scam and help you remove the threat. If it caught early enough, simply rebooting the computer could be enough. Otherwise, we will help you remove the scam via remote, in-shop, or on-site service. And as a reminder, if you have one of our Managed Service Plans, remediation of any infection is included. Please call us if you have any questions.

Removing detrimental and unneeded programs

One of the things we do during a typical computer cleaning is to remove unwanted programs from the computer. The average person is unware of all the software that is pre-installed with a new computer or software that accumulates over the years. That is where our 20+ years of experience can be used to spot the detrimental and unneeded programs and remove them. This will result in the computer booting and operating much faster, with less popups and error messages. Please call us if you have any questions about whether a program should be removed. There is no charge for this kind of question over the phone. However, if you want us to connect to the computer and go through your list of programs, normal remote rates will apply. This is a short list of programs we have removed over the last month from our customer's computers. Of course, there are hundreds of other detrimental and unneeded programs out there.

Detrimental and unneeded programs

    1. Ask.com or Ask Jeeves (Search tools)
    2. Bonzi Buddy and Coupons.com (Applications)
    3. ISP webmail applications (Comcast/Centurylink/ATT/HughesNet, etc.)
    4. Antiquated email providers and their applications (Juno, Earthlink, Rocketmail, NetZero, Netscape, ATT/SBCGlobal)
    5. AOL (Dial up service and desktop applications)
    6. Discontinued applications (Picasa, Windows Live Mail, MS Money, MS Works, etc.)
    7. Microsoft Outlook with webmail providers (Gmail, Comcast, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.)
    8. Outdated versions of Microsoft Office (Anything older than Office 2010)
    9. Outdated versions of Flash, Java, and Silverlight.
  10. Outdated web browsers (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, AOL, etc.) 
Computer Scams

There are several types of scams that have been going around lately. These are the most common we have seen. The first example is a pop-up window appearing in your browser, stating: "Critical Microsoft Edge Error. Your accounts have been compromised. You must login to your Microsoft Account to verify your information." If you proceed to enter your Microsoft Account email address and password, you are providing the scammer with your personal information which they can use to inflict real damage to your computer and personal identity. In reality, the pop-up is just a new tab in your web browser and if the tab is closed, the popup window will disappear and no harm is done to your computer. This scam is most commonly seen in Microsoft Edge. Sometimes you may need to force your web browser to close using CRTL+ALT+DELTE and use the Task Manager. Or if that does work, simply power off the computer by pressing and holding the power button for 15 seconds.

A second example is a popup window that starts flashing red and is accompanied by a robotic voice talking to you. It is meant to scare people into calling a toll-free number on the screen for help. If the number is a called, a scammer will ask you to let them connect to your computer to "fix the problem." They will convince you to sign up for their remote assistance service plan and ask for your credit card. The reality is that the popup windows is just an advertisement that was spawned from a website. These scammers can purchase ad space on a website (even legitimate ones like AOL and Yahoo), and if you click anywhere on the web page those ''On-Click Ads'', it will spawn the flashing pop-up window.

A third example is a "robo-call" from "Sarah at Microsoft" on your land-line or cell phone. The automated voice tells you that your Microsoft software has been discontinued and Microsoft has filed for bankruptcy. The voice will ask you stay on the line to speak to a representative, and then someone with a Middle Eastern accent will come on the line and try to convince you to let them connect to your computer. 

A fourth example is a pop-up window that warns the victim that they have been infected or could be under a threat of being infected with a vicious malware or virus that will severely damage their operating system and data. They are directed to a toll-free number after which a scammer will connect to your computer and infect the computer with malware and viruses, which is "confirmed" by third party website (really just a different website the scammer owns. They you will be convinced to pay the scammer to reverse the damage the they caused. If you do not pay, they will threaten to remotely wipe your computer and you will lose all your programs and data.

During some of these scam attempts, the scammers will get creative and ask the user to go to Walgreens, CVS or Wal-Mart to purchase a MoneyGram, iTunes gift card, MoneyPak, or other money gifting methods. The customer will give the scammer the code off the gift card to pay for the "cleaning" instead of using their credit card. This makes it next to impossible to recover the money that is lost. We have real-life examples from our customers who have paid over $1000 to scammers with these payment methods.

How should you respond if you a victim of one of these types of fraud?

First and foremost, stop all communication with the scammer. Second, call Computer Medics to talk through what has happened and get advice on what to do next. We do not charge for these calls. Lately we have been receiving 5-10 per day. Third, if you have provided the scammer with your email address and password, you should immediately change the password for that account. Fourth, if you have given the scammer access to your computer, you should have it cleaned immediately by one of our technicians remotely, in our workshop, or on onsite. Fifth, if the scammer proceeds to call you back (and they normally will), threaten to call the Lee County Sherriff Department Fraud Division at 239-477-1242. This is not an idle threat. Lee County has dedicated deputies assigned to fraud cases like these. Most of the time when our customers mention the Lee County Sherriff Department, the scammers will not call again.

In conclusion, if you ever run into any of these scamming methods, do not click on the screen or call any phone numbers, unless it is ours. If someone calls you on the phone, do not answer and hang up immediately if you happen to pick up the call. If you happen become a victim, please call us and we will give you advice on how to proceed. 
Reducing Internet Exposure

Since the invention of the World Wide Web in the 1990's and the resulting complex network of servers and computers, we have been exposed to vast opportunities to connect and transact with other people and companies. On the upside, our lives have been made a little easier through the opportunity to purchase products through the Internet, communicate with people, and have instant access to information. This new internet landscape is ever changing and evolving, introducing new benefits for communicating with others and digesting content such as music, movies, books, etc. On the downside, we have the pressure to be connected 24/7 with our friends, relatives, and business associates resulting in increased levels of stress. Our many digital devices and the inevitable changes after updates and upgrades is adding even more stress and causing us to reevaluate our budgets. Even more troubling is the recent revelation of major companies like Facebook and Amazon who have shared our private information with 3rd party companies without our knowledge. This can lead to identity theft, scamming opportunities and annoying advertising via email, phone calls, and texts. This article is an attempt to help you reduce your internet exposure, thereby reducing the stress that comes with these undesirable activities. Please consider the following action points:

Stop signing up for new online accounts. This means you should guard your email address and only use it with websites that you know are safe and will not share your information. Safe websites might include your doctors, your insurance agents, your banks and brokerages, etc. Unsafe websites might include social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. or websites where you are only transacting with them on a seldom basis. When shopping online we suggest you to check out as a "guest" and not "create an account" unless you plan to come back and purchasing on a regular basis.

Do not post private information, such as your email address, telephone number, physical address, etc. on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social networking sites. It has long been assumed that whatever you post on social media websites is public information that people can search and read. However, Facebook has been recently exposed after it was reported that a 3rd party application had access to private user data. Instead, communicate using phone calls and texts. Or better yet, transaction in person at a local brick-and-mortar store.
Inspect the website's or application's privacy policy, and security settings. Also, make sure the website is secure. A secure site will begin with the https:// prefix and there will be a picture of a secure lock in the web browser. Applications such as Facebook will let you control which 3rd party applications will have access to your data. Also, there are settings which will allow you to communicate privately with other people.

Do not use unsafe email providers such as Yahoo, AOL and Earthlink. It has long been known that these 3 providers have issues with security. Every few months there are media reporting major data breaching involving these companies. Our advice is to switch to a "modern" email service such as Gmail or Outlook.com. If you will call us, we will help you create a new email address, transfer your address book to the new email address, setup email forwarding from your old address, and train you on using the new email service. Finally, after you have contacted your friends and family and have changed your email address with your doctors, insurance agents, banks, brokerages, etc. we will help you cancel your old email address.

Avoid rewards programs from merchants such as gas stations, pharmacies, and restaurants. This is a big area. Merchants will ask you for your email address, phone number, address, etc. in exchange for signing you up for their loyalty program. This sounds exciting and can lead to some discounts. But now the merchant has your information which they can use it to advertise you, but even worse sell your information to companies who in turn may sell your information to dubious companies that will attempt to scam you.

In conclusion, the Internet has opened us up to a world of convenience through instant information, online transactions and social networking. However, this has given seedy characters the opportunity to purchase or steal our personal data and even our identity. It is our job to reduce our internet exposure. Hopefully this article has been helpful to this end. Please call or email us if you have any questions or comments. Click on our website if you would like to read past newsletters or would like to explore the many new service opportunities we are offering.