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Turn Junk eMail Into Treasure

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Turn Junk eMail Into Treasure
Turn Junk eMail Into Treasure

    Your spam folder is probably filled with tonnes of promotional offers that promise all sorts of free gear. All you have to do in return is click through their promotions, complete a short survey, and/or participate in a free trial. Baloney right?

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    Actually, you can get that free stuff! CleverDude.com shows us how; and it’s no scam – probably.

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    • 1. I verify the site credentials as stated in the above section
    • 2. I obtain a screenprint of every web page they give me, except the survey pages. I personally print the pages as PDF files, but you can also accomplish the same task with screen prints. The important pages are the homepage, Terms and Conditions, and each offer page
    • 3. I view the offers on ALL the offer pages BEFORE I sign up for anything. That way, I can see whether the offers will be too steep to complete or aren’t worth the promotional product. The sites let you advance through the offer pages and return to prior screens.
    • 4. I complete the prescribed numbers of offers presented on each offer page. For a 6 offer promotion, I usually get sent to 3 pages, where I complete 2 offers per page. The first page has the inexpensive offers with free trial periods. Each successive page has more expensive or more difficult to fulfill offers.
    • 5. As I complete each offer, I add the offer details into a tracking spreadsheet. I completed this spreadsheet for a Plasma TV. However, I decided to take a $1000 Visa Card instead
    • 6. I make sure to complete all the offers in one session, and I don’t delete my browser cookies. Many of the promotion sites use cookies to track who you are and what promotions to show you, as well as to display your account. Just try not to delete your cookies until you’ve complete all the offers and made first contact with the promotion team.
    • 7. Once the offers are completed, I keep checking my account daily to see when the offers are validated. In all 3 times I did these promotions, some offers didn’t report back to the provider site, so I had to fax proof of the offer completion.
    • 8. Also, and most importantly, I make sure I cancel any and all offers I completed before their trial period ends. Some offers also require you to return the product for credit, so make sure you do, and send it via certified mail.

    CleverDude was clever and got two Sony Vaio laptops for $125 and a Plasma TV [which he instead changed for a $1000 Visa Gift Card] for $300 worth of grill, pressue washer and curio cabinet. Not bad.

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    How I Get Laptops and Plasma TVs For Free – [CleverDude]

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    More by this author

    Craig Childs

    Craig is an editor and web developer who writes about happiness and motivation at Lifehack

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    Last Updated on November 25, 2021

    Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

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    Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

    With all of the recent online services and companies falling under attack to hackers in the past few months, it seems only fitting to talk about password creation and management. There are a lot of resources out there discussing this, but it never hurts to revisit this topic time and again because of its importance.

    Password management isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to do, yet it does seem like a bit of an annoyance to most people. When it comes to password management, you will hear the famous line, “I don’t really care about changing my passwords regularly. I have nothing important online anyways.” Let’s see if you have nothing important online when your PayPal account gets taken over because you thought the password “password” was good enough.

    In my opinion, it is an “internet user’s” responsibility to make sure that they keep secure passwords and update them on a regular basis. In this article we will discuss how to make your online presence more secure and keep it secure.

    The easy fundamentals

    First thing is first; creating a strong password.

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    A strong password is a mixture of alpha-numeric characters and symbols, has a good length (hopefully 15 characters or longer), and doesn’t necessarily represent some word or phrase. If the service you are signing up for doesn’t allow passwords over a certain length, like 8 characters, always use the maximum length.

    Here are some examples of strong passwords:
    * i1?,2,2\1′(:-%Y
    * ZQ5t0466VC44PmJ
    * mp]K{ dCFKVplGe]PBm1mKdinLSOoa (30 characters)

    And not so good examples
    * sammy1234
    * password123
    * christopher

    You can check out PC Tools Password Generator here. This is a great way to make up some very strong passwords. Of course the more random passwords are harder to remember, but that is where password management comes into play.

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    Managing your passwords

    I know some people that keep their passwords in an unencrypted text file. That’s not a good idea. I suppose that if you aren’t doing much online and are decent at avoiding viruses and such, it could be OK, but I would never recommend it.

    So, where do you keep your strong passwords for all the services that you visit on a daily basis?

    There are a ton of password safes out there including KeePass, RoboForm, Passpack, Password Safe, LastPass, and 1Password. If and when I recommend any of these I always count on LastPass and 1Password.

    Both LastPass and 1Password offer different entry types for online services logins (PayPal, Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, etc.), credit cards and bank accounts, online identities, and other types of sensitive information. Both have excellent reviews and only differ in a few subtle ways. One of the ways that is more notable is that LastPass keeps your encrypted password Vault online where 1Password allows you to keep it locally or shared through Dropbox. Either way, you are the holder of the encryption keys and both ways are very secure.

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    LastPass and 1Password both offer cross-platform support as well as support for Android and iOS (LastPass even has BlackBerry support). 1Password is a little pricey ($39.99 for either Windows or Mac) where LastPass has free options as well as premium upgrades that allow for mobile syncing.

    Upkeep

    You should probably change your passwords for your “important” accounts at least every 6 weeks. When I say “important” accounts I am referring to ones that you just couldn’t imagine losing access to. For me that would be Gmail, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, all my FTP accounts and hosting accounts, Namecheap, etc. Basically these include any account where financial information could be lost or accessed as well as accounts that could be totally screwed up (like my webserver).

    There is no hard and fast rule to how often you should change your passwords, but 6 to 8 weeks should be pretty good.

    Alternatives

    You may think that all of this is just too much to manage on a daily basis. I will admit it is kind of annoying to have to change your passwords and use a password manager on a daily basis. For those people out there that don’t want to go through all of the hub-bub of super-secure, encrypted, password management, here are a few tips to keep you safe:

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    1. Create a unique and hard to guess “base password” and then a pattern to use for each site you logon onto. For instance a base password could be “Ih2BaSwAa” (this stands for “I have two brothers and sisters who are annoying”). Then you would add something “site specific” to the end of it. For Twitter Ih2BaSwAaTWTTR, Facebook Ih2BaSwAaFCBK, etc. This is sort of unsecure, but probably more secure than 99% of the passwords out there.
    2. Don’t write your passwords down in public places. If you want to keep track of passwords on something written, keep it on you at least. The problem is that if you get your wallet stolen you are still out of luck.
    3. Don’t use the same passwords for every service. I’m not even going to explain this; just don’t do it.

    These are just a few things that can be done rather than keeping your passwords in a management system. Personally, with over 100 entries in my password management system, I couldn’t even dream of doing any other way. But those out there with only a few passwords, having a simpler system may be beneficial.

    So, if you want to be a “responsible internet citizen” or you just don’t want to lose your precious account data, then creating and maintaining strong passwords for your online accounts is a must.

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