Three iPhone Tricks You Need in Your Life

In case you missed Good Morning America the other day, and no one in your office has shared the latest iPhone tricks making the rounds, I have you covered.

Cursing Your Cursor?

Ever gotten frustrated while trying to make a correction on a text message—you tap and you tap, but the cursor won’t go where you want it? You will be happy to know there’s a workaround, and it’s easy to do and remember. While typing a text, just press down firmly (with your thumb) and hold anywhere on your text keyboard until the keys disappear. (If a letter pops up instead of the screen shown below, you aren’t pressing firmly enough.) Without the keyboard, you can slide your thumb around in this space to move your text cursor.  Release your thumb when the cursor is exactly where you need it.   You will wonder how you ever texted without it!

If your screen looks like this, you are ready to slide the cursor with your thumb

Photo Sensitive?

We’ve all been there—you start to show a co-worker a photo of something that pertains to business when a slightly embarrassing selfie pops up right next to it? Maybe that bikini selfie from last vacation?  The problem with having your photo albums on iCloud is that others may spot an image that…requires explanation. If you have pictures in your phone that you want to conceal, you can actually hide them from view.  In the Photos app, bring the picture up as if you were going to send it to a friend.

Click the box with the arrow on the bottom left side of the screen.

Now scroll through the options on the bottom of the screen until you see Hide.  Click and select the Hide option, and your photo will no longer lurk in your photo stream, waiting for an inopportune moment to show itself.

To view this photo, just go to Albums in the Photos app, and scroll down until you see Other Albums.  Select Hidden, and you’re ready to see how tan you weren’t last winter in Costa Rica.

Message Received?

In a meeting, or dinner with friends, and need to quickly respond to a text?  The iPhone now allows you to put an icon such as thumbs up or a heart on a message you’ve received.  Just hold down the text to which you’d like to reply, and a “thought bubble” with a quick menu of icons will appear.  Click the icon you want, and back to work, or dinner, or life, you go.

You can thank me later.

Posted on December 20, 2018 at 7:46 pm
Judy Dunlap | Posted in Technology, Uncategorized |

Avoid Being Scammed During Your Next Real Estate Transaction

Technology has changed the way we buy and sell houses. From sites that display millions of listings to sensitive transaction documents sent through email, the internet has made buying and selling a home easier than ever. But all of that personal information floating out in cyberspace, along with the large sums of money that real estate transactions require, has caused scammers to take notice.

By now, you probably know that if a “Nigerian prince” contacts you, or you get a Facebook notice from a distant relative saying they lost their wallet while overseas, it’s time to hit the delete button. But cybercriminals have become increasingly sophisticated over the years and have come up with new scams that have fooled even the most savvy consumer.

The National Association of REALTORS® recently warned its members and consumers about one example—a wiring scam during the closing stage of the home buying and selling process. Hackers will break into the email accounts of consumers to get basic details about a real estate transaction. Then the hackers send an email pretending to be the buyer, seller, real estate agent, title officer or someone else involved in the closing process and say there has been a last minute change. That change—new wiring instructions—sends the closing funds directly to the hacker’s bank account. And just like that, the money vanishes.

While it may seem like there are hundreds of ways for a criminal to take advantage of a consumer online, there are just as many ways consumers can protect themselves.  Here are a few tips to help home buyers and sellers recognize and avoid real estate scams:

♦ Do not send your social security number—the skeleton key to your entire financial life—banking information, or anything else that could be used to comprise your identity over email or text. A REALTOR® will be sure to send all correspondence/ documents over encrypted channels.

♦ Do not click on unverified email. If you do not recognize the name or email address of the sender, do not open the email. Many scams involve “spoofing,” where a fraudulent sender pretends to be a legitimate one, including using pictures and brand marks that closely mimic legitimate sites. These can be very convincing.  Look for strange subject lines (“Second Delivery Attempt” and “Urgent Action Required” are popular with hackers because they work), misspelled words, incorrect or informal grammar and requests to open or download files that you aren’t expecting.

♦ Always call the sender to verify instructions. If you do receive an email asking you to wire funds, even if it looks legitimate, it’s a good idea to call the sender just to verify. It only takes a moment and could save you thousands of dollars.  Your REALTOR® can also tell you what to expect to receive and in what format.

♦ It may seem harmless to check banking information using the free Wi-Fi at your local coffee shop or airport, but using an open connection can leave you vulnerable to hackers and scammers. Only access sensitive information on your home computer or on a secured network.

♦ If you suspect that fraud has or is in the process of occurring, contact all parties pertinent to the transaction immediately.  Once your money leaves your account, there is virtually no way to get it back.

♦ For more information on how to safely and securely buy or sell a home, visit and use a San Antonio area REALTOR®.

Posted on January 23, 2018 at 5:28 pm
Judy Dunlap | Posted in Real Estate, Technology | Tagged , ,

Are You Safe From Identity Theft?

We’ve all gotten much better at locking our doors, arming our security systems and securing our purses and wallets when we are out in public.  But when it comes to our cybersecurity, we’re not nearly as careful.  Some 15.4 million consumers were victims of identity theft or fraud last year, with criminals getting their hands on nearly 16 billion of other people’s money, according to a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research.   But don’t let the stats scare you—a few common sense, no-cost measures can shield you and your family from the financial headaches and losses of identity theft.

1.  Create unique, complex passwords for each of your accounts. Thieves often test lists of passwords stolen in one breach against other accounts to see, for example, if your Amazon password is the one you use for your online banking.  No one likes having to keep track of all of these passwords, but criminals like it even less, so it’s worth the aggravation.

2.  Monitor your credit report annually.  You’re entitled to one free credit report, once a year, from each of the three credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This gives you the opportunity to check for any items that you don’t recognize—such as accounts, judgments, liens, collections, bankruptcies, and other possible markers of identity theft—and dispute all erroneous and fraudulent information.  Go to to access your free reports.

3.  Date all electronic keypad signatures.  Wherever you are asked to sign electronically—the grocery store, gym, or hair salon to name a few—add the date next to your name.  This prevents criminals from lifting and using your signature on other days and in other places.

4.  Never, ever list your social security number on checks, and don’t carry your card or number with you.  Don’t write it in the memo section on checks (except to the IRS) or put it on non-credit applications or forms.  The most damaging identity theft cases start with a name and a social security number in the wrong hands.

5.  Don’t enter information online without knowing who you are dealing with.  Criminals may pose as banks (complete with graphics and brand markings that look just like the real thing) retail businesses or even people you know like family members or coworkers. Even entering some information into a form without pressing send may allow unscrupulous individuals to gather that intell. And don’t make it easy for them:  Don’t post your date of birth, mother’s maiden name, pet’s name, or other personal information on websites like Facebook or Twitter. They’re often used to verify your identity and could allow an imposter electronic access to your accounts.

6.  Always review your statements.  It’s no longer enough to wait for your monthly credit card or checking account statement to look for suspicious activity. Sign up for online access to your accounts and check each regularly.  The faster you realize something is amiss, the quicker your card company can put a stop to it.

7.  Remove bar codes from magazines or shipping labels and shred them. Do the same with your boarding pass.  Bar codes can contain volumes of information about you, including the last 4 digits of your credit card, or in the case of a boarding pass, your entire frequent flyer number, which can be used for deeper hacking.

8.  Don’t leave a paper trail.  Gather all receipts, including those from the ATM and gas pumps, and shred them.

9.  Stop unsolicited credit card offers.  Low-tech crooks can steal your identity by making off with the preapproved credit offers from your mailbox. They open the account in your name, then watch your mailbox to grab the new card you didn’t know was coming. You can stop credit bureaus from selling your name to lenders by going to or calling 888-567-8688. Opting out should stop most offers, and it’s free.

10.  A last tactic to consider: Placing a credit freeze with Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. This drastic measure prevents anyone—including you—from opening new lines of credit in your name.  This means you won’t be able to take advantage of those instant 25% off offers if you apply for a credit card while shopping, or any other type of credit or loan you might need, without notifying the agencies in advance and allowing for processing, so it’s not a measure to take lightly.


Special thanks to Advantage Credit, Inc. for assistance in preparing identity theft protection tips.

Posted on August 24, 2017 at 6:24 pm
Judy Dunlap | Posted in Safe Home, Technology | Tagged , ,