Monday, July 23, 2018

The Dangerous Line Between Prepper and Hoarder

Why Too Much Stuff May Get In The Way of Survival

This is a counter-intuitive article, because we all know that the more food, water, first aid supplies, and other supplies and gear we have, the better off we will be in and after SHTF. But, maybe not. Let's play devil's advocate and challenge the prevailing wisdom.

Is it possible for a prepper to have too much stuff - too many supplies? Would downsizing be a smarter strategy than stockpiling? Consider, if you will, the following: 

1) All those supplies cost money. Money which perhaps could be better used in others ways, such as paying off debt and setting up an emergency fund. Or buying training. Or as a down-payment on a homestead or bug-out location.

2) All those supplies take time, space, and effort to acquire,  organize and maintain. Next to the cost of prepping, this is the complaint I hear most often from folks. Where do I store all this stuff? is a common refrain in the prepper community. Lots of articles have been written, and products recommended to buy, attempting to answer this question. 

3) Too much stuff stored creates the problem of trying to find it. Clutter is a problem. Are you ever not able to quickly find something you know you have? Maybe a tool, or a book, or whatever? You know you have it somewhere but just can't find it. There's a saying: "If you can't put your hands on something you own within five minutes, then you don't really own it.

4) Clutter creates other problems, too. Fire hazards. Trip hazards. Pest problems. Or even something as simple as making it harder to clean the house.

5) Too much stuff will NEVER be enough stuff. There will always be more to buy and stockpile. Got a one year supply of stuff? Gotta get more stuff in case the collapse lasts more than a year. Got two years worth of stuff? Gotta get more, just in case it lasts longer. And so forth, ad infinitum. You will never acquire enough stuff,to last you forever. 

6) Too much stuff will NEVER be enough stuff. It is worth saying again, this time differently: You will not be able to anticipate your every need in during a collapse and in the years following. Sure, you'll need food & water, first aid & medical supplies, extra batteries, and supplies for cleaning, sanitation, and hygiene. But what else will you need? Spare parts? Barter items? Clothing for when yours wear out? Clothing for when your kids outgrow theirs.  educational materials? The list of what you might need goes on and on and on... In fact, "Have You Thought About This" articles are quite common on prepper websites and blogs, each with different items that you might potentially need.

7) Too much stuff may make you a target. Try as you might to maintain operational security, some people are going to figure out that you have a lot of valuable stuff.  Thieves, looters, pushy neighbors, or even the government may decide they want some (or all) of it. 

8) Too much stuff may bog you down. Let's face it, when it comes time to bug-out, you are not going to be able to take all that stuff with you. Reluctance to leave all that useful (and expensive) stuff behind may cause you to hesitate in an emergency, at a time when delays may be deadly.

My Bottom Line: I am not saying not to stockpile stuff. We obviously are going to need food and supplies. But the question is How much do we really need? Considering the potential negatives I've mentioned above (and there are probably more I haven't thought of), I don't think the "more is always better" answer is necessarily the right answer. 

In my own life, I've begun the process of re-evaluating all the stuff I've accumulated over the years. For example, my library contains over 1,500 books. Most of those I've never read and never will, so why keep them all? My goal is to get down to a much more manageable library of only a handful of really useful reference books and a handful of "entertainment" books for my enjoyment.

I am also an avid knife and multi-tool collector, with way more than I will ever need, so why keep them all? Why keep buying more? And there are still other areas of "stuff" that I plan on going through and downsizing.  The idea is to get much more "lean and mean" than I currently am. This will also have side benefits of raising money and making me  much more mobile.

Watch for future articles on downsizing.
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Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Worst Prepper Advice I've Ever Heard

For the best prepper advice I've ever heard, click here for Tuesday's article.

The Worst Prepper Advice I've Ever Heard

I've told this story before, but it sets up perfectly what I want to say:

Many years ago I was the owner/moderator of a survivalist forum called Surviving the End. One of my group members offered his plan to prepare: He was going to rack up as much credit card debt as possible buying supplies to survive an economic collapse caused by peak oil. He believed such a collapse would happen "within the next 2 or 3 years," which he believed would lead to economic collapse, civil unrest, and even political collapse.  In the ensuing chaos, banks and other lenders would be unable to collect on debts owed to them. He also planned to stop paying his mortgage "about 6 months before the collapse." I'm not sure how he planned to time the event so precisely, but this was his plan, and he was offering it up to others to follow. This was in 2006. It is now 2018 - twelve years later - and the banks are still collecting on mortgages and other debt. If he truly carried out his plan, he and his family suffered absolute financial devastation years ago.

My advice: Getting out-of-debt and improving your financial position should be a part of your preparations for a major collapse, instead of planning on a collapse to get you out-of-debt. A major collapse can be survived, but it will NOT be a good thing. The chaos,  suffering, destruction, and death surrounding such an event will be devasting to everyone, and no one should be eagerly looking forward to experiencing it, or thinking that they can somehow benefit from it.  

Yes. I am preparing to survive such a major event, which I think is likely within my lifetime.  But I pray to God that I am wrong, that it doesn't happen, because I know how difficult it will be, even for those of us who are prepared.

Bottom line: Don't plan on a collapse to get your life in order. Get your life in order so you can survive the collapse. 
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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Best Prepper Advice I've Ever Heard

I've been around the prepper/survivalist community for 15 years. During that time, I've heard and read a lot of advice for prepping for future crises. Some of that advice is good. And some is not so good. In today's post, I reveal the absolute best piece of advice I've heard. On Thursday, I will revel the absolute worst.

The Best Prepper Advice I've Ever Heard 

Preparedness is about your attitude. Its not about tools, or supplies, or even skills. It is about your mind, the way you think. It is about developing a self-reliant mindset. A mindset which says - I am responsible for myself and my family - not government, not corporations, not society, not "experts" or anyone else. Me. I am responsible.

It  is an attitude that says "I need to be informed, therefore it is my responsibility to get informed.  I need to know myself and what I want out of life, and not just go with the flow or otherwise just drift aimlessly through life.  I need to think for myself, and not rely on others to do my thinking for me. I need to make my own decisions, and I need to act on those decisions. I need to adapt to changing circumstances and not just whine when things get difficult."

In many ways, its the exact opposite of the modern way of thinking. Its about not being one of the sheeple - waiting around for some imagined "authority" or "expert" to tell us what to do and when to do it. Its about not worrying what others think or about being liked. Its about not being intimidated into inaction, failing to make decisions and take actions, for whatever reason, be it fear, uncertainty, lack of confidence, or whatever.

Think ahead. Ask yourself "What problems and difficulties might I face in the future? What can I do now to help myself and my family overcome those problems if and when they do occur." Find the information you need. Make plans based on that information. Take actions to make those plans reality.

The most important thing you can do to survive and thrive, in good times and bad, is to start taking personal responsibility now for your own life and the lives of your family. This is the attitude you need, and it is the best advice I've ever heard.

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Building Community in Your Neighborhood

Want community? Many preppers do. Here are some tips to find and build community right where you live:

You have to play the hand your dealt. It is not a perfect world, and no neighborhood is perfect - mine included (and don't I know it!). But your neighborhood is where you live, for better or worse, so you might as well make the best of it. Sitting around wishing for things to be different is counterproductive.

You don't need everyone.  Not every neighbor is going to be like-minded, or even friendly towards your efforts. That's okay. You don't need to get every single person in your neighborhood on-board with your plans. Its not all or nothing. There will always be a few malcontents you will never be able to reach. Ignore them and build community with those you can. Some community with some folks is better than no community at all. 

Knock on doors. Or at least wave at mailboxes. In other words, you have to take the first step. Waiting around for your neighbors to come to you won't work. Go. Introduce yourself to them. 


Avoid religion and politics, especially in the early stages. Basic preparedness doesn't depend on religion or politics. You don't need to be of a certain religion to store food and water. You don't need to have a certain political viewpoint to learn first aid. You don't need to have the exact same religious or political views to encourage and help your neighbors. 

Don't talk prepping, at least at first.  The preparedness talk can come later, for now simply get to know your neighbors. Find out what you might have in common. As things progress, you can start dropping prepper lines and see how they respond.  

Form a Neighborhood Watch. It can official (working with your local police, posting signs, etc.) or informal (exchanging phone numbers and agreeing to keep an eye out for strangers or anything else suspicious in the neighborhood). The point is you and your neighbors will begin getting to know one another and watching out for each other. You can build from there.

Have a community yard sale. We have been doing this in our neighborhood for a few years now. About twice a year we'll get together and advertise a community yard sale on a Saturday. Not every household participates, but many do. Even many of those that don't participate in the selling walk around looking at what others are selling. Curiosity gets them out of their house. I've actually met several neighbors this way that I otherwise never would have met.

One by one. Two by two. Everyone doesn't have to get together at the same time. A neighborhood-wide barbecue may be too much to put together, but you can host a barbecue maybe once a month and invite one or two neighborhood families over. Invite different families each month. Barbecuing not your thing? Try a Game Night instead. Or a movie night.

Advance slowly but surely.  Turning your neighborhood into a community is a one-step-at-a-time activity. Get to know each other. Then work on building friendships with those who seem willing. Then start talking preparedness with those that seem receptive. 

Building community is about more than just preparedness. Preparedness for some future crisis might be your ultimate goal, but it cannot be your only goal, otherwise you'll scare people off. Community is about building friendships and relationships of trust. Community is about watching out for each other, encouraging each other, and helping each other. The cold fact is that you are extremely unlikely to get your neighborhood converted into a 100% prepared for doomsday survivalist community. But the more of a community that you're neighborhood is, the better off you'll all be if and when the SHTF.
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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Understanding Preparedness - Loss of Comforts of Civilization

Sweden recently issued a "Prepare for War" booklet to all Swedish households.  In it, they ask the rhetorical question What would you do if your everyday life was turned upside down? They go on to say "In just a short time, your everyday life can become problematic.

Problematic? Really? For the scenario the Swedes seemed concerned with, a civilization-altering world war possibly including the use of nukes, problematic doesn't even begin to describe it. Try "your everyday life as you have known it will become impossible."

This goes not only for a possible nuclear war, but for other widespread disasters, including natural disasters (plagues, super-volcanoes, CMEs, etc) and man-made disasters (widespread civil unrest, attempted coups, civil war, economic collapse, etc.). Life as we currently know it could change drastically and suddenly.

Results of a Major Disaster

A major  disaster usually will result in the temporary or permanent loss of many of the “comforts of civilization” we are used to enjoying. Comforts of civilization are those things that are provided to us by modern civilization that we take for granted. So much so that we don't even consider them comforts or luxuries anymore, but rather basic necessities. It would be difficult for most modern people to provide most of these things for themselves, especially without learning new skills, having access to stockpiles of tools and supplies, and preparing well in advance for their loss.


These comforts of civilization we would likely lose include:

  • Readily available running water that is safe to drink.
  • Readily available food from stores and restaurants.
  • “Flush and forget” human waste disposal.
  • Modern medicine and health care.
  • Readily available electricity for lighting, heating, cooling, cooking and hot water.
  • Readily available natural gas for heating, cooking and hot water.
  • Readily available fuel for cars, trucks, tractors and planes.
  • Public transportation (trains, buses, subways, taxis, etc.).
  • Instant long distance communication (phones, email, etc.).
  • Ready access to education (schools) and knowledge (libraries, the Internet, etc).
  • Ready access to emergency services such as fire, police, and paramedics.
  • Most modern luxuries (television, IPods, mobile phones, computers & the Internet, etc.).
  • An economic support infrastructure (electronic funds transfers, shipping & delivery, etc.).
  • Ability to spend money without having it (credit cards, mortgages, installment plans, etc.)
Disasters can also lead to the loss of certain fundamental (inalienable) rights. This loss would, of course, be both immoral and illegal, but may occur because of the imposition of political correctness, a police state, martial law, or even the development or imposition of a dictatorship. The rights which may be lost include:
  • Loss of Privacy.
  • Loss of Freedom of Speech.
  • Loss of Freedom of Religion.
  • Loss of Freedom of the Press.
  • Loss of Free Assembly.
  • Loss of Freedom of Movement.
  • Loss of Self-Defense Rights.
  • Loss of Due Process.
  • Loss of Parental Rights.
  • Removal of children from your home.
  • Confiscation of land, firearms, knives, personal property, or even your stored food, water, and other supplies.
Understanding what a major disaster will likely entail will help us to better plan for such frightening scenarios. Ask yourself questions about how you could realistically handle the loss of these comforts of civilization and even these basic rights.

Detailed planning, rather than hit-or-miss stockpiling of food, guns, and other stuff,  takes time and effort, but will go a long way towards ensuring the survival of you and your family & community.

***You might also be interested in my article Sweden Distributes ‘Prepare for War’ Booklet to All Swedes - Here's What It Advises
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Website Update - Comments Disabled

Hi Folks,

Due to a sharp uptick this year in the number attempted comments that are pure SPAM and/or contain links to phishing sites, virus and malware infested sites, and even potentially illegal content, the comments section has been discontinued. It is simply impossible for me to (safely) check each and every link posted, yet failure to do so not only puts my readers at risk, but also raises the specter of potential legal liability.  Sadly, this is a perfect example of a few "bad apples" ruining things for everyone else.

The software used to build this site has only limited options for maintaining a comments section. I have tried various settings available to me to better manage comments, but this appears to have inadvertently blocked or erased many legitimate comments. A few of my readers have recently expressed their frustration to me that many of their comments aren't being posted. I understand their frustration, and share it.  But the reality of the situation is that this website is a one-man operation with limited funds. Additional tech-support or software upgrades are simply not affordable. So, for now at least, the best option seems to be to discontinue the comments section. 

I sincerely want to thank all of my readers. I greatly appreciate each and every one of you. THANK YOU!!! I will continue to post articles that I hope you will find both useful and enjoyable. 

My God Bless You,

Tim Gamble 

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Precepts of Scriptural Survivalism

I use a notebook to plan out my prepepr and survivalism activities. This is the first pages of that notebook, the foundation upon which everything else rests. The Bible actually says a lot about preparedness, both spiritual and physical. In these precepts I attempt to summarize those teachings.


Precepts of Scriptural Preparedness

1- In all things, God first and foremost. Our relationship with God is by far the most important preparation we can make. Everything we say, do, or even think should rest on, or point the way to, that relationship with God. God is our first priority.

2- Follow God's ways; Reject worldly ways.
It isn't about survival at all costs, but rather about following God in the ways He would have us follow Him. This means living by God's Commandments and teachings, not by the current (and constantly shifting) worldly ways. We are to actively reject political correctness, popular opinions, modern "societal norms," secular wisdom, and even legal and governmental authority when those are opposed to God's Word. There is no compromising with the modern world for God's people.
We are to live to please God, not man.

3- Agrarianism is God's intent for His people. Humans were originally designed by God to live in and tend to the Garden of Eden. Later, after the Fall, we were commanded by God to till the soil and to raise our own food. Throughout the Bible, there are numerous examples of God telling His followers to avoid large cities (a Worldly invention), to live in the mountains and other rural areas, and to basically be "simple country folk" (in my words). Biblical agrarianism doesn't  mean everyone must be a farmer or homesteader - after all, there are plenty of support functions that must be done - but that as God's people, our lives/culture/economy/civilization should reflect the primary importance of agriculture.

[Tim's Note: I am aware of others using the term "Biblical Agrarianism." For the sake of clarity, I am not a part of that group and am not familiar with all their teachings. My use of that term is coincidental, and is limited to what I have written here.]

4- Hard Work is Good. In fact, hard work is ordained by God. His example of Creation, six days of work and one day of rest, is the template we are to follow. 

5- Preparedness & Self-Reliance are Biblical concepts. Not only is physical preparedness allowed, it is in fact commanded by God. Multiple times in Proverbs (6:6-8 for just one example), God points us to the industrious ant's example, who constantly prepares for the future. In Galatians 6:1-5, Paul teaches that we are to both help one another AND to not be a burden to others (self-reliance).

A host of other verses could be quoted also, including Proverbs 27:12 (its prudent to prepare), Genesis 6:21 (food storage), Genesis 41:47-57 (food storage), Exodus 22:2 (self-defense), Psalm 144:1(self-defense training!), Proverbs 21:20 (store food & oil), Proverbs 22:7 (avoid debt), 1 Corinthians 16:13 (stay alert, be brave, be strong), Luke 22:36 (self-defense), 1 Timothy 5:8 (provide for yourself and your family), 1 Thessalonians 5:6 (stay alert, situational awareness), Hebrews 11:7 (points to Noah's example of preparedness to save his family), and Matthew 25:1-13 (the wisdom of the five prepared virgins compared to the foolishness of the five ill-prepared virgins).

6- All human life is valuable. All human life is created in the image of God. All human life belongs to God, not man. Murder, which is biblically-defined as the taking of innocent human life (intentionally or through negligence), is forbidden by God. 

7- Self-defense is allowed by God. God has granted us the right to kill in defense of ourselves or others, and in a few other very limited circumstances.  However, we are never permitted to kill for revenge or out of a sense of vengeance. 

8- There is but one race - the human race. All humans, regardless of the shade of their skin, belong to the same family, the same race - the human race. All people are descended from Adam and Eve, and later through Noah and his wife. There are ethnic and cultural differences that have developed over the centuries, of course, but there are no racial differences. Racism is a worldly (Satanic) concept.

9- The traditional family unit is the building block of civilization. This includes traditional monogamous marriage,  traditional gender roles, sex only within marriage, honoring your father and mother, etc.

10- Our Rights come from God, not from Government, or even by majority vote. Therefore, no government, nor any voting majority no matter how big, may take away any of those God-given Rights.

11-Debt is slavery.
"The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender." -- Proverbs 22:7


12- Remember the Golden Rule. In Matthew 7:12, Jesus teaches "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." Common decency should definitely be a part of our everyday lives, including in the area of preparedness. We are to help one another, according to our abilities to do so. We are even to defend the poor and defenseless (Psalm 82:3) to the extent that we can (God never expects more from us than we are able to give). 
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Monday, July 9, 2018

Thought of the Day for Christians

I just want to post a brief thought I've had lately that will likely form the basis for one or more articles in the near future.

*** It is time - past time, actually - for Christians to walk away from modern, liberal denominations, churches, and pastors who embrace political correctness and Worldly-ways over Biblical-values and God's Way. Choose God, not your "church." ***

More to come in the near future...
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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Fall Gardening Tips


Its only July, and the sun is blazing hot. But now is the time to start planning your fall gardening. August will be here in a matter of weeks, and that is when you need to plant many fall crops. 

Here are some tips to keep you busy over the next few months:

Grow a Fall Garden. In many places across the country, mid-August through mid-September is the time to plant your Fall Garden. Crops to consider for the Fall include lettuce, radishes, beets, leeks, onions, rutabaga, cabbage, Chinese cabbage (examples: Napa cabbage, bok choy), kohlrabi, turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, spinach, and kale. The exact timing of your planting will depend on the crops you want, and your plant hardiness zone (your local agricultural extension office can help you with that).

Plant Garlic Bulbs. September is the time to plant garlic bulbs for next year. Consider planting a couple of interesting varieties from the Seed Savers Exchange.

Harvest Apples. Many areas have u-pick apple orchards. A visit to one would make for a fun and useful way to spend a Saturday afternoon. You can also visit your local farmers' market or attend one of the many small town apple festivals that are typically held in September or early October.

Pick Nuts. September through November is the time to harvest pecans and black walnuts.

Plant Trees and Shrubs. Fall is a great time to plant most trees and shrubs.

Start Composting and Improving Your Soil. See my earlier article on Composting and Vermiculture

Start Making Your Lasagna Garden. Now is a great time to mark off your lasagna-garden beds for next year, lay down the newspaper and use the falling leaves and yard waste in the layers.

Start Building Your Raised Garden Beds. Raised-bed gardening is a relatively easy and very productive method of gardening. Get a jump on next year by building your raised-beds this fall.

Grow Indoor Herbs. Many herbs, such as chives, oregano, basil, mint, and rosemary, can be grown in pots indoors during the fall and winter.

Transplant Perennials. Fall is the best time to divide and transplant most perennials.

Order Seed Catalogs. Don't forget to request seed catalogs for next year from your favorite companies. You can spend the winter months thumbing through the catalogs and dreaming big dreams.

Good Luck and Happy Gardening!
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Raised Bed Gardening: Growing Vegetables for Beginners

Great intro to raised bed gardening. 4.5 stars on Amazon. 










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Monday, July 2, 2018

Lessons Learned From My Experience With ID Theft

I got the call at about 8:20 on a Monday morning a few years ago. It was my Credit Union. They had detected some "unusual activity" on my Visa check card and had put a hold on the account. The lady on the line read me the charges in question and asked if I had made them. I hadn't. The lady then asked me to go in to the nearest Credit Union location, where I needed to fill out a report.

Turns out that someone had made a number of charges to my account overnight. They had bought about $120 in songs from I-tunes, opened up a Netflix account, bought something online from an electronics store, and tried to buy a bunch of cosmetics from Amazon. In all, about $650 went through before the Credit Union put a hold on the account.

After I filled out and signed the report for my Credit Union, they replaced 100% of the money to my account. But it did take two days for the money to show back up. The Credit Union handled everything with the police (they caught the woman who used my numbers - more on that in a moment). In the end the incident didn't cost me anything, other than some of my time and a sick feeling in my stomach.

How my information was stolen

About six weeks prior to this, I had eaten lunch at one of my favorite restaurants - a somewhat upscale Asian restaurant in Hickory, NC (I won't name the restaurant because it really wasn't their fault). Its one of those restaurants where the waitress brings your check to you in one of those small leather folders, you put the cash or credit card inside, she then takes the payment, bringing back your change and/or receipt in the folder.

Apparently, in the few minutes my waitress had my check card, she jotted down my card number, expiration date, my name, and even the 3-digit security code (the CVV number) off the back of the card. It was everything she needed to use my card online.

Then she actually did something smart (from her point of view). She didn't use my number right away. Instead she waited more than a month before using it. I guess her thought process was to wait until I had made many other purchases with the card so as to obscure who might have stolen the numbers.

Unfortunately for her, it just happened that the card/account I used for that meal was not my main account. It was an emergency back-up account I rarely use. In fact, I only use that card a couple of times a year - just enough to keep it active.  That meal was the only time I used that card in about six-months, which made it real easy to pinpoint where & who stole the number. The police investigated and actually traced several other stolen account numbers to her. Same method of operation each time, waiting a month or more before using the stolen numbers.

Lessons learned

1) Your information can be stolen anywhere. This restaurant isn't some low-class dive, but is actually a fairly upscale establishment. A place that I am a semi-regular. Not somewhere I would expect to have to worry about such things.

2) Your information can be stolen by anyone. I remember the waitress in question. She was young, very nice, friendly, even sweet. And quite attractive, frankly. I don't know her motivations, but she wasn't some crack-head, meth addict, or homeless person. Quite the contrary, she seemed to have a lot going for her. Definitely not someone I would expect to be an identity thief.

3) They don't actually have to have your card to use it. As long as they have the basic information, a thief can easily use your accounts online.

4) Identity thieves can be quite sneaky. Had I used my regular card, she probably would have gotten away with it by waiting more than a month like she did. My regular account would have had dozens of other transactions on it by the time she had used it, making it almost impossible to pinpoint a likely culprit. It was just bad luck on her part that she got caught.

5) Never, ever let your cards out-of-sight. My waitress only had possession of my card for maybe two minutes, but it was long enough to jot down all the information she needed. If I can't keep my eyes on my card at all times, I now pay with cash - even if it is a bit inconvenient.

Identity theft is now a $20+ billion dollar industry with more than 10 million people a year having their identity stolen, according to the latest stats from the FBI. It is also the fastest growing crime in America. Please take the security of your financial information very seriously.
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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Why Your Anti-Virus May Not Be Working

A slow computer, lost data, privacy concerns, and even identity theft are some of the problems you may face if your computer gets infected with viruses, spyware, and other malware.  Yet, there are a lot of people - perhaps even you - who don't realize their anti-virus software isn't working.

The problem is that most computers come from the factory with anti-virus software already installed. However, what many people fail to realize, or simply forget, is that this software is a limited-time only free trial. After the trial period is up, often in as little as 30 days, the software either stops updating, or even shuts down completely. Either way, it leaves your machine vulnerable.

If you computer is more than 30-days old and you have not bought and activated the paid-version of the preinstalled anti-virus software, then you may not have any effective protection from computer viruses. If that is the case, you have three options:

Option 1: Do nothing (which is what most people do without realizing it). This leaves your computer vulnerable to viruses, and you vulnerable to a loss of privacy and even identity theft.

Option 2: Buy and activate the full version of the preinstalled software (or some other paid antivirus software).

Option 3: Download and install a free anti-virus software package. I personally use the free version of Panda (I'm not affiliated with them other than being a satisfied customer). After more than two years of using Panda, I haven't had a single problem with viruses. There are also a number of other free anti-virus options available - see the anti-virus page at MajorGeeks.com. Please be aware that many free programs also offer paid versions with some extra bells-and-whistles, but really all you likely need is the free version. Also, some free versions don't offer automatic updating, so you may have to manually update the virus definitions (its easy - usually just click on the update button), so be aware if you need to do this or not.
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