Beware of this scammer! Note: Microsoft does not call you out of the blue!

ID-10060832-2I received a call today that I’ve received a few times before… from a scammer who wants to hack computers or worse, have you pay to remove something from it that isn’t broken — before they hack you!

According to what I’ve read online, they make many calls to the same people, all over the country, and they don’t stop even if you tell them to.

The caller says they are from Microsoft and asked for me by name.

He said that my computer has a problem. He knows about the problem because Microsoft monitors my programs (note, they do not unless you give them permission to do so).

Once he calls you he asks if you’re in front or your computer or if you’ll get in front of your computer.

Since I know my way around computers, (I’ve used one since my first job at Merrill Lynch in 1973) the first time he called, I went through with almost everything he told me to do. Most of it wasn’t a problem or anything sinister.

Then he “finds” the problem. Some files need to be fixed (etc.) at a cost of bla, bla, bla.

Sometimes they actually tell you that they’ll fix the problem if you give them access to your computer and pay them to do it!

What he found wrong with my computer really isn’t a problem.

BUT if you get him to fix things you’ll be hacked.

So be aware.

The hacker does give you his phone number which was the same number on the ID: 727-498-0504 but it’s to an unused phone number.

Remember Microsoft never will call you back if you’ve made a service call. Or since I’m on their usability team, I’ll get a call — but it’s most often from a contractor who works with MS.

Are You Ready To Create Your Blog?

Are you planning to buy a hosting service for your WordPress blog or a website? Maybe when you started your blog or website, affordable hosting options weren’t as available as they are now?

Below is a discount coupon to save extra money on your hosting bill.

Hostgator as has been around for a long time and offers affordable shared hosting, and the unlimited resources help every entry level & mid-level blogger to get perfect hosting for their WordPress blog.

They also offer free migration. Meaning that if you own website now, either free or fee, they will help you move it over to their hosting service.

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Here are just some of what you get with their basic “Baby Plan”

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If you have more than one website, add them to the baby plan at no additional cost. If you only have 1 website with a blog, then the hatchling plan is best for you.

Packages are the most affordable when you pay for them for 3 years. However, even their monthly fees are less than most hosting packages. When I started using HostGator, in 2007, I moved just 1 of my websites to their service and paid by the month. I wanted to check out their service. Months later, after I saw that what they said they offered was what they offered, I moved all my sites over and paid for 3 years.

Service: I find that calling them is so better than chatting, emailing or using Twitter.

Did you miss the Count on Success Summit?

700cosslogoDear Financial Advisors, Planners & Wealth Mangers:

If you missed any of the experts featured during the Count on Success Summit, don’t worry!  You can have them all!

AND, for a limited time, save $100 on the SUMMIT! VIP Advisor Success Kit

It was a challenge to write notes fast enough on these timely topics:

  • Growing Your Revenue—and Increasing Your Profits
  • Simplifying Your Business
  • Working Less, Decreasing Stress, and Having More Fun
  • Becoming Known as an Authority
  • Attracting Your Favorite Kind of Client

Every session gives you proven strategies from our 10 industry experts!  Every session allows you to take action, increase your productivity, improve your effectiveness, and ultimately earn more.

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If you want to substantially grow your firm this year, you need new knowledge and proven strategies.  But you also need to execute this new information.  This collection is an absolute must—jam-packed full of knowledge, strategies, tactics, tools, and important resources from our industry experts.

These experts have provided sessions that are no bull, no sales, no fluff.  They offered 100% educational content.  Use their knowledge to update your firm’s systems and grow your practice into a more successful business.

This package is ideal if you…

  • Feel inspired to effectively implement the insights of our experts
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  • Want to listen again (and again!) to your favorites

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Get in at the “VIP Special Pricing”.  The pricing goes up to $197 February 7, 2016.

Your SUMMIT! VIP Package gives you instant access to mp3 audio and mp4 video downloads of ALL the Count on Success Summit presentations.  Enjoy them on your computer or any of your portable devices.

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Don’t miss your chance to own this unique collection of proven strategies from more than 10 practice management and growth experts.   Jump-start your operations, marketing, and IT departments with the knowledge you can use right away.

Questions?  Contact me, Maria

Advisors: #1 Reason to Create an Exit Plan

Your clients and future clients want you to have an exit plan.

Fotolia_63269304_Subscription_XXL200None of us can guarantee that we’ll be here tomorrow.

None of us can guarantee that our business will be here or that “mother nature” won’t destroy our firms.

Because I work with advisors, individuals always ask me for tips and recommendations on hiring an advisor.   During many conversations, they’ll often tell me that they’re afraid to hire a solo-owner or small firms, mostly because of continuity issues.

When you work for a firm and leave, chances are that  clients will become their clients.  (Hopefully, until they find you).   If you were to die tomorrow, someone at the firm will help them.  So succession isn’t a top of mind question for your clients. They know that someone will take care of them.

When you own your firm, your clients wonder what would happen if something happened to you. This is more “top of mind” if you’re a small company.  It’s often the elephant in the room.  (Hint: It’s up to you to have that conversation with them and give them your succession plan!).

So if you don’t have a succession plan because you’re too busy, it isn’t important, you’re too young, or your part of the financial industry doesn’t force you to have one via regulation, think again.  A succession plan is one of  the essential pieces of a solid and comprehensive business foundation.  Create a succession plan because your clients want you to have it! (even if they don’t say it)

There is nothing more important than your client’s or prospect’s peace of mind…

Consider your clients and create one in February.  If nothing else, start the exit plan process by creating a vision of how you’ll be ending your business and how your clients will seamlessly be taken care of.

(c) 2016 Elevating Your Business.  Maria Marsala, owner, and writer on this Marketing With Integrity Blog.

Don’t have a succession vision?  Create yours this month at a short online workshop. Learn more and sign up here



11 Low Cost Ways to Market a Seminar

Market A Seminar Off and Online

You’re hosting or participating in an event, virtually or in person. If it’s your event, for sure, you’ll market it. If it’s an event you’re participating in, that’s another opportunity to get your name out there.

In addition to the ways listed in this article, there are plenty of ways to pay for marketing. Things like: targeted paid advertisement on social networking sites, ads or events notices in trade papers, newspapers, and magazines as well as using USPS’s local bulk mail for businesses system often brings new eyes to your work, too.

Often library systems offer free access to databases of individuals or businesses you can target, too.


Below are 11 ways to market that for free (although it will take your marketing person to do the marketing).

1) Submit a press release online to your local newspapers, including business journals.  They will tell you if your event is an ad or real news.   (Here’s a sample of a press release online

2) Visit the online magazines of the industry you’re in or that your ideal clients read for an opportunity to submit a press release.

3) The associations of your ideal clients often have newsletters and if you catch them at the right time, you can get your event in their newspapers.  Remember to contact all the local chapters of groups you’re a member of, too.

4) When you attend meetings, bring copies of the Press Release with you to share.

5) Your Website
• Put an affiliate link with a banner on the site (you can see mine, on the right side of
• Promote the event according to the research I’ve read.  Tell and then remind your newsletter subscribers 3 times.  (a day before the event, a week before and two-three weeks before)

6) Your Blog
• Add a graphic and your affiliate or tracking link with banner to your site.  You’ll see an example on the right side of
• Create a blog post from a Press Release, share it with your social networking sites
• Add the event to your event calendar
• Send a copy to your Blog subscribers

7) LinkedIn
• Send an update out on your profile.
• Share the event with the LinkedIn Groups that you’re a member of and who have a majority of members who would be interested in knowing about the event.
• Add as an update to your Company page.
• Send an email to our LI connections and, if appropriate, ask them to forward the message to their friends or colleagues.

8) Facebook
• As an update
• Place it on your company page
• Send the link to any groups that you’re a member of who have members that would be interested
• Add it to your event calendar
• Send an email directly to your FB connections via your account

9) Twitter
• As an update

10) Google Plus
• Post it as an update
• Share it with your communities
• Send it to your business connections

11) Other
• Hiring a service that lists events online for you.
• Create your own list of sites who accept events notices.  (I have my own).
• Ask colleagues to list the event on their websites.

Did I miss a way?  Add your way to our comments, and don’t forget to list your title, website and Twitter handle!

© Elevating Your Business 2016