How to score the best Black Friday deals

Q. I’m hitting the stores this year for the big Black Friday sales. Any shopping tips?

A. Yes! Check online for leaked Black Friday ads so you have time to compare prices and map out what stores to visit. Take photos of the ad items and keep them on your phone so you remember what you’re after.

Some online retailers will be kicking off Black Friday sales early, so keep an eye online for store opening times.

Click here to see leaked ads for Target, RadioShack, Walmart, Sears and more than a dozen other stores.

Signs of a dangerous online shopping scam

Q. I keep getting emails with links for coupons. When I click on them, the site asks for my credit card information. Are these for real?

A. Nope, those are definitely scams. A legitimate company won’t ask for your banking or credit card information to get coupons. Look for red flags, including misspellings and multiple pop-up windows, that are dead giveaways for a scam site.

If an email seems suspicious, don’t reply or click on any links. Delete it immediately. Click here for two more signs of an online shopping scam.

Maximize your hard drive space

Q. My computer keeps giving me a “low disk space” warning. Any suggestions?

A. You can remove unneeded software with a tool like PC Decrapifier. Find and delete space-consuming duplicate files using a program like Duplicate Cleaner. If you have hundreds of photos or other large files, you can move them to DVD, flash drive or an inexpensive external hard drive.

Click here for more simple ways to maximize your hard drive space.

Steps to take before selling your old gadgets

Q. I’m selling my old computer. Is there anything I should do before putting it up for sale?

A. First, make sure important files are safely transferred to your new gear. Then permanently erase your personal information. The easiest way is to wipe your hard drive with a program like Darik’s Boot and Nuke.

Another option is to delete only your sensitive files with a program like Eraser for Windows and Permanent Eraser for Mac.

Click here for more instructions on wiping your old gadgets.

Social networks you didn’t know kids are using

Q. I know my teens are on Facebook and Twitter. Are there other social networks popular with kids right now?

A. You bet there are. Snapchat, widely nicknamed “the sexting app,” lets kids share photos or video that “self-destruct” seconds after they’ve been viewed.

Teens also love Tumblr, a popular blogging site. But parents should know it’s chock-full of adult content.

Pheed is a newer social network where kids can create live audio and video broadcasts. But its live-streaming features raise serious privacy concerns.

Click here to see more social networks kids are using that they really shouldn’t.

Kim Komando hosts the nation’s largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. Hear it locally at 94.3 WSC News Radio noon-3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, go to www.komando.com.