Saturday, 11 June 2022

Fraud...are you kidding me?

We hear a lot about fraud, online fraud or Internet fraud, today. Let’s be fair when it is so easy to spoof SMS’ communication or even spoof telephone numbers I am surprised we are not literally drowned in the stuff. I am sure the official bodies, like OfCom and banks themselves, could do a lot more. As well as the Internet companies themselves. Individuals should do more to safeguard themselves. I do not receive many phone calls from persons from India but when they start saying things like ‘Am I speaking to Mr X?’ I know we are in the beginnings of a possible scam and I simply put the phone down without saying a word. If it is important they will phone back but they never do so it cannot be important. On mobiles you can block all calls from people NOT on your contacts list. That is pretty good. So make sure your bank, if you use your mobile, will be one of your contacts. There is no way you can block all emails, spam or otherwise, except you can filter them. Businesses like Google already use pretty good filters but they still end up in your spam box. You could block individual senders but it entails you having to open the email. It is possible this email has the ability to return a signal to the sender showing your email address is valid and used. Resulting in a further avalanche of spam. I have found the best way, especially with Gmail, is to allow Google to send spam to the spam box and simply delete it. You can also redirect it to the ‘Deleted’ box which when closing the email program and having set the relevant switch, will automatically delete everything in the ‘Deleted’ box. What I normally do is ‘scan’ the email headings and take out those (only very, very few a month) that Google marked as spam but are not. They arrived in spam for other reasons, like using words in the message that are marked as ‘trigger’ words. Another thing you can and should do is ‘train’ the spam filter in your email program. You can mark all those unwanted emails from supermarkets to clothing shops as spam and after a short time they will all automatically put in the spam box. Everyone using email systems simply has to be more aware you are open to the world. Every Tom, Di*k and Harry can say almost everything, from having won a lottery which you didn’t even know existed and didn’t buy a ticket, to telling you your bank account has been compromised and you need to change your money to another account immediately. I had a message like that, just simply phone your bank. But don’t use numbers that are shown in the message or click on any UNDERLINED words! The genuine bank telephone numbers are very easy to find. If you have a bank debit or credit card the phone numbers shown on it should be used. Again, if those phone numbers are shown in the email and are underlined – DO NOT CLICK on them! It cannot be overemphasized, phone the bank yourself! There are more things you can do – get a paid for VPN service, use Two Factor Authorisation -2FA where possible, or use a Yubico key or other brand, there are a few. It costs a few pounds but may save you your life’s savings. So, be careful, and keep you ears and eyes open.

Edit: I was not trying to be either a misogynist or racist when I said ‘Indian’. It just so happens that a lot of these calls do come from India or Pakistan, so quite obviously I mentioned it in that way. But all the same, those sort of calls could equally well come from Outer Mongolia or yes, Russia! Or even from the shady guy next door!

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