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Gavin Whittaker’s Guide to Internet Safety – Part Ten

image Guest writer Gavin Whittaker has written  an impressive series of ten articles, all designed to  help you navigate the Internet in safety.

We’re presenting Gavin’s highly informative articles, one each day, over the course of ten days.

Here’s the tenth and final part of the www.speeddemonit.co.uk guide to:

  • Protect Yourself from Fraud
  • Highlight the Common Internet Scams
  • Give You the Knowledge & Confidence to Avoid these Online Scams

The Quick Buck – Avoiding Internet Fraud for Beginners

Lets wrap up by looking at ‘work from home’ or ‘make money quick’ emails and websites.  These sites offer you a second income or a great reason to quit your day job and invest all of your time into this ‘proven’ system.

Let’s not assume that all of these work from home opportunities are a scam, take a look at Ann Summers or Avon for example.  However there is without question a huge amount of scams that don’t give any return on your investment, whether your time, money or both!

Most of these scams request an upfront payment for training, materials, administration, registration…you name it, there’s a spin on it.

The scam types varies.  Some include the distribution of flyers or production related work. The real trick however is when the scam itself involves you unknowingly promoting the scam again, to your friends, family and neighborhood.

I’m sure the last 9 days articles have reinforced just how much more painful this situation can become if not only did you pay upfront for materials but you also gave them your bank details….ouch!!

Be aware if you’re approached for a ‘work from home’ opportunity.

  • Research the company on the Internet.  A poor site usually gives the game away immediately.
  • Do not get involved with anyone asking for an advance payment.
  • Dismiss immediately any offer of a big reward for just a little investment of your time and money.
  • Guest writer Gavin Whittaker is an IT Author,  Consultant and Trainer, and a Member of the Technology Channels Association.

    If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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    Gavin Whittaker’s Guide to Internet Safety – Part Nine

    image Guest writer Gavin Whittaker has written  an impressive series of ten articles, all designed to  help you navigate the Internet in safety.

    We’re presenting Gavin’s highly informative articles, one each day, over the course of ten days.

    Here’s the ninth part of the www.speeddemonit.co.uk guide to:

    • Protect Yourself from Fraud
    • Highlight the Common Internet Scams
    • Give You the Knowledge & Confidence to Avoid these Online Scams

    Today we focus on how scammers make money dishonestly from major world events.  Good hearted people the world over are targeted by fake charity sites to pledge money from disasters, such as the recent Haiti earthquake.

    Within hours of the earthquake bogus web sites were everywhere on the internet, processing donations that unfortunately never made it to their supposed beneficiaries.  Similarly emails were being distributed asking you to click the link and pledge money to a scammer…

    I advise you should never donate money to a charity by clicking either a website or email link, and instead go directly to the recognized charity site.  Online charities have to be registered with the Charity Commission at charity-commission.gov.uk so if you still have doubts, investigate the charity in question on this website.

    Tune in tomorrow for Part 10 – The Quick Buck – Avoiding Internet Fraud for Beginners.

    Guest writer Gavin Whittaker is an IT Author,  Consultant and Trainer, and a Member of the Technology Channels Association.

    If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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    Gavin Whittaker’s Guide to Internet Safety – Part Eight

    image Guest writer Gavin Whittaker has written  an impressive series of ten articles, all designed to  help you navigate the Internet in safety.

    We’re presenting Gavin’s highly informative articles, one each day, over the course of ten days.

    Here’s the eight part of the www.speeddemonit.co.uk guide to:

    • Protect Yourself from Fraud
    • Highlight the Common Internet Scams
    • Give You the Knowledge & Confidence to Avoid these Online Scams

    Today we focus on Trojans, code that is part of software you download from the Internet to do various things such as steal your usernames and password, bank login details and so on.

    Trojans are a major reason that there has been a significant rise of botnets – large networks of compromised computers that can be remotely controlled and called upon to spread further damage, whether by sending spam emails or launch attacks on websites you visit, without you ever knowing.

    So botnets, spread the Trojan further!

    Eliminating a Trojan is not easy and usually involves a complete format of your computer, meaning the re-installation of your operating system, your applications and all the other personal preferences you have configured on your computer.

    Identifying these cons is by being mindful of what the links you’re clicking in emails or the programs you are downloading.  A robust web browser such as Mozilla Firefox and up to date anti-virus and spyware protection plays a major role in your security too.

    You’re unlikely to know if your PC is part of a botnet, however, if it is or you suspect it is then seek specialist technical support to ensure your personal files are backed up prior to re-installation.

    Avoiding this type of scam again boils down to common sense and simply being on guard against suspect emails and not downloading software you cannot guarantee the source of.

    Tune in tomorrow for Part 9 – Major World Events – Avoiding Internet Fraud for Beginners.

    Guest writer Gavin Whittaker is an IT Author,  Consultant and Trainer, and a Member of the Technology Channels Association.

    If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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    Gavin Whittaker’s Guide to Internet Safety – Part Seven

    image Guest writer Gavin Whittaker has written  an impressive series of ten articles, all designed to  help you navigate the Internet in safety.

    We’re presenting Gavin’s highly informative articles, one each day, over the course of ten days.

    Here’s the seventh part of the www.speeddemonit.co.uk guide to:

    • Protect Yourself from Fraud
    • Highlight the Common Internet Scams
    • Give You the Knowledge & Confidence to Avoid these Online Scams

    Today we focus on how criminals use online auctions to con us out of our auction items.

    Online auctions sites, such as eBay, are unfortunately rife with fraudulent activity. It affects not only the buyers but the sellers too.  Not only does this spoil the online auction fun for the rest of us, but it means we constantly have to be on our guard.

    The most common scam is to target sellers overseas.  The buyer may offer to pay you by check, or ask you to ship the item to an address different to that confirmed against the credit card being used to pay for the item.

    Of course, the communications from the other party may seem all very genuine and friendly.  You have no reason to suspect that in a few weeks or months , it all turns out that you’ve been paid with a stolen card, or a check that never cleared properly….problem is, you shipped the item , spent the money and unfortunately, you’re going to be out of pocket soon too!

    This is because banks usually credit funds from deposited checks to an account within a few working days – the money has been cleared for value however does not mean the money actually belongs to you yet.  The source of the check (i.e. the foreign bank) has to clear the check for ‘fate’.  This can take some time, and usually means because you’ve been scammed and have spent the money that appeared to clear so soon …the bank can claim it back.

    The other con is when you ship internationally to a different address to that of the credit card.  The ‘story’ the buyer may spin you as to why they need the item to a different address may sound very convincing, however, whether they pay by card, by PayPal, check – stick to your guns and only ship to the correct and verified address…or better still, don’t take the risk – re-list the item and only sell to someone in your country with lots of great feedback and a high feedback score.

    Tune in tomorrow for Part 8 – The Trojan Horse – Avoiding Internet Fraud for Beginners.

    Guest writer Gavin Whittaker is an IT Author,  Consultant and Trainer, and a Member of the Technology Channels Association.

    If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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    Gavin Whittaker’s Guide to Internet Safety – Part Six

    image Guest writer Gavin Whittaker has written  an impressive series of ten articles, all designed to  help you navigate the Internet in safety.

    We’re presenting Gavin’s highly informative articles, one each day, over the course of ten days.

    Here’s the sixth part of the www.speeddemonit.co.uk guide to:

    • Protect Yourself from Fraud
    • Highlight the Common Internet Scams
    • Give You the Knowledge & Confidence to Avoid these Online Scams

    Today we focus on advance fee fraud, a scam promising you money that doesn’t exist but has whet so many peoples appetites internationally that has unfortunately been very successful.

    The situation begins with the receipt of an email claiming to be able to share a vast amount of money with you, subject to you helping them export this sum.  The source of these funds is typically a war-torn or corrupt country….this should be your first warning sign.

    In order for you to help them transfer the money and so give you a slice of the action too, they ask for an advance fee to help them overcome a ‘minor cash flow problem’.  With your small investment the money can be released.

    The prospective return on investment excites computer users to take leave of their senses and give their money away…all because the lump sump they’ve been promised seems so obtainable now, just out of reach!

    This kind of fraud is typically associated with emails from Nigeria and even has its own criminal code – 419.  I’m sure it’ll be no surprise to you that other countries have followed Nigeria’s lead and prolifically send out advance-fee fraud related emails.

    Knowing about this type of scam means you’ll recognize this type of email immediately and know to press the Delete button.

    Guest writer Gavin Whittaker is an IT Author,  Consultant and Trainer, and a Member of the Technology Channels Association.

    If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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    Gavin Whittaker’s Guide to Internet Safety – Part Five

    image Guest writer Gavin Whittaker has written  an impressive series of ten articles, all designed to  help you navigate the Internet in safety.

    We’re presenting Gavin’s highly informative articles, one each day, over the course of ten days.

    Here’s the fifth part of the www.speeddemonit.co.uk guide to:

    • Protect Yourself from Fraud
    • Highlight the Common Internet Scams
    • Give You the Knowledge & Confidence to Avoid these Online Scams

    Today we focus on emails claiming you’ve won the lottery….lucky you!

    Said in jest, there’s a millionaire made every minute online.  Emails arriving in your inbox informing you of a vast lottery win is a common type of con.  Spotting them is again down to common sense, after all, how can you win this online lottery if you didn’t enter it in the first place!

    If you click the links in such emails then the flood gates are opened to phishing, spyware and scareware (see previous articles).

    In addition, the request for personal data so they can send you the check is of course another scam and only contributes towards the theft of your personal identity.

    No matter how convincing the email may look, never click the link.  If (and only if), you did enter the lottery in question should you open your browser and manually type in the website address of the lottery provider yourself, accessing your account and checking for yourself.

    Guest writer Gavin Whittaker is an IT Author,  Consultant and Trainer, and a Member of the Technology Channels Association.

    If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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    Gavin Whittaker’s Guide to Internet Safety – Part Four

    image Guest writer Gavin Whittaker has written  an impressive series of ten articles, all designed to  help you navigate the Internet in safety.

    We’re presenting Gavin’s highly informative articles, one each day, over the course of ten days.

    Here’s the forth part of the www.speeddemonit.co.uk guide to:

    • Protect Yourself from Fraud
    • Highlight the Common Internet Scams
    • Give You the Knowledge & Confidence to Avoid these Online Scams

    Today we focus on scareware, Internet pop-ups that look to convince you that you have a virus or spyware infection.

    Computer users are tricked into installing convincing (but malicious) software that actually creates problems on your PC.  This software then scares you further by highlighting lots of additional fictitious problems and how to pay to fix them.

    The difficulty lies in that this software can look very convincing and often dupes the user into paying for the fix.  The fix never comes, instead comes hassle as these scammers remotely access your PC and steal your personal data – all whilst you’ve paid for the ‘pleasure’.

    A leading Internet security vendor stated that in 2009, there were over 43 million failed scareware attempts worldwide.  Failed attempts emphasizes that your anti-virus and spyware software is doing its job.

    On the other hand, only last month did I help a client who had fallen victim to scareware.  It’s prolific and I don’t want you to get caught out!

    Awareness and common sense again are your best bet in fighting scareware, as is ensuring you are using the latest version of your browser and that your anti-virus and spyware software is up to date.

    You may also wish to view this article – “Identity Theft and Internet Security by Paul Lubic”.

    Guest writer Gavin Whittaker is an IT Author,  Consultant and Trainer, and a Member of the Technology Channels Association.

    If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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    Gavin Whittaker’s Guide to Internet Safety – Part Three

    image Guest writer Gavin Whittaker has written  an impressive series of ten articles, all designed to  help you navigate the Internet in safety.

    We’re presenting Gavin’s highly informative articles, one each day, over the course of ten days.

    Here’s the third part of the www.speeddemonit.co.uk guide to:

    • Protect Yourself from Fraud
    • Highlight the Common Internet Scams
    • Give You the Knowledge & Confidence to Avoid these Online Scams

    Today we focus on cold calls from technical support ‘companies’ telling you they have found a problem on your PC….

    Cold calls from companies about your PC having a problem should immediately set off alarm bells, mainly because this technology doesn’t really exist as such yet – not without you knowing at least.

    Paying someone to fix a ‘non-existent’ fault is one of the oldest tricks in the book.   The scam usually starts with an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be a technical support provider.

    They typically give you a vague description of the problem they’ve apparently found and then guide you through some steps so they can connect to your PC remotely.  Once they have access, they simple access your data for criminal purposes.

    They may pretend to fix problems but they may well create new ones too besides installing malicious software.  To boot, you’ll be expected to pay a fee for this technical support privilege.  You might even be coaxed into signing up for a monthly support contract.

    Knowing what to do is simple – hang up the phone.

    Tune in tomorrow for Part 4 – Scareware – Avoiding Internet Fraud for Beginners.

    Guest writer Gavin Whittaker is an IT Author,  Consultant and Trainer, and a Member of the Technology Channels Association.

    If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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    Gavin Whittaker’s Guide to Internet Safety – Part Two

    image Guest writer Gavin Whittaker has written  an impressive series of ten articles, all designed to  help you navigate the Internet in safety.

    We’re presenting Gavin’s highly informative articles, one each day, over the course of ten days.

    Here’s the second installment of the www.speeddemonit.co.uk guide to:

    • Protect Yourself from Fraud
    • Highlight the Common Internet Scams
    • Give You the Knowledge & Confidence to Avoid these Online Scams

    Today we focus on the BIG con associated with social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube and so on.

    It’s really quite simple but very important:

    When you login to your chosen social media site, always check the Internet link shown in your browser.  Similar to phishing emails, there many different scams out there to get hold of your social site login details.  With such login credentials, the fraudsters not only have access to your details stored on the site but access to all of your ‘friends’, ‘followers’, or ‘connections’…they have widespread access to a lot of data that I’m sure your friends don’t want criminals knowing!!

    What to Do

    The golden rule is to avoid clicking links in email updates from your social media sites.  Instead type the correct web address (i.e. www.facebook.com), into the browser yourself to be sure you’re not being redirected to a site to steal your login details.

    Be sure to read THIS article on www.speeddemonit.co.uk to help you install a great FREE tool to help ensure you’re always being directed to the correct and legit site when online banking or logging into sites such as Facebook, PayPal or eBay.

    Tune in tomorrow for Part 3 – Technical Support Cons – Avoiding Internet Fraud for Beginners.

    Guest writer Gavin Whittaker is an IT Author,  Consultant and Trainer, and a Member of the Technology Channels Association.

    If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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    Gavin Whittaker’s Guide to Internet Safety – Part One

    image Today, we’re trying something a little different here on Tech Thoughts – with the help of guest writer Gavin Whittaker, we’re sending you back to school! Gavin has written  an impressive series of ten articles, all designed to  help you navigate the Internet in safety.

    We’ll present each of Gavin’s highly informative articles, over the course of the next ten days.

    Here’s the first installment of the www.speeddemonit.co.uk guide to:

    Protect Yourself from Fraud

    Highlight the Common Internet Scams

    Give You the Knowledge & Confidence to Avoid these Online Scams

    Today we focus on Phishing:

    Phishing is the process of receiving unsolicited emails (spam) that request you click a link to confirm:

    Your bank details

    You wish to receive a tax refund

    Or to access your PayPal account

    I’m sure you’ve seen other variations too….the list is growing rapidly.

    This ‘phishing’ technique is common and people fall victim to it every day.  The email is formatted to look official and until you click one of the links within the email you’re safe.  Upon clicking a link you’ll be directed to a web site that again has been carefully crafted to look like the login page of the official site.

    What NOT to do

    TIP: Never visit a bank or payment service by clicking a link in an email

    If the user follows the phishing email link and enters their security details into the erroneous site, the usual trick is to display a login error message before the user is unknowingly sent to the official site to login for a 2nd time. This leaves them none the wiser that their login details have now been stolen by a criminal.

    Now that the fraudsters have the users details they can login to the official site as the user and commit fraud!

    Millions of pounds from global users are stolen every year through phishing.

    IMPORTANT: Banks often consider losses arising from phishing emails to be the fault of the user and therefore will not refund the lost money!

    What to do

    Although spam and junk filters can typically detect a phishing email the only surefire way to protect yourself is to never provide personal information in response to an unsolicited email.  If the email really does look convincing, do not click any links in the email but instead go directly to the organizations web page to login and check your account.

    There are tools built into leading Internet browsers nowadays to help prevent phishing, however human logic, awareness and common sense prevail every time.

    Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 – Social Networking – Avoiding Internet Fraud for Beginners.

    Guest writer Gavin Whittaker is an IT Author,  Consultant and Trainer, and a Member of the Technology Channels Association.

    If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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    Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, email scams, Guest Writers, Internet Safety, internet scams, Internet Security Alerts, Online Safety, Phishing, Windows Tips and Tools