The problem: email, texts and the land-line phone
were invented in the ’80s without much thought about
Email addresses, text messages and phone numbers
spoofed, that is, compromised, as being sent from anyone!
So it is technically possible for someone to:
send you an email to you appearing to come
of your kids
send you a text appearing to come from the HMRC
phone you using a friend’s phone number
There is no way of preventing this old tech from
compromised, so … one at a time:
Firstly, a simple fear-free approach
Check the domain (website name) of the sender’s
(the bit after the @)
Email addresses can be spoofed, that is,
as being sent from anyone!
[See examples: Mail > Plusnet]
Scam texts usually have links, check the link
It it a website/domain you trust!
[See examples: Photos >Places]
Phone numbers can be spoofed, that is,
as being sent from anyone!
The problem here is that it may be a genuine caller!
You ask the caller your questions!
My full name?
If from your bank: time of my last login, my
recent transaction, etc
If from the NHS/surgery: my DoB?
If from the police: the case or reason for the call
If from HMRC: it isn’t!
I recently explained this to a lady older than me
said she was looking forward to having a go!
When you receive a suspect email or phone call:
only block the number but note the number and put it
in the subject line to:
Curiosity or something-for-nothing can lead you astray
[Skip this …to read at home!]
People often feel confident in their ability to detect a scam. In a series of experiments that investigated why people engage with materials that are obviously scams – such as letters apparently notifying the person of lottery winnings – we found a subgroup of people who said such letters were probably a scam but would contact the scammers to see for sure, then still back out without any losses.
A typical scam starts by exposing a victim to the fraudster’s pitch, which is designed to evoke strong emotions such as fear. Then fraudsters use persuasion tactics such as commitment (making people feel obligated to follow through on a pledge), authority (police), scarcity (time pressure), and “social proof” to engage their targets. Social proof is a term coined by psychologist Robert Cialdini to explain the way consumers will adapt their behaviour in response to what other people are doing.
They no longer need to be complicated!
They can be easy to remember …
… but need to be long as well as including a
capital and a
It’s so important to have a different password for each login.
Here’s a way to do it …
Ensure you make regular backups of all your
If privacy is not important to you, take a mental
break for a
few minutes … !
Google is now quite hot on security, but is
totally reliant on
data about its users for its advertising billions on knowing as
much about you as possible - profiling means zero privacy.
Remove Google’s Chrome browser and replace
Use DuckDuckGo search instead of Google search
If you use use GMail, don’t delete it but
email host: Zoho Mail is £1 a month (nothing is free!)
If you have an iPhone use Apple Maps for satnav
Not only does Meta profile you to make its
Google, but unlike Google it has also had at least four
significant data breaches.
The UK Information Commissioner has gone on public
to describe the organisation as, “Morally bankrupt
Only put information on Facebook you want
available, e.g. no photos which have the date, time and
location in their files; no personal information including:
full name, birthday, address, phone number;
Ideal if you want to people to know about
organisation or shop … but be careful what you post.
Delete your Facebook account!
Don’t let WhatApp have access to your
contacts - but
Instead of WhatsApp use Signal. Signal does
job, is actually free, is also end-to-encrypted. Set up
by one of the creators of WhatsApp … a whole new
Amazon Privacy Settings You Should Change Right Now,
Jared Newman advises that changing these four Amazon
privacy settings can minimize or prevent much of Amazon's
Opt out of Amazon's targeted ads
Limit Alexa data collection
Minimize Amazon device data collection
Hide your Amazon browsing history
Amazon actually tracks all your mouse/pointer movements!
Gmail email service
Gmail mail app
Chrome browser app
Phones and tablets: Android operating system
WhatsApp message app
Browser app: Firefox app
Search engine: DuckDuckGo, use with
Email app: Thunderbird
Mail service: Zoho mail (and app), low cost
Signal messages app
Feature phone: Doro (it’s not ’smart’)
Smart phones and tablets: Apple iPhone and iPad
Security cameras: that work with Apple HomeKit
Property Alert is a free property monitoring
service for anyone who
feels a registered property could be at risk from fraud.
You can sign up to get email alerts when certain
activity occurs on
your monitored properties, so you can take action if needed.
Whereas some email scams give themselves away with
grammar and punctuation, misspellings and strange layout …
that is all changing: email and text scams may be generated
by AI and become totally plausible! But the advice is the same!
A recent report describes how a man in the US
distressing phone call sounding like his mother demanding
Bitcoin for her release. He ‘quizzed the caller’ and asked her
for her maiden name! He rang his mum … she was fine. Her
voice was copied by AI from her social media posts!
If you’ve been contacted by someone claiming to
Nationwide, there are ways to help you work out if it’s us or
The most important thing to remember is that we
make you feel pressured to do anything. And we won’t try and
stop you from checking who you’re speaking to.
Disclose security details, like your PIN, or
reader code over the phone
Log directly into the Internet Bank via a
link in an email,
text or social media message
Transfer money into a safe account
Use, re-enable or re-sync your card reader
Include the last 4 digits of your card number
if we text
you regarding a suspicious transaction.
Don't panic … a quote from White Rabbit in Disney's 1951 animated production of Alice in Wonderland
See surfer page … under Resources