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Safe From Scams Website

SafeFromScams was created in 2010 to offer information on how to protect yourself against scams.

The sales pitch for the site is:-

“It’s a very dangerous world out there. You might lock your doors.. The scammers are everywhere. They want to part you from your hard-earned money, to steal your identity, or simply take advantage of your honesty to make a profit from others. You might be law-abiding, but they’re not. There are thousands of them, in person, in business, on the phone and online – and they’re growing more ingenious all the time”.

They say that the site is the resource to learn about scams of all types, from the classics that are still being run regularly, like bill-padding, builders, and chain letters – which still work – to the new ones that keep appearing, things like phishing, mobile phone scams, or those fake lotteries.

The website was created seven years ago as at that time, there was no single UK resource for interesting features and practical advice on how to stay safe from scams.

They say that the features and articles are written by experts – who have experience, or a particular interest in this area.

The guy who started Safe From Scams is John Rowlinson – the owner of PtS which has software and property companies and he uses those to fund the Safe From Scams website and a number of similar sites.

The site covers a wide range of scams, including Credit Card Scams, Travel Scams, Fake Goods, Medical Scams and is a great resource for more detailed information on the various kinds of scams.,

There is also an ‘Ask the Expert’ feature.

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Cyber Attack Costs Reckitt Benckiser £100 Million

Reckitt Benckiser is not a household name but it is a huge international company that makes Dettol and Durex amongst other things.

The Petya ransomware attack in June 2017 affected many companies and governments  but Reckitt Benckiser had 15,000 laptops, 2000 servers and 500 computer systems rendered unusable within an hour.

This ransomware is very similar to the Wannacry ransomware attack in May 2017 that caused havoc at the NHS.

Petya gets into a system through email – someone opens an email that they shouldn’t and then the ransomware can spread from computer to computer using a technique that Microsoft issued a security patch for a long time ago.  So it appears that Reckitt Benckiser did not keep their system up to date for security.

Once in the systems and spreading it is very hard to contain without simply turning all of the computers off and cleaning them of the problem one at a time.

Reckitt and Benckiser were particularly badly hit because the virus got into their manufacturing systems and halted production at numerous factories around the world.

“Consequently, we were unable to ship and invoice some orders to customers prior to the close of the quarter,” a Reckitt Benckiser spokesperson said in a statement.

The cost of £100 million is mostly the drop in the share price rather than day to day costs.

Businesses have to become much more aware of the dangers in the cyber world and their responsibility to secure their customers information and their systems.

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The Scumbag Award Winners 2017

The Fightback Ninja has created the Scumbag Awards 2017 for the scammers and spammers who make our lives miserable through theft of money, time and even identity.

You have voted and here are the results.

We would like to hand over the awards in person to these heartless people, but of course they hide in the shadows until  the day they are caught.

Category: Nastiest Scam   Winner: Natural Disasters

Every time there is a natural disaster, charities and other organisations appeal for help and the public always respond. But there are always scam appeals as well.

Category: Most Public Ransomware   Winner: Wannacry

May 2017, this stopped several hospitals, doctors surgeries and much more for days before it was stopped.

Category: Holiday Scams   Winner:

This company specialised in setting up fake websites offering holidays in the Canaries. A new website each month using the same photos and offers pulled in a lot of people who paid but didn’t get a holiday and often were out of pocket further on flights that couldn’t be cancelled last minute.

Special Award Winner: Walkers Crisps 2016 Competition Scam

Not strictly a holiday scam as it was a competition but the Marketing people at Walkers outdid themselves with this nasty cheating piece of Marketing that backfired as it angered many previously loyal customers.

Category: Financial Fraud   Winner: The Evil High Street Banks and PPI

We’ve all had hundreds of cold calls about PPI (payment protection insurance) and this has been going on for years. Millions of people have had their PPI cost refunded by the banks, credit companies and 3rd party brokers who have had to pay back over £26 billion so far.

Category: Dating and Romance   Winner: Fake Investigators:

Once someone has been scammed, they are labelled as easy prey and some scammers will approach them with a new story and offer help.  There are fake investigators offering to find the original scammer and get the money back and have the perpetrators brought to justice

Category: Biggest Time-Wasters   Winner: Lifestyle Survey Calls

Endless calls “I’d like you to answer some simple questions please. It’ll only take 5 minutes”

Category: Biggest Phone Scam   Winner: The Computer Support Call

You receive a call from Microsoft/Virgin/BT to tell you your PC has a virus.


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Wayne and Jill Scambaiting

Every year tens of thousands of people in the UK are conned by online scammers, but it is not only the authorities taking action – “scam baiters” take the fight to the scammers.

Wayne and Jill (not their real names) are scam baiters. Jill explained her approach and some examples on a recent BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme.

“We waste scammers’ time, we waste their resources and we make them believe they are not as good as they think they are,” “Scammers are always going to be there but if we can take them down a peg and take a victim away from them any time we can, then we are doing something good,” says Jill.

The scam baiters often publish online their interactions with the scammers as a way of warning people.

The aim is for these to appear in search engine results, so potential victims will be alerted if they type in the scammer’s name.

The Scam baiters don’t make money from their actions – they do it to stop others being scammed. For Wayne, the motivation is simply the “buzz” he receives from knowing he can help someone.

Wayne’s Set-Up as a Scam Baiter

Wayne’s set-up is rudimentary. He works under various aliases, mostly named after characters from his favourite children’s television shows of his youth.

He often makes himself seem more vulnerable – and potentially gullible – by pretending to have recently broken up from a partner.

Both Wayne and Jill always wait to be approached by scammers, rather than seeking them out. Their names are on a so-called “suckers list” – effectively a database of people thought to be easy to con – which is passed around by scammers online.

The latest to get in touch is a man who emails Jill to say she has won the lottery in Africa. Pretending to be husband and wife, Wayne and Jill make a joint contact back, the aim being to waste the scammer’s time by arguing about which one of them gets the money. Surprisingly, Jill considers her biggest success to be the time she received a death threat from a scammer she had targeted.

“If you get a death threat you know you’ve really wound someone up. I had one scammer driving round Madrid for a day trying to find ‘Lynn’, who had gone to Madrid.

“Of course, I hadn’t gone to Madrid, I was in my front room. Jill tells it as a funny anecdote, but it underlines the seriousness involved.

“I take great care in protecting my online persona,” she says. “I bait with email addresses that aren’t traceable. I don’t use any of my real-life information. All of my characters are based somewhere 100 miles away from where I live.”

Click for an example of Scambaiting.

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