Category: How To

How to Make Your Website Trusted

The first steps in having your website trusted are the obvious ones – make sure there is nothing that would concern people e.g. selling items of dubious or inconsistent quality, excessive advertising, advertising of business such as gambling, over promising on products or services then being unable to meet those promises, poor customer service, excessive profit margins, inaccurate advertising, poor quality website etc.

Once you have eliminated anything that could put people off then you’re left with two basic things – building a good reputation and hoping for great online reviews by your customers.

These both need a lot of time and effort to happen. Good reputations don’t happen overnight and people will only add great reviews when your sales process, quality of products and services, customer service etc. are top notch.

There is another way to increase trust and that is to become accredited by the various relevant bodies for whatever industry you are in and also to be accredited or registered with the various bodies that review websites.

Recent research shows that most customers don’t understand security on the Internet but they do trust various organisations and hence trust their judgements on trustworthy websites.

To the question “Which badge gives you the best sense of trust when paying online” the results show

  • Norton 36%
  • MacAfee 23%
  • Truste
  • BBB

Other badges did also register but these four were the most recognised and trusted by far.

What do you have to do to get Norton accreditation for example?

You buy a Symantec SSL certificate and implement that on your website.

The other companies listed above are Trust based rather than simply SSL recognition.

As well as the trusted badges, in assessing a website, consumers report that they look for qualities including

  • up to date information
  • fresh content
  • easy ways to contact the business
  • honesty about any problems
  • negative comments as well as positive ones
  • where appropriate – pictures of the management.

Make your website trusted for genuine reasons – don’t shortcut.

Do Share this post on social media – click on the post title then scroll down to the social media share buttons.

How to Report a Bad Website

It can be very simple and quick for people to create websites – good websites and bad websites.

What can you do if you encounter a bad website?

Bad in this case doesn’t mean something you don’t like but a website that is a scam or misleading or steals your personal information or is a copy of someone else’s website etc.

You can report the bad website to the search engines, blacklists, review sites and the Authorities.

Search Engines

Google, Bing and the other search engines want to know about bad websites so they can direct traffic away from them and where relevant will report the sites to the Police or other Authority.

Report to Google https://safebrowsing.google.com/safebrowsing/report_badware/?hl=en

Instructions for Bing  https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/930167/how-to-report-a-phishing-web-site

To report a site Internet Explorer: If you are running IE and are still on the site in question, then  click on the Safety icon, which is on the toolbar go to “SmartScreen Filter” and select “Report unsafe website”.

Blacklists

Many organisations maintain lists of ‘bad’ websites called blacklists. This is to enable services such as Web of Trust, Trustwave, Brightcloud, numerous anti virus and anti malware companies such as McAfee, Sophos and many others to block access to those sites.

When you navigate to a blacklisted  listed website, your anti-virus or other software will warn you and stop the browser opening that site.  Which such software protection you choose is up to you but they all try to offer a good service.

PhishTank is a collaborative clearing house for data and information about phishing on the Internet. It maintains a blacklist used by software services. PhishTank allows developers to integrate anti-phishing data into their applications at no charge. https://www.phishtank.com/

Review Sites

There are various review websites that allow you to enter information, reviews, comments on websites and businesses – to help others make informed choices.

Which one you pick to report a bad website to depends on the nature of the website

e.g. for travel reviews – Trip Advisor

Some of the largest of these review sites are Consumer Report, Four Square, Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List and there are lots more.

The Authorities

You can report websites to Action Fraud if there is evidence of criminal activity.

You can report online scams and rip-offs to Trading Standards via the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline on: 03454 04 05 06

Do leave a comment on this post – click on the post title then scroll down to leave your comment.

How to Maintain Privacy on Facebook

Social media is designed for you to share but you should take care to set the privacy levels so you know who can see your information and postings.

Basic Privacy Settings

In Facebook on a PC, click on the top right menu item and select Settings then Privacy and you should see as below.

You choose who can see your postings, profile etc. The choices are Public, Friends, Specific Friends or Only Me.

Set “Who Can Contact Me”. The choices are Everyone or just Friends and Friends of Friends

Set “Who Can Lookup Me Up” and whether you want search engines outside of Facebook to find your profile.

That’s all quite straightforward. Basically you decide if you want the world to see what you put on Facebook or restrict it to friends.

The Audience Selector Tool

When creating a new post on your timeline, there is a drop down box which allows you to determine the audience for the post. You can choose Public , Friends, Friends Except (you pick which friends to exclude), Specific Friends (you pick which Friends to include) or Only Me.

You’ll find an audience selector tool most places you share status updates, photos and other things you post. Click the tool and select who you want to share something with.

The selector tool remembers the audience you shared with the last time you posted something and uses the same audience when you share again unless you change it.

Profile

To set or modify your profile information, click the ‘Update Info button on bottom right of your header photo. You can then set a new header photo, profile photo, location, family and relationships, schools, professional skills etc.

Everyone can see this public information, which includes your name, profile picture, cover photo, gender, username, user ID, and networks.

To see what your profile looks like to other people, use the View As tool.

Timeline

Only you and your friends can post to your Timeline. When you make a post you can set the audience. When other people post on your Timeline, you can control who sees it by choosing the audience of the Who can see what others post on your Timeline setting.

As you edit your info, you can control who sees what by using the audience selector.

Privacy Check

Facebook lets you make a quick health check on privacy settings. Click on the question mark (or maybe a padlock symbol) on top right and select Privacy Check.

1) Posts – As explained below, this will explain how to control your privacy settings for every post.

2) Apps – Who sees your activity within APPS from outside suppliers

3) Profile – How much personal information is to be shown

Use Facebook wisely and don’t give any information to people without considering the possible consequences first.

Do enter your email address and click on the subscribe button on top right to keep up to date with new posts.

Resolve Your Complaint Expertly

https://www.resolver.co.uk/

Resolver is a website designed to make it easy for people to complain and it’s free to use. Resolver say their goal is to help make complaining quick and straightforward.

Resolver also works with MoneySavingExpert.com which is the UK’s biggest consumer advice website.

For some years there have been complaint templates available on the Internet and these make life easier for making a complaint.  But Resolver has taken the next step and automated the process online.

Resolver was started by James Walker, after his energy company ignored a complaint of his. James realised that complaining was complex and hard work and that there was no service that proactively helped consumers resolve their issues.

Resolver say “For the past decade we’ve used template letters to help – over 10m have been downloaded just on our PPI and bank charges reclaiming campaigns alone. The free technology Resolver provides can take this a leap further: automating the process, including drafting the letter, sending it, monitoring replies and then escalating it to an Ombudsman or key complaint body if it’s not sorted”.

Resolver tries to guide and support you throughout the complaint process. The system makes recommendations on next steps and when to take them, helps you keep track of your complaint and enables you to store all relevant information securely in one place.

Resolver was not set up to attack businesses or give them a hard time but to streamline the whole complaints process and reputable companies prefer this approach and work with Resolver.  They now work with tens of thousands of companies.

To use Resolver, you select the company you wish to complain to. If it’s on their list then you are presented with information about the company, their rules on complaint procedure and any other relevant information. Then you start your ‘case’ which means to entre all of the relevant information and it is sent to the company concerned.

Resolver keeps tracking of your case and any progress or fresh messages.  This is a very useful service.

If you have a complaint to make – Resolver.co.uk is a good place to start.

If you’ve enjoyed this post or found it useful then do share – click on the post title then scroll down to the social media share buttons.

Be a Scamsmart Investor

There are many scams that operate by cold calling or emailing people about a fantastic new investment opportunity – usually only available to a few people and you must decide NOW or it will be too late.

These can be very lucrative scams as potentially a lot of money is involved. But they can be devastating to the people caught out who may lose their nest egg, savings or pension.

How to Avoid These Scams

  1. If you are cold called about an investment opportunity – end the call straightaway. Reputable organisations do not cold call in this manner.
  2. If you are called and the person claims to have spoken with you before or to be calling about a brochure or email they sent to you – just end the call (unless of course you do have the brochure and are interested)

Investment fraud is often sophisticated, well organised  and difficult to spot. Fraudsters can be highly educated  and seem financially knowledgeable. They may have credible websites, testimonials and materials that can be hard to distinguish from the real thing.

However, if you are interested in an investment opportunity, then you need to check on the company and the offer thoroughly.

How to Check a Company

Step 1: Check if a firm is authorised or registered at  https://register.fca.org.uk/

Check the Register to see whether a firm or individual is authorised by us or registered. You should access the Register from our website, rather than through links in emails or on the website of a firm offering you an investment. Also check the address of our website is correct and there are not subtle changes that mean it is a fake.

To confirm the identity of an authorised firm on the Register, ask for their ‘firm reference number’ (FRN) and contact details, but always call them back on the switchboard number given on the Register rather than a direct line they might give you.

If you deal with an unauthorised firm you will not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (link is external) or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (link is external) (FSCS) if things go wrong.

Step 2: Check the FCA Warning List at https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/unauthorised-firms-individuals

Firms and individuals can only conduct regulated financial services activities in the UK if they are authorised by the FCA or registered to do so, or are otherwise exempt.

Step 3: Genuine Names

Beware of fraudsters pretending to be from a firm authorised by us, as it could be a ‘cloned firm’. These scammers often claim to be from overseas firms that appear on the Register as these firms do not always have their full contact and website details listed.

Step 4: Check the Company’s website, look for testimonials and reviews on independent websites, companies house records etc.

Step 5: Ideally get independent financial advice.

Do leave a comment on this post – click on the post title then scroll down to leave your comment.

How to Buy Fake Website Traffic

Website owners are always keen to know how much traffic their site gets i.e. how many people visit the site, which pages they read etc.

We all know that some of the ‘traffic’ on the Internet is fake, but most website owners hope it is a small percentage of the real traffic.  However, some companies in the field of advertising believe that up to 50% of traffic achieved through advertising  could be fake.

In this context ‘fake’ means it’s not a person looking at your website – it’s another  computer.

This is the reason why so many websites these days insist you answer a Capcha query to prove you are a human being.

Suppose you have a new website and you believe the content is worth sharing. You want to get a lot of people to view your website. How do you go about this?

The starting point is to tell everyone you know, use social media to advertise your website content, tell anyone in the industry that you know and ask everyone to spread the word about your website.

Then if you need more traffic i.e. people looking at your website – you might consider paying for traffic – from Google, Facebook, Twitter etc. This is good traffic (i.e. real people viewing your adverts) but it does cost.

If you can’t get (or afford) the traffic you want then you may look at the cheaper traffic providers.

Cheap Traffic

How do cheaper suppliers get traffic for your site – there’s lots of ways e.g. clickbait, spam messages, posting fake comments on popular blogs or forums, fake adverts, advert marketplaces, fake SEO, traffic exchanges, etc.

Clickbait is such a source that is increasingly used on popular news aggregator and entertainment  websites.  You will see mini ads with labels such as “10 things you didn’t know about Scarlett Johannsen” or “See what happened to these child stars”. When someone clicks on the ad they don’t get what they expected but are directed to a website where the owner has paid to get more people viewing their site.

Clickbait is annoying but harmless. More of a problem are “bots”. This means pieces of software that mimic people in viewing websites and clicking on links.

Using these techniques, your website may get lots of traffic but it could be largely other computers and is very unlikely to be people wanting to do business with you.

How Can You Identify Fake Traffic?

This is a complicated matter and needs expertise, but you would start by examining the statistics/analytics for the website :-

A very high Bounce Rate can indicate disinterested visitors or bots.

A very low Pages/Session figure can mean people attracted to the site are only interested in one link then they leave. If combined with a very short average length of visit can mean automated viewing not people.

If you don’t go down the route of buying cheap traffic then you shouldn’t normally have to worry about fake traffic.

Do leave a comment on this post – click on the post title then scroll down to leave your comment.

How to Find Trustworthy Local Tradesmen

Most homeowners have faced the problem of needing a tradesman – e.g. a plumber, carpenter, decorator etc.

How do you make sure the person or company you choose is going to be trustworthy and do a good job.?

That’s not easy.

In the last few years various websites have appeared that include ratings on the tradesmen and these are very useful but the ratings are typically based on customer experience rather than an expert assessment.

TrustMark is a Government endorsed scheme for trades in and around the home. They award registered firms with accreditation after vetting and on-site inspections to ensure the firm is raising industry standards and this accreditation gives customers reassurance of quality and protection from rogue traders.

TrustMark is a ‘not for profit’ social enterprise and the TrustMark Scheme was developed in 2005, in conjunction with Government, industry and consumer protection bodies.

TrustMark says it seeks to continually improve and welcomes constructive engagement on how improvements and enhancements can be achieved.

The Website

www.trustmark.org.uk

The site is free to use and designed for you to find tradesmen based on entering a postcode and selecting a trade.

Or alternatively to find information on a specific tradesman /company

There are a lot of registered tradesmen on Trustmark but not everyone of course  – it does cost time and money to be registered so not all tradesmen have done so.

So, you can use Trustmark to reduce the likelihood of problems with your chosen tradesman.

Do Share this post on social media – click on the post title then scroll down to the social media share buttons.

How to Freeze Your Credit

This is not about stopping paying interest or anything similar. It’s about protecting yourself against scammers opening new lines of credit in your name.

It may be a somewhat extreme approach, but for some afflicted by scammers – choosing to freeze their credit accounts and blocking the ability to take out more credit can be a sensible if temporary move.

How to Freeze Your Credit Cards

You have to contact each of your credit card providers and either cancel the card or request that they block the card for a period. Asking to freeze your card (while still paying any interest due) is a rare request and they may not want to co-operate. However if necessary you can always cancel the card and open a new account after you  no longer feel the need to block access.

How to Stop Scammers Taking Out New Lines of Credit

You have to contact each of the three primary credit bureaus and request a block on new credit. They will give you a 10 digit pin number without which no-one can take out new credit cards etc in your name even if they have all the necessary other information about you.

Equifax:  www.equifax.co.uk  or call 0845-603-3000.

Call Credit : www.calcredit.co.uk or call 0330-024-7574

Experian: www.experian.co.uk   or call 0344-481-0800

Credit freezes can be a hassle if you need to unfreeze your reports because you’re applying for a loan for example, it can take several days to unfreeze it and allow access.

A credit freeze won’t help prevent fraud on existing accounts, which constitutes 88 percent of identity theft.

Regular Reports

It makes sense to regularly check your credit reports. You get one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus.

Do leave a comment on this post – click on the post title then scroll down to leave your comment

How to Stay Safe on Social Media

Social Media is incredibly popular and many of us are used to just posting or tweeting anything we like. That’s what social media is for.

BUT, there are unscrupulous people who take advantage of that openness. Scammers.

You should take general precautions – i.e. have appropriate anti-virus and anti-malware on your computer and keep it up to date.

Then it’s a question of taking care that anything you put on social media cannot be used to harm yourself or anyone else.  Following these points below can help:-

  1. Check the privacy and security setting son your social media and set them appropriately.
  2. Set strong passwords (at least 8 characters long and including capitals, numbers and symbols)
  3. Be careful with links and files. If you’re not sure about the source, then don’t download or click on the link. Hackers will sometimes post links in comments to try and trick you into clicking them.
  4. Be aware that your posts may affect others and they may take offence where you wouldn’t or not want their private information online. So be considerate.
  5. Be wary of add-ons. Many games and add-ons are created by third party companies and may not be as safe as you assume.  Be wary of any extra permissions that an APP requires.
  6. Be careful who you follow or friend. You may want to have hundreds of friends, but does it really help anything?
  7. Periodically, try a Google search on your name – to see what personal information is available
  8. Never log in from public hotspots. Most social networking sites don’t have a secure login (https), so your user name and password could be copied at any time. Only log in from trusted wireless networks.

Remember: If you wouldn’t say it or do it in public, don’t post it online.
Think twice before posting pictures you wouldn’t want your parents, partner or employer to see.

Do Share this post on social media – click on the post title then scroll down to the social media share buttons.

Safe Online Banking

business-17610_640

Online banking is becoming very popular as people have less time to visit their banks to carry out transactions and we’re becoming very used to doing more and more business on our mobile devices (and PCs).

Logging in on a Desktop or Laptop Computer

You should always access the bank website from your browser favourites or type in the Internet address – never respond to emails claiming to be from your bank asking you to click to login or to provide them with security information. These are always scams as your bank will never ask for such information in an email.

You need to have anti-virus installed on your computer and to keep it up to date. This will prevent the worst viruses getting into your computer but no software is infallible and you need to exercise caution as well – e.g. do not open attachments in email unless you know the person who sent it to you.  Two popular packages are from McAfee and Norton. There is also anti malware software available that can protect against a wider range of threats to your security.

The login pages of bank websites use secure access  (https) so a locked padlock or key symbol should appear in your browser window when accessing your bank site.

Using a Mobile Device

You can use the browser on your mobile device to access your bank’s website but it’s better to download and use the bank’s APP (make sure you download the official one). Keep the APP and the device up to date with all security updates.

Wi-Fi

You should ensure that your Wi-Fi at home uses a password rather than allowing open access.

There are numerous places such as restaurants, shopping centres, trains and buses that offer free Wi-Fi. Again you should only use this if it requires a password to login and you should avoid any financial transactions on public Wi-Fi

Scammers have been known to setup free Wi-Fi in town centres and use it to collect passwords and personal; information from users.

Banks

The banks use various methods to ensure the safety of your information and you should use these wherever possible.

Barclays has PINsentry which is a device that generates unique 8 digit code you use whenever you want to access your account. This is much stronger security than just a password.  Natwest recommends use of IBM Raport security software for better protection against online intrusion.  Lloyds use an anti-fraud process called Enhanced Internet Authentication (EIA) to help keep you safer online. Santander recommend downloading Trusteer Rapport which is free and has won awards for keeping customers’ details secure.

Check your bank statements regularly and contact your bank immediately if you spot any transactions that you didn’t authorise.

All of the banks put a lot of effort into trying to keep you safe with their online baking so follow their guidance.

Do leave a comment on this post – click on the post title then scroll down to leave your comment