Category: information

Facebook Adverts Target the Family

Facebook is introducing a new household audience feature that will let companies direct adverts to entire families or to specific people within a household. The tool could help aim adverts at people who influence purchasing decisions and other adverts to the people making the actual purchases.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The company selects the audience they want to target
  2. They uploads the custom audience data to Facebook (names and address, email addresses etc.). This may be data from their own systems or purchased data.
  3. They turn on the household audience feature to reach not just the person they’re targeting, but also other people in the same household.

Facebook is open about wanting to shift TV advertising to their platform.  Facebook executives said they’ll be able to identify members of the same household based on data, such as their familial relationships on Facebook, but also based on the frequency of shared check-ins or where they access the internet i.e. clever guesswork.

The tool might also be used to reduce wasted advertising spend. For example, if someone has already bought a household-specific product or service e.g. Netflix subscription, an Airbnb reservation—then based on the customer database, the marketer and Facebook know to stop showing such adverts to that household.

Along with the added targeting, Facebook is adding additional measurement capabilities. This will appear in the Adverts Reporting dashboard and show how campaigns perform in terms of getting results across members of a household. Metrics will include how many households the advertising reaches, along with the frequency at which they were reached. It’ll also potentially show how an advert shown to one person affected a purchase made by someone else.

Examples of how the new feature may be used:-

  1. A husband purchased products from Sonos, so he’s in the company’s customer database. Sonos might then try to influence his wife to get him a gift or their kids to buy him something.
  2. One member of the household who sees a hotel advert in France will find others in the household have seen it too, leading to the family making holiday plans.
  3. It could show parents ideas for their children and husbands the items his wife likes to look at.

This could spoil surprises or even expose cheating partners.

Many people already find the adverts that follow them around the Internet to be creepy. You look at a pair of shoes on Amazon then find every website you look at is showing you those same shoes.  This new Facebook feature could take that creepiness to a new level.

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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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Warning: Are You on a Sucker List

Scammers trade a list between themselves of people who have fallen for scams and it’s called a “sucker list”.

Sucker lists, which include names, addresses, phone numbers, and other information, are created, bought, and sold by scammers, spammers and some dishonest telemarketers. Scammers know that people who have been tricked once are easier to trick again. As a result, these people are flooded with letters, e-mails and phone calls about inheritances, lottery wins, health cures, investments etc.

In 2015, almost 200,000 people appeared on 13 different “suckers lists” that were seized by fraud investigators. Trading Standards said those listed were being sent mailshots inviting them to take part in lotteries, prize draws, competitions and special offers etc.

The average age of people on the list is 75. You can see how scammers target the elderly and vulnerable.

If you’ve ever been scammed, chances are your name could be on one.

How Do You Know if You’re on a Sucker List?

If you have been scammed online and get more scam messages and mail than others then chances are you are on a suckers list and there is no way to get off the list except by not responding to any scam messages for a long time. Evenetually they may lose interest in you.

How to Avoid Getting on a Sucker List:

Ensure you are registered on all mail and telemarketing opt-out or do-not-call lists.

The following article explains how to do register with the various preference services.

Don’t reply to offers of money, miracle cures, competition wins etc. If you didn’t enter a competition then  you cannot have won one.

If you are truly being bombarded, consider changing your email address and/or phone number, and keep them confidential/unlisted.

In 2017, sucker’s lists held by National Trading Standards contained nearly 300,000 names.

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Airline Delays and Compensation

There are EU laws defining how much air passengers should be compensated for various flight delays.

However, many of the airlines are not playing fair with their customers and large numbers of people find they have to complain to the Civil Aviation Authority for their recompense. This is after they have been through the airlines dispute resolution process.

The Denied Boarding regulation covers flights originating in the EU and all flights by EU registered airlines.  However it does not cover non EU registered airlines flying outside the EU.

  • Short haul passengers are entitled to 250 Euros if the flight is delayed by more than 3 hours
  • Long haul passengers can be entitled to 300 Euros if the flight landed between 3 and 4 hours late
  • Long haul passengers are entitled to 600 Euros if the flight landed more than 4 hours behind schedule
  • Delayed passengers may be entitled to meals, refreshments, email service, phone calls and even overnight accommodation depending on the delays.

The airlines argue that most causes of delays are outside of their control e.g. weather problems, bird strikes, airport issues etc. and therefore they shouldn’t have to pay, but the regulators take a more open approach and expect the airlines to pay compensation in many of these cases.

For the EU law to apply, you’ll need to have departed from the UK, European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

The airlines should help you at the airport. But if not, then you’ll need to apply to the airline afterwards. Make sure to keep any relevant receipts and don’t overspend – they won’t compensate you for luxury hotels and extravagant meals and alcohol etc.  has detailed information on exactly how much you can claim.

The Which consumer magazine site has a letter creator to help you claim compensation. At

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Do You Understand Facebook Security

The Internet Resource Centre ( carried out a survey to help Facebook users deal with concerns over identity theft.

The key concern from the survey results is that many Facebook users don’t understand the privacy settings and believe their information has more restricted circulation than is actually the case.

63% of respondents believed their information was only visible to friends if their profile was set to private. Not true.

Over 90%  of respondents say they have their full name visible on their profile and more than 50% have their birthday, pets names, hometown, high school name and current city visible. All of this information is very useful to identity thieves.

Most people do not share passwords with others, but 10% say they reuse the same password on other sites. If your password is hacked, then the hackers often try the same login and password on other systems so if you share passwords across systems then you’re putting all of them all at risk from one hack.

Most survey respondents have received scam emails and messages, phishing emails and messages and more than 10% report their account was accessed without their permission. The results were mostly embarrassment and damage to reputation but also loss of money in some cases.

Many victims of identity theft do not realise their identity has been compromised  until some time later e.g. when a bank statement arrives or debt collectors start to phone.  By then a lot of damage could already have been done.

The page at contains detailed information on Facebook privacy settings.

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Cold Caller Number Lookup

It is estimated that each day, twelve million people in the UK receive one or more cold calls.

Have you received a scam call or an annoying cold call and wished you could register their phone number online to warn others about them?

Or do you want to know if a caller is a scammer or cold caller?

Go to   to check their number or register the caller’s number as ‘bad’.

Bad Numbers is a reverse telephone number lookup website and has collected over 20,000 ‘bad’ telephone numbers so far.

The website is very simple – you just type in a number and see if it is already registered. If not and you want to register it then you type in why and that’s about it.

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Barclays Digital Safety Adverts

You’ve probably seen one or more of the Barclays recent TV adverts warning people about scammers.

One ad shows a call centre worker taking a call. She asks the caller for the 1st and 3rd letters of her password then says “Sorry I didn’t get that. Please tell me the 2nd and 4th letters”.  Now she has 4 letters of the callers password and smiles at the camera and says “Did you see what I did there?”

This is part of a new £10 million advertising campaign by Barclays and the ads are very good.

Instead of just saying “Watch out there are scammers about” – it shows some simple tricks that anyone could fall for and hopefully that makes a bigger impression.

Another advert shows someone going into hospital accident and emergency and a voice desperate to transfer money to help the person. But it’s a scam. Fraudsters send messages pretending to be a loved one in distress and needing money. These people have no heart and will do anything to steal your money.

A third advert shows a man claiming to be from Barclays and asking for a customer’s  password because of a necessary upgade. Barclays make the point that they never ask for a full password or Pin number so never give them to anyone.

I think these are useful adverts as they are a different take on fraud.

You can watch the videos on Barclays YouTube channel at

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Starting a Small Claims Court Case

Before starting a small claims case in the courts, you should have made a serious attempt to resolve the problem or your case could be rejected for that reason.

But if that fails, then you need to know who the defendant is – you cannot start a court case without clearly identifying the defendant.  It also makes a great deal of sense to take legal advice before starting a case so you will have a legal opinion on whether you have a winnable case.

The next step is to gather all relevant evidence and if you believe you have a good case then go to the government website

The fees involved are for example £100 – £170 for cases where the money in dispute is between £1,000 and £3,000, but the full list of fees is available from that page.

Start your case.

You can start a case on paper rather than online but the fees are higher and the process will take longer.

To use the online service you need to have a Government Gateway login and password. If you don’t have this then get it in advance as it will take days to receive the details in the post. Go to to register.

Make sure you have a strong case before going down this route and make sure you have exhausted other simpler options first.

The steps involved are further outlined in the article

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Virgin Media Customers at Risk of Hacking

Virgin Media has told 800,000 customers to change their router passwords to protect against being hacked.

This only applies to Virgin media customers with the Super 2 router. The router is box that provides your Internet connection and WI-FI.

Which consumer magazine has been investigating Wi-Fi in the home and discovered this problem.

Virgin Media said the risk was small but advised customers using default network and router passwords to update them immediately. This means that if your router has never had its password changed, then you should consider changing it.  To do this you need to use your browser and connect to the http address for the router.

A spokesman said: “The security of our network and of our customers is of paramount importance to us. We continually upgrade our systems and equipment to ensure that we meet all current industry standards. We regularly support our customers through advice and updates and offer them the chance to upgrade to a Hub 3.0 which contains additional security provisions.”

Supposedly, the issue exists with other routers of the same age and is not exclusive to the Virgin Media model.

Which carried out the study in conjunction with ethical security researchers SureCloud and they tested 15 devices -of which eight had security flaws.

In one case a home CCTV system was hacked using an administrator account that was not password protected. Hackers were able to watch live pictures and in some cases were able to move cameras inside the house.

Which? called for the industry to improve basic security provisions, including requiring customers to create a unique password before use, two-factor authentication, and issuing regular software security updates.

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