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The Do Not Disturb Function

Most smart phones have a Do Not Disturb function of some kind. This can be very useful for reducing the number of spam calls you get. When enabled, it mutes all calls, alerts and media sounds but you can set exceptions to that rule.

Android Phones Do Not Disturb

Go to Settings > Sound & Vibration > Do Not Disturb

This gives you the following options:

  • Turn on Now
  • Turn on as Scheduled
  • Allow Exceptions
  • APP Rules
  • Hide Visual Notifications

Under Allow Exceptions, you can choose to allow alarms only or customise so that for example repeat callers are OK or calls from specified people or messages from specified people are accepted etc.

Generally it gives you a more peaceful life until you turn it off again.

Apple Phones Do Not Disturb

This behaves in a similar way to on Android.

Go to Settings > Do Not Disturb

When Do Not Disturb is on, a crescent moon icon Do Not Disturb icon will be displayed in the status bar.

If you’ve set an alarm in the Clock app, the alarm will go off even when Do Not Disturb is on.

You can set Do Not Disturb to be on and off according to a schedule. This would for example give you a quiet period each day at the set times.

Under Silence, you can choose to silence calls and notifications at all times or only when the device is locked.

Under Allow Calls From, you can allow calls from everyone, no one, your favourites or specific contact groups stored on your device or iCloud.

If you have any better uses for Do Not Disturb, do let me know, by email.

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What is Fleeceware

Fleeceware is the name for APPS that deliver some benefit but charge far too much compared to similar APPS. E.g. a basic flashlight APP for $10 when usually these are free or come pre-installed on your phone.

The problem is not that there is something malicious in these APPS – just that they are ripping people off.

Google and APPLE check all APPS for malware but don’t have such clear rules on value for money as that is a more personal choice. However, APPS that obviously rip people off do get banned by both Google and APPLE.

Usually these Fleeceware APPS have subscription charges or hidden charges or both and people sign up without realising they can get the same thing either free or at a much reduced price.

Sophos, an Internet security firm, found 25 such apps on Google Play that had a combined total of more than 600 million downloads. They also found 30 apps in the iOS App Store that can be considered Fleeceware APPS.

Scammers may choose any high selling APP where they can duplicate basic functionality easily and then con people into the high charges. To improve their ranking, they will also typically create zombie accounts and use those to post outstanding reviews of the APP.

Sometimes there is a free trial period listed on the adverts but the APP insists on payment on first use, or the adverts show a reasonable subscription charge annually but then the APP charges that same amount every month or has In APP charges that cannot be avoided etc.

Once installed, users may think that deleting the APP will stop the recurring charges, but this is often not the case and the charges continue.

Google has announced that it will tighten the rules on how introductory free subscriptions work and other ongoing costs and that cancellation must be simple and actioned by the APP supplier.

Apple’s guidelines for developers explicitly prohibit unreasonable pricing, bait-and-switch subscriptions, and scams. Apple also say that they will reject expensive apps that try to cheat users with irrationally high prices.

How to Avoid Fleeceware

First thing is to only download apps from the Android or APPLE shop and not from elsewhere unless it is guaranteed to be safe.

Before choosing any APP with costs, check around to see if it is the right price and whether there are better options available.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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Stupidest Spam of the Week Free Coffee

On the Internet there are endless Marketing templates – for spam emails, ‘landing’ pages on websites, blog posts, articles and everything else to do with Marketing.

This is good in that it spreads knowledge but it’s also bad that a lot of scammers and spammers simply copy these for their own underhand purposes.

A latest spam message arrived at the radio station offering ‘Do you want to receive coffee cups for a whole year”.

There is a very nice picture of a lot of coffee pods and coffee drinks”.

We are giving away free coffee…. “

The template is designed to be used by spammers, giving them a supposed valuable giveaway to encourage people to sign up with them.

But the spammer was too dumb to use the template properly.

The From address is meant to be a business email account that sounds vaguely legitimate, but instead shows ‘@syntax error”.

The footer of the message was supposed to show a company address but instead shows “PLACE HERE YOUR COMPANY DETAILS ALONG WITH…”.

It was also supposed to have an Unsubscribe link at the bottom of the message, but that’s missing as well.

Stupidity prevents people from setting up their spam messages correctly but doesn’t stop them from sending out the pointless messages

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