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The Value of Directory Submission Services

Online business directories used to be a good way to find items of interest on the Internet. But since the search engines became highly efficient, online directories have not been needed for general searching.  Search engines are the starting point for most users of the World Wide Web and directories are out of favour.

There are online services that will submit your website listing to hundreds or even thousands of online directories and they make it sound as if it’s the best way to get your website noticed.  But search engines pay little attention to directories and few people use them and directories don’t feature much in recommended search engine optimisation for your website, so the value is questionable.

Free and Paid Listings

While most online directories all offer a free listing option, they will try to upsell you to a paid option – this is generally a range packages available for a monthly fee. For example $25 might get you a listing with a logo and a website link, whereas $50 might guarantee you an entry in the top half of their search results page.

A free, basic listing can be useful just for the sake of another return link to your website, but it’s difficult to justify paying for an entry unless it’s a niche directory that is still much used by people searching in that niche.  This true for some trade directories that list for example architects or plumbers.

If your entry in a business directory is to your profile on the directory then this is unlikely to help your position in the main search engines as only the secondary link is to your website.

A paid listing will give you more visibility on the directory but probably be no better for the main search engines.

Maybe you know good reasons why business directory listings are worth paying for?

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Stay Safe on Western Union

Western Union is a money transfer system. It is very much favoured by online fraudsters as once you have made a payment in Western Union the money is untraceable and no way can you get it back.

Western Union recognise this problem but there’s little they can do as the whole process is designed to allow for easy money transfer as if paying cash. Untraceable.

Western Union do publish guidance on how to avoid scams and stay safe.

They publish a list of Money Transfer Never-Evers as they call them.

These are:-

  • Never send money to people you haven’t met in person.
  • Never send money to pay for taxes or fees on lottery or prize winnings.
  • Never use a test question as an additional security measure to protect your transaction.
  • Never provide your banking information to people or businesses you don’t know.
  • Never send money in advance to obtain a loan or credit card.
  • Never send money for an emergency situation without verifying that it’s a real emergency.
  • Never send funds from a cheque in your account until it officially clears—which can take weeks.
  • Never send a money transfer to an individual for online purchases.

If you follow those rules then you will be a lot safer using money transactions with Western Union.

There are countless other money transfer businesses of course including TransferWise, Currencies Direct, OFX and Moneygram.

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Take Five Stop Fraud

https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk

Financial Fraud Action UK is part of UK Finance and is responsible for leading the collective fight against financial fraud on behalf of the UK payments industry. The membership includes banks, credit, debit and charge card issuers, and card payment acquirers in the UK.

They provide a forum for members to work together on non-competitive issues relating to financial fraud. The  primary function is to facilitate collaborative activity between industry participants and with other partners committed to fighting fraud.

Financial fraud losses in the UK totalled £768.8 million in 2016. FFA UK and Her Majesty’s Government believe  encouraging people to take a moment to stop and think can make a difference.

Many people may already know the dos and don’ts of financial fraud- that no-one should ever ask them for their PIN or full password, or ever make them feel pressured into moving money to a ‘safe account’. But, it can be easy to forget this when in a hurry.

After all, trusting people on their word is something everyone tends to do instinctively. If someone says they’re from your bank or a trusted organisation, why wouldn’t you believe them?

Take Five is a national awareness campaign led by FFA UK backed by the Government and delivered with and through a range of partners in the UK payments industry, financial services firms, law enforcement agencies and others.

It urges you to stop and consider whether the situation is genuine – to stop and think if what you’re being told really makes sense.

What FFA UK does

  • Sponsor the Dedicated Card and Payments Crime Unit, an operational police unit, with a national remit.
  • Manage the Industry Strategic Threat Management Process, which provides an up-to-the-minute picture of the threat landscape.
  • Deliver UK-wide awareness campaigns to inform customers about threats and how to stay safe.
  • Manage intelligence-sharing through the industry fraud intelligence hub (Financial Fraud Bureau) and the Fraud Intelligence Sharing System (FISS) which feeds intelligence to police and other agencies in support of law enforcement activity.
  • Inform commentators and policy-makers through a press office and public affairs function.
  • Provide expert security assessments of new technology, as well as the impact of new legislation and regulation.
  • Publish the official fraud losses for the UK payments industry, as well as acting as the definitive source of industry fraud statistics and data.

All of this sounds useful in the fight against fraud.

Take care.

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The Danger of Online Wish Lists

Christmas is a time when some people make wish lists online and these can be fun but they can inadvertently give away a lot of information to scammers.

Amazon maintains wish lists so in theory other people can buy gifts for you that you do want rather than having to figure out what you might want. Amazon has three levels of privacy – Public, Shared or Private.  Choosing Public lets anyone see the list, Private means just you and shared is where you can choose who gets to see the list.

Allowing this information to be public should be harmless, but people who are trying to steal your identity can use this information to get critical details about you.

Michelle Black works with Hope 4 USA in Ft. Mill. She spends several hours a day helping people recover from ID theft, which is one of the fastest growing crimes.

Black says “A scammer can log into these public websites, public wish lists. From there they might have such information as your city and state, your date of birth, your children’s names and perhaps their dates of birth and they can use that to start putting together the pieces of the puzzle they need to fully steal your identity.”

The thieves then create a fake website by making it look like Amazon or the online wish list company.

They  tell you someone has purchased an item on your list and all you have to do is login to confirm the mailing address.

And if you click on that link and login, the scammer has the information needed to access your account and maybe even for identity theft.

Make sure any online wish list or gift registry is set to Private.

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How Does Social Engineering Work for Scammers?

In this context, social engineering means to manipulate someone into doing what you want e.g. to type in login and password on a fake website so the scammer gets that information.

So, ‘social engineering’ is the methods used to trick people into doing what the scammers want.

It could be a phishing email asking you to urgently login in to your internet banking account or to call a support number as your computer has been infected with malware or a request from a company executive to urgently transfer money.

Generally, we prefer to trust people so if someone calls saying they are from your bank and they know your name and account – it’s easy to believe rather than to question everything. Maybe you answer their security questions and that gives them the details they need to access your account. It can be as simple and quick as that.

An Example Credit Card Payment Scam

A company selling telecom services receives an email from a possible new customer:

Hello,

This is Bill, I have just moved into the area and I need a new phone line.

Do you accept payment by credit card?

What information do you need in order to quote for the work?

Thanks

Bill

After a reply from the Telecoms Company confirming they do accept credit cards, , Bill’s next email sets up the conditions of the scam.

He’s in hospital waiting on an operation.  Lots of description to make it clear he cannot take phone calls or speak to anyone and very much needs help. He describes what he wants fitted in each room and then describes the removal company that is helping him to move while he’s in hospital and they can let the telecoms company in to do a survey if needed.

The purpose of this is to set-up the Telecoms company to accept an over payment by credit card from Bill then pay the removals company, as they cannot accept credit card payment and Bill can’t pay them any other way while in hospital.

This story is complicated and relies on the kindness of the Telecoms company to take the money and pass it on but also on their desire for business.

The telecoms company agrees, takes the credit card payment and then pays the removals company as per the instructions.  For example taking £1,000 for their work up front and £2,000 to pay to the removals company.

It all sounds quite safe, but then comes the sting.

The card was stolen but not cancelled straightaway and when the credit card company do cancel it then will claim the £3,000 back from the Telecoms Company who will end up out of pocket for the work they’ve done but also for the £2,000 paid to the removals company which was a fake operation.

That’s the credit card over payment scam

There are countless similar stories designed to get the punter to accept an over payment and it never ends well for the punter.

The stories are sometimes rough and have spelling and grammatical mistakes – to elicit sympathy for the scammer and at other times the stories have been polished by repeated use.

NEVER accept an over payment.

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