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Mumsnet Fights Back Against Online Fraud

A recent survey by Mumsnet showed that nearly half surveyed are worried about becoming a victim of fraud and ninety percent are not confident they can identify criminal tactics like vishing (making phone calls claiming to be from a reputable company but really seeking confidential information) and smishing (same as vishing but by text message).

More than a third of mums say they are approached up to SIX TIMES PER WEEK by individuals trying to get personal information from them. These approaches are by telephone, email and text messages.

To help tackle the problem, Mumsnet and the “Take Five to Stop Fraud” campaign – a national campaign that offers advice to help consumers prevent financial fraud – have teamed up to help parents confidently challenge criminals out to obtain personal information.

Well Known Scams

Here are some examples of well-known​ ​ ​scams you should be aware of (according to Mumsnet):-

  1. An email from HMRC offering a refund
  2. A call from your bank about fraud asking you to move your money to a safe account
  3. An email from a foreign prince offering untold riches if money is transferred to them now
  4. A message from WhatsApp asking you to input financial information in order to continue to use the service
  5. A call from a broadband provider to say the internet connection is running slow and their engineer can ‘fix’ the problem by taking control of your computer
  6. An email from Amazon asking you to disclose personal information to reactivate your account
  7. A text message offering money off at a supermarket if a link in the message is clicked on
  8. A call from a builder or contractor asking for money to be paid directly to a new bank account
  9. An email from your utility provider offering a refund
  10. A student loans company email stating loans have been suspended due to incomplete student information

Take the time to stop and think before handing over personal information and certainly before paying online for anything.

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Trojan Horse Emails

“Trojan Horse” email is named after the famous huge wooden horse left by the Greeks outside the city of Troy. When taken inside, at night soldiers climbed out of the inside compartments of the horse and opened the city gates leading to its downfall.

A Trojan horse email is one that looks harmless but contains a malicious hidden payload.

They usually offer the promise of something you might be interested in—an attachment

containing a joke, a photograph, or a warning about something important..

When opened, the attachment may do any or all of the following:

  • give a hacker access to your files
  • install software that records your keystrokes and sends the results to an attacker, allowing a hacker to find your passwords and other confidential information
  • install software that monitors your online transactions and activities looking for confidential information

Trojan Horse emails commonly claim to be e-postcards or jokes or something else funny or a news item but they can be anything.

Make sure you have up to date anti-virus and anti-malware installed on all computers

Never click on a link in an email unless you are sure it’s safe.

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PAX Cyber Coins

Digital currencies  (or cryto currencies)  are big business with BitCoin leading the way and a lot of people have made big money from BitCoin. There are some who lost a lot of course as the price can be highly volatile.

There is a new sort of cyber currency called PAX coins. It’s really a means of betting on other cyber currencies and companies on the PayperEx market but scam emails are circulating about PAX that give a deliberately simplified and misleading view on PAX.

Refer to https://fightbackonline.org/index.php/guidance/12-explanations/92-payperex-exchange-and-pax-cyber-coins for further information on PayperEx and PAX coins.

The scam emails claim ”Finally PAX is here! A True and very special digital coin”

“If you bought 100 dollars where the Bitcoin on that day seven years ago it will be worth 73 million dollars”

And so it goes on linking the past of Bitcoin with the future of PAX, but of course there is no connection or correlation.

PAX coins cannot be bought as such, only traded on PayperEx and the value depends on the value of the items that the PAX coins represent.

Trading on PayperEx is very new and it may be legitimate, but the risks are huge and these emails are just scammers looking for easy money.

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UBER Data Breach

UBER continues to be in the News for the wrong reasons – licensing issues, working conditions and pay for the drivers and data security.

But, are UBER maintaining customer data and driver data securely?

UBER suffered a huge data breach in 2016. The records of 57 million customers and drivers  were accessed by a hacker.

Uber only publicly disclosed the existence of the data breach in November 2017 close to a year after learning that hackers had infiltrated their systems.

The Uber Business

Between 2009 and 2016, UBER received around $11.5 billion in venture capital and private equity investment. It operates in 83 countries and 674 cities. UBER’s gross revenue in 2016 is reported to be about $20 billion.

UBER has 160,000 active drivers of which 14% are female. The drivers earn an average of $364 per month.

Uber’s Response

Uber said that of the 57 million people’s records accessed, about 2.7 million are British although it cannot be sure as it doesn’t always know the home country of its customers. Uber has about 5 million Britons on its systems.

For UK users, Uber stated that the affected data is names, mobile phone numbers and email addresses. The experts hired by Uber to investigate the data breach did not believe customers’ financial details were leaked.

However, its use may make other scams, such as bogus emails or calls appear more credible. People should continue to be vigilant and follow the advice from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

Uber says it is waiting for technical reports which should give full confirmation of the figures and the type of personal data that has been compromised.

Uber say “We are continuing to work with the NCSC plus other relevant authorities in the UK and overseas to ensure the data protection interests of UK citizens are upheld.”. The UK’s data protection commissioner expects Uber to alert affected users as it gets more information.

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