Category: Fight Back

Tinder Cracks Down on Fake Photos

There is a big problem in Tinder (the dating APP) over fake photos.

It is estimated that hackers have stolen more than 70,000 photos of Tinder users and put them on cyber crime sites to allow criminals to create fake profiles. These are usually for catphishing frauds.

Catphishing is where someone uses another person’s photo and profile and pretends to be that person in order to win the trust of the recipient and often to scam them.

Once the data has been hacked, there is little can be done. However, Tinder faces the problem of fake accounts and is trying to crack down on fake profiles and photos by insisting on photo verification –  to help users tell if the person they are talking to is who they claim to be.

Tinder say they will use human-assisted AI to verify profile photos uploaded on to the dating app by asking people to take a number of real-time selfies.

If a match is made, profiles will be given a blue tick checkmark verifying that the person’s appearance is real.

Tinder is also testing offensive message detection, using machine learning technology to ask users whether they feel bothered by something someone has said and allowing them to report it.

How to Check a Profile is Genuine

  1. Google reverse image search

Copy the photo and paste it or the URL into Google reverse image search at

Google will attempt to check if the image is elsewhere on the Internet.

  1. Check their Social Media Profile

You would expect that anyone using a dating site will have social media accounts – so check them and see if the photos and profile match.

  1. Google Search

As long as the name isn’t too common you might find information about them on standard Google searches.

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Web of Trust

Web of Trust is a browser extension for your computer and an APP for your smart phone. It works on Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers.

It has more than 6 million users and has rated more than 56 million websites.

WOT claims to secure you against scams, malware, rogue web stores and dangerous links on the Internet.

The idea behind the Web of Trust is to try to make the Internet a safe place by automatically checking any website before your browser opens it. It does this by having a regularly updated list of dangerous websites. That list comes from its users marking websites as dangerous, so it’s crowdsourced information.  WOT say they also use blacklists compiled by other people, of dangerous websites.

This is a great idea – if you find a dodgy website then you tell WOT and they can then warn other people about it.

But, this approach does have its limitations.  For example, auction sites have been marked dangerous by WOT because of a few bad sellers. It’s also possible that some sites are marked dangerous by members because they don’t like them rather than there being anything dodgy about them.

Reputation icons are also shown next to links on search engine results, social media platforms, webmail, and other popular sites to help you search safely.

When the WOT add-on is installed, you will see a small doughnut shaped icon next to your browser’s address bar. The icon shows you the site’s rating and reputation: green indicates a safe website, yellow tells you to be cautious, and red indicates potential danger.

The Web of Trust website also has an online community with more than 215,000 posts so it is an important community which discusses website ratings, security and online safety.


There are lots of alternatives services that provide a similar warning before you access websites such as Google Safe browsing.

There are also similar services provided by the makers of anti-virus and anti-malware software such as Site Advisor.

If you worried about the safety of browsing, then do look at WOT and its competitors and pick the one that works best for you.

If you have had bad experiences with websites or these protection services – do let me know, by email.

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ICO Protect Children’s Privacy

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) published the Age Appropriate Design Code – a set of 15 standards that online services should meet to protect children’s privacy.

The code sets out the standards expected of those responsible for designing, developing or providing online services like apps, connected toys, social media platforms, online games, educational websites and streaming services. It covers services likely to be accessed by children.

The code requires digital services to automatically provide children with a built-in baseline of data protection whenever they download a new app, game or visit a website.

That means

  • Privacy settings should be set to high by default.
  • Location settings that allow the world to see where a child is, should also be switched off by default.
  • Data collection and sharing should be minimised
  • Profiling that can allow children to be served up targeted content should be switched off by default.

The code standard is based on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the code was introduced by the Data Protection Act 2018. Organisations will have 12 months to update their practices before the code comes into full effect which is expected to be by autumn 2021.

The code is the first of its kind, but it reflects the global direction of travel with similar reform being considered in the USA, Europe and globally by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The regulator has powers to take action against organisations that break the law including tough sanctions like orders to stop processing data and fines of up to £17 million or 4% of global turnover.

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Call Blocking Services

BT Call Protect is BT’s free service to help their users block out the scam callers, cold callers and other undesirables.

Nuisance calls take many forms – they can be malicious calls, unsolicited sales propositions, scams or simply someone dialling the wrong number.

Getting nuisance calls at home can be intrusive, may disturb your home life and, when they happen repeatedly, can be upsetting.

For BT home phone customers, BT Call Protect is free and works in three ways:

  1. BT blacklist: Numbers identified as nuisance callers by BT’s experts are added to a BT blacklist and sent automatically to your junk voicemail.
  2. Personal blacklist: If you get an unwanted call you can add the number to your Personal blacklist. All future calls from that number will be sent to your junk voicemail.
  3. Individual call types: Send calls from specific categories (such as withheld or international) straight to your junk voicemail.

Plusnet offers its own Call Protect service free of charge – you call 1572 to set it up.

Sky offer Talk Shield and you access it by calling 1783 – this makes callers identify themselves and then you decide if you want to take the call or not.

TalkTalk have their free Callsafe service – dial 1472

Virgin offer a free Anonymous Caller Rejection service but advise customers to invest in APPS or devices that block unwanted calls.

If your phone supplier is not on this list and you want a call blocking service then contact your supplier and see what is possible.

If they don’t have any such services, then you may want to buy a box to plug into your phone line that can provide the call blocking service.

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Dixons Fined for Data Breach

Dixons Carphone has been fined £500,000 by the data watchdog over a computer hack which compromised the personal information of at least 14 million people.

The Information Commissioner’s Office found that hackers were able to access the names, postcodes, email addresses and failed credit checks of millions of people.

The data also included the details of 5.6 million payment cards used between July 2017 and April 2018.

Dixons Carphone says it has no confirmed evidence of any customers suffering fraud or financial loss as a result of the hack.

What Should Business Do to Protect Itself?

  1. Invest in expert cyber security and keep it up to date
  2. Maintain all computer devices with anti-virus and anti-malware and keep that up to date
  3. Regularly check all financial accounts. If you spot anything unusual, contact your provider immediately.
  4. Train staff on security procedures e.g. how to spot phishing attempts
  5. Stay up to date with protection against latest threats
  6. Remember that human beings are usually the weakest link in security.

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Finding Trustworthy Local Tradesmen

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

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 recent years various websites have appeared that include ratings on tradesmen and these are very useful as a way to see customers opinions and experience employing the tradesmen. This is very different to official assessments.

Trustmark (

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

The site is free to use and designed to help you to find tradesmen based on entering a postcode and selecting a trade. It does cost for transmen to get registered so not everyone does.

Trading Standards

The government website at will help you to find your local trading standards web pages and office.

You will find multiple schemes that can provide information on local tradesmen.

Checkatrade, Which? Trusted Trader and Others

These websites also provide a wealth of information and reviews on prospective tradesmen.

Find a Trade Association

There are generally multiple such trade associations for any trade you select and they can also offer advice and reviews of tradesmen in your area.

There’s a lot of information on the Internet so don’t pick a tradesman without checking first.

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