Category: Guidance

What are Cookies?

These are not the sort of cookies you buy in shops or make at home, but Internet cookies.

When you access a website, it is likely to store snippets of information on your computer – this is usually to help the website work efficiently e.g. remembering which pages you have already seen and not having to get you to login for each page.  These snippets of information are called ‘cookies’.

There are “session” cookies and “persistent” cookies.

Session cookies  are automatically deleted when you leave the website but persistent cookies stay until a date set when the cookie was created.

Most cookies are perfectly safe, but some can be used to track you without your consent.

What Are Cookies Used For?

Personalization. This usually refers to customized advertising i.e. presenting adverts where either you have selected which subjects for the adverts or your browsing is tracked so they can try to pick adverts you might respond to.

is the main way cookies are used to personalize your sessions. You may view certain items or parts of a site, and cookies use this data to help build targeted ads that you might enjoy.

Tracking. Shopping sites use cookies to track items users previously viewed, allowing the sites to suggest other goods they might like and keep items in shopping carts while they continue shopping.

Tracking cookies track multiple visits to the same site over time. Some online merchants, for example, use cookies to track visits from particular users, including the pages and products viewed. The information they gain allows them to suggest other items that might interest visitors. Gradually, a profile is built based on a user’s browsing history on that site.

Persistent cookies are used to track whether a user is logged in and under what name. They also streamline login information, so users don’t have to remember site passwords.

Cookie Settings

  • Find the cookie section — typically under Settings > Privacy.
  • Click the boxes to allow cookies. Sometimes the option says, “Allow local data.”
  • If you don’t want cookies, you can simply uncheck these boxes.

Removing cookies can help you mitigate your risks of privacy breaches. It can also reset your browser tracking and personalization.

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

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How to Use Multiple Email Addresses

There are many reasons why having multiple email addresses can be useful, although it does mean more passwords to remember, more logins to lose track of etc. unless you use a password manager to keep track of them.

First of all, many people have separate business and personal email addresses as using one email address for both could be very confusing. If you work or volunteer for multiple organisations then you may have multiple ‘work’ email addresses.

Your personal email address is probably used for communicating with family, friends, colleagues and numerous people you don’t really know but have some dealings with.

Plus, it’s probably used for social media accounts, online shopping, financial transactions and a myriad of other purposes.

Your personal email address is also a security measure – if you forget your password on a website then it will have a ‘click for forgotten password’ link as people frequently forget passwords and the website will send a message to your email address that lets you create a new password.

This means that if a criminal gets hold of your email password (guessing them is easy for a high percentage of people) then she can change your passwords on multiple websites where you have an account and that can even become identity theft where the criminal can take out loans in your name etc. and you have the difficult task of proving your innocence.

Using one personal email address for financial activities, shopping online, social media, email etc. means only one login and password to worry about but also means that if that one email address and password is gained by scammers then you lose control of all of those things in one go.

You can create one email address for each website etc. but perhaps a more practical answer is to have one email address per type of use e.g. one for purely personal use and one for anything financial and one for social media usage and one for anything else.

People use multiple email addresses for such as:

  • An address for each business
  • Each financial activity – banks, credit cards, loan companies etc.
  • Social media
  • Registering on sites you suspect may spam you
  • Registering for downloads where you don’t want to be contacted afterwards
  • Signing up on any site that will send you Marketing messages

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

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Do You Feel Guilty About Being Scammed?

There are many crimes for which the victim is likely to feel angry, upset, threatened and so on but there are also crimes for which the victim may feel partially or completely to blame.

Fraud is one of those crimes that leaves many people feeling foolish for having fallen for it and this is a key reason why a high percentage of frauds are thought to go unreported.

A recent Barclays survey of 1,500 people who have been victims of fraud shows that one in four fraud victims has not even told their partner what happened. The same number feel that being scammed would be more embarrassing than doing a live performance or being stood up on a date.

The words “stupid” and “angry” are commonly used. Yet the survey also suggests that it happens to all of us. For this reason, Barclays ran a series of “Embarrassing Fraud Clinics”, in places such as shopping centres, where the public could talk about their concerns. The idea was to get the message out that we are all potential victims but there is no shame in being defrauded.

Barclays Advice on Dealing with Fraud

  1. Don’t feel guilty

Do not feel ashamed and guilty. Instead remember that fraud happens to people from all walks of life.

  1. Contact the police

Report it to Action Fraud and your bank (if relevant). The quicker you do this, the more likely you are to recover any losses.

  1. Get advice from your bank (if relevant) e.g. Barclays say they are happy to offer such advice.
  2. Talk about it with friends, relatives, colleagues. Spreading the word raises awareness of fraud and helps other victims to deal with it.

Advice on Protecting Yourself Against Fraud by Scammers Claiming to be from Your Bank

  1. Never give your online banking PIN, passcode or password to anyone, even a caller claiming to be from the police or your bank.
  2. Your bank or the police will never ask for your details by text, email or phone, or request that you transfer money or make a payment to a “safe” account.
  3. Don’t rely on the caller display on your phone or SMS messages claiming to be from Barclays – fraudsters can manipulate these.
  4. Always cover your PIN to prevent anyone from seeing it, and don’t let anyone distract you during a transaction

Stay safe!

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Take Five To Stop Fraud

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.

The 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 Use of Online Directories

In the early days of the World Wide Web, a lot of people were setting up websites, but for people trying to use the web – the problem was how to find what they were looking for.  The idea of online directories made sense as online versions of paper directories, which had been useful for a long time.

Online directories appeared by the hundred and served their purpose until the search engines became effective enough to replace them as the best way to find websites, topics, phrases, names etc. on the Internet.

Online directories can still serve a purpose as part of an online marketing strategy. For example, they are handy for businesses that do not have a website. This at least gives the business name, address and contact details findable on the Internet.

Best of the Web ( is probably the biggest of the directories still surviving. It claims to have 16 million businesses registered and is based in the U.S. but has local state versions e.g.  and a UK version at

Niche Directories

Having an entry in a niche directory can be useful and can get traffic to your website.  These directories target a  specific to an industry or an interest etc.  If your website falls into such a specific  niche, then consider an entry.

This can have a positive effect on your website ranking if the directory is well respected.  Trade Association directories are the main niche directories.

Free or Paid Listings?

Most directories offer free listings with the option to pay to get a better listing such as with more photos, more prominence in searches etc.

But, it is difficult to justify spending a lot of money on an enhanced listing when the money could be spent on direct online advertising instead with Google, Bing, Facebook and others.

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Do Not Unsubscribe

If you receive emails from a reputable business and want the emails to stop then usually the easy answer is just to click the unsubscribe button.

The problem is where you are dealing with emails from companies that you don’t know whether they are reputable or not and of course the vast majority of spam messages are from the disreputable sources.

For these, it’s usually a bad idea to click on the unsubscribe link – assuming there is one of course.

Why is that?

  1. By clicking, you are confirming that the email address is Live and hence it may be added to spam lists that sell at a higher price than spam lists of untested email address. These lists are sold to other scammers and spammers.
  2. Your click demonstrates an interest in the subject of the email. A sender that is not reputable will then double down and send you many more similar emails.
  3. The sender can glean quite a lot of information from your click, about your browser and operating system, IP address etc. and that can be used to target scams and attacks against you.
  4. The link you click may well be to a site that tries to download malware onto your device.

Think twice before clicking on an unsubscribe link.

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