Category: Guidance

Improving the Quality of Consumer Reviews

Research shows that it is generally the people with strong opinions who leave product reviews and the majority without strong opinions tend not to leave so many reviews.

So that leaves most people with no voice, by their own choice.

Bigger companies, usually have more customers, which can mean a higher likelihood of more reviews, which can mean more potential customers reading the reviews which can lead to more sales.

This can be a virtuous circle for big brands.

Research by Sinan Aral for MIT suggests that some reviews can be systematically biased.

“Social proof”, a psychological and social phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behaviour in a given situation may be the basis for this.

Improving the Quality of Consumer Reviews

Reviews are shown to have a significant effect on consumer decision-making and it is important for people responsible for getting reviews (Marketing agencies and businesses) to do what they can to ensure the quality of their customers’ reviews.

  • Request feedback. The higher the percentage of customers that leave reviews, the better for the accuracy or the reviews overall. This can also reduce review bias and balance review sentiment. Requests can be through feedback surveys or simple questions post purchase.
  • Remind customers that their opinion helps others. When asking for feedback, social reinforcement goes a long way and can also lead to a better balance of reviews.
  • Provide incentives. These can be money rewards, but freebies, discounts, access to special offers etc. can also work.
  • Leave an appropriate length of time after purchase before asking for the review. E.g. PC World wait 28 days after purchase before asking for reviews.

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How to Stay Safe on Public WI-FI

The first piece of advice is to avoid public Wi-Fi completely.

A public Wi-Fi network is inherently less secure than your home or office Wi-Fi because it is publicly available.

If you do need to use public Wi-Fi then pick one which needs a password and do not carry out any financial activity or buy anything or access your email or do anything else needing passwords.

If you want to be secure when using public Wi-Fi you will need a VPN (Virtual Private Network) installed on your devices.  These encrypt all communications between your devices and their target websites etc.

They also let you browse websites without anyone being able to track your location and activities.

Alternatively you can take your own Wi-Fi with you by using your mobile phone to create a Wi-Fi hotspot for your devices.

Points to Remember

  1. Leave Wi-Fi turned off until you need it.

When you’re finished working online, turn it off again.

  1. Turn Off File Sharing

If you have file sharing of any kind enabled then turn it off while on public Wi-Fi as it could be copying your confidential information to the Internet unencrypted.

  1. Keep Your Antivirus and Antimalware Up to Date

You must have anti-virus and ant-malware installed and make sure to keep them up to date or their effectiveness will diminish.

  1. Use https Websites where Possible

Https access is safer than http access so stick to those websites that have https versions where possible.

  1. Don’t Leave Your Devices Unattended in Public

You don’t want some accessing your laptop, smart phone or other device. Even if they don’t steal it, they may access your information or install a malicious APP

Stay Safe.

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Santander Security Advice

Like the other big banks, Santander do offer advice to their customers on how to avoid the scourge of online fraud.

Santander say “We take every step possible to keep your finances and personal details safe. However, you play an important role too. Together we can make life really difficult for would-be criminals”.

There is a list of common threats and a basic description of each and tips on staying safe online.

The common threats Santander focus on are:-

  • Remote Access Scam
  • Tech support scams
  • Telephone scam/courier scam
  • Free trial offer scam
  • Guide to Invoice Fraud
  • Text message phishing (smishing)
  • Phishing
  • Mule accounts
  • Cheque fraud
  • Investment fraud / share sale
  • 419 / advance fee fraud
  • Trojans (Malware)
  • Spoofing – The caller ID scam
  • Pension scams

If you’re a Santander customer, you can ask them for specific advice about staying safe online and if you find irregularities in your account then do let them know ASAP.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

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Check Who’s Using Your Wi-Fi

If your connection to your home Wi-Fi always seems sluggish – maybe someone is accessing it who shouldn’t be.

If you unplug the router for a few minutes, that will remove anyone connected to it, but only until you reconnect the router then your devices and possibly someone else can connect again.

If you think someone has access to your Wi-Fi who shouldn’t have, and knows the passcode then you need to change the passcode.

If there is still reason to suspect someone is accessing your WI-FI without your permission, then there are steps  you can take to identify the culprit.

Check the Router Access List

You will need to login to your router. The instructions when you got the router will tell you how to do this and it may also say on the back of the device. These instructions differ for each router.

You will need to know its IP address (plus login and password) and then you can access from any computer browser.

The router will show you a list of devices currently attached to it and usually enough information for you to recognise who the devices belong to.

You will see something similar to this

Wired Devices
MAC Address IP Address Device Name Time Connected
54:21:XX:XX:XX:XX Erica’s PC 2 days 4 hours 31 minutes
Wireless Devices
54:21:XX:XX:XX:XX Chromecast 45 minutes
54:21:XX:XX:XX:XX Android Phone 140927271 1 day 12 minutes
54:21:XX:XX:XX:XX iPAD 35 minutes

The device name will hopefully tell you enough to identify the owner of the device but if you have several Android phones in the house, for example, then it may not be enough.

What to do if you find an unauthorised device

If you have not set the router to encrypt the data then make that change and try again.

If you still seem to have an interloper then that person must have hacking skills and you would need to invest time and money in a network monitoring or employ an expert to trace the interloper for you.

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How to keep your home wi-fi safe

Internet broadband comes into your home by means of a cable from outside. That cable is connected to a small box in your home called a router.  That router allows you to have Wi-Fi and cable network connections for your computers and other devices including televisions, iPads, mobile phones etc.

Router Login

You can login to the router from your computer using an IP address and a login and password.

You cannot change its IP address but you can and should change the login and password as soon as possible.

How you make that change depends on the make of router you have, which is determined by broadband supplier but is generally a straightforward process. The instructions with the router will explain how to do this.

Do not write the password down and leave it near to the router and of course do not tell anyone who you do not wish to have access to your Wi-Fi.

The router has various settings which are probably fine when you first receive the device but you may need to change if getting conflicts with the neighbours Wi-Fi for example.

Your router may have remote management facilities meaning that the broadband supplier can access it to make changes. It may be best to turn off this feature, but that would mean your supplier cannot access it either.

Wi-Fi and Encryption

Login to your router.

Locate the “Wireless Security” or “Wireless Network” settings page.

Select WPA2-PSK encryption.

Choose a network name that doesn’t specify your house number or name.

Choose a strong network password or pass number i.e. one that no-one could guess.

Save these settings

You will need to reconnect your devices to the Wi-Fi using the new password or pass number.

Protect your router and Wi-Fi against outsiders.

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Paypal Two Step Verification

Logins and passwords are normal practice to let a valid user identify themselves.

But there are times where this is not a strong enough security and two-factor security adds another layer, thereby making it much more difficult for anyone else to access your account.

Two factor security means that in addition to the password, another security code of some form is needed. In the case of PayPal, that second code is a pin number sent to your mobile phone.

For anyone to access your PayPal account they would need both your password and your mobile phone.

Two factor security is available on many online services and banks e.g. Facebook. Google, Apple etc. We’re using PayPal as an example.

How to Setup 2 Factor Security in PayPal

PayPal call this Security Key.

  1. Log into your PayPal account.
  2. If your mobile phone number has already been verified by PayPal then that step is complete, otherwise you will need to key in your mobile number and verify it for PayPal. This is done through the Account page off the Profile and Settings menu
  3. To activate PayPal Security Key go to Profile – Profile and Settings – Account Settings – Security and you can start the process.

Once completed, you will always need that phone when you want to access PayPal but you will be more secure.

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