Category: information

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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The State of Email

The Radicati Group  carry out research into email usage, security, social networking, web technologies and more.

The information below is from their assessment of world email, covering the period 2015 to 2019, but carried out in 2015.













This shows a steady growth in email accounts and email users with an average of just under 2 email accounts per person using email.

The total number of email users by 2019 is just under half of the population of the planet, which shows how incredibly useful email is to most of us.

This is despite the fast rising growth of text messaging, social networking and other forms of communication.













This shows the staggering number of email messages sent each day – 205 billion in 2015 rising to 246 billion in 2019 of which roughly half are business communications and half are personal messages.

This means that by 2019 we will be sending approximately 84 email messages per person per day.

Keep on emailing

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Spam Email Statistics 2019

Around 30 billion emails are sent each day and about half of those are spam in some form.

That spam is made up as follows:


Does Spam Work?

A proportion of the spam messages are just lazy advertising by genuine companies but vast amounts of it is scam messages of various kinds.

How effective the scam messages are in getting a response depends very much on exactly what it is. But typically, scam messages receive 1 reply in more than a million messages.

That seems extremely ineffective, but if the scammer sends enough millions of messages then they will get sufficient replies to enable them to steal from people.

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Twitter Pay for Followers

On Twitter, there are lots of profiles that advertise they will get you thousands of extra Twitter followers for a fee.

There are also such ads on spam mail, websites etc.

This is quite legal of course, although disliked by Twitter.

e.g. – offers several packages including 100 Twitter followers for $15 or 2,500 followers for $50.

There are numerous other such people making similar offers.

It may seem a good idea to get more followers the quick way – more people will see your blog or website, may attract even more followers and if you’re selling something then you need to get followers.

BUT, people who find your Twitter feed, like it for whatever reason and decide to follow you are the people you need and are likely candidates to work with you, buy from you etc.

However, if you buy followers, then these are very likely to be

  1. Robot accounts i.e. no real person
  2. Fake accounts setup simply to get paid for following
  3. Entirely useless to you as there isn’t a person there interested in you
  4. A problem for Twitter who may regard you as a spammer or criminal causing this problem

Get More Followers

If you want more followers, then the obvious starting point is to create more and better content that people will want to see and tell their friends about.

Twitter adverts –Twitter shows your selected posts to more people.  These people may, if your content is appealing, choose to follow you and you only pay Twitter for each new follower. No money wasted.

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

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What is Pharming?

Pharming combines the words “phishing” and “farming” to indicate large scale phishing attempts.

Phishing is online fraud where a scammer tries to trick you into giving them your personal information e.g. login and password, bank details etc. The scammer does this by pretending to be someone you would trust – e.g. a government department or a high street brand or BT or British gas etc.

The scammer gets you to click a link, believing it is to a reputable organisation but it is the scammer’s website and will steal your confidential information.

Pharming is the large scale version of this and involves either downloading malicious code to your computer which then redirects your browser to the scammer’s website, unbeknownst to you. Or it can involve changes to your Internet router that again automatically redirect your browser without your knowledge.

The Panix Attack

On 15th January 2005, the domain name for a large New York ISP, Panix, was hijacked and redirected to a website in Australia. The domain was restored two days later and ICANN’s review blames Melbourne IT. It appears they received a  DNS change request and did not did not get express authorisation from the registrant in accordance with ICANN’s Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy.

Protection Against Pharming

Make sure you have strong passwords in place, anti-virus and anti-malware installed and staff are trained to avoid suspicious websites, links in emails, not to open unexpected attached files etc.

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The Extent of Robocalls

Robocalls are the automated calls we all get from scammers and spammers – about car accidents we didn’t have, pension investments, PPI, fake lottery wins, cyber currency investments etc.

It is estimated that around 85 billion robocalls were placed last year and that number rises every year.


Simply, because using computers to dial people and play back a message to them is cheaper than employing criminals to make the calls.

When people are dumb enough to respond as requested e.g. press button 1 then they are put through to a human being in a criminal call centre to push whatever the scam is.

The graph below the countries most affected by worldwide robocalls. (It shows the percentage of calls per country that are robocalls)

(Statistics from Global Robocall Radar).

Is there an answer to this?


It is illegal in the UK for companies to make automatic calls without the recipients permission but most of these companies operate outside of the UK or simply shutdown when the authorities get close.

Always ignore such automated calls – put the phone down and in time they will stop calling.

Do you have an opinion on this matter? Please comment in the box below.

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