Category: information

Why Do People Fall for Romance Scams?

Romance scams are someone is seeking a partner in romance on dating websites, social media or elsewhere are conned into believing that someone online is the right person for them, but that person is a scammer who has created a fake profile etc. in order to entice people and this in time leads to fraud.

For some scammers this is a long term game they play for fun and money and for some it’s a large scale operation carried out on an industrial scale where they respond to large numbers of men and women and in time reduce that to the most promising victims.

These scams have been around for a very long time and were common 20 years ago and more in the classified  section of magazines and newspapers.

Nowadays, the scammers target their victims mostly through social media and dating sites.

They create the perfect match using pictures copied from the Internet of unsuspecting individuals, adding fake profiles and interests etc and responding to large numbers of men and women.

Scammers create fake online profiles designed to lure you in victims. They use fake names, borrowed photos of someone attractive and a fake back story – all designed to appeal to you.  Quite often, they use a story of a military or ex military person and generally the fake person works overseas – to provide a reason why they cannot meet you in person.

Why Do People Fall For These Scams?

The possibility of love can make you overlook obvious danger signals. Seemingly meeting someone online who is perfect for you and has time for you, is loving and makes it clear they want you can be hard to resist. Many people who consider themselves sensible and level-headed fall for these tricks.

Scammers will put in the effort to get you to trust them – maybe through loving messages, small gifts, thoughtful reminders, personal details etc. In some cases this can go on for months.

Then they try to get money out of you.  Maybe by claiming they have been mugged and lost the months salary or something valuable was stolen or they need money to get a passport so they can visit you or to buy a permit from a corrupt official so they can leave their country.

It can be simpler though – just asking for money to do something for you or for you to set-up a joint bank account or a bank account in your country in their name which they will transfer money to.  (These accounts are then used for money laundering and the Police may arrest you when it is found out).

Warning Signs of Fake Romance 

  • They very quickly ask you to take the conversation off the dating site to use telephone, messaging or email instead
  • They ask you to wire money using a money transfer service such as Western Union. These payments are untraceable and cannot be got back
  • They ask you to set up a new bank account in your name or in their name or in joint names

Be careful.

`If you have fallen for any of these tricks, do let me know, by email.

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Google Play Protect

Google say that Google Play Protect is the most widely deployed mobile threat protection service in the world, but that’s not so surprising as its free on all Android phones and there are a lot of those around.

Google Play Protect is Google’s built-in malware protection for Android

Google say it works constantly to keep your device, data and apps safe. It automatically scans your device and makes sure that you have the latest in mobile security, so you can rest easy.

It scans and verifies over 50 billion apps every day

Are There Problems?

Google Play Protect is supposed to protect users from malicious apps in the Google Play Store — but of 20 Android programs evaluated by AV-Test, Google Play Protect did not perform well at identifying malware.

Those results come from AV-Test, a Germany-based security firm, which periodically evaluates antivirus programs for Windows, Mac OS, Android and Linux.

AV-Test scores each Anti-Virus suite out of a possible 13 points: six for protection, six for usability and the one remaining point for extra features. Earning eight points is enough to secure at least a tentative recommendation from the company. Google Play Protect did not perform well. However the other products are anti-virus and Pay Protect is not intended to be that.

Google Play Protect does protect but do not relay on it for anti-virus protection as it falls down in that area.

If you have any experiences with scam APPS do let me know, by email.

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Massive Data Release on Internet

Collection #1 is a data set that was dumped onto the Internet. It contains 773 million email IDs and 21 million passwords and anybody can see the data.

Security researcher Troy Hunt runs the Have I Been Pwned website that lets people check if their email address has been in a data breach and he has analysed the data and uploaded it to his website so anyone can check if their details are included in this or any other high profile data breach. He does make the actual data available to anybody.

His analysis shows that Collection #1 is a set of email addresses and passwords totalling 2,692,818,238 rows. It’s made up of many different individual data breaches from literally thousands of different sources”

After cleaning the data and removing duplicates, it seems that 772,904,991 unique email addresses, along with 21,222,975 unique passwords are available in plain text. This does not include passwords that were found still in their hashed form.

Importantly, anyone who gets their hands on the cache can easily test the plain-text passwords against actual accounts. Approximately 140 million email accounts and some 10.6 million passwords were not known from past breaches.

If one or more of your accounts are in this data breach, then it is likely that one or more of your old passwords are available for others to see. Make sure you are not still using passwords from years ago.

Check if your accounts are included in the breach and if necessary change passwords and delete unnecessary accounts.

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Australian Scam Statistics for 2018

In 2018, people submitted 177,516 reports of scams to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The losses incurred by these people totalled $107,025,301.

Many people do not report scams as they may feel they are to blame or that the police cannot catch the scammers, so the real level of scamming losses is likely to be much higher than the quoted figure.

The highest number of losses occur through phishing i.e. people conning you into giving them your personal details such as login and password or card payment details, bank account etc.

‘Threats to life, arrest or other’ covers a lot of scams e.g. the scammer phones you pretending to be from a government department and demands an immediate payment.












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TSB Punished by Customers

A recent poll by Which magazine shows that TSB is now regarded as poor and rated even lower than RBS and other lenders responsible for the financial crisis.

In February 2018, TSB was highly ranked by its customers as a bank you can trust, but then the sky fell in for the bank when their new IT systems that hadn’t been tested sufficiently collapsed and many customers were locked out of their accounts for days or weeks in some cases.

Some customers had accidental access to other people’s accounts, the bank had little idea of what to do and their communication with customers was poor leaving many very angry at what happened.

To make matters worse, many fraudsters jumped on the bandwagon and began sending fake emails and making calls to TSB customers, leading to a large number of frauds.

The problems led the FCA to begin an investigation with the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Up to 1.9 million people using TSB’s digital and mobile banking found themselves locked out of their bank accounts following the migration of data on customers from former owner Lloyds’ IT system to a new one managed by current owner Sabadell.

TSB CEO Dr Pester told MPs on the Treasury Committee that he took “absolute responsibility” for the problems, but said the migration of billions of customer records was successful “to the penny” and the underlying engine of the bank was “working well”.

Paul Pester lost his job but the damage done to consumer confidence will take a long time to recover.

The problems had a simple cause – inadequate testing of the new systems in order to save time and stay on schedule.  That was a bad judgement.

The lesson is clear – do not take risks with customer data as you may end up very sorry.

If you’ve had bad experiences with TSB – let me know by email.

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