Category: Product Review

Review of any products that help the fight against Scammers, Spammers and Time-Wasters

The Honey APP

A lot of people collect discount coupons – from newspapers and magazines but increasingly from coupon websites. There are numerous websites promising to give you the latest and best discount coupons off products at your favourite stores and it can take a lot of time searching for the discounts you want.

An entrepreneur tired of that process and created Honey.

It’s not an APP in the usual sense – it’s a browser extension so it adds on to your browser and it watches the stores you visit and the products you buy and finds and applies the relevant discount coupons automatically.

Honey is a free browser extension that automatically finds and applies coupon codes at checkout for over 30,000 shopping sites. It also instantly find better prices on Amazon and offers Honey Gold at many stores for it’s U.S. members.

Once Honey is installed, you will see the Honey icon in the top right corner turn orange on Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Edge when you’re on a shopping site that is supported by Honey.

That seems straightforward but there is also Honey Gold for US users.

The idea is that Honey makes money by getting a commission from merchants and then giving a portion of it back to the users as points which can be redeemed for dollar amounts credited to gift cards for stores such Amazon, Walmart, Target, eBay, Nordstrom, and Sephora.

User reviews say Honey does work and saves them money on shopping online.

It doesn’t work with all stores of course and you may not want a browser extension to be watching your shopping habits even though they emphatically say they do not sell or share customer data in any way.

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The CS600 Call Blocker Mobile

The CS600 mobile phone by CPR Call Blocker has been designed to safeguard the most vulnerable while maintaining their active independence. The CS600 has a Black list function which lets you block nuisance callers at the touch of a button. There is also a White List function that lets you add lists of numbers that will be allowed through – friends and family etc. can be setup in advance.

This model also features a large colour screen and photo contacts allow the user to select a person to dial – useful for the visually impaired.

There is an emergency assist SOS key which sends an SMS message to all contacts in the emergency number list. (Saying: Emergency, the phone then calls the primary number in the list. If unanswered the phone will rotate through the numbers until answered.

CPR Chameleon can switch between all major networks to ensure an optimum signal at all times.

The phone’s retail price is £29.99, available from Amazon and many other retailers.

Features

  • CPR Call Blocking Technology
  • SOS Emergency Assist Button
  • Photo Contacts
  • 2 Inch Colour Display
  • Magnifier
  • Camera/Torch/FM Radio
  • Bluetooth
  • Wireless Charging Cradle

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Call Blocking Phones for Dementia Sufferers

In 2015, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) received almost 170,000 complaints about nuisance calls

Cold callers are a nuisance to most of us. But to someone suffering from dementia, they can be a scourge.

This is also the case for many people with mental disabilities, the very elderly and people not used to callers pretending to be helpful but just seeking to defraud them.

Many of the large charity organisations until recently used to exchange caller lists so anyone who was generous to one charity would find themselves bombarded with calls from other charities and many paid over far more money than they should have.

Prime Minister Theresa May said “We want to create a fairer society by cracking down on unscrupulous practices which target the most vulnerable”. She has announced plan to give elderly and vulnerable people hi-tech devices to block these nuisance calls.

The call blocking devices will be installed in the homes of some of the most vulnerable people across the UK who have been identified by doctors, Trading Standards officials and local councils as being at risk from nuisance callers.

These trueCall devices will block all recorded messages, silent calls and calls from numbers not already pre-identified by the home owner – offering particular protection to those with dementia.

The project, which is being co-ordinated by the National Trading Standards Scams Team and supported by local Trading Standards departments, is the latest of a series of government crackdowns on nuisance callers

The chief executive of Dementia UK, Hilda Hayo, said: We welcome this project as some people living with dementia are vulnerable to nuisance callers who offer bogus services and financial schemes. These calls can not only have a negative financial impact but can also lead to psychological effects such as anxiety, depression and a loss of self-esteem. We frequently receive calls to our national helpline from family members who are concerned that their relative with dementia has fallen prey to rogue traders.

The funding for this scheme includes £300,000 to supply call blocking machines with the remaining budget spent on the management of the service and raising public awareness of scam and nuisance calls

The only problem is that the money will run out long before everyone who needs one of the phones gets it. Let’s hope more money can be found.

To report a nuisance go to the Information Commissioners Office online at www.ico.org.uk

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Review of Malwarebytes Anti Malware

Malware is any piece of software that can cause problems on your computer. This includes viruses, trojans, ransomware, spyware and PUPS.

Malwarebytes is an anti-malware package, not an anti-virus package. It’s designed to find and eliminate the other elements of malware.

Trojans are pieces of software that can infect your computer while appearing to be harmless.  E.g. the Trojan may open a back door through which hackers can access to your computer.    Spyware is anything that makes a record of your actions e.g. websites visited and passes on that information. This can be simply to provide more targeted adverts but is often intrusive and unwelcome. PUPS are pieces of software or cookies that are probably unwelcome but do not fit the category of dangerous.

How Does it Work?

You install Malwarebytes and it has real time protection facilities that guard against for example your browser navigating to a dangerous website. It also needs to run regular scans of your computer to ensure nothing dangerous has got onto your computer.

Malwarebytes used to have an excellent free version but with the advent of version 3 – the free version has been downgraded and now is just the scan facility with no real time protection i.e. it give no protection against malware infecting your computer, browsing on dangerous websites etc.

The premium version  costs £30 per year for full protection.

Malwarebytes is very effective at preventing malware getting onto my computer, but it does slow the machine down noticeably at times.  So that’s a trade-off you have to consider.

Malwarebytes may not be that efficient at finding and removing viruses so a separate anti-virus software package may be needed.

Features of Malwarebytes

  • Anti-malware scans
  • Real time protection
  • Malicious website blocking
  • Developed for PCs but now available on MAC and Android

Main Competitors

  • BitDefender
  • Kaspersky

In conclusion, Malwarebytes is effective in countering malware and it’s worth the annual cost but it’s a shame the free version has been so downgraded.

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The New BT Halo Phone

BT has launched BT Halo, a new home phone that allows customers to make and receive mobile calls from their home phone using Bluetooth technology.

This is one of the new generation wireless home phones that can integrate with your mobile phone and give you cheaper mobile calls from home.  It can even access your mobile phone contact list.

It has all of the usual features you’d expect with a home phone – an answer machine, hands free option etc and it is wireless.

It’s increasingly common now for new home phones to include call screening and the BT Halo includes BT’s Premium Nuisance Call Blocking service.

 

Whether its nuisance calls, marketing and sales calls or just callers you don’t want to talk to – it’s useful to be able to block them.

You can choose to block specific numbers or only let calls through from people you know. You do have to pay for the BT caller display service to get full functionality from the phone.

If you have problems with cold callers then do register with the Telephone Preference Service at www.tpsonline.org.uk and try one of the new generation home phones that come with call blocking features.

The BT Halo is available now from the BT Shop and a single unit is £99.99 and the BT Halo Twin is £139.99.

It’s not the cheapest of wireless home phones but worth a look, especially for the call blocking features.

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Telephones That Can Block Unwanted Callers

BT and other companies produce phones that let you block cold callers.

e.g. BT8600 Home Phone with Advanced Call Blocker

This allows you to choose the calls you want to take and those you want to block.

  • Numbers on your contact list get straight through.
    • For all other calls Call Guardian asks the caller to say their name and then asks the user whether they want to accept or block the call without speaking to the caller.

Advanced Call Blocking Features

You can block 1000 individual numbers and you can choose the type of calls you want to block such as mobile, international, withheld, unknown or payphone numbers. You can even block numbers by area code or suffix.

Diagram of how call blocking works
Diagram of how call blocking works

There other phones that do similar of course.

The BT call blocker phones start at £35, but there’s also

  • Binatone Shield 6020 – from £23
  • Panasonic KX-TGH220 – from £43
  • Gigaset Dune CL540A – from £89

Conclusion: These phones  do seem a good idea for anyone plagued by cold callers.