Category: Warning

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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The Tik Tok APP

Tik Tok is a social media app that gives users the opportunity to share 60 second short videos with friends, family or the entire world. The videos shared typically range from funny sketches to lip-sync videos featuring special effects to voices over extracts from films

The APP has more than 150 million active users and it is controversial because of the number of teenagers and children who use it.

The minimum age according to TikTok’s terms and conditions is 13, but Tik Tok does not verify a new user’s age except by asking for birth date.

When you download the app, you can instantly see the videos that others have posted on the channel but are not able to share or post anything until you have set up your own account. This is typical with social media.

The Problems

  • Some of the videosinclude bad language or subject matter unsuited for children. However, there is a setting to block inappropriate content
  • Because the site is used by children and includes videos, it may attract predatory adults

What should parents be concerned about?

You can set up an account on Tik Tpk by using your existing Google, Facebook or Instagram account.

By default all accounts are public so anyone on the app can see what your child shares. However, only approved followers can send them messages.

Users can like or react to a video, follow an account or send messages to each other. There is the risk that strangers will be able to directly contact children on the app.

Children may be tempted to take risks to get more of a following or likes on a video so it’s important to talk about what they share and with who.

You can set an account to be private so that all videos can only be seen by the creator and no one else on the platform. With a private account, you can approve or deny users and limit incoming messages to followers only.

Please note that even with a private account, your child’s profile photo, username, and bio are still visible to all users on the platform.

You can manage who can comment  and direct message your child on the APP

Do leave a comment on this post – click on the post title then scroll down to leave your comment.

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Government Attacks Viagogo

Viagogo is a website that resells tickets for concerts, events, shows etc.

Viagogo has a bad reputation for hiding the true cost of the tickets and for not warning people that their tickets may not be valid (in many cases only the original purchaser can use the ticket) etc.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued court proceedings against Viagogo over concerns it is breaking consumer protection law.

Following an investigation into the secondary ticketing sector, the CMA began enforcement action against four major secondary ticketing websites in November 2018. As a result, three of those sites – StubHub, GETMEIN! and Seatwave – offered formal commitments in April 2019 to overhaul the way they do business.

However, Viagogo has not offered to make the changes the CMA considers necessary to bring it in line with the law. Legal proceedings have therefore been brought in the High Court.

Andrea Coscelli, CMA Chief Executive Officer, said that people who buy tickets on websites like Viagogo must be given all the information they are entitled to. It’s imperative they know key facts, including what seat they will get and whether there is a risk they might not actually get into the event.

This applies to Viagogo as much as it does to any other secondary ticketing website. Unfortunately, while other businesses have agreed to overhaul their sites to ensure they respect the law, Viagogo has not.

The CMA’s concerns include:-

  • Customer not being told if there is a risk that they will be turned away at the door
  • Customers are not being informed which seat in the venue they will get
  • Customers are not being told who is selling the ticket, which means that they can benefit from enhanced legal rights when buying from a business
  • Customers are given misleading information about the availability and popularity of tickets – which can lead to them being rushed into making a buying decision or making the wrong choice
  • Customers experience difficulties in getting their money back under Viagogo’s guarantee when things go wrong
  • Customers are being offered tickets that a seller does not own and may not be able to supply

Under the circumstances, it would seem foolhardy to trust Viagogo with your money.

Do leave a comment on this post – click on the post title then scroll down to leave your comment.

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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 haveibeenpwned.com 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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