Category: Website Review

Stop Badware

https://www.stopbadware.org/

The site claims that “Our work protects people and organizations from becoming victims of viruses, spyware, scareware, and other badware”. That sounds useful.

The StopBadware project started at Harvard University and was turned into an independent nonprofit organization in 2010.

What is Badware?

Badware is software that overrides a user’s choice about how his or her computer or network connection will be used.

Some badware is specifically designed for criminal, political, and/or mischievous purposes.

These purposes might include:

  • stealing bank account numbers, passwords, company secrets, or other confidential information
  • tricking the user into buying something that they don’t need
  • sending junk email (spam)
  • sending premium text messages from a mobile device
  • attacking other computers to prevent them functioning properly
  • distributing badware to other computers

Badware is sometimes referred to as malware. It includes viruses, Trojans, rootkits, botnets, spyware, scareware, and more.

The StopBadware programme:

 

  • provides Internet users with important and timely information about badware
  • helps website owners, particularly individuals and small businesses, protect their sites from badware; offers resources and community support to owners of compromised sites
  • engages web hosts and other key service providers to help them effectively and transparently address badware websites within their zones of control
  • encourages companies to proactively share data and knowledge with one another; leads collaborative information-sharing efforts that create greater security for all stakeholders
  • conducts high-impact research on malicious websites, cybersecurity econometrics, and critical infrastructure, to name just a few

Some badware may not have malicious intentions, but still takes away the user’s control.

For example, a browser toolbar that helps you shop online more effectively but does not mention that it will send a list of everything you buy online to the company that provides the toolbar. In this case, you are unable to make an informed decision about whether to install or use this software.

Another example is when you install a piece of software, and that software installs additional software that you weren’t expecting. This can be especially troubling if the additional software does something you dislike or doesn’t uninstall when you remove the original software.

STOP BADWARE!

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The Pension Wise Service

https://www.pensionwise.gov.uk

In these days of pension fraud, if you’re over 55, it is wise to assess your pension situation using government advice.

The website Pension Wise was set-up by government to provide free advice

They say they can help you if:-

  • you are aged 50 or over
  • have a personal or workplace pension
  • want to make sense of your options

There is plenty of advice on the site from what happens if you live abroad to taxation to the different ways you can take money from your pension pot.

There’s also advice on how to avoid the pension scammers.

If you feel the need to talk to an expert, there are free calls of up to 60 minutes that can be booked.

If you need pension advice – this website is a good start.

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The Society of Citizens Against Romance Scams

https://againstromancescams.org/

The Society of Citizens Against Romance Scams (SCARS) claim to represent more than 25,000 people, dedicated to changing the world of online fraud for the sake of everyone.

SCARS aspires to be the global organization to coordinate political advocacy, public education and avoidance programs, have an enforcement focus, support victims and promote recovery programs, and establish best practices and standards throughout the world. “A Beacon In The Darkness”.

That’s quite a mission.

SCARS

The focus of the Society is to:

  • Consolidate the voices of many into a single voice.
  • Work for the creation and implementation of universal standards and practices that provide effective and ethical anti-scam activities
  • Engage government, law enforcement, and victims globally in new methods to aggressively combat online fraud.
  • Create the first worldwide Anti-Scam Data Reporting Network with industry partners for real time exposure of fraudsters
  • Develop support and recovery solutions for traumatized victims based upon the best methods employed in the private and public sectors.

SCARS Membership:

For Individuals: join in the transformation that will begin to bring an end to the uncontrolled reign of online fraud. As additional benefits are added you will automatically be eligible.

For Professionals: you will be able to take advantage of numerous committees and their work product to improve your skills. In the future we will develop accredited continuing educational courses. Additionally you will become a part of a network of professional practitioners in victim’s support, investigation, and related practices available for certification.

For Groups and Organizations: you will have access to accreditation and certification processes to improve your services and offerings, and demonstrate to the public your degree of superior practices.

Professional Links

SCARS claims to be the only anti-online fraud non-governmental organization recognized by governments around the world and partners with a various important authorities, including:-

  • The United States Department of Homeland Security
  • Recognized Victims Assistance Organization
  • S. Department of Justice Office of Victims of Crime
  • S. DoJ OVC National Census Of Victim Service Providers
  • NCVC Victim Connect Program
  • NOVA – National Organization for Victim Assistance
  • SCARS Is a member of The European Union’s Council Of Europe Octopus Cybercrime Organization

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Identify Ransomware

If you are hit by Ransomware, you need to block off the attack by removing Internet access from your PCs and  servers,  stop any encryption processes in progress and any other processes running that shouldn’t be running.

Then the first stage of investigation is to identify what you’re facing and the website https://id-ransomware.malwarehunterteam.com/ is a good starting point.

You upload one encrypted file or the file that is the ransom message to this website and it will try to identify the variant of ransomware. Currently it can identify more than 500  different variants.

For each there is extra information which can tell you if there are decryption keys available on the Internet.

Some anti-hackers try to find the decryption keys and post them freely, but the blackmailers do know this and try to stay of ahead of them by using new variants for which there are no keys available except for the one held by the blackmailer.

The website is run purely as a free service to the public and does not decrypt files for you – you need an IT  professional for that (assuming it’s possible as many cannot be decrypted without a key from the blackmailer)

If you have a suspected virus rather than ransomware then there is a website that may help to identify it  at https://www.virustotal.com

As always, the advice is that it’s best to avoid being held to ransom – ensure you have adequate systems protection in place, staff that have been educated on the danger of cyber attacks, regular backups (including off-site) and have a plan in place to deal with a ransomware attack.

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Trust Pilot Customer Reviews

https://uk.trustpilot.com

Trustpilot is an online review community founded in Denmark in 2007 by  Peter Holten Mühlmann.

The website has more than 32 million reviews of 179,000 businesses and 1,000,000 new reviews each month created by 45,000 reviewers each day. So you can see this is a serious business and also that there must be a huge need for unbiased reviews of businesses.

Trustpilot “believe that people’s voices should be heard, which is why we’re dedicated to helping everyone share their genuine experiences. We’re committed to being the most trusted online review community on the market. Genuine reviews written by consumers are published instantly without censoring, and businesses can see and reply to them”

TrustPilot say they have zero tolerance for fraud and investigate any reported misuse

How Does TrustPilot Make Money?

They offer a series of packages to businesses for a monthly subscription.

The key sales points for these are:-

  • Connect with your customers by collecting reviews
  • Automate a review collection process seamlessly into your customer journey.
  • Build trust on a platform for both businesses and customers
  • Gather feedback and interact with customers on an independent website consumers trust.
  • Showcase your reputation where it matters
  • Amplify your presence across all channels including search, social, paid, and offline media.

The four business plans are:-

Free Plan £ 0 PER MONTH Lite Plan £ 149 PER MONTH (PAID ANNUALLY) Pro Plan £ 349 PER MONTH (PAID ANNUALLY) Enterprise Plan  CONTACT TO GET A QUOTE
Collect & respond to Trustpilot reviews for free. Showcase reviews on your website & clearly demonstrate marketing ROI. Give your marketing & sales a significant boost with a wide range of customizable tools. Full access to Trustpilot Business with superior integrations, data protection & account management.

 

If you want to build trust for your company. Then Trust Pilot  may be able to help.

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Strange Happenings at romancescams.org

Romancescams.org was set-up some time ago to warn people about the many varieties of romance based scams that go on.

There is a lot of information to help people to avoid being scammed, but recently the site seems to have been taken over by a business that advertises dating sites.

These are legitimate sites, so no real problem but it is odd that such a business would acquire a scam warning site.

The scam warnings are still on the site but there are also lists of reviews of dating sites and recommendations on dating sites to use.

Perhaps it was a temporary issue but the Report a Scam button didn’t work for me.

Do you know anything of what’s going on with this site? Let me know.

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Scam Survivors Help

www.scamsurvivors.com

The website says it exists because: Scammers will take your money with no cares about the lives it ruins.  People are nothing but a money amount to them – a living, breathing ATM machine.

The site is run by volunteers and has three goals:

  1. To make scammers’ lives harder by exposing their details and scripts to search engines.
  2. Educating the public, thus removing scammers’ sources of income as scams will continue as long as there are victims.
  3. Helping people to see that, even after being scammed, they CAN move forward and things DO get better.

They cover a wide range of scams including:- 419, fund transfer, tax refund, beneficiary/inheritance/next of kin, hitman, parcel, gold/diamond, charity, love/romance/catfish, dying widow/widower, military, lottery, secret shopper/work from home, business/investment/supply invitation, loan, ATM card, tax refund, recovery/compensation, conference, Craigslist, webcam blackmail, phishing, grandchild/friend in distress and car wrap.

The website staff offer  non judgmental help and advice for those scammed online.

For many people who have been scammed, the psychological effects are worse than the monetary loss.

There is an active forum with 145,000 posts.

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38 Degrees Campaigns

https://home.38degrees.org.uk

38 Degrees is one of the UK’s biggest campaigning communities, with millions of members.

Campaigns

10,891

Total actions taken

39,649,749

 

38 Degrees say they are independent of all political parties. They are driven by issues and outcomes, and judge all politicians by the same standards regardless of what party they belong to.

They don’t take money from political parties, government or big business.  The campaigns are powered by small donations from thousands of 38 Degrees members averaging about £12 per donation.

If you have an idea to make your community, or the country, a better place, Campaigns by You helps you make it a reality. 38 Degrees let everyone create petitions, organise meetings, and win campaigns on the issues close to their hearts.

38 Degrees launched in 2009 and now has over 3 million people involved in the campaigns.

Highlights

  1. They helped stop the government’s plans to sell off our ancient national forests.
  2. They stopped plans for a massive mega-dairy in Lincolnshire.
  3. They stopped Donald Trump’s plans to build a golf course at the expense of families in Menie, Scotland, who were at risk of eviction.
  4. They also helped convince the government to sign up to the EU Directive on human trafficking.
  5. They forced the 2012 Olympic sponsors not to dodge their tax.
  6. They stopped eBay from selling illegal bee-killing pesticides.
  7. They helped make sure plans to cover up investigations into MPs expenses were scrapped.

Current campaigns

38 Degrees members campaign on a variety of different issues all year round – from keeping privatisation out of our NHS, to keeping libraries open, to stopping Murdoch’s power grab of BSkyB. We’re concerned with defending fairness, protecting rights, promoting peace, preserving the planet and deepening democracy.

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The Consumer Action Group

www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk

The Consumer Action Group is an online forum which provides free support and advice to anyone with consumer problems.

This covers dealings with banks, credit companies, retail organisations, employment, armed forces – you can see its wide reaching and it’s a huge forum with over 385,000 members and 4.8 million posts.

There’s also a library of information about consumer rights, an out of date blog, an email newsletter, access to webmail, a consumer action group magazine and more.

But really it’s the forum that makes it work and that’s where people can get free advice.

If you’re new to using a forum – basically people pose questions and any other member is free to post answers or comments. You don’t have to post something if you don’t want to – you can simply search and read on anything that interests you about being a consumer.

The site is paid for by donations and by advertising. Most of the adverts are at the top of the pages so once you scroll down they are out of sight.

The forums cover all forms of consumer action from buying to being an employee and there is a community centre with advice on how to stop smoking, technical support for electronic devices, cost cutting tips, weight loss etc.

This is a comprehensive and useful resource generally on being a consumer but especially if you have problems with a supplier’s products or service. Whatever the problem, there is likely to be someone on consumer action group who has been through it before and may be able to help you.

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Safe From Scams Website

http://www.safefromscams.co.uk/

SafeFromScams was created in 2010 to offer information on how to protect yourself against scams.

The sales pitch for the site is:-

“It’s a very dangerous world out there. You might lock your doors.. The scammers are everywhere. They want to part you from your hard-earned money, to steal your identity, or simply take advantage of your honesty to make a profit from others. You might be law-abiding, but they’re not. There are thousands of them, in person, in business, on the phone and online – and they’re growing more ingenious all the time”.

They say that the site is the resource to learn about scams of all types, from the classics that are still being run regularly, like bill-padding, builders, and chain letters – which still work – to the new ones that keep appearing, things like phishing, mobile phone scams, or those fake lotteries.

The website was created seven years ago as at that time, there was no single UK resource for interesting features and practical advice on how to stay safe from scams.

They say that the features and articles are written by experts – who have experience, or a particular interest in this area.

The guy who started Safe From Scams is John Rowlinson – the owner of PtS which has software and property companies and he uses those to fund the Safe From Scams website and a number of similar sites.

The site covers a wide range of scams, including Credit Card Scams, Travel Scams, Fake Goods, Medical Scams and is a great resource for more detailed information on the various kinds of scams.,

There is also an ‘Ask the Expert’ feature.

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