Category: Website Scam

Warning – Web Coin Mining on Your PC

For normal physical currencies, each country has an appointed currency maker – such as The Royal Mint in the UK that makes currency for the UK and several other counties. But with cyber currencies – who makes it and how?

The creation of new coins is called “mining” and involves large amounts of computer processing and this increases as more currency is created. For Bitcoin, the effort involved in making new currency means very few can manage it.

But, if you could somehow spread that computer processing demand out among thousands or even millions — of unknowing user’s computers, it would make mining a lot cheaper and possibly quicker.

This is exactly what some websites are doing. They use your CPU to mine cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin without your knowledge.

This can happen to you simply from visiting a website that uses JavaScript to start using your CPU for processing.

There are other methods but this is the most common and can be avoided if your browser has JavaScript disabled – but that will also block the functionality on some popular websites.

How to know if this has happened to your computer?

It’s not easy to identify unless your PC is suddenly very very slow and the CPU seems extremely busy while doing nothing.

Some websites can quietly use your CPU to mine cryptocurrency and they limit they effect on your work so you wouldn’t know unless you went out of your way to find out.

On a windows PC you can press CTRL, ALT and DELETE at the same time then select Task manager and see the CPU utilisation levels.

But if in doubt, the easiest remedy is to reboot your computer.

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Fake Website Gang Sentenced

Six people have been given jail sentences after defrauding the public out of more than £37m in one of the largest UK online crime cases brought to court.

The group set up and operated a number of “copycat websites”, which impersonated official government services to sell British passports, driving licences and other key documents at very high prices. The convictions and sentences followed one of the biggest investigations undertaken by the National Trading Standards eCrime Team.

Peter Hall, Claire Hall, Syed Bilal Zaidi, Collette Ferrow, Liam Hincks and Kerry Mill received sentences of varying lengths.

The criminals plan was to create copycat websites mimicking websites of government agencies that charge  for documents such as passports, car tax etc. and spend the time and money necessary to ensure their websites come top of Google searches for people looking at how to get or update their passport etc.

They used the company name Tadservices Limited between January 2011 and November 2014 and their fake websites mimicked those of 11 government agencies and departments.

Customers were conned into paying more than they needed for new or replacement passports, visas, birth and death certificates, driving licences, driving tests, car tax discs and the London congestion charge.

The criminals then expanded their operation to make copycat websites mimicking similar government websites of the American, Cambodian, Sri Lankan, Turkish and Vietnamese official visa sites where travellers could apply and pay for electronic visas.

The illegal profits funded a glamorous lifestyle for the defendants, with extravagant spending on expensive cars and luxury holidays.

“These convictions represent an important milestone in the fight against online fraud,” said Lord Harris, the chair of National Trading Standards. “This was a huge fraud and a very large number of people lost money as a result of the malicious actions of these criminals.”

Handing down sentence on Tuesday, Judge Sean Morris said: “The internet is now the most frequently used marketplace. It is full of busy people in a rush who don’t have time. There is a lot of money to be made by dishonest people out of the honest people who don’t have time to check that a site is an official government service.”

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The Clear Smart Fake TV Sales Scam

Clear-Smart advertise bargain price TVs on the Internet at clear-smart.co.uk

When you try to buy one – the card payment fails. Any card payment fails and they offer a further discount if you pay by bank transfer.

If you agree and pay – then your money is gone.

Meanwhile they fob you off with stories about the TV having been lost or damaged in transit or out of stock. They say anything to put you off for a while.

If you persist, then in time they turn nasty as they don’t like too many calls asking where the product is.

Then it’s obvious that it’s all just a scam – there are no TVs and having paid by bank transfer – the money is gone. Also, as they have your card details – your account may be at risk.

The moral is clear – always check carefully who you are buying from and NEVER pay by bank transfer or money payment agent as the money may be gone irretrievably

Clear Smart is a trading name for CS Online Retail Limited with registered owners – Charlotte Catherine Hicks and Nigel Peter Davis.

If you know anything about Clear Smart or CS Online Retail Limited then do let me know by email.

Louise and the Microsoft Support Scammer

Louise started up Internet Explorer browser on her PC and a screen popped up with a warning

WARNING – YOUR COMPUTER IS INFECTED

CALL Microsoft SUPPORT on 0208 3808 8964 IMMEDIATELY.

DO NOT TURN YOUR COMPUTER OFF OR ATTEMPT TO DO ANYTHING ELSE

Louise called the number immediately.

A very pleasant Indian man answered and he seemed very knowledgeable and assured her he would resolve the problem.

He asked her to install a piece of Citrix software which she did so he could take control of her PC and establish the nature of the problem.

He emphasised that the PC was badly infected and how important it was to remove the threat.

He warned her to turn off any other computers or mobile phones in the house as they could also become  infected.

At this point, his patter turned into more of a sales pitch for a package that would solve her problem and this made Louise suspicious.

Now Louise’s husband Charles was surprised at the request to turn off other computers and that made him suspicious so he turned the iPAD back on and searched for scams.

He found it – the “Microsoft Support scam”.

Charles then pulled the power cord from the PC to end any incursion by the support scammer.

What happened next?

The scammers called back three times and were ignored until they stopped calling.

Charles ran Kaspersky anti-virus to scan the PC for problems and installed Malwarebytes to also scan for any other malware. He also deleted the Citrix installation.

The PC was safe and they hadn’t been scammed but Charles and Louise had a narrow escape.

If continued, the scammers may have garnered credit card details, bank details, logins and passwords. etc.  as well as being paid for removing a non-existent computer virus.

If you see a warning screen like the one above – turn off the computer and contact a professional.  Do not call the number on screen as they are scammers.

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

The Fake Zeus Virus Warning Scam

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You get a frightening message on screen saying that Windows has detected the Zeus virus on your computer.

It warns “Don’t Restart Your Computer

But it also provides a solution – Call technical support on 0800-086914 and gives you a code to quote to the support agent.

Your computer does NOT have Zeus virus – it’s just a webpage designed to frighten you and get you to call the phone number. If you call, the agent (who is just a scammer) will lead you through a script intended to get you to pay to have the problem fixed and in the supposed fix process may well install software designed to steal your passwords and credit card numbers.

There is no problem to be fixed – just a scammer at work. Do not call the number. If you are in any doubt then take your computer to a professional for assessment. And don’t be afraid to restart the computer – the scammer didn’t want you to realise that the message goes away with a reboot (or just terminating the browser).

Everyone should take basic precautions with their computer – ensure that anti-virus is running and kept up to date and you need to run a complete anti-virus check on your computer once a week.

Use common sense – do not open attachments or click links in messages unless you are sure they are safe.

Three of the most popular anti-virus software packages are McAfee, AVG and Norton.

Don’t fall for the scammer’s tricks.

Stay safe

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