Scams, Security and Privacy

Scams and human psychology

Aspects of human psychology exploited by scammers and hoaxers
(an on-line presentation)

Information on Scams: Hoax-Slayer

Australian site run by one man !
"Debunking email hoaxes and exposing Internet scams since 2003!"

Latest updates:

Some hoaxses are just jokes:

Some are mischevious mis-information:
Circulating message claims that UK residents who contact a company via a
0800 phone number and find that they are talking to an overseas customer
service representative can ask to be transferred to a UK based
representative, thereby helping to create more UK jobs. According to the
message, there is a law requiring companies to make such a call transfer
if requested by a customer.

Some may cost someone their life:
How to Survive a Heart Attack When Alone Hoax

Hoaxes which encourage you to breach your computer security:

E-mails with attachments containing trojans:
The emails is not from USPS. The claim that USPS failed to deliver a
parcel to the recipient due to an incorrect address is untrue. Clicking
on the "shipping label" link in the email will download a malicious file
to the user's computer.

E-mails with links to Phishing sites
Email purporting to be from UK bank Lloyds TSB, and apparently signed by
Lloyds own Digital Banking Director, explains how customers can benefit
from using Intent banking and urges them to click a button to login and
start using the service.

Here's one which Mervyn recently reported

Clever …According to this email, the recipient has won the sum of
750,000 pounds in a "2012 anniversary promotion" organized by the
British branch of Internet giant, Google. The message claims that the
recipient's email address was randomly chosen as the winning entry via
an "online e-mail beta test" supposedly designed to ensure that Google
stays the most popular search engine. The "winner" is instructed to
contact the "Chief Financial Officer" and is sternly warned not to share
news of the win with other people or risk forfeiting the prize.

To check up on whether an e-mail you have received is is a hoax or
: Google it ! e.g. "Google Anniversary scam"

SMISHING, Drive by, cold calls and Scareware

Phishing by SMS
Smishing scams frequently seek to direct the text message recipient to
visit a website or call a phone number, at which point the person being
scammed is enticed to provide sensitive information such as credit card
details or passwords. Smishing websites are also known to attempt to
infect the person's computer with malware.
e.g. "Notice - this is an automated message from (a local credit union),
your ATM card has been suspended. To reactivate call urgent at

"Drive by"
Clicking on a compromised website links to "ransomware" that freezes
computers and demands payment to unlock them.
" … some variants of Reveton (virus) able to turn on computer webcams
and display a picture of the victim on the frozen screen." !!

Cold-Calling Scammers
The scammers usually pose as tech support engineers who work for
Microsoft or ISPs in an attempt to trick victims into buying
questionable security or PC optimization software.
Club member's wife received such a call.

Rogue security software, also known as "scareware," is software that
appears to be beneficial from a security perspective but provides
limited or no security, generates erroneous or misleading alerts, or
attempts to lure users into participating in fraudulent transactions.

Scam and Hoax information websites

Each day keeps thousands of internet users informed about
current scams and threats. Seen on CNN

Has a wider remit than just scams
"Welcome to, the definitive Internet reference source for
urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation. "

There is an interesting recent urban legend with regard to Facebook..
i.e. that if you post a message on your Facebook wall saying … "I
notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose….etc" you
can protect your copyright and privacy - —— bunkum
…some well regarded JCC members have fallen for this one !.

Mobile phone fraud and scams
Mobile phone fraud involves a variety of scams that either persuade you
to buy phone-related products/services that turn out to be substandard
or non-existent; or to make phone calls or texts to premium services by
accident; or to unknowingly sign up to expensive subscription services.

Top Scams 2012

The Top 10 Online Scams and Internet Con Games

Top 10 scams of the Year (US)

Privacy and security

It's up to you…

But…no-one really has total privacy….
The Joke’s on Whom? -

Jacintha Saldana case: a nobody who is suddenly exposed to global

"A phone prank confined to those directly involved in the call is not
likely to cause much stress. Even a radio broadcast heard only in
Australia would not seem too damaging for a “victim” in Britain. But a
viral prank that flashes around the globe on radio, TV, the Internet and
newspapers can make even a silly joke seem to carry the weight of the

"Pranksters must always be accountable for their actions, but in the
digital age the burden of responsibility also lies with those who use
the echo chamber to amplify things to the point of distortion and
stress. Unless we’re careful, the joke is on us. "

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