Anti-Spam and Security Precautions

© 96th Entry

Spam

Due to the increasing amount of spam that people are receiving, often due to bad guys trawling our sites for overt e-mail addresses it has been necessary to introduce some simple precautions, irritating as they may be.


Whenever you click on an e-mail link (other than the Contact Us link on the front page) on our web-site and after your e-mail application opens, you must change NOSPAM in the mail-to address line to an @ symbol before you send the message or it will not send. I have even included a reminder to do this in the e-mail page that opens when you click these links. If your e-mail application is already running you may get an error message. Just close your e-mail application and the link will reopen it for you.


Scams

Please be very aware of e-mail scams, which purport to be from genuine authorities wanting your personal details to be able to send you some promised wealth, etc. Banks or building societies, even HMRC are favourite decoys.


A simple way to spot these scams is if instead of your name in the address line it is blank or is sent to undisclosed recipients. Also look for poor spelling and grammar, which is a reliable give-away that it is from a dodgy source. The usual ploy is asking for you to click on a link or to download some form or other. Do not do it. Often hovering over a link or url in these e-mail (without clicking on it) will reveal the true origin, usually ending with a foreign country code rather than .co.uk or .com, etc.


In any event immediately mark it as junk without opening it. Never open any link in the e-mail or any attachment that is with it, as these are the virus carriers. They may not damage your pc but they may install a key stroke logger that could record any of your confidential information and send it to the scammers.


A genuine authority, such as your bank or building society, etc will only contact you by sending direct to your named e-mail address and they will use your agreed title and name in the body of the e-mail text and only with your prior authority to make contact with that chosen e-mail address.


If in doubt forward the e-mail as is, to the appropriate bank or building society or HMRC security contact, a link for whom can usually be found on their own web sites, or ask at the bank, etc. Even so ensure the web site is genuine as scammers will often copy over a logo to make the site look genuine and ask you to login or input other confidential information.


As a measure of confidence a web site is genuine it will have a URL (web address) beginning https:\\... and there will be a locked lock symbol somewhere on the page at the top or bottom. Beware of any URL that does not appear to match the site you are trying to reach.


Help

In the event you are troubled by unwanted e-mails you can invoke SpamCop. Go to their web-site at  http://www.spamcop.net/ where you can report pests to an investigator who will attempt to sort them out for you.


The UK government spam watchdogs are typical Quangos and I have found them to be most ineffective. All red tape and no help at all. If you want to forward your spam e-mails to them also, these are the addresses.


The Information Office is mail@gsi.gov.uk and The Compliance Office is compliance@ico.gsi.gov.uk . You don't need to change the @ for these ones.

These agencies are supposed to regulate unsolicited advertising and e-selling, but they say they are limited to UK spammers. Their opinion of people asking for your bank details so they can donate great riches is that they are asking for help, not trying to con you. They also want you to fill in a form for every mail submitted. I suggest you politely tell them, as I did, what to do with their ruddy forms.


Finally invest in a good anti-virus application. AVG is an example and you can download a free version or pay for a more advanced version. Other anti-virus applications are available free or to buy.


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