Sorry to use Jargon in my title. For those that do not understand what it means you are about to find out in great detail. So, like we have discussed in the introduction the badies don’t go on bank raids anymore they target us the public using all sorts of different methods. One of these methods is Pharming. This is where the direct the internet user to a bogus website that mimics an existing website. This is in order for you to input information, while they are sat there behind being all sneaky and recording it all.

For example, you google your way to your Banks internet page and use the link provided by google to go to the log on page. Looks normal, you log on as normal and the naughty person who has just got you to use a fake website has now got all your log on details. I don’t have the techno know how on how they do it, I just know they do this a lot!

But we are concentrating on social media, aren’t we! Do you google your way to Facebook? Are all your passwords the same or similar!? I know it sounds silly, but you would be gobsmacked by how many people use the same passwords for everything. I know we live in an age of passwords and codes and it is sooooo frustrating and annoying. But it does pay to try and have different passwords for different things, for example password1, password2, password3, password4. It is not secure and easy to guess. Remember these baddies are not stupid this is how they make their money. If you are logging in to Facebook with Password1 and then logging into your email with password2, it’s not hard to work out you may be logging into Paypal with password3, or 4.

Try maybe a random theme, sweets, countries or the world, Greek hero’s, constellations, anything where you have a huge bank of words to choose from that are related so that you can create a way of remembering them, but are not obvious to someone maybe trying to get in your info. For example, kids and pet names, not great.

So moving on from some password safety and back to Pharming, you have unknowingly used a bogus website logged on to what you think is Facebook and given them access to your profile and a password. You then decide to check your emails, they are still sat there, watching what you are doing. You then log on to something else, they are getting quite a good list of passwords now.

This pharming allows them to get loads of your passwords, or build an intimate knowledge of your life, you gave them access to your emails, they can see you have booked a holiday to Spain and you need to make a payment. They get your mobile number from facebook…. They ring you pretending to be the bank, your payment for your holiday has failed…. Oh! . You hang up, you ring the number for the holiday…. (they are still sat on the phone line, they have not cut the connection), now they are the holiday providers, offer you to make a payment over the phone. They have your money….

That spiralled quickly….I promise I am not trying to scare you, I am not trying to make you panic about everything you do online. I am trying to give you a little bit of information on what they can do.

Tip 1: Be careful using Google to get to webpages. I’m not saying don’t use it. I’m saying be careful. When it gives you a link, check the webpage address, how long is it? I mean to get to facebook it is just www.facebook.com, if you are provided with www.facebook12387r9340pgkdsvjpwaoi3rkjfe.com, it probably isn’t facebook?

Tip 2: If you can go direct to a page using the address you remember, do that

Tip 3: If you receive an email with a link in it, check what you are doing, REMEMBER THE WHY? Where is the email coming from? Are you expecting it? Does it look like other emails you have received from the same place? Are you expecting the email (for example a password reset you have not requested)? This is also known as Phishing.

Tip 4: Chain messages in Facebook messenger, PLEASE STOP SENDING THEM! If you receive one, ignore it. Seriously they quiet often contain things you cannot see, entry points for the naughty ppl or they are revealing information to those same naughty ppl. Also, viruses, this is how they spread.

Tip 5: Password safety, see above

Tip 6: Telephone safety – If you receive the call be happy you are talking to the person you think it is. If not HANG UP! I work for a bank I am endlessly telling my customers that I will not be offended if they do not want to talk to me if I cold call them. Ill let you hang up, put a note on the system saying why I rang. So that if they go into another branch or ring up using the number, they know is the bank, they will know it was me and why I was ringing.

Hang up! Use another phone line (remember I said they may not have put the phone down themselves, waiting for you to ring), If you can’t use another phone, wait! They won’t stay there forever. And then ring whoever you want to ring using a number you know is correct. For example, the customer service number on your statements or on the back of your debit card.

I can’t promise that if you follow all my tips you will not fall victim to a scam, but you are making it much harder for them!

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