Read All About IT! July 2020
Posted on: 30th June, 2020
Welcome to Read All About IT!, the newsletter from Northumberland Computer Support.
This informative bulletin will be published monthly, (or less), with the aim of keeping you up to date with the world of computers.
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More scam emails!
“Phishing” emails, which try to persuade you to go to a rogue website and to leave lots of personal details, even your credit card data, have been with us for some time.
They are getting more professional looking and can fool many otherwise careful people into going to a website, which looks exactly like the legitimate site that you believe you have been pointed to, but which is run by crooks.
A recent example we have seen was an email which was sent to an elderly gent, purporting to be from TV Licensing. As he has had the benefit of a free TV Licence, but he knows that he will shortly have to pay again, it seemed to make sense that the licence folks would want him to set up a Direct Debit in advance.
But, after he had visited the website and given over his credit card and banking details, he thought about it a bit further. How would the TV Licensing people have known his email address?
He called TV Licensing who confirmed that the email wasn’t from them. They suggested that he call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. (https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/)
They were really good and asked him to call his bank, who were able to confirm that no money had been taken and that they had cancelled that credit card and would issue another.
His bank advised him to get his computer and iPad checked out, just in case the website that he had visited had managed to drop any offending software onto his devices. We were able to do that for him over the weekend.
The email that he received had a “From” address showing as “Home – TV Licensing – GOV.UK”, but that was followed by the actual email address, which started “elhupvnxpv@”. Just a random string of characters.
In the body of the email was the link that they wanted people to click on, which said, “Pay for your Licence”. But, if the client had hovered his mouse over that link, he would have seen the real website address it was taking him to – in this case https://motomex–bg.com – nothing at all to do with TV Licensing. Hover your mouse over that link and you’ll see that you are being directed to a completely different website!
In any email, check that the “From” address looks legit. And hover your mouse over any links to see which website you will be taken to.
Less scam emails?
The best way to reduce your spam count is to not publish email addresses openly on the internet. If your email address is embedded into a website it will be picked up by robots, which scan the internet looking for juicy email addresses to harvest. You can use simple tools to mask the address from such robots, or better still use a Contact Form.
Our own Domain Hosting service, for your websites and emails, has really robust anti-spam systems in place. It very rarely reports what are known as “false positives”, whereby a legitimate email is blocked. It will only occasionally allow through a rogue email, as there is a balance to be struck between being too cautious and being too lax.
In the event that you do get a spam email through our systems it’s simply a case of forwarding it to us, or calling us, and we’ll fine-tune the back-end systems to enhance them even further.
This valuable service is free, as it is all part of the full support offered to our Domain Hosting clients
If you are using Microsoft Office 365, with your email system managed through your Microsoft account, they also have extremely good mail filtering in place. As with our own platform, it is quite rare to get a spam email passed through the Microsoft servers.
Microsoft have an “Add-In” for use with Outlook, which places a “Report Message” command on the menu in Outlook. You can get this Add-In from Microsoft at https://appsource.microsoft.com/en-GB/product/office/wa104381180
You are asked to log in with the email address associated with your Microsoft 365 Account and the Add-In is automatically added to the menu bar in Outlook. This allows you to report spam emails, or to report emails which have mistakenly gone to the Spam folder as being “Not Junk”
Gmail, from Google, is also great for blocking many unwanted emails, but if you use one of the many “cheap” hosting platforms, then good luck! They are cheap for good reason and one of those reasons is a lack of staff for adapting to new threats and for tweaking their own systems.
If you’re not sure what you have, or if you would like further information on our own Domain Hosting services, see https://computer-support.uk/domain-name-hosting/ or call 01670 432 324 for free advice.
Northumberland Computer Support offers computer support to Northumberland.
We offer a better level of computer support to businesses, schools, charities and home users throughout the county.
We don’t tell you what the problem is. We just give you the solution.
Call us today on 01670 432 324