Posts Tagged ‘scam’

Watch you don’t get hacked by WhatsApp Plus

January 22nd, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

whatsapp Watch you dont get hacked by WhatsApp PlusHave you been using an app called WhatsApp Plus? Well, stop that at once! You see, WhatsApp have banned some users from using the app for 24 hours because it is a third party application and it violates the ‘terms of service’.

WhatsApp have asked their users to uninstall WhatsApp+ and install the authorised version of WhatsApp from official website or Google Play if they want to resume normal service. This other app isn’t related to WhatsApp, which means it has code that isn’t supported by the company and, worse still, if you get hacked and your details and photos leak, they won’t be taking any responsibility for it.

So if you’ve been sending photos of your junk to people through this third party app, you’re asking for trouble.

WhatsApp are treating the Plus app as malware and, in their FAQ section, they’ve said: “WhatsApp Plus is an application that was not developed by WhatsApp, nor is it authorised by WhatsApp. The developers of WhatsApp Plus have no relationship to WhatsApp, and we do not support WhatsApp Plus. Please be aware that WhatsApp Plus contains source code which WhatsApp cannot guarantee as safe and that your private information is potentially being passed to 3rd parties without your knowledge or authorization.”

In short – stop using it, alright? Good.

Crazy Chinese people news now, and a man has been arrested after trying to smuggle 94 iPhones into China. You might not think that this is mental at all…

…but this man tried to do it by strapping them on to his body, of course.

smuggler 500x310 Man tapes 94 iPhones on his body to smuggle into China

The man caught the attention of inspectors at the Futian crossing in Shenzhen, a southern Chinese metropolis bordering Hong Kong,  who noticed the gent was walking a little funny carrying a couple of carrier bags, and was waved through when there was nothing suspicious found in the bags.

However, when he went through the metal detector, the alarms went off and he was busted.

Photos released by customs show dozens of neatly shrink-wrapped shiny iPhones strapped around the man’s chest, abdomen, crotch and thighs with duct tape. Dude clearly went to some right effort.

iPhones are quite the thing in China, with consumers going nuts for the gadget ahead of the launch of iPhone 6 last year. Apple handsets are also more expensive in the mainland than Hong Kong, due to higher import taxes. Fr’instance, an iPhone 6 with 64 gigabytes of storage, sells for almost $1,000 in the mainland but only about $820 in Hong Kong, hence a bit of a black market has sprung up.

This isn’t the first case of iPhone smuggling the authorities have seen, Shenzhen customs officials disclosed that they have caught 18 mules strapping smuggled electronic products – including 282 iPhones – on, or in their bodies since December.

One can only applaud the audacity and madness of the man who thought “Yeah. 94 iPhones strapped on my body. That’ll work. NO ONE WILL SUSPECT A THING”.

But in Mandarin obviously.

Apple’s Spotlight opening you to hacks?

January 13th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

sad apple logo Apples Spotlight opening you to hacks?On OS X Yosemite, you may have noticed that Apple’s Spotlight search function is rather sophisticated, allowing you to search the web as well as peering into your machine for content too. All very clever.

However, it also has a flaw that could well expose your local information to nefarious types. Not so clever.

So what’s going on? Well, the weakness focuses on Apple Mail. Basically, as Spotlight Search indexes emails that have been received within Apple’s email service, it also shows previews of your emails, your images and such.

All a hacker would need to do is to insert a tracking pixel into one of your email’s images and hey presto! They could well be enjoying access to your data!

While the email is in your inbox, you can ignore scams, but Spotlight’s preview function opens up a vulnerability. Seeing as Spotlight opens previews of your junk and spam messages, this could be a problem. Even if you have switched off the “load remote content in messages” feature, it doesn’t exactly fix the problem.

Until Apple issue a fix, the best thing for you to do is to go to your Mac System preferences and switch off email indexing.

Hurray! A crackdown on card fraud!

December 19th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

creditcards Hurray! A crackdown on card fraud!Good news everyone – new rules have been revealed which aim to beat down on card payment fraud! Aren’t you thrilled about that?

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has shared their new, tougher guidelines, making payment service providers get serious about customer identification before payments are processed.

There’s good reason for this too – in the last four years, the yearly cost of card fraud in the UK has jumped up from £365 million to somewhere in advance of £450 million! Two thirds of that came from the dastardly practice of ‘skimming’, where small amounts of money are continually removed from an account in the hope that the victim won’t even notice.

Of course, there’s been an increase in digital snidery too, with ne’er-do-wells using malware and the like. There’s also the tried-and-tested tactic of just nicking your card too.

Anyway, all this means is that you’ll carry on as normal while fraudsters will have to learn a new set of tricks to try and get at all your precious money.

Dominos caught selling Aldi potato wedges

July 4th, 2014 9 Comments By Lucy Sweet

wedges 300x243 Dominos caught selling Aldi potato wedges Staff at a branch of Dominos in Linlithgow, West Lothian face a grilling after they were caught buying cheap jumbo bags of potato wedges from Aldi and then trying to pass them off as Domino’s own brand.

The cheapo wedges cost only 59p from Aldi, whereas Dominos wedges are a staggering £3.49 for a tiny box. But staff say they’d run out due to Wimbledon and the World Cup, and they were just trying to keep up with an unprecedented demand for wedge action.

A customer spotted what they were up to when he went in to order a pizza, and said: ‘I had a bit of a chuckle – but it’s really cheeky flogging Aldi products as their own.’

Domino’s bosses explained the problem.

‘With big sporting events in full swing, the Linlithgow store was faced with no wedges. We do not advocate this as a solution. We have spoken to the store to ensure ordering has been adjusted and our customers get Domino’s wedges.’

It’s actually pretty enterprising when you think about it – and it also very much begs the question: ‘is there a scientific correlation between major sporting events and potato wedges?’

eBay and Gumtree are riddled with scams

July 4th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

ebay eBay and Gumtree are riddled with scamsWe all know that eBay and Gumtree are full of scams (including some of the t&cs from the company themselves, eh readers? Eh? EH?), but just how many?

Well, the Citizens Advice have revealed that one in six complaints about products or services advertised on Gumtree, and one in 10 about sales at eBay, are scams or potential scams.

The CA’s analysis looked at 649 problem cases involving Gumtree and 3,711 at eBay.

Problems included scams advertising housing and job scams, as well as motorists buying second-hand cars and then finding out that there was a logbook loan attached.

Other scams include the classic ‘paying for something but getting nothing in return’ on things like phones and, weirdly, pets. Apparently, businesses are being stung as well as people just shopping for themselves. Companies are contacted by other firms offering cheap advertising which transpire to be cons. There’s an increase in scams on fake tickets for the Commonwealth Games, where people are being offered expensive stubs, and getting nothing back.

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “Online marketplaces are at risk of becoming a hotbed for scams. These sites are an important service for buyers and sellers, but con artists are profiting from them too. Scammers are swindling people out of hundreds or thousands of pounds by posting false products and services online.”

“Con artists are preying on those still trying to get back on their feet from the recession. Fake jobs and phoney homes are taking people’s deposits that they strived and saved so long for.”

As a result, CA want eBay, Gumtree and others to police their sites better.

If you think you’ve been scammed, then visit or call 03454 040506 (03454 040505 for the Welsh speakers among you).

Imagine, you’re slumbering happily, and then suddenly you wake up to a message on your phone from some mysterious dobber/s calling themselves ‘Oleg Pliss’, telling you you’ve been hacked. Not only that, but your phone will be locked until you pay them a ransom of $100 via Paypal.

oleg pliss apple ios mac 300x168 iPhone users get ‘iJacked’ by the mysterious Oleg Pliss

Well, this is what happened to Apple users across Australia in the early hours of Tuesday morning, who found themselves phoneless and iPad-less thanks to the hackers. Some were woken to alerts in the night, and others, when they came to use their devices, found that they were locked.

So who, or what, is Oleg Pliss, and how did they manage to lock random devices across a whole country? Well, users reported a breach of the ‘Find My Phone’ app – which means they could have accessed devices through the iCloud and then set them to ‘lost mode’.

Or if they users had the same passwords across a number of devices, that might explain it, too. But at the moment, nobody knows.

As for who Oleg is, there are a few theories – there’s a guy called Oleg Pliss who works as a software engineer at tech company Oracle, and a few dotted about on Linkedin in Ukraine and Russia.

Unfortunately, victims of the hacking have reported getting short shrift from Apple and mobile providers. And apparently Vodafone told one customer that ‘Apple can’t be hacked.’ (Hmm, REALLY?).

Apple have yet to comment, probably because they have no idea how Oleg and his pals actually did it…

tinder Tinder: invaded with bots carrying maliciousnessMillions of people use dating app Tinder everyday, with women focused entirely on screengrabbing men and calling them names on Twitter, and men being ignored or crudely asking for pictures of boobs.

Well, if you’re using it – be careful. Why? Well, the service has been “invaded by bots” who are pretending to be humans according to security firm BitDefender.

These bots pose as women to talk to you in a text-chat before promoting a game called Castle Clash, with a link to a site called Of course, this has nothing to do with Tinder and the whole thing is dodgy.

Most of you would realise that, but as a public service to thundering simpletons, we should at least share this so they don’t end up going mental in the streets where the rest of humanity lives.

“The name of the URL gives the impression of an official page of the dating app and for extra legitimacy scammers also registered it on a reputable .com domain,” said Bitdefender’s chief security strategist Catalin Cosoi.

The developers of the Castle Clash game deny any involvement: ”We are already aware of this issue and we are currently investigating into it. We are also being victimised in this issue therefore we are grateful for being informed,” said the company in a statement to BitDefender.

microsoft logo UK dishes out first ever Microsoft scam punishmentMohammed Khalid Jamil, a notorious scammer from Luton who hoodwinked thousands of Microsoft customers into coughing up their money for free anti-virus software, has been handed a suspended sentence.

Jamil was given a four-month sentence and nearly £25,000 in fines, compensation and court costs for his role in the Microsoft scam.

Making people pay for free software? Sounds like something Dell would do.

“We believe it may be the first ever successful prosecution of someone involved in the Microsoft scam in the UK,” said Lord Toby Harris, chair of the National Trading Standards Board. “It’s an important turning point for UK consumers who have been plagued by this scam, or variants of it, for several years. Many have succumbed to it, parting with significant sums of money, their computers have been compromised and their personal details have been put at risk.”

If you haven’t heard of the scam, Jamil set up a company called SmartSupportGuys and went on to hire some call centre workers in India, getting them to phone people from Britain as phoney ‘Microsoft Certified’ engineers. They would then try and convince people to allow remote access to computers where they are made less secure, then of course, fixed for a price.

The software used to fix the computers was available for free from Microsoft and dopes were charged between £35 and £150.

“Now that one of the many individuals who’ve been operating this scam has been brought to justice, it’s a stark warning to anyone else still doing it that they can be caught and will be prosecuted,” Lord Harris added.

green houses 300x225 Has someone tried to sell you, or your Gran, a Green Deal scheme?Scam merchants are everywhere, and now they are even trying to mis-sell Government green incentive schemes in an attempt to separate you and your money.

Investigations across the country, but concentrated in South Wales have discovered a number of less than reputable sorts are deliberately misleading people into signing up for the Government’s Green Deal scheme. The scheme allows you to access funding for energy-efficient home improvements like cavity wall insulation that will (theoretically) reduce your bills. However, the amount funded is actually a loan, and it is repaid by adding a levy to your bills. The idea is that the energy savings will go some way to cancelling out the loan repayment increases to your bill.

Sounds simple in practice. However, a number of cold-calling firms have been neglecting to mention to homeowners that the funding is actually a loan that requires repayment, giving shivering householders the impression that they can be warmer for free.

The firms, who often have the word Green and/or Deal in their name, have been accused of targeting older people, with widespread examples in Swansea in particular. Welsh consumer programme X-Ray launched an investigation following complaints from consumers who said they were under the impression they would get a free new boiler if they paid the assessment fee. An assessment fee that can sometimes be more than small change- like Green Deal Direct customer Julie Hibbert from Ogmore Vale, who paid £359 for a non-free boiler.

When X-Ray researchers posed as customers they were wrongly told that the Green Deal was not a loan and that they qualified for the scheme – even though they needed to have an assessment of their home first. In addition, one of the firms, Green Deal Network – which has refused a comment to BBC Wales – wasn’t above inventing random additional benefits, like a reduction in council tax that would be applied once their homes were made more energy efficient.

Across Wales and England only 219 Green Deal plans have been completed but X-Ray has received more than 250 complaints from viewers who say they have been misled by cold calling companies.

The Twelve Scams of Christmas…

December 2nd, 2013 4 Comments By Thewlis

12days 262x300 The Twelve Scams of Christmas...Hooray. It’s December. That means everything is now officially mince-pie scented and dusted with picturesque snow that never actually arrives. Even Trading Standards (or specifically the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB)) have been hitting the sherry are getting in the Christmas spirit and have produced a “Twelve Scams of Christmas” that you just have to sing along to…

Twelve Vishers Vishing

Vishing has caught a lot of people out recently – consumers have already lost £7million to this scam, according to Financial Fraud Action UK. Scammers call victims pretending to be a bank, building society or similar official and attempt to get personal information. Consumers must remember that their bank or building society will never ask for details over the phone – they already have them

Eleven Alarming Alarmists

The National Scams Hub is warning consumers about a possible burglar alarm scam where consumers receive a cold call from a company offering to install security systems.  The security system may be free or available at a nominal cost but the on-going maintenance cost is high and there is a daylight-robbery cancellation fee.

Ten Dodgy (Car) Dealers

Not very festive, but apparently yuletide is also a time to be wary of buying second hand cars, as greasy second hand car salesmen might be clocking the car to make a few extra quid.

Nine Grants Disappearing

It’s like something from your Christmas list- an email from the ‘Commonwealth Secretariat’ and ‘HM Treasury’ telling explaining that you qualify for a free £1,000 grant to be paid directly into your bank account. Unfortunately those who gleefully hand over said bank details will normally see more than the fictional grant disappear…

Eight Council Tax Bands- a- Playing

Getting your property rebanded for Council Tax purposes could save you a pretty penny, always assuming you have a genuine case and you fill in the relevant forms from the Valuation Office Agency (available free). Still, these pesky facts don’t bother claims company fraudsters who are happy to take your money and run- North-West Scambuster investigations discovered that less than 0.1% of claims submitted by companies claiming they can obtain council tax refunds are legitimate. You just pay high, up-front fees to a company that does no work on your behalf.

Seven Computers Crashing

Sometimes the old ones are still good. The National Scams Hub and trading standards are warning of a simple scam where the victim receives a bogus call from a computer company claiming that they had been alerted by the internet provider to a serious virus attack. The scammers tell the victim the only way the problem can be fixed is to buy a special computer programme. You can guess the rest.

Six Alternative Investments

Targeting the ‘more money than sense’ brigade (and we all know a few of those) these cold-callers offer attractive ways in to a range of exciting investments- diamonds, wine, carbon credits (?!)- but at hugely inflated prices, and with magical disappearing companies. Some cat is getting the cream, but it’s not the hapless investor.

Five Doorbells Ring

December is not the warmest time of year to be knocking on doors, but this time it’s not carol singers ringing your bell. Bad weather is used by rogue traders to convince some residents that they need unnecessary and often substandard home improvements at extortionate prices. Or by unscrupulous energy companies to pressurise the elderly and vulnerable into signing expensive service contracts.

Four Calling Loans

Christmas (and January) are often times when money is tight,and that’s where loan companies sidle in offering relief. The National Scams Hub says many people have received unsolicited text messages or telephone calls from firms offering them an unsecured loan. Those who accepted were charged large, upfront fees for little or no service.

Three Free Trials

Christmas and New Year is also free trial target time. Whether it’s trying out a one-day delivery service, a film streaming service or a weight loss programme, these companies make their money on the guarantee that people will forget to cancel the trial in time, or worse, require notice of cancellation of almost the same period as the trial itself.

Worse, some scammers hide expensive contracts in amongst the fine print and after customers enter their card details to pay for the post and packaging on a freebie, the nasty people use these hidden contracts to regularly take sums of moneys from the victim’s account.

Two Bogus Charities

While no-one wants to curtail the season of goodwill, the NTSB just want to make sure you are actually giving to charity and not to some clever scammer lining his own pockets. Consumers should be wary of vague statements on packaging such as ‘donations for work creation’ or ‘donations to poor children’ and look for registered charity numbers where you can. Also check things like charity collection bags to make sure they are destined for who you think they are- before you fill them

And a dangerous toy under the tree…

The NTSB want to stress that, while a cheap toy or electrical gadget might seem a bargain, sub-standard foreign imports will not adhere to safety guidelines and have the potential to be dangerous for kill unsuspecting gift recipients. And that will not make a merry Christmas.

NTSB chairman Lord Toby Harris, wearing a red suit and white beard, chortled: “Last year, UK adults spent an average of £592 on Christmas. At a time of year when we know consumers will be parting with hard earned money, it is imperative that they be made aware of current scams. The NTSB encourages all consumers to check the legitimacy of chosen traders before buying gifts or committing to contracts.”

Consumer Minister and part-time elf Jo Swinson advised: “The first thing people should do is follow the old adage – if something sounds too good to be true than it usually is. If something is not quite right or they are being pressured into buying goods or services they don’t need, then they should report this to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06. They can ask trading standards to investigate claims and make sure consumers get a fair deal.”

Alpine Electronics: Christmas scamsters?

November 26th, 2013 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

scam Alpine Electronics: Christmas scamsters?There’s a lot of concern regarding a company called Alpine Electronics. Not to be confused with the Alpine who make car accessories, but rather, a site people have spotted some bargains that appeared to be too good to be true. And, it appears they were indeed not to be believed.

The company, trading via had offers on cheap consoles. After taking numerous orders, the site is now down and it appears that all orders have gone with it.

BW staff contacted the numbers that were on the site before it went down, and there’s no answer. After finding the address of the company, we called the company next door and found that Alpine Electronics had upped sticks and moved on. The person we spoke to admitted that they’d taken numerous calls regarding this matter.

Looking at scamvoid/alpineelectronicsltd, it seems this was a very new company, which makes it difficult to assume that this is anything but a scam.

Over on HUKD, there’s a lot of discussion about the company, with one user noting too many indescrepencies (see here), and lots of comments about emails going unanswered and phone calls which were vague about the company’s history. Many customers have said that they’ve received fake DHL emails about delivery.

Amazon customers have also been talking about Alpine Electronics, with many feeling they’ve been duped. Some customers have already contacted the police about the matter.


To be safe, it is worth getting in touch with your credit/debit card company or call Action Fraud on 0300 1232040. When contacting Action Fraud, be sure to let them know that the company has vacated their premises, which means they won’t instruct you to send a Breach Of Contract letter to Alpine. Your bank should stand the cost of the transaction, but you’ll need to contact them for more details.

Should your bank prove difficult, remind them that you are in fact protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act whenever you make a purchase for goods or services worth between £100 and £30,000 using your credit card. Section 75 states that you and your credit card provider are “jointly and severally liable” for your purchase. That means, if you’re scammed, your card provider must refund you if the retailer won’t.

Most debit card providers offer protection also. A scheme called Chargeback offers protection on purchases made using Visa, Visa Electron, Mastercard and Maestro debit cards. This makes it possible for you to claim a refund if your transaction is unsatisfactory (goods not being delivered, multiple billing, fraud). Claims must be made within 120 days of when your goods should have been delivered and ask your bank to initiate the Chargeback process and a dispute will be opened by your bank.

If Chargeback fails, take your claim to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

In a triumph for minimum wage Walter White-esque jet sprayers everywhere, some over privileged woman’s Bentley got a valet car wash and ended up looking like this. Oops.

Jessica Sawyers damaged Bentley GTC 2081861 300x200 Womans £80k Bentley wrecked by a fake valet

Jessica Sawyer, from Bramhall, Cheshire, was distraught when the £80,000 Bentley GTC her mum bought for her for her 30th birthday was totalled after she put it into the five star ‘Wash and Shine’ in Cheetham Hill, Manchester.

When she discovered that instead of a nice polish it had been driven through the car wash reception area by a thief, she burst into tears. But the car wash deny responsibility, saying that the guy she gave the keys to didn’t even work there. Police have refused to get involved, saying that it is a civil matter.

Obviously, poor Jessica will be sobbing into her 10,000 thread count Egyptian cotton pillows at this terrible situation – and bemoaning her insurance premiums when the £38 grand worth of damage is fixed.

Sorry, but let’s all take a moment to play the WORLD’S SMALLEST VIOLIN. She gave her keys to some random serf, assuming he was there to shine her 80k car. An 80k car bought as a birthday present, while other people are lucky to get a crumpled tenner and kick up the arse. Now she has a rubbish car like the rest of us.

Seems like a happy ending to me.

ebay new logo 300x160 Selling gig tickets on eBay? Watch out for Elengo Papacostas...Ticket sellers on eBay have been scammed by a mysterious figure called Elengo Papacostas, who has purchased festival tickets from them and sneaked the money back using PayPal.

Elengo -who I like to imagine as a dark handsome type in a fedora carrying a guitar case in the desert – doesn’t exist on the UK Electoral roll, but he’s still managed to con people who have been selling festival tickets online.

The scam is as follows: Elengo snaps up your gig tickets using PayPal. Some time later, he/it/them orders a ‘chargeback’ on the payment, which is the facility you can use to get your money back if your goods don’t arrive or are unsatisfactory.

After a BBC Wales documentary exposed the scam, they got a reply from someone claiming to be Elengo, who complained that he received the tickets and it was PayPal’s fault. The plot thickens…

With dozens of victims taking to the Internet to complain about the fraud, PayPal has since closed Elengo’s account. But don’t be surprised if he springs up in another guise. If Stelios Shufflebottom or Regina Felangi contacts you wanting to buy Glastonbury tickets, report it to the eBay police, OK?

QR Code scam – zero people to be harmed by it

December 11th, 2012 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

QR code 300x200 QR Code scam   zero people to be harmed by itCybercrooks are usually pretty cutting edge when it comes to prising your hard-earneds out of your pocket. However, one of the latest scams is unlikely to affect anyone because it involves QR codes.

Ne’er-do-wells are putting stickers up which feature URLs embedded in QR codes in the hope of directing whoever still uses QR codes toward dodgy websites.

The nice thing about QR codes is that you can print a load of stickers off and just place them over codes you (don’t) see in the wild.

Warren Sealey, director enterprise learning and knowledge management, Symantec Hosted Services said: “We’ve seen criminals using bad QR codes in busy places putting them on stickers and putting them over genuine ones in airports and city centres.”

Sian John, UK security strategist at Symantec, said: “There has been an explosion in the number of QR codes over the last couple of years, and cybercriminals are taking full advantage. Because QR codes just look like pictures it’s extremely difficult to tell if they’re genuine or malicious, making it easy to dupe passers-by into scanning codes that may lead to an infected site, or perhaps a phishing site.

“If users want to make sure that their mobile is protected they should consider a QR reader that can check a website’s reputation before visiting it,” she added.