Beware LinkedIn scammers wanting your company’s services

Just a quick heads up on this one. I was sent a LinkedIn connect request by someone from a state-level sporting organisation who had a title of Finance Manager. We had a Group in common, so I accepted.

This was quickly followed by a message from him, stating that he was interested in our IT services. I was a bit surprised as he was in a different state, but the main alarm bell ringer was the slightly poor English phrasing. He made a point of telling me that NSW is in Australia. Would you seriously do that to someone you connect to who is in Queensland?

So I visited the official website for the organisation, found a contact email address and asked them if the guy really worked for them. Surprise surprise – they’d never heard of him. And you would think they’d know who their finance manager was.

Delete. Un-connect. Good-bye, mate.

Moral of the story – when those spidey senses are alerted, do some research before proceeding!

-SCuffy

 

Hands up if you need a Smartphone Pledge!

Over the last few days, a few articles have come my way (including one I wrote myself) about smartphone addiction and the impact of our ‘always connected’ society. My favourite so far has been this fromm Joe Kraus at Google Ventures: http://joekraus.com/were-creating-a-culture-of-distraction

Hi, my name is Sonia and I’m addicted to my smartphone. Except it’s not my phone itself per se, it’s that feeling of knowing what is going on right now and what my internet friends are talking about. I’ve reverted to my teenage self and I don’t want to miss out, on anything, even for an hour.

The problem is that I am missing out. I’m missing out on the present. And yes, as new agey as it sounds, with the background of all of those talks that tell us to ‘truly be in the moment’, I’m missing out on what is going on in front of me. That’s kind of important when you have a family.

Don’t get me wrong – I still love to reach for my phone to look up the opening hours of a store or find a recipe or check if a TV program is on tonight. But I don’t need to constantly check it to see who’s posted what on Facebook and Twitter.

So I think someone needs to start up a website with a Smartphone Pledge. You could then sign this ‘contract’ and commit to it for a certain period of time (start with one day if you are seriously addicted, or one week, one month, or even until further notice?).

I’ll start with a few Pledge condition ideas:

– I pledge to not check my Smartphone before I’ve had a shower and eaten breakfast.

– I pledge to not have my Smartphone within reach during mealtimes.

– I pledge to go to the bathroom without my Smartphone.

– I pledge to not have my Smartphone when I am a passenger in a vehicle.

Is this all a bit much? Are we going to far here, or not far enough?

Today I discovered that my parents do not have email on their iPhone. It’s distracting. If somebody wants them urgently, they’ll call them or SMS. They don’t feel it’s necessary to check out what their friends are doing today or to share their day online. I don’t think that our teenagers or most Gen Xers even could cope with that.

We are the generations that have embraced technology. I know and share with a great bunch of people online that I would never have met in real life and I feel richer for it. But now I have another thing to add to my juggling act of balancing my life, to ensure I’m truly present for my kids and to show them have to squeeze the joy out of the present moment. If I don’t, they’ll grow up glued to their phones too. So you see, there is a lot at stake here.

Pass me that pledge to sign, please.

-SCuffy

P.S. If it’s the ‘meal out with friends’ that sees all of the smartphones in hand, check out the Phone Stacking game http://www.news.com.au/technology/smartphones/phone-stacking-game-to-get-friends-off-mobiles-at-meal-time/story-fn6vihic-1226247534506

Paypal / Western Union money scam

Thanks to Kate Booby at Spinefex (www.spinefex.com.au) for alerting us to this one!

“I thought I should bring your attention to a scam that we have 3 separate cases of occur within our immediate friends/family.

All of these people had advertised to sell items (2 x cars, 1 x horse) and had been contacted by email and phone calls from a buyer. 

The buyer has asked to pay for the items through paypal (and the sellers had to set up paypal accounts) because the buyer is overseas or can’t use their internet banking (one case the man said he was on an oil rig, another was overseas).  Paypal is generally a safe & secure way to receive funds or pay for items.

They were also requesting for the item that they were purchasing to be transported to a different state and were offering to pay extra in the paypal transfer for the seller to arrange this. 

The catch was that they asked for the seller to transfer the transport cost to a Western Union account BEFORE they could do the paypal transfer – these amounts varied from $800 – $1000.”

What a great scam.  The ‘buyer’ is asking you to pay for the cost of the ‘transport’ until they can pay you the entire amount via paypal, yet no transport company is involved.  They are then free to walk away with your money and never be heard from again.

Seller beware!

-SCuffy

Credit card fraud – happens to the best of us

I’ve always been very vigilant about watching the transactions that appear on my credit card, which is even easier to do when you can view them online via internet banking before they disappear off to your paper statement copy.  Fortunately the fraud department at my business bank is just as vigilant, stopping a transaction from Cebu Air and notifying me about it.  We played safe and cancelled the card, which saw me issued with a new number.  And wouldn’t you know it, a week later the second card (different number, same linked account) of my husband’s also was subjected to a declined Cebu Air transaction.  Yup – cancelled and reordered his too.

If this has ever happened to you, you may have also gone into a spin about where you have used your card and how someone else has obtained your details.  I’ve been purchasing online safely for the last 10 years, and this is my first attack.  I’ve always preached that you should only buy from sites you know and trust, that have secure SSL encypted payment pages (which changes the site address to https:// and gives you a little locked padlock in your browser).  So you’d think I’d be pretty careful when it came to that sort of thing.  And I am.  Very.  However, I’m still in a spin about how someone else has obtained my details!  And not only mine, but my husband’s too.

Our card numbers are not recorded on any of our inhouse computer systems (which I’m pretty sure are secure but how sure can you be)?

I did feel somewhat better when the bank advised that the credit card company has issued an ‘all points bulletin’ for a range of card numbers that had been ‘compromised’ – ours included.  Did this mean that I had not foolishly and willingly handed over my details to someone dodgy, but was the victim of a systems failure or a syndicate of cyber-criminals far more geeky than myself?

Hmm.  OK.  Don’t feel better anymore … how the heck did they get my details???

All credit (pun intended) to the bank and their fraud dept for providing a fantastic service to protect my accounts.  If the transactgions had gone through and I had disputed them, I still would not have been liable, with the bank wearing the cost and refunding my card.  Consumer protection is an awesome thing, completely underrated under you happen to need it.

Oh, and if you pay us by credit card, never fear – we enter your details directly into our bank processing terminal then destroy the piece of paper on which they were written.  By shredding .. or fire .. or by eating them a la Maxwell Smart .. or by numerous other ways which we cannot divulge 🙂

-SCuff