Monday, 20 September 2010

Stove and scams

I have a new stove - did not get the german one after all but something called a Parmco PPFS 6S CER with a ceramic hob. It's made in Italy, says the docket, and I have had bad luck with Italian appliances before. This one is pretending to be a proffessional machine like you'd find in a commercial kitchen but it is much lighter and a bit flimsy feeling for a pro. Domestically its doing fine so far - and it looks good - I'll have to do a big roast and a cake to celebrate.

I have come across three email scams in the last month or so. Dealing with emails is a matter of applying a plausibility test (is this how things are normally done by people who are not scammers?) and, if passed, doing some sort of due dilligence ... like taking action independent of the information supply (how would you address the matter raised in the email if you did not have the email to use?)

The first one pretended to be from Facebook and advised me that my account password had been changed ... if I wanted to regain access I had to click a link. The red flag here is that I have to do something to make nothing happen. Normally, if I change a password I would get an email asking me to confirm the change - doing nothing means the change does not go through. This scam has potential because Facebook do have a reputation for putting changes through without asking, then requiring users to hunt through the changes to put things back the way they want them. Thus it shows some prima-facae plausibility. Adding to this, the mail actually warns against phishing scams as part of the inducement to click on its link. Due diligence here is to log in to Facebook normally, making sure the password has actually changed. If it has, you click Facebook's "forgotten your password" link like normal.

The second one said it was from PayPal, thanking me for making a purchase - in this case a computer from Dell. Cute because that is a purchase that may well get accidently attributed to me - the red-flag was quite obvious: I don't use paypal. Thus it fails the plausibility test. Due diligence here would have been the same as before - log in to your paypal account and check your purchase history. It is possible that someone is making fraudulent purchases on your credit card, but they are hardly likely to use your email account for the receipts, that's dumb. JIC: check your credit card history. For VISA you are indemnified for fraudulent transactions after the first $50 so don't worry too much.

The last was a bit sad - it was a "Postcard from AOL". I class it as a scam due to the implausible name (a bunch of random-seeming syllables) of who it came from. It is possible that it is a legitimate email misdirected though. Now, I do not view HTML emails, so Evolution Mail puts the entire email in an attachment which I open with gedit (a text editor) so no executable components will run. This is the same as looking at the source code in your browser. What I looked for was links, which look like . The links were all to a domain that is no longer active, which is why it was sad.

TV night tonight - The Mentalist, then Dollhouse, then Eastwick. I was pleasantly surprised by Eastwick ... it handles familiar subject matter and characters engagingly, and it looks like they can sustain the initial momentum. So I'll keep watching for now.

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