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  • Message 1. 

    Posted by tishcat (U14708219) on Saturday, 4th December 2010

    i have only been online for a year and have been having the time of my life. It's been fun.
    However there seems to be a dark side to the web as well.
    I have had to endure bogus begging letters of various kinds, wrapped up in offers of friendship et al.
    Just recently though i fell for a right clanger.
    Trawling thru various websites, at some stage i have clicked one AGREE to many.i am not a soliciter so i have been clicking AGREE everywhere without reading a blurb that i have no way of understanding. I think i even did it, when i got a BBC ID.
    Anyway to cut a long story short, i now don't know what i have AGREEd to?
    Hopfully its not going to cost me money or anything, as i wouldn't like a credit agency after me lol

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  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by AndyfromCornwall (U14342750) on Sunday, 5th December 2010

    It doesn't sound as if you have done anything terrible. A lot of Internet traffic is what we call junk mail, it isn't really any use. But hidden in that lot are some nasty messages that can do harm. The idea is to detect the bad stuff while leaving the useful bits alone.Most e-mailers have a spam detection function and will filter out the obvious ones but some are more subtle.

    You might get messages allegedly from the big charities asking for money, or you might get one, as I did a couple of weeks ago pretending to be from a friend who was stranded while travelling and asking for money. This was easily detected because said friend had just emailed me saying he had arrived in California!

    There are also the 419 scams where people claim to have huge assets tied up in some foreign country and offering a share of the money if you help them to smuggle it out! People actually fall for these !

    I had one the other day welcoming me to a website I had never heard of. Apparently I had signed up to receive messages and was even given a password. Except I'd never heard of this site and I certainly don't want to join it. So I just delete all such messages. The golden rule is "If you don't know who it's from then delete it".

    Agreeing to things : If you want to join things like MSN, Facebook, My Space or any of the many forums then you have to agree to their terms of use. It need not be legally tricky, most of them just ask you to agree not to be nasty to others, not to break the law in any way and to observe their rules. If you don't agree you can't join so the contents are more or less irrelevant. So long as you don't go giving away bank details or card numbers nobody can suddenly pop up and charge you money.

    Sometimes when you load new software a window will pop up full of legalese, often in hard-to-read capitals. These agreements are called the EULA.... End User Licencing Agreement. Mostly you just say Yes otherwise the software will not work. Sometimes you are asked to supply financial details. Don't! Bona fide software doesn't ask.

    There is a very nasty piece of software around that asks to download a small application to your PC and then it will update all your drivers. Drivers are little software programs that join hardware to your system. If you download this particular utility it will rummage through your personal information and then phone it home! If you want to update drivers then always go to the manufacturers site, look for "Support" and download it from there. This is normal and sound computing practice.

    Downloading "automatic" software is very risky. Don't do it! That applies to Facebook apps too. Some of those are as dodgy as a £9 note.

    Always run anti-virus software. Always, all the time. Make sure it is a good make like Kaspersky or Symantec and ensure that it updates itself from time to time. This alone will greatly increase your online protection.

    For the rest of it, if it looks too good to be true then it is! There ARE huge bargains to be had on the Internet but they are mostly from established names like Amazon and Ebay. It's best to ignore any that you haven't heard of.

    The one move to absolutely avoid until you get a bit of experience is paying for things online. It is better to pay by snail mail with a cheque than it is to release your card number to some outfit you have never heard of. I use PayPal for my Ebay purchases and on the whole it is fairly secure but quite a number of scammers try to imitate PayPal's emails and get you to release personal details to some unrelated site!

    It doesn't sound as if you have done anything too terrible. Unless you release your financial details online nobody can just swan up and charge you. Even if you get a demand for payment you can safely ignore it until you start getting legal paperwork through the post! This probably isn't going to happen!

    The key to staying safe is : DON'T release any personal details AT ALL on any site that you sign up for.
    Obviously you can put down your likes and dislikes in Facebook and others, but don't give away email addresses and don't ever sign up for anything that requires payment unless you are sure of their integrity.

    Having said that, I went on one of my Bristol jaunts earlier this year, used my card in two or three shops ... M&S was one, Starbucks was another. A couple of weeks later I had a letter from my bank asking me urgently to contact them.
    Someone was trying to spend £4998 on my debit card at John Lewis in London! Obviously someone had tried to pinch my card number and use it elsewhere.
    So you can't guarantee to be safe these days but the good news is that there are absolutely loads of tutorials on the Internet explaining how to beef up your security and foil the predators. Read those, follow the advice and just take care generally. If you are alert to the hazards then any scams will not succeed.

    You might find this helpful. The thing is, if you are well informed then you are safer.

    Report message2

  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by tishcat (U14708219) on Monday, 6th December 2010

    Thanks for the info, very good stuff there. I remember reading about some game writers who, just for a laugh, included in their agreement thing that if you clicked YES then they would own your mortal soul for eternity. lol
    But there does seem to be an element of agreeing to a legal contract simply by clicking.
    I didn't know that a pay up notice was not proper valid till you got it by post. Is this true?

    Report message3

  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by AndyfromCornwall (U14342750) on Tuesday, 7th December 2010

    You can't be sued for debt unless a proper receipt and demand for payment has been issued. I think it has to be by snail post. Obviously your postal address is needed for that.
    In any case nobody can just stroll up and sue you for non payment, there has to be an exchange of paperwork first, otherwise the Court won't accept it for trial.
    Also I believe that most things have a cooling off period during which you can change your mind.

    Report message4

  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by AndyfromCornwall (U14342750) on Saturday, 11th December 2010

    While we have a security thread going, I thought I would add this. Until recently nobody took this kind of anti-social activity seriously but now there is a change ...

    Report message5

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