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Avoiding dodgy email scams
Uncategorized | | 19. October, 2014

Photo Credit: B Rosen via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: B Rosen via Compfight cc

Nothing is more fraudulent than a dishonest email scam. It can leave the unsuspecting financially debilitated for long periods of time.

With society becoming more savvy, email fraudsters follow suit. They have come up with new ways to lure the innocent internet user into releasing his finances to them.

How do we spot these annoying and potentially destructive email hoaxes? What types of scams are there and more importantly, how do we avoid becoming innocent victims?

A. Five general tips for avoiding dodgy email scams

Those who are more computer savvy often know how to detect and avoid suspicious email, but this may not apply to the average email user.

Thankfully, there are simple ways for anyone to avoid falling victim to email scams.

1. Watch out for requests for personal information.

For a start, watch for requests for your personal information, which you may want to use the phone to communicate instead. The email scammer knows how to disguise these requests in many ways.

Emails that offer free giveaways in exchange for forwarding them should raise red flags. Forwarding them will allow the sender to confirm your link and send future requests for personal information.

Some messages are false virus alerts. Again, following their instructions may allow senders to capture your links and more dangerously, your personal information.

Then, there are appeals to help sick children. They play on your compassion. Such email may contain links to sites encouraging you to register your personal information. Doing so opens yourself to identity theft and other fraud.

Some email are petitions that ask you to support pointless causes. Recording your information allows the sender to use it in illegitimate ways.

Warnings about products and organizations naturally rouse suspicions. Delete these immediately.

2. Examine the email closely.

Emails are often faked to appear as though they come from legitimate organizations. If you wish to look at the suspicious mail closely, take your account off line. You can then open the message and avoid returning tracking alerts to the sender.

Then, highlight the sender information in the mail. If the address does not look at all like one that originates from a company you are aware of, put the mail in the trash bin.

You may also mouse over the link the sender requests that you click. Avoid clicking it at all costs, but hover over it to look at the URL displayed. It often does not correspond to other links in the text.

3. Watch out for bad grammar and misspellings.

A telltale sign is poor spelling or grammar. Scammers do not usually bother to edit their messages before sending them, so grammar and spelling errors are the norm.

4. Beware of pop-ups.

Never register your information in a pop-up screen. Pop up screens are usually the result of spyware introduced by scammers searching for your links or information.

Do not click on links in these pop-ups. Avoid copying, then pasting them in your browser’s URL. That will allow the sender to track your link.

5. Remember to use a firewall.

Install a firewall, spam filter and anti-spyware software in your computer. This may take up your computer’s memory, but guarantees that your interactions via email and online are safe.

B. Five common dodgy email scams and ways to avoid them

Knowledgeable scammers know that savvy internet users avoid blatant requests for personal information, so they disguise their scams in various clever ways.

Here are some of these frauds, known as phishing scams, and how to avoid them.

1. Survey scams.

Most of us express our views on important causes, such as global warming. Sadly, these sometimes make you a target for scams disguised as seemingly harmless surveys.

Never click on links in surveys, unless you have requested to take one. Legitimate organizers will send you one with specific instructions for you to follow.

If you have investigated the links in the message and found suspicious matches, discard the mail at once. Clicking on them will install spyware that senders can use to capture your personal information and make you a victim of fraud.

2. Banking scams

This is a particularly annoying and frightening scam. A financial institution such as Paypal or a bank warns you about a supposed security breach on your account. It sounds legitimate, and will cause you to open the email in panic. You will probably click on the link and log into your account.

The links in such messages are illegitimate ones. If you receive these, hover over the links to spot any odd mismatches. If the email addresses do not match those that come from the financial institution, alert them that a scam is operating.

It is also useful to constantly check your financial information. Someone may already have your banking information and withdraw small amounts of money from your account at a time.

3. Nigerian Check Scams

This is probably one of the easiest scams to spot. You may receive an email from a “noble” source, such as “Baron Von Strom” or “Barrister Rigby.” This person usually asks you to recover large amounts of cash from an overseas bank. In return, you get a portion of it.

This sounds like an ideal way of putting a little money in your pocket. It also seems like an opportunity for you to help someone else.

The catch is that the senders of these messages will ask for your bank account information so that they can transfer the purported funds from the overseas bank into it. You may also have to pay transfer fees.

Needless to say, such fees go to scammers. If the message asks for these requests, delete it.

4. Lottery scams

These are wicked and oddly amusing scams. A scammer offers you hearty congratulations in an email. To make the mail seem genuine, he may tell you how much money you “won”. Again, to have the winnings transferred into your account, you have to give your personal information.

If you have participated in any lotteries just before receiving the mail, it may appear genuine. But you can tell if it is a false lottery message easily.

The sender of a false lottery email is usually a person and not a legitimate institution. Even if it appears as though the mail comes from an institution, a quick phone call will tell you if you actually won.

Delete the mail if your name is not in the “To” field. This usually means that the mail has many recipients. It is not possible that a company will let countless users win a lottery, unless it had miraculous earnings.

Of course, never reveal financial information over the internet unless it is a secure, trusted website.

5. Mystery Shopper

This scam makes victims of many who work at home. The sender promises the victim that he will earn a sizable amount of cash if he becomes a company’s “mystery shopper.” It sounds ideal because the shopper needs no experience or qualifications. The company pays people to shop, an activity they love. In return, all they have to give is their personal information. Of course, scammers use this information to probe and exploit financial links.

You can tell that it is an email to avoid if you have to pay upfront for information or training materials. You may have to give your Paypal or bank details.

At times, the scammer goes a step further. You may receive a check in the email as your first payment, but have to use it to cover your training materials. Later, the check bounces and you find yourself in a mountain of debt.

The scam is afoot, so it is good to have a little wariness.

Sources:

1. About Money

2. Identity Theft Killer

3. Indiana University

4. Money Crashers

5. Reinhart Marketing

6. Hoax Slayer

Is the Government fooling us on the Ebola virus
Uncategorized | | 18. October, 2014

Ebola

Photo Credit: David Holt London via Compfight cc

With Ebola in the United States, there is the real, frightening possibility of it spreading in the country.

Anxiety builds when information about the disease is lacking. There is a lot to learn about this potentially deadly virus, and much still escapes us.

We ask the burning question: Is the government fooling us about Ebola?

A. The Ebola Virus: The Reasons the government may withhold information

After what seems like an eternity, information about Ebola is hazy. Understandably, the government may want to withhold information from the public for various reasons.

1. Information about the virus is uncertain.

For a start, there is much that researchers at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention need to discover about Ebola.

Though scientists believe that fruit bats in the forests of West Africa are natural hosts for the virus, they have yet to find out where its reservoir is. Until they do, developing vaccines will stay difficult.

The shortage of information makes the risk of misinforming the public extremely high.

2. The government does not want to cause panic.

Speculation regarding the virus is already rife, so the government may not want to cause further panic by releasing information too early.

Misinformation causes other adverse reactions, such as disruption to the economy when people begin to avoid products potentially associated with Ebola.

3. Ebola is a potentially dangerous biological weapon.

The United States Department of Defense and the Center for Disease Control classify Ebola as a potentially lethal biological weapon. Deaths from the disease occur abruptly.

Releasing information about potential cures too early could put the government and the country in a vulnerable position. Terrorist organizations may use the information to their advantage and cultivate an even more aggressive form of the virus.

4. The government wants to take the focus off human errors.

Dallas nurse Nina Pham, who contracted Ebola while treating infected Liberian patient Thomas Eric Duncan at the Texas Presbyterian Hospital, seems to have caught it as a result of a breach of health protocols.

The government may want to take public focus off human errors while putting firmer structures in place.

5. The structures to fight Ebola are not stable.

Putting structures in place, of course, takes time. The government has yet to put in restrictions in airports across the country, including the banning of air travel to West Africa.

Staff at five international airports are taking temperatures, but checks are still not enough to keep the virus from slipping through. While enforcing them, the government may not disclose everything to the public.

With all these possibilities in mind, It is probably omitting information, but not deliberately crafting misinformation.

B. The Ebola Virus: Misconceptions that need clarifying

Hence, while the government may not want to deliberately fool the American public about Ebola, it is not forthcoming enough with the information it may have.

It also needs to clear the misconceptions surrounding the deadly virus.

1. The virus in the United States is contained.

The first misconception the public has is that the virus is contained. For fear of the public panicking, it is in the interests of the government to make this claim.

However, the symptoms of the virus do not show for about two to three weeks, allowing time for exposure. According to a top scientist of the Food and Drugs Administration, the first patient may have exposed a few others to the virus. The Extinction Protocol shows that several people may have interacted with Thomas Eric Duncan before officials isolated him.

2. Ebola only spreads via interaction with bodily fluids.

The public is under the impression that this disease only spreads upon direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids.

However, Ebola can spread when a person interacts with contaminated surfaces. This is why people who rode in West African taxis contracted it.

Further, while sunlight destroys it, it breeds it dark, underground areas like subways.

3. The virus is not airborne.

The U.S government assures the public that the virus is not airborne.

However, top researchers are worried that the virus may mutate and take to the air. In Sierra Leone, the virus changed its form drastically over a matter of weeks.

Dr. Michael Osterholm, who directs the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, describes it as the greatest concern of his 40-year career in health.

4. Pharmceutical drugs are the only way to fight Ebola.

Contrary to the government’s suggestions, pharmaceutical drugs are not the only way to fight Ebola.

The government advises people to wash their hands and wait for a suitable vaccine to develop. They discourage the use of essential oils, colloidal silver and other substances to boost the immune system.

There is something fundamentally wrong with this schema, one that needs correction. Instead of waiting for the axe to fall, we should do all we can to boost our immunity to the virus.

5. Ebola is a natural virus.

The government maintains that Ebola is a natural virus. At the same time, they classify it as a potential weapon for bio warfare. Further, it controls all research on Ebola.

A nagging question is whether the virus is a product of bioengineering. If it is, are there worrisome purposes for its use?

6. The status of infected patients needs clarification.

The status of infected patients in the country also needs clarification.

While some news agencies reported that authorities are monitoring six patients in New York for Ebola symptoms, others say that these patients live across the nation. Though sources in New York confirm that there is only one person being isolated, the confusion needs sorting out.

In all, while the government may not have deliberate intentions to deceive us about Ebola, it certainly needs to put better structures in place to manage it. It also needs to offer more information and clarify public misconceptions about the disease.

Sources:

1. Top Info Post

2. American Thinker

3. NBC News

4. CNN

5. WHO

6. Global Research

7. Conservative Daily

Are we being fooled by the recent bombings in Syria?
Uncategorized | | 4. October, 2014

From all the recent news hitting our screens lately on whats happening in the middle east, I’ve decided to put this post out there just to get you to look at it from a holistic perspective.

I know this is a change of tune from my first post but I feel its important put some thoughts out there to see what we have learn’t from our recent past or is there again another agenda a play. I’ll let you be the judge.

The recent air strikes on ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) targets in Syria are laudable attempts by a U.S. led coalition to weed out a dangerous terrorist threat.

But is there more to these commendable attempts? Could the coalition have another reason for these strikes? Do we have wool over our eyes?

More importantly, we wonder if the strikes are a wise move. The U.S. track record in the Middle East suggests otherwise.

A.The possibility of another agenda: Are we being fooled by these air strikes?

Is it possible that the U.S. led coalition has another agenda for the air strikes on ISIS?

Is there more underlying these strikes than we think? After all, ISIS is not the only concern. There is the issue of war-torn Syria itself.

1. Terrorism in Syria

It is well-documented that Bashar Al-Assad’s Ba’athist government makes extensive use of state-sponsored terrorism against Syrian citizens. Groups of armed militia, or Shabiha, led by the Al-Assad family, regularly carry out terrorist attacks domestically.

Globally, the Syrian Arab Republic’s government supports the terrorist efforts of groups such as Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihadist Movement in Palestine.

The coalition, therefore, has a vested interest in dealing with both Syrian and ISIS terrorist threats.

2. The U.S. coalition bombing Syria includes Gulf States that help the ISIS cause

There is a balance to strike. It is interesting that the current coalition comprises Gulf States that actually help ISIS’ efforts. These include Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The fight between the Syrian government and ISIS militants is constant. Donors in Qatar and Saudi Arabia have sent the militant fighters funds to topple the Syrian government.

3. The conflict helps the rebels fighting the Syrian government

Intervention by the United States in this case may actually help, not hinder, ISIS efforts. It may arm these militants instead of stopping them.

This leaves us questioning what the real motive of the coalition is.

B. Have we learned from mistakes in the Middle East and other countries?

With the motive behind the coalition and the airstrikes unclear, we are also left wondering if it they are foolish miscalculations.

U.S. military intervention in other countries led to disappointing results and sometimes, disaster.

1. Hotbeds for Islamist radicals

With the noble aim of turning the country into a stable democracy, the United States worked to remove Libyan dictator Muamar Quaddafi.

That mission, sadly, left the country a hotbed for Islamist militant activity. The country is in a state of chaos. We may say the same of Iraq after the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Does intervention harm instead of help?

2. Underestimating the power of nationalism

Besides, the United States underestimated the power of nationalism several times in the course of intervening in another country’s military affairs.

It did not fully understand the nature of Vietnamese resistance and nationalism during the years of the Vietnam war. It was wrong to assume that the Vietnamese had no individualism and did not know how to defend themselves.

They also underestimated the willingness of the Iraqis to defend their country. At the time, 53% of radicals questioned in a poll felt that there was hope for their country and future.

The U.S. made the mistake of thinking that people from third world nations such as this were not motivated. This mistaken assumption has led to disaster in the past. With another foray into Syria’s affairs, this may happen again.

3. It takes a toll on the military.

Military intervention, of course, takes its toll on the military. Soldiers, stricken by the horrors of war, return with severe instances of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It also took a toll on their relationships with their spouses and others.

4. Intervention takes a toll on U.S. citizens living in the Middle East.

The more intervention there is, the more threat to innocent U.S. citizens and citizens of other Western countries.

A few journalists and aid workers have already fallen victim to the ISIS. Will intervention, with an unclear agenda, prove more hurtful to citizens working in these countries?

Stepping into Syria to remove the ISIS threat is a noble attempt to restore order. But we wonder if, with an unclear agenda and an unsuccessful track record, it is a wise move.

Feel free to share this article around. I would be interested what others are thinking.

Source 1

Source 2

Source 3

How not to be fooled by weight loss shakes?
Uncategorized | | 4. September, 2014

http://bestmealreplacementshakeshq.com

With all the hype around weight loss shakes it seriously begs the question – do they really work or is it one of the biggest weight loss scams know to man (or should I say women?).

Being someone who has constantly struggled maintaining my weight for most of my adult life, I’m constantly on the look out for the most reliable and consistent methods to keep those pounds under control. But since I started researching Google many years ago, I am constantly bombarded with ads with every site I visit shouting at me ‘Loss weight fast’ or ‘Guaranteed to lose those pounds’ and the like. Often I’m clearing out my cookies so I don’t have to deal with the nonsense but somehow the ads keep coming back… I don’t know but I have had enough especially when its compounded with those lame infomercials. I’m tired of the crap assaulting my subconscious…

From what I’ve found through google, the negative side effects of all these false weight loss shake promises, is that most of them are packed full of harmful nasties that could be extremely harmful over the long term, Aspartame being one of them! To add to the list what effects can synthetic vitamins have?… who knows if they are good or bad? I prefer to err on the side of caution and not go near any of it.

Now steady weight loss can be achieved over the medium to long term with a balanced diet and keeping active or exercising on a daily bases. For the savvy thinkers out there, we know this is common knowledge and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work that out. If want to take the diet thing more seriously you can amp it up by eating organic and go spend most of your what your earn at ‘Whole-paycheck’ if you follow my drift. Although it could be worth the investment. Its your health we’re talking about right?

You may find it counterintuitive but most foods out there that have ‘fat’ in them are not going to make you put on weight at all! For example full fat Greek yoghurt, Nut butters, Dark Chocolate and Raw Coconut oil can be really good for you – consumed (and enjoyed) in moderation of course.

If you’re wanting to still give one of these weight loss shakes a go, which one is the best out there? One of my good friends, Janet, has had some success with Ideal Shake. She often raves about it being one of the best meal replacement shakes on the market… Myself? I’m not that easily convinced. I believe it was more to do with her increased exercise. However most of the research I found did show that it was one of the more natural weight loss shakes out there. So I have to give it credit where credit is due.

If your going to use meal replacement shakes, do your research.

For now I’m going to stick with the natural way. Eat well and stay active. Control my portion size and stay away from the nasties. Lets not forget to allow ourselves a cheat day otherwise I will lose my mind. I personally believe that to maintain your sanity you need to reward yourself. Even some of the brighter ones on the planet even need to fulfil some cravings at times. Maybe some that Organic Dark Chocolate sounds like a good alternative…

Whatever you do, don’t be NOT to be fooled into the fact that all work and all are good for you. Be wise with what you put in your body as most of these shakes can be too good to be true.

Sources: bestmealreplacementshakeshq.com, other source

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