Scalar Enterprises Blog
This page contains news about Scalar Enterprises, work we have been doing for our clients, new features and services etc. From time to time I will also include useful information and articles from myself and from various other sources along with comments, tips and thoughts from myself. Hope you find it useful and why not let me know if you have a question.
I had a phone call this morning on my landline from a chap who said he was “Trevor from Hampshire Police” and asking to speak to the MD of the business.
He reassured me I was not in any trouble but he was asking for local businesses support for a brochure campaign to raise drug awareness to young people in the area.
He kept mentioning his name was Trevor (but never a surname) and specifically kept asking if I would support them (presumably wanting me to say yes so he could say I agreed to it).
Having come across similar scams before I was on my guard and asked how much it cost. He then listed off 3 options which were something like this:
○ Full page, £995
○ Half page £595
○ Quarter page £395
I then mentioned that this was beyond my currently available marketing budget, he immediately hung up !
This is an old scam that has been going on for years and which seems to re-surface on a fairly regular basis.
Please be careful you don’t get caught out by them.
Last October (2012), I wrote a post on my blog about cold calling tech-support scams entitled “Fighting back against the scammers“. I have to say that at that time, I had never experienced it personally however, since I moved into my new office, I have had 3 such calls in the last 2 days ! In actual fact I also had one a few weeks before when I just happened to be having an on-site meeting with builders and I just happened to pick up the phone.
All the callers had Indian accents, the first two were female and the last a male. On all the calls I received, the telephone line quality typically was very poor (maybe that is is another good indicator to set the alarm bells ringing for you). I have to say that they do sound quite credible technically and even when challenged they still persist with their “story” and try to convince you.
Having done some further research on the topic recently, the best advice seems to be don’t give them any information, never let them access your PC and just hang up on them. If you are feeling brave, if you can, ask for their name, the name of their company and a phone number and web address. In most cases, asking such questions will most probably result in the caller hanging up on you but if you can get any information like this, you can pass it on to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre. The more information they can get from such occurrences, the more chance there is that they may be able to take some action.
Some useful links to more information about these scams:
- Don’t fall for phony phone tech support (Microsoft)
- Anatomy of a scam: Phone caller warns your PC is infected
Hope this helps.
In this difficult financial climate, we are all looking at ways to reduce our costs and outgoings so a Solar hot water system might be something of interest for you.
KSQ Solar Hot Water Systems are based in Portsmouth and provide a range of solutions to homes and businesses in the surrounding area. With potential savings in the region of 50%, it has got to be worth having a look at.
Check out their new website at www.ksqsolarhotwater.co.uk.
Why not give them a call ?
Recently, I was working on a design where I needed to match the exact font from the logo. I managed to identify the name of the font used in the image and then set to, as I have done many times before, locating a copy of the font that I could download and install on my PC.
I managed to find a copy from a what I believed to be a reputable source and downloaded it and installed it without any problems or issues flagged by my virus or malware filters.
The next thing I noticed when I opened a new tab on my browser was that instead of my usual default page opening, it took me to another with a new default search engine. Luckily I had not installed anything else on my PC around that time so it was quite easy to identify the source of the problem, however, getting rid of it was far from easy!
I tried re-setting the browser defaults but as soon as I opened a new tab again, it reverted to this new rogue page. I then discovered that it did the same in all of the other browsers I had installed on my PC (which is many as it is my main development machine and the one I use for testing browser compatibility).
Further investigation identified that I had been a victim of “browser highjacking”. Wikipedia defines this as follows:
Browser hijacking is the modification of a web browser‘s settings by malware. The term “hijacking” is used as the changes are performed without the user’s permission. Some browser hijacking can be easily reversed, while other instances may be difficult to reverse.
Many of the popular browsers have malware settings included to prevent problems like this and I had them enabled but somehow, in this particular instance, it managed to get through them all.
I investigated further and found some suggested methods for removing this particular malware, none of which unfortunately seemed to work. Eventually, to cut a long story short, I found a number of reports and discussions on various forums which I ended up, by a process of experimentation, combining and along with reconfiguring many browser options and editing different bits of code in numerous browser scripts that had been changed, I eventually managed to fix the problems across all my browsers.
Needless to say, this took quite a bit of time – nearly half a day in the end which is an expense you can’t afford as a small business.
It just goes to show, that no matter how careful you try to be, or what tools you have in place, you can still get caught out. Imagine the impact on a business who has no protection against malware or viruses set up !
Cold calling tech-support scams have been around for quite a while now. Reports indicate that these people, generally based in India, have extorted millions of pounds out of English speaking victims in the UK, Canada, the US and other countries since 2008.
In the scam, the perpetrators call unsuspecting PC owners purporting to be from well known large companies like Microsoft or Dell for example and claiming that they have detected malware on their PC.
They generally put across quite a convincing story and to those not so technically savvy, can quite easily convince them they are genuine. They then go on to dupe you into giving them remote access to your PC telling you that they will fix the problem.
Once they have gained access to your machine, they then basically hold it to ransom, demanding exorbitant amounts of money to remove non existent malware.
The Guardian recently reported that as part of an ongoing global investigation into this type of crime, that US authorities have just frozen the US assets of 17 people and 14 companies that have been accused of taking part in the operations and who allegedly have conned tens of thousands of people with this type of scam. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has also shut down 80 internet domain names and 130 phone numbers used in the US to carry out the scams.
Unfortunately, most of the perpetrators are located in virtual offices overseas (typically in India) so it is difficult to actually make any arrests and they just relocate and set up again and start all over again so the problem is not going to go away any time soon.
All one can do is be on guard and don’t react to any such random phone calls in panic. Don’t do anything without running your own virus and malware scans on your PC and without talking to your own IT person or someone with a bit more technical knowledge who can advise you. Bottom line is, don’t ever let anyone have access to your PC remotely unless you know exactly who they are. You should already have decent virus checking software installed and running on your PC that will protect you from viruses and there are many separate malware checking packages available too which you can easily run yourself on your PC.
The important thing to remember is that how would any 3rd party know there is a problem with your PC if they don’t have access to it ? Clearly they don’t have access as that is what they are asking you to grant them!
Be aware and safe, not sorry.
We have been working with another of our clients over the last few weeks to put together their new website complete with a Content Management System (CMS).
Local business trayn4synergy is a partnership between TraynaUK and Synergy Sailing, offering a range of leadership, business management, management training and team building training courses here in the Solent area.
For more details, take a look at the new trayn4synergy website.
Another new client site now live for Athena Guardianship and Education. We worked with our new client’s graphic designers ( The Brand Tailor) to implement this great looking website for them recently.
Athena Guardianship and Education create collaborative relationships with schools and colleges in the South of the UK to cater for aspiring young students from China who wish to study abroad prior to their higher education.
We are now working with them on a Chinese version of the site.
Aura Gas provide heating and plumbing services around the Portsmouth area and have been a valued client of ours for some years now.
We have continually maintained, updated and added to their website over the last couple of years but they recently decided it was time for a new look for their website so we have been working with them closely to gradually evolve and develop the new design to meet their requirements and then to produce the new site.
It was quite a big project so it took a little bit of time but it went live a few weeks ago now.
Please feel free to have a look and see what you think of the new Aura Gas website.
I guess I am not unlike most other business people but I often find that my own jobs are always the ones that get done last as I am usually so busy working on client projects. Anyway, today I finally managed to schedule some time to work ON my business instead of IN it and I updated our web services presentation and overview video. It also allowed me to try out some new software tools I have recently purchased so it was time well utilised.
Feel free to have a look if you have a couple of minutes to spare over a coffee break perhaps. All feedback gratefully received and if there is something you think is missing, please let me know.
I struggled to find a suitable backing track for the video and eventually found something I liked and worked quite well but then discovered I couldn’t use it due to copyright issues so had to revert to one of Google’s alternatives to replace it so not quite what I wanted but it will do for now.