Digital traces - the reason why everybody shall use privacy tools

by Rudolf Faix Friday, June 24, 2016 8:58 AM

The people need to accept the fact that there is nothing free of charge in this world. Whenever something is offered for free, you'll pay with your personal data. It is easy for everybody to combine data from the network as long as the people don't know how to protect themselves from such data collections. Such a data collection can even be done on each server by analyzing the log files. For example, if someone visits one page then each request and data transfer get logged together with his IP address. If he writes a comment than he needs to logon or enter his email address. Already with this data can get seen what has been interesting for this visitor.

I can see which articles or postings he has been reading and can combine all this information to a profile about the visitor. That is already dangerous for the privacy from such a small site like mine. Calculate this information now up to a size like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Together with the data which are getting daily produced. If some company has now different content at the landing pages (maybe is using different company names too) than they even know which kind of promotion is suitable for the visitor, especially if the visitor has been shortly before visiting other sites from the same (marketing) company too. For this purpose I even don't need any cookies or other technologies like log-in with a social network account. Think now about the possibilities from the social networks when you are using their "easy" log-on service for other sites.

Maybe that is one of the reasons why the safe harbor contract between Europe and the U.S. got cancelled. Think about the possibilities a mobile phone provider has, which even knows in which cell your phone is logged in and which knows all your phone and data traffic without using any additional technology. You can be sure that they combine now even your shopping behavior (payment function of the mobile phone) with the data they already have about you.

With a technical background knowledge from above are the word filters a really very small problem. George Orwell's 1984 is already reality. Every company has access to the data as soon as you install something from Googles Playstore, Apples Appstore, Microsoft's Appstore.

  • Why do you think Windows 10 got given away for free as an upgrade for existing systems?
  • Why Microsoft has forced the update to Windows 10?
  • Why Microsoft bought LinkedIn?
  • Why WhatsApp got bought from Facebook?
  • Why big companies are spending a lot of money for providing free services?
  • Why Apple made such problems with unlocking the terrorists phone?

Each company is obliged to her shareholders. Not one company is able to survive only by giving something away for free. The capital from the big players on the market like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc. is not endless. Big investments are not getting done for the reason of their kindness. Free service are getting offered for the reason of collecting data. The collected data are the capital from such companies which are offering free services.

The case between Apple and the authorities has been only a promotion for Apple to make the users thinking that their devices are so secure. In reality is it nothing else than to extend their own database with additional user data. The iPhone from the terrorist could get hacked in seconds with the tools from the underground scene and FBI, NSA, etc. have even better tools.

If you connect a WiFi access point (not a WiFi router) and use a computer (Linux or Windows) as a router you are able to run a software which is capturing all the traffic coming from the device. A router based on Windows is even more comfortable to use for this purpose than Linux. Each Internet provider is able making the same at your Internet connection. Is it not frightening?

Have you ever wondered why some online ads you see are targeted to your tastes and interests? Or how websites remember your preferences from visit-to-visit or device-to-device? The answer may be in the "cookies" - or some other online tracking methods like device fingerprinting and cross-device tracking.

Windows tools for traffic analysis are for example WinPcap, Whireshark, SmartSniff, etc. They are the same tools which you are using for debugging network connections. The most of them are free of charge available.

As I have been running a WiFi Internet provider business I have used Trafmeter for billing purposes. Even Trafmeter had the function to capture all the traffic from any device or any destination (IP-based for the destination and/or MAC address based for the direct connected devices)

One of the oldest tracking system on the web is getting called Cookies. A cookie is an information saved by your web browser. When you visit a website, the site might store a cookie so it can recognize your device in the future. Later if you return to that site, it can read that cookie to remember you from your last visit. By keeping track of you over time, cookies can be used to customize your browsing experience, or to deliver ads targeted to you.

First-party cookies are placed by the site that you are visiting. They can make your experience on the web more efficient. For example, they help sites to remember:

  • items in your shopping cart
  • your log-in name
  • your preferences, like always showing the weather in your area
  • your game scores.

Third-party cookies are placed by someone other than the site you are on. For example, the website may partner with an advertising network to deliver some of the ads you see. Or they may partner with an analytics company to help understand how people use their site. These "third party" companies also may place cookies in your browser to monitor your behavior over time and from different websites.

Over time, these companies may develop a detailed history of the types of sites you frequent, and they may use this information to deliver ads tailored to your interests. For example, if an advertising company notices that you read a lot of articles about running, it may show you ads about running shoes - even on unrelated sites you're visiting for the first time.

A Flash cookie is a small file stored on your computer by a website that uses Adobe's Flash player technology. Flash cookies use Adobe's Flash player to store information about your online browsing activities. Flash cookies can be used to replace cookies used for tracking and advertising, because they also can store your settings and preferences. Similarly, companies can place unique HTML5 cookies within a browser's local storage to identify a user over time. When you delete or clear cookies from your browser, you will not necessarily delete the Flash cookies stored on your computer.

Device fingerprinting can track devices over time, based on your browser's configurations and settings. Because each browser is unique, device fingerprinting can identify your device, without using cookies. Since device fingerprinting uses the characteristics of your browser configuration to track you, deleting cookies won't help.

Device fingerprinting technologies are evolving and can be used to track you on all kinds of internet-connected devices that have browsers, such as smart phones, tablets, laptop and desktop computers. 

When you access mobile applications, companies don't have access to traditional browser cookies to track you over time. Instead, third party advertising and analytics companies use device identifiers - such as Apple iOS's Identifiers for Advertisers ("IDFA") and Google Android's Advertising ID - to monitor the different applications used on a particular device.

More and more, consumer devices, in addition to phones, are capable of being connected online. For example, smart entertainment systems often provide new ways for you to watch TV shows and movies, and also may use technology to monitor what you watch. Look to the settings on your devices to investigate whether you can reset identifiers on the devices or use web interfaces on another device to limit ad tracking.

Controlling Online Tracking

How can I control cookies?

Various browsers have different ways to let you delete cookies or limit the kinds of cookies that can be placed on your computer. When you choose a browser, consider which suits your privacy preferences best.

To check out the settings in a browser, use the 'Help' tab or look under 'Tools' for settings like 'Options' or 'Privacy.' From there, you may be able to delete cookies, or control when they can be placed. Some browsers allow add-on software tools to block, delete, or control cookies. And security software often includes options to make cookie control easier.  If you delete cookies, companies may not be able to associate you with your past browsing activity.  However, they may be able to track you in the future with a new cookie.

If you block cookies entirely, you may limit your browsing experience. For example, you may need to enter information repeatedly, or you might not get personalized content that is meaningful to you. Most browsers' settings will allow you to block third-party cookies without also disabling first-party cookies.

How can I control Flash cookies and device fingerprinting?

The latest versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Internet Explorer let you control or delete Flash cookies through the browser's settings. If you use an older version of one of these browsers, upgrade to the most recent version, and set it to update automatically.

If you use a browser that doesn't let you delete Flash cookies, look at Adobe's Website Storage Settings panel. There, you can view and delete Flash cookies, and control whether you'll allow them on your computer.

Like regular cookies, deleting Flash cookies gets rid of the ones on your computer at that moment. Flash cookies can be placed on your computer the next time you visit a website or view an ad unless you block Flash cookies altogether.

How can I control tracking in or across mobile apps?

You can reset the identifiers on your device in the device settings. iOS users can do this by following Settings > Privacy > Advertising > Reset Advertising Identifier. For Android, the path is Google settings > Ads > Reset advertising ID.  This control works much like deleting cookies in a browser - the device is harder to associate with past activity, but tracking can start anew using the new advertising identifier.

You also can limit the use of  identifiers for ad targeting on your devices. If you turn on this setting, apps are not permitted to use the advertising identifier to serve consumers targeted ads. For iOS, the controls are available through Settings > Privacy > Advertising > Limit Ad Tracking. For Android, Google Settings > Ads > Opt Out of Interest-Based Ads. Although this tool will limit the use of tracking data for targeting ads, companies may still be able to monitor your app usage for other purposes, such as research, measurement, and fraud prevention.

Mobile browsers work much like traditional web browsers, and the tracking technologies and user controls are much the same as for ordinary web browsers, described above.

Mobile applications also may collect your geolocation to share with advertising companies. The latest versions of iOS and Android allow you to limit which particular applications can access your location information.

What is "private browsing"?

Many browsers offer private browsing settings that are meant to let you keep your web activities hidden from other people who use the same computer. With private browsing turned on, your browser won't retain cookies, your browsing history, search records, or the files you downloaded. Privacy modes aren't uniform, though; it's a good idea to check your browser to see what types of data it stores.

But note that cookies used during the private browsing session still can communicate information about your browsing behavior to third parties. So, private browsing may not be effective in stopping third parties from using techniques such as fingerprinting to track your web activity.

What are "opt-out" cookies?

Some websites and advertising networks allow you to set cookies that tell them not to use information about what sites you visit to target ads to you. For example, the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) and the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) offer tools for opting out of targeted advertising - often by placing opt-out cookies. If you delete all cookies, you'll also delete the cookies that indicate your preference to opt out of targeted ads.

Cookies are used for many purposes - for example, to limit the number of times you're shown a particular ad. So even if you opt out of targeted advertising, a company may still use cookies for other purposes.

What is "Do Not Track"?

Do Not Track is a setting in most internet browsers that allows you to express your preference not to be tracked across the web. Turning on Do Not Track through your web browser sends a signal to every website you visit that you don't want to be tracked from site to site. Companies then know your preference. If they have committed to respect your Do Not Track preference, they are legally required to do so. However, most tracking companies today have not committed to honoring users' Do Not Track preferences.

Can I block online tracking?

Consumers can learn about tracker-blocking browser plugins which block the flow of information from a computer to tracking companies and allow consumers to block ads. They prevent companies from using cookies or fingerprinting to track your internet behavior.

To find tracker-blocking plugins, type "tracker blocker" in your search engine. Then, compare features to decide which tracker blocker is best for you. For example, some of them block tracking by default, while others require you to customize when you'll block tracking.

Remember that websites that rely on third party tracking companies for measurement or advertising revenue may prevent you from using their site if you have blocking software installed. However, you can still open those sites in a separate browser that doesn't have blocking enabled, or you can disable blocking on those sites.

 

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Consumer Protection

Four Scams To Watch Out For In Paris

by Lara Payd Sunday, November 22, 2015 3:01 AM

I am coming back from an awesome traveling experience visiting Paris and London and I can say that choosing the right travel agency contributed to making this trip enjoyable, because the company specializes in tours oriented to young adults like me. So that the eight days/nine nights of fun included in my package, were days of sightseeing some of the most famous tourists attractions in these European cities, and yet having a two-day Paris extension from the tour operator that included guided tours. The selected balance of the day trips and nightly events, included a visit to Versailles, Montmartre, a nightly visit to the Eiffel tower, and dining at the famous Moulin Rouge, the most famous cabaret in Paris dating from the 19th century that is located at 82 Boulevard de Clichy.

London Piccadilly Circus

My sole complaint about stopping at Moulin Rouge would be the required jacket and necktie because our classic tourist bermudas and tennis shoes are not allowed to get in. However, this like some other activities in the guided tour, were optional to take. Similarly, touring London was a once in a lifetime experience for me, visiting on foot emblematic places like the Buckingham Palace, the Piccadilly Circus plaza and the famous Big Ben clock tower in the north end of the Palace of Westminster, besides attending the musical playing at the Novello Theatre in Aldwych. Undoubtedly an unforgettable travel experience that would take too many pages to describe.

When the Fun is Over

You know that no city in the world is exempt of thievery and Paris is not an exception. Since most of the nightly tours took place in The City of Light (La Ville Lumière), our expert tour guide devoted some time to share with us some security tips to avoid being mugged, making us aware of popular scams running in the city that we could find going alone and sometimes happenings to people going in tour groups, because this sole fact makes travelers the target of scams. Of course, this does not mean that you will be a victim of theft, but is good to know it just in case, as I would add that it is also good to have on hand the contact information of a reliable payday loans service because whether you are victim of robbery or not, by the time your trip is over, you will find yourself in need of fast cash if you spend the way I did.

Paris Eiffel tower

  1. Please Sign-up This Petition Scam

    Have you noticed that nowadays the whole world seems to be engaged in supposed worthwhile causes? In Paris this is also common, but usually the right argument for this scam, in which an individual comes to you with a sheet of paper that includes already several signatures below a text written in French. If you are not knowledgeable in this language, you will never realize this is a scam to get you accepting to pay a given amount of money to the jerk coming your way. And even if you understand such language a bit, the text will be obscure to understand, so it is better to stay safe by never signing any request a stranger makes during your trips.

  2. The Ring Scam

    This scam is really a trick based on your distraction and "good luck" finding a gold rink or another valuable object in your way. As soon as you pick the item up, someone will approach to you claiming a share on your good luck. You can keep the object, the individual will say, but will demand an amount of money as he or she also "saw it" just at the same you did and many times this found-item will not worth the amount the scammer expects you to pay. If it is not yours, simply do not take it.

    Paris Moulin Rouge

  3. Have You Dropped Something? Scam

    This is a variation of the previous scam and is also based on a distraction moment, at which you might be standing up and hearing something dropping to the ground. You are absolutely sure it was not you, so you simply walk away because the idea behind this scam is making you bend over to find what was dropped; giving a wallet snatcher the opportunity to takes yours.

  4. String Tricks

    Perhaps this is truly the most important scam you must be aware of, because while the other three are based on ignorance or distraction on the tourist side, this scam is a direct threat to get you doing what they want; your money. According to our tour guide, an individual may approach you with the intention to make for you a "friendly" ring or bracelet with a piece of yarn, string or some other crafty-looking material. If you accept, he will do it gladly, but tying your wrist or finger so tight that you will suddenly find yourself trapped in the individual's hands, who will not let you go until after visiting an ATM to get you taking all your money out for him. So, if you ever get someone asking to make you a bracelet or ring, simply say "no" and keep walking.

Knowing about the existence of these scams is purely informative, not really meaning that you will find them every time and anywhere you are traveling, but being aware of them lets you travel with the peace of mind that only being an educated tourist allows you to enjoy the trip as I did.

 

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Travel Scam

Nuisance Calls and Scams

by Rudolf Faix Sunday, November 8, 2015 4:39 AM

PhoneWhile not all nuisance calls are scams or associated with fraud, many are. There are several types of scams or fraudulent calls you might receive on your phone. These include:

  • Caller ID Spoofing
    At this kind of call the caller changes the number from which he is calling you. Normally, if someone calls you the device captures and shows you the phone number of the caller. But, scammers try to fool you by changing the number that you see on your phone.

    Those that try to scam you often pretend to be a reputable company or perhaps a company or organization that you already trust, like your bank. They are doing this to steal your personal information and possibly try to gain access to your bank account or other financial accounts. Alternatively, they may be looking for personally identifiable information for stealing your identity.

    When such scammers are calling you, they may even say that they’re from your financial institution and that they need to collect or verify some of your information. They may claim this is part of a security check or that your personal information may have been compromised. Don’t give them any information over the phone. Your bank, brokerage firm or other financial institutions will not call you and ask you for about your personal information like your bank account number.

    Never rely on the caller ID alone to determine whether the person is really from the organisation he claims to be. If you suspect the person might be trying to defraud you or if you can’t verify that the person called you is from your bank/financial institution, hang up, notify your bank/financial institution or the police.

    Before you dial out to another number be sure that the previous call has been terminated. If you are unsure about this take another phone for your next dial out. If the scammer did not clear the line by hanging up, then there is a chance that when you attempt to make the next call and you end up by talking to the scammer again. For the case that they called you at your fixed line, they may even are able to play a ringtone to make it sound like you are making a dial while they are waiting patiently and silently on the other side. So make sure your line is clear when calling your financial institution to verify the call, that way, you do not accidentally reconnect with the fraudster or an accomplice. Use always phone numbers that have been provided to you by the companies you deal with and not a phone number told you over the phone.

  • Spam Texts
    Spam text messaging occurs when a company or organization sends you an unwanted text message alerting you about something or sending you an offer.

    In general, it’s illegal for anyone or any company to send you spam texts unless you’ve already asked them to send you text messages. If you’ve given to a business the permission to text you, however, that company can continue to send you texts for other services, but it must offer you the option to opt out.

  • Overt Abusive Calls
    When someone rings you at your fixed line and is abusive, whether it’s a stranger, a company you’re doing business with, or some other organization, you should immediately call your phone company and ask to speak with their nuisance or malicious calls team. Notify them of the problem, and they may offer you anonymous call blocking.

    At mobile phones are you normally able to setup anonymous call blocking and blocking of single phone numbers by yourself. Consult the instruction manual of your mobile phone for more information how to block phone numbers and anonymous calls.

    But, be aware that the service can also block legitimate calls you receive. For example, if you receive regular phone calls from family or friends out of the country, anonymous call blocking might block these calls. If you opt for the service, you will also have to coordinate with your friends or family to make sure important calls get through or you may have to ring them yourself.

  • Unsolicited Calls
    Calls you receive that you did not ask for and do not want

    Unsolicited calls are often marketing-related. A company or organization gets your phone number and starts calling you offering you products or services. Normally, a business must have your permission to ring you for an offer, but many businesses skirt these rules or find creative ways to get you to agree to have them ring you for offers.

    For example, if you sign up for, or purchase, anything online, you may be unknowingly agreeing to receive phone calls from solicitors.

    Sometimes, these calls are automated. So-called “robo-callers” or automated calling systems will ring you on a preset schedule. Sometimes, the solicitors are calling about donations to a charity. Other times, they are calling to sell you debt management services or legal services for personal injury claims. Still other times they are calling to sell you products over the phone.

    Marketing agencies and organizations making such calls must have your permission to call you, but if you’ve checked off any boxes online while filling out a form, or while making a purchase, or agreed to terms of service which allowed a business to sell your personal information, you may have already given permission accidentally.

    You may also get caught by something called “Automatic Number Identification” or ANI. These systems don’t get your permission explicitly, but rather implicitly. Once you dial out, it’s done. The organization captures your number and sells it to other companies who then call you.

    The best way to protect yourself is to not sign up for anything online, through the mail, and resist giving out your phone number unless you know who you’re giving it to and you can be assured that your information won’t be sold to anyone else.

    If you’re already on a list, call the Telephone Preference Service and ask to be opted out of receiving calls.

  • Abandoned or Silent Calls
    Calls that are silent (you see them as missed calls) or are disconnected when you answer

People Who Are Most At Risk For Nuisance Calls

The Elderly

While anyone can be the victim of a nuisance call, some groups of people are especially vulnerable. For example, the elderly and single parents may receive an unusually high number of nuisance calls relative to the general population.

In fact, it is estimated that while the average UK resident receives 7 nuisance calls a month, 40% of the phone calls that older and vulnerable residents of Scotland receive are nuisance  calls.

These statistics were discovered by Angus Council, East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire, three of the country’s trading standards authorities.

Additionally, the The Financial Ombudsman Service found that roughly 80% of individuals who were scammed out of their savings were over 55. About one in five was over 75.

About 38% of victims lost anywhere between £5,000 and £14,999, with 20% of victims losing between £20,000 and £49,999. Some unfortunate victims lost more than £100,000. The most at-risk areas include London and the South East.

The elderly are especially vulnerable to these nuisance calls. Malicious individuals or organisations often prey on them, attempting to get personal information or have the senior hand over his or her life savings.

Some firms try to entice elderly victims with prize winnings or send begging letters. Of course, there is no prize waiting for the victim.

Another scam promises the victim lottery winnings, usually from outside the state or country. And, the senior doesn’t even have to enter. In fact, these organisations contact victims, telling them that their name was drawn at random and they’ve won. Incredible! They didn’t even enter any contest.

The only stipulation is that the elderly victim pay some fee or administrative cost before the money is released. Elderly people tend to be inherently trusting, and so they hand over the cash, but never receive the prize winnings.

Yet another scam involves unlicensed financial advisors who attempt to sell seniors unregulated investments which may jeopardise their life savings. While the recent banning of commissions has eliminated many commission-driven fraudsters, the practice of cashing in a pension pot is still a problem for many.

Fortunately, up to 98% of these nuisance calls can be blocked using special call-blocking technology.

Single Parents

Single parents might also be a victim of nuisance calls, especially when there are children involved. An ex-partner may be jealous or feel that the relationship ended badly, and may call directly or put someone else up to ringing their spouse or ex-partner’s line repeatedly.

Vulnerable individuals need to report all fraudulent activity to the authorities, like Ofcom, immediately. If you suspect you have been, or are about to be, a victim of a crime, call the local police.

Blocking Calls Using Apps

Truecaller is an app for iOS devices that helps you peek behind the curtain of a phone number to learn who’s really behind the call. Get enhanced call ID information, search for any number to see who it belongs to, and link directly to Yelp! and other social networks to find the identity of the organisation making the call.

This app makes blocking spam and scammers much easier.

As with iPhone, Truecaller for Android can help you block unwanted calls on your Droid. Install the app and use it as you would on iPhone.

Best Practices For Staying Safe

Of course, beyond the apps and settings on your phone, there are some best practices you can employ to avoid being scammed or bothered by unwanted calls:

Stop signing up for free offers

Free offers are almost never free. When you tick off a box that says you agree to the terms and conditions, read them. Often, part of those terms includes a provision that lets the company sell your personal information. If you agree to these terms, you may start receiving phone calls which you believe are unsolicited.
Unfortunately, because you’ve agreed to terms and conditions which allow for this, there is usually no recourse other than asking to be removed from the organisation’s call list.

Resist paid offers unless you know and trust the business

Think before you buy into another service, even if it’s a contract renewal. Mobile phone renewals, for example, could trigger an avalanche of follow-up calls, asking you to sign up for additional services or buy additional products from the carrier or a dealer.

These calls can turn into nuisance calls that you can’t easily stop because you’ve already done business with the company and agreed to receive calls from them.

When a business asks you for your contact information before, during, or after a sale, resist it. Most businesses want your number so that they can call you in the future with offers. Unless you want sales calls in the future from a company, just politely decline. If the business or organisation insists, remind them that you are already doing business with them. If they refuse business unless you hand over your contact information, it may be a good idea to do business with someone else.

Don’t agree to anything over the phone if you’re unsure about the caller

Sometimes, it’s difficult to say “no” to someone over the phone, especially if they’re nice and polite. However, if you do not know the individual, your best response usually is “no.”

Do not give out your credit card numbers, don’t agree to switch utility providers, even if they promise you a lower tariff (always check with your provider first about your rates vs a competitors’). And, don’t assume a friendly inquiry or marketing survey is always innocent. Often, these calls are designed to trick you into buying something you don’t really want.

Do not use your real number

If you do have to sign up for a service, or you’re buying a product online, sign up for a Google number through Google Voice. This service lets you create a fictitious number which can be easily changed so you’re not giving out your real number. And, it’s easy to set up:

  • Go to the Google Voice website and sign in with your Google Account login information

  • Choose a Google Voice Account type

  • Select “I want a new number”
  • Enter a forwarding number and the type of phone you have. This is the phone that will ring when someone rings this new Google number. You can add more phones to this number later if you want

  • Take down the code presented to you and click “Call Me Now” to verify your forwarding phone

  • Enter the code you received previously into the box on the screen

  • Search for an available Google Voice Number. You may search by area code, post code, word or phrase

  • Select your number

That’s it. Your new number is now active. When you sign up for services, simply give organisations and businesses your Google number. When they ring it, it will forward the call to your real number.

If you start having problems with nuisance calls, simply get rid of the Google number and get another one. This effectively sets up a shield between you and the would-be nuisance caller.

Add your name to the 'do-not-call' list

The Telephone Preference Service lets you opt out of receiving calls from solicitors. While many individuals are familiar with this service for landlines, TPS will accept mobile phone numbers as well. It’s a good first line of defense.

It will not stop charity organisations, however, and some calls may get through if they are not considered telemarketing calls. These calls may still be considered nuisance calls. However, you should see a dramatic reduction in the number of them.

 

 

What To Do If You Got Scammed?

by Rudolf Faix Friday, November 6, 2015 12:41 AM

Mouse Trap - scammedAuthorities may not always be able to take action against scams, even if it seems like a scammer might have broken the law. Although it may be hard to recover any money that you have lost to a scam, there are steps you can take to reduce the damage and avoid becoming a target for a follow-up scam. The more quickly you act, as larger is your chance of reducing your losses. Report a scam. By reporting the scam to authorities, they may be able to warn other people about the scam and minimize the chances of the scam spreading further. You should also warn your friends and family of any scams that you come across.

If you have been tricked into signing a contract or buying a product or service

Contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office and consider getting independent advice to examine your options: there may be a cooling-off period or you may be able to negotiate a refund.

If you think someone has gained access to your online account, telephone banking account or credit card details

Call your financial institution immediately so they can suspend your account and limit the amount of money you lose. Credit card companies may also be able to perform a "charge back" (reverse the transaction) if they believe that your credit card was billed fraudulently. Do not use contact details that appear in emails or on websites that you are suspicious of - they will probably be fake and lead you to a scammer. You can find legitimate contact details in the phone book, an account statement or on the back of your ATM card. 

If the scam relates to your health

Stop taking any pills or substances that you are not sure about. See a doctor or other qualified medical professional as soon as you can. Be sure to tell them about the treatment that the scammer sold (take along any substances, including their packaging). Also tell them if you have stopped any treatment that you were taking before the scam.

If you have sent money to someone that you think may be a scammer

If you sent your credit card details, follow the instructions in the section opposite.

If you sent money through an electronic funds transfer (over the Internet), contact your financial institution immediately. If they have not already processed the transfer, they may be able to cancel it.

If you sent a cheque, contact your financial institution immediately. If the scammer hasn’t already cashed your cheque, they may be able to cancel it.

If you sent money through a wire service (such as Western Union or Money Gram), contact the wire service immediately.

If you are very quick, they may be able to stop the transfer.

If you have been tricked by a door-to-door seller

You may be protected by laws that provide you with a "cooling-off" period, during which you can cancel an agreement or contract that you signed. Contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office for advice about door-to-door sales laws.

If you have been scammed using your computer

If you were using your computer when you got scammed, it is possible that a virus or other malicious software is still on your computer. Run a full system check using reliable security software.

If you do not have security software (such as virus scanners and a firewall) installed on your computer, a computer professional can help you choose what you need.

Scammers may have also gained access to your online passwords. Change these using a secure computer.

If the scam involves your mobile phone

Call your telephone provider and let them know what has happened.

 

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Consumer Protection

Cooling-off Period

by Rudolf Faix Thursday, November 5, 2015 11:32 PM

JudgeIn consumer rights legislation and practice, a cooling-off period is a period of time following a purchase when the purchaser may choose to cancel a purchase and return goods which have been supplied for any reason and obtain a full refund.

In addition, legislation exists in various parts of the world enforcing this right, to varying degrees. For example, in the European Union, the Consumer Rights Directive of 2011 obliges member states to give purchasers the right to return goods or cancel services purchased from a business away from a normal commercial premises, such as online, mail order, or door-to-door, with limited exceptions, within two weeks from the receipt of the goods, for a full refund

Each country has its own rules for the cooling-off period. Here are only listed the most important rules. Please visit the provided link to read all the rules.

 

Australia

Source: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Telemarketers are not allowed to call consumers:

  • on Sundays or public holidays
  • before 9am or after 8pm on weekdays
  • before 9am or after 5pm on Saturdays

 

Cancellation rights (cooling-off):

  • The salesperson must tell to the consumer about his cooling off rights. The consumer can change his mind and cancel the contract for any reason without penalty within 10 business days

  • If the consumer bought goods that cost $500 or less, the salesperson can supply these goods immediately during the cooling-off period but the consumer still have the right to cancel the contract

  • The salesperson cannot take payment during the cooling-off period for any goods or services and cannot supply any services.

  • The consumer has 10 business days to cool-off or cancel the agreement, starting the first business day after receiving the agreement document.

  • The consumer can terminate the agreement verbally or in writing any time during the cooling-off period. Written termination can be delivered personally, sent via post, emailed or sent via fax. The agreement will be cancelled from the day you give notice

  • The trader must promptly return or refund any money paid under the agreement or a related contract

  • Even if the consumer has partially or completely used the goods supplied by the salesperson under the agreement he still has cooling-off rights during the specified period

  • The salesperson must not try to convince the consumer to waive your rights to cool off.

Canada

Source: Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA)

In some provinces and territories, there is an automatic cancellation (or cooling-off) period for certain types of contracts. Examples include contracts for services such as credit, dating clubs, health clubs, funeral and cemetery services, time-shares, condominiums, natural gas, electricity and door-to-doorsales. The cooling-off period is valid whether the company tells you about it or not.

To find out more about the cooling-off period in your area contact Your Provincial or Territorial Consumer Affairs Office.

 

New Zealand

Source: Consumer. now you know

Every agreement for an uninvited direct sale must be in writing and expressed in plain language. You must be given a copy of the agreement either at the time you sign, or if the agreement is made over the phone within 5 working days.

The agreement must:
  • clearly describe the goods or services being supplied

  • show the total price payable and any other consideration to be given (or how this is calculated if it’s uncertain at the time you sign)

  • inform you of your right to cancel

  • list the trader’s name, street address, phone number and email, and your name and street address

  • show the date it was signed.

If the trader fails to give you this information, the agreement can’t be enforced (except if the failure is minor and has not materially disadvantaged you).

 

United Kingdom

Source: Which? Consumer Rights

At a distance or face-to-face off-premises the following key information has to be given:
  • a description of the goods or service, including how long any commitment will last on the part of the consumer 

  • the total price of the goods or service, or the manner in which the price will be calculated if this can’t be determined

  • cost of delivery and details of who pays for the cost of returning items if you have a right to cancel and change your mind

  • details of any right to cancel - the trader also needs to provide, or make available, a standard cancellation form to make cancelling easy (although you aren’t under any obligation to use it)

  • information about the seller, including their geographical address and phone number

  • information on the compatibility of digital content with hardware and other software is also part of the information traders are obliged to provide  

  • Your right to cancel an order starts the moment you place your order and ends 14 days from the day you receive it

  • Your right to cancel a service starts the moment you enter into the contract and lasts 14 days

  • If you want to download digital content within the 14 day cancellation period you must agree to waive your cancellation rights 

  • Companies are not allowed to charge you for items they put in your online shopping basket or that you have bought as a result of a pre-ticked box

 

United States of America

Source: Federal Trade Commission

FTC Approves Changes to Cooling-Off Rule:

The FTC has approved a final amendment to its Cooling-Off Rule, increasing the exclusionary limit for certain “door-to-door” sales. The Cooling-Off Rule previously provided that it is unfair and deceptive for sellers engaged in “door-to-door” sales valued at more than $25 to fail to provide consumers with disclosures regarding their right to cancel the sales contract within three business days of the transaction. Under the amended rule, the definition of “door-to-door sales” distinguishes between sales at a buyer’s residence and those at other locations. The revised definition retains coverage for sales made at a buyer’s residence at a purchase price of $25 or more, and it increases the purchase price to $130 or more for all other covered sales at temporary locations. The revised definition recognizes that concern regarding high-pressure sales tactics and deception during in-home solicitations is greater than when sales are made away from consumers’ homes. Therefore, the Commission concluded that raising the value to $130 for non-home sales would reduce compliance burdens for sellers while still protecting consumers.

Full telemarketing rules: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/complying-telemarketing-sales-rule#refund

 

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I'm since more then 35 years in the computer business (programming and technical support) and using the Internet since it has started. Since 2002 I'm programming solutions for Asterisk and since 2004 I'm in the call center industry.

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