Archive for the ‘social behaviour’ Category

loveholidays scam website

September 19, 2018

Beware many booking websites are blatant scams.

Find a deal on loveholidays, in this case £99 per night for a side-sea view at a 5* hotel. Not the cheapest room.

And this was claimed to be a massive saving of £285 from the claimed price of £384 per night.

Click to book, fill out all booking details, name, address, credit card details, click confirm, and are then told to call their number. Forced to listen to a load of bullshit, basically telling you to book on their website.

Eventually get a real person. They try to claim no that is not the price, give a higher price, even though that is the price showing on the screen.

They also tried to claim I had gone through Trivago. I had not.

Person the other end slams the phone down which says it all.

Check price again, refresh the screen, still showing at £99 per night.

Several hours later, still showing the price of £99 per night.

Then to add insult to injury, an e-mail to say the offer is still waiting for me.

Hi Keith,

Thank you for visiting loveholidays today. We noticed your interest in making a booking with us. If you’d still like to book that hotel stay, you can find the most recent hotel you looked at still waiting for you by clicking on the button below.

Do you have any queries or questions we could answer? If you’d prefer to speak directly with one of our travel advisors, please give us a call on 01903 258 298, quoting the reference number XXXXXXXX.

A marginal change in price, £2000 for twenty days when clicked which took through to booking form. Required to complete details as before, name, address, telephone number, e-mail, credit card details. Same reference number. Would it once again have then asked to call the number and quote booking reference? When through, as before say the prices does not exist, which works out at £100 per day? I do not know, I did not try.

The hotel has been informed of the scam, and asked not to deal with this company.

They are concerned, and aware of these scams. Rooms are being bought, then sold to third parties, over which they have no control and would not deal with.

Check with hotel. The artificial high price is not the price the hotel is charging.

Amoma is another of these scam booking websites. Find a price, fill out the booking details, then note has changed the dates. Call a number in Switzerland, they too claim must have gone through Trivago, not true, had gone direct, and quoted a much higher price. Claimed they were top three booking sites. Really? I had never before heard of them. Informed hotel.

If have passed credit card details to these websites, then important to speak with bank and block card payment.

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Facebook is not a social network

April 10, 2018

Watching Mark Zuckerberg walk through the corridors of power escorted by Capitol Police was like watching a perp walk, when the police tip off the media. The only difference, he was not facing any charges (yet) and was not handcuffed.

Showing his usual contempt for facebook users he ignored questions fired at him by journalists.

Appearing on his first day before questions from a committee of politicians, it was as though Facebook had sent not a human but a malfunctioning avatar. Was this a human or an avatar representing Facebook?

He claimed facebook was inspirational. Claimed the credit for facebook for any action by democracy activists. Anything bad, that was bad actors. And yes facebook had made mistakes letting in the bad actors to play on their platform.

The only reason Zuckerberg was there was because of the collapse of facebook stock market value. He is still showing contempt for British facebook users by refusing to appear before a Parliamentary Select Committee, refusing any requests for media interviews.

Facebook is not a social network. Facebook is not a community. What we are seeing is not down to a few bad actors or facebook letting them gain access to their platform. Facebook exists to collect and abuse personal data.

The bad actor is facebook.

If Cambridge Analaytica is a bad actor, how many more bad actors, how many more facebook apps harvesting our personal data?

  • facebook has to be regulated
  • facebook has to be broken up, stripped of Instagram and WhatsApp
  • facebook has to be handed to the users

Users have to do their bit.

  • overwrite then delete all personal data
  • turn off location tracking
  • disable facebook apps
  • do not tag friends
  • do not use Instagram
  • do not use WhastApp

What facebook has engaged in is digital rape.

It beggars belief there are still facebook users who have not yet taken these very basic measures.  Are they naive or just plain stupid? Maybe they do not care about their own data security, but what of those they are connected to?  Their behaviour is equivalent in the digital realm to someone spreading HIV/Aids.

Cambridge Analytica Brexit and election fraud

April 2, 2018

We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles. — Christopher Wylie

We couldn’t have done it without them [AIQ]. — Dominic Cummings, Vote Leave campaign manager

I voted Leave for reasons of sovereignty and democracy. Isn’t it ironic that this is exactly what we’ve now lost? — Shahmir Sanni

Facebook exists to collect and abuse personal data.

Facebook apps, surveys, quizzes, games, harvest that data.

Cambridge Analytica used a facebook app to harvest the data of 50 million facebook users then used that data to manipulate them.

Two weeks ago, Channel 4 News broke the news of what Facebook and Cambridge Analytica were doing with the data, the lengths to which Cambridge Analytica was prepared to go to rig elections. The Channel 4 scoop of the decade has subsequently reverberated around the world, US, UK, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Mexico.

Compelling evidence has been presented by Channel 4 News, Carole Cadwalladr, Christopher Wylie, Shahmir Sanni and others of waht appear to be criminal activity between AggregateIQ, Cambridge Analytica, Vote Leave, BeLeave, senior Tories and their advisers, to rig the European Referendum.

Carole Cadwalladr:

‘Find Christopher Wylie.” That instruction – 13 months ago – came from the very first ex-Cambridge Analytica employee I met. He was unequivocal. Wylie would have answers to the two questions that were troubling me most. He could tell me about Facebook. And he would know about Canada.

What Christopher Wylie knows about Facebook, the world now knows. Facebook certainly knows – its market value is down $100bn. But the Canadian connection remains more elusive. What it is. Why it matters. And why it triggered my search for Wylie.

Did this alleged criminal activity sway the Brexit result? I think not, despite the persuasive  testimony from Christopher Wylie.

Carole Cadwalladr:

In total, £3.9m of leave campaign funds were spent with AIQ. Four different groups used the firm, even though all these campaigns were supposedly separate and could only “work together” if they shared their spending limits. Vote Leave spent £2,697,000. There was the £675,000 via BeLeave. A sum of £100,000 that Vote Leave donated to Veterans for Britain, which Veterans for Britain then paid to AIQ. AIQ also received £32,750 from the Democratic Unionist party. Whichever way one looks at it, AIQ would seem to be fundamental to the data-driven targeting of “persuadables” in the final days of the campaign.

These four campaign groups mysteriously and independently found the same tiny data analytics firm, located in a sleepy town on an island off the west coast of Canada, 5,000 miles away.

In April 2017, Dominic Cummings told me by email that Vote Leave had found the firm “on the internet”. Darren Grimes told the Electoral Commission the same thing. The only problem? Online archives show that AIQ’s website didn’t show up in Google searches until after the referendum. “I looked at the time,” says Sanni. “I was, like, ‘Who is AIQ?’ And there was nothing. No website. Nothing.”

Both sides lied to swing the result. From what little we have seen, IAQ told the truth.

European Union was established as a cartel for Big Business, a democracy-free zone. And nothing has changed. An Empire that centralises power, that brutally crushes any dissent on the periphery, as we have seen with Greece.

No Empire lasts for ever. The EU is on the verge of implosion. We must plan for that eventuality, to create a Europe-wide network of cooperating democratic sovereign countries.

Where though I do agree with Christopher Wylie, is where there was cheating, those involved must be held to account. And that also applies to the overspending by Tory candidates in the last but one General Election uncovered by Channel 4 News for which there has still to be criminal prosecutions.

Deathly silence from Mark Zuckerberg until Facebook stock valuation started to crash. He is still showing contempt for facebook users by his refusal to testify before a House of Commons Select Committee.

Facebook must be regulated to stop the collection and abuse of personal data, broken up, stripped of Instagram and WhatsApp, and ultimately handed to over to its users to function as global commons and open coop.

No one disputes the value of facebook as a social network, what is at issue is the collection and abuse of personal data.

The activities of companies like Cambridge Analytica, a threat to democracy, must not be permitted to operate.

Facebook users must also take personal responsibility for the safeguarding their personal data. They would not hand personal data to a stranger in the street, leave cash lying around, why therefore so careless with personal data.

Facebook users need to act now. Overwrite then delete all personal data, never post live links where you are, disable all facebook apps, disable location, do not use Instagram, do not use WhatsApp.

The most valuable data on facebook, is your personal data, where you are.

Facebook apps, games, surveys, quizzes, harvest personal data.

Instagram is owned by facebook. Pictures posted act as bait to draw into the Facebook walled garden. Instagram claims ownership rights to the pictures. The pictures are not visible on twitter. If you wish pictures to be visible post direct to twitter.

There are superior alternatives to WhatsApp, for example Skype.

Cambridge Analytica the Mexican connection

March 30, 2018

Facebook collects and abuses personal data.

Facebook apps, quiz, survey, game, harvest that data.

Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of 50 million Facebook users, then used it to manipulate the very people whose data they had harvested.

Russian hackers, Russian bots, were blamed for interference in elections. We now know it was much closer to home, Cambridge Analytica were operating in our own backyard, unnoticed, until Christopher Wylie‏ blew the whistle.

Cambridge Analytica has its tentacles every where, US, UK, Kenya, Nigeria, India, Sri Lanka, Mexico.

They go in, do the hard sell, we can swing the election your way. They are like ghosts, go in, do the dirty work that politicians cannot soil their hands with, then long before discovered, if ever discovered, have crept back out.

This is only one Facebook app.

And yet people are still leaving their personal information on Facebook, have not overwritten then deleted, are leaving live links of where they are, have not deleted Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook collection and abuse of personal data

March 29, 2018

Facebook business model is collection and abuse of personal data.

Facebook apps, every quiz, survey, game, harvest the data facebook collects, all your personal data, that of your friends, every single thing you do on facebook.

One such app was used by Cambridge Analytica, was used to harvest the data of 50 million facebook users. They then used that data for manipulation, bragged they swung the US Presidential election and won it for Donald Trump.  It has also been claimed they meddled in the EU Referendum.

Facebook claim a breach of trust.  No, the only breach of trust was facebook collecting data on its users.

Facebook and  Cambridge Analytica both claim the data that was harvested, data of 50 million Facebook users, has been deleted.

Not true says Christopher Wylie‏ a whistle blower at Cambridge Analytica.

Not true says Channel 4 News, who in the scoop of the century broke the original story last week.

Channel 4 News found it all too easy to obtain this data. They then knocked on a few doors to see what the good folk of Colorado thought of the collection  and abuse of their personal data.

They were shocked, they did not wish to discuss or appear on camera. One exception was a lady who said she was aware of how Facebook operated.

It beggars belief people are still leaving their personal data exposed on facebook, still leaving live links of where they are, are still using Instagram and WhatsApp.

All personal data should be overwritten with false data then deleted.

Never post live links of where you are.

The most valuable data you post on facebook is your personal data and where you are.

In settings disable apps, disable location data.

Do not use Instagram. Rights are claimed to your pictures, it is owned by Facebook, you are acting as bait to draw others into the facebook walled garden, the pictures posted are not visible on twitter.  Post pictures on twitter or google maps, but not Instagram.

Skype is a better alternative to WhatsApp.

 

M&S sparks card fraud

March 16, 2018

M&S has currently an Up To 50% Sale. Yes, a con, it should be a real sale, 50% Sale, not 50% in huge letters and hidden in the small print up to 50% which is meaningless.

Contempt for customers by M&S. The same contempt we see when M&S cannot be bothered to man the check out tills in their food sections.

No surprise, M&S a failing retailer.

There is though a fraud mimicking the contempt for customers, thus appearing to be genuine.

Sparks Card holders have received an e-mail, telling them they have been specially selected to take advantage of the 50% Sale, have to buy now, click on a link, have less than six hours, and to make the case, a clock is counting down.

It looks legit only that is all too easy.

The e-mail address looks odd, but could be legit.

It is not. Do not clink on any of the links.

The giveaway is the clock. Standard for fraudsters, limited time to take advantage of an offer.

The e-mail address raises doubts.

A further giveaway the points recorded.

Only one way to find out.

Purchase made in M&S, the usual appalling wait, insufficient tills manned.

The points recorded on the till receipt did not match those recorded in the scam e-mail.

A conversation with a store manager.

She kindly checked her Sparks Card e-mail, mention of the Sale, virtually identical, but no clock counting down.

M&S have been asked to notify every single Sparks Card holder to warn them of this fraud.

If you have received this fraud, delete, but better still mark as junk or a phishing scam.

It would also be wise to run a virus scanner.

It is also worth checking with your bank for any fraudulent transactions, especially if you are foolish enough to do on-line banking.

Now it may be, M&S also ran the clock. If they did, they are using the same sales tactics as fraudsters, and if they did, it opens the floodgates to fraudsters to make their scams look legit.

Dodgy builders

March 13, 2018

Last week within a space of two days, dodgy builders called, one offering repairs to the roof, the other the roof required washing.

If dodgy builders come calling, do not engage, call the police, if maybe work does need carrying out, ask reputable builders to take a look and provide a quote.

A cold calling zone can be established.

roof repairs

Dodgy builder calls. The roof requires repair work.

He was in for a shock. A meeting with Trading Standards and Police was taking place at the house where he called.

When questioned, he refused to answer questions, who he was, name of company, turned nasty then legged it up the street.

The incident was called in.

roof needs washing

How gullible are people?

Dodgy builder calls late morning.

Two rough looking white guys in their twenties, dressed in dark clothing, the one who called at the door a black beard. Had it been night they were dressed for a bit of house breaking.

The roof requires washing. This was following a morning of heavy rain.

Not only did the roof require washing, it required spraying to make it waterproof.

We have had centuries of straw, slate and roofing tiles, but the roof needs spraying to make waterproof.

Dodgy builder refused to leave his leaflet. Managed to acquire one left in letterbox of neighbour.

Police were notified. Local beat officer arrived promptly.

no cold calling zones

Where there is a problem with nuisance doorstep callers,  the Police and Trading Standards with the agreement of local residents can establish a No Cold Calling Zone.

scams and fraud

Dodgy builders are one of many frauds and scams relieving gullible people of their hard earned money, often of their life savings.

Phishing scams, text, e-mail, dodgy web sites, telephone calls, used to obtain bank account details. Within minutes account will be emptied.

Vital Nature and associated companies dodgy pills and potions scam. Pills and potions of dubious provenance, operating out of France though that could be a front address.  Credit card fraud, money laundering, harassment phone calls.

Commemorative mint scams, must have commemorative coins, offered at special price. In reality worthless junk metal.

Australian Lottery scam. You have won but need to pay administrative fee to release your winnings.

Long lost relative scam. Would love to visit, if could only could afford air fare from Australia.

Government rejects latte levy

March 10, 2018

The UK’s throwaway culture is having a devastating impact on our streets, beaches and seas. Our report recommended practical solutions to the disposable packaging crisis. The government’s response shows that despite warm words they plan no real action.  — Mary Creagh,  chair  Environmental Audit Committee

In an act of crass stupidity the UK government has rejected out of hand the latte levy.

This is to reject out of hand the evidence and proposals from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee.

It is a kick in the teeth to the many indie coffee shops that have done the right thing, introduced KeepCup, compostable cups, offered a discount to those who bring in a clean KeepCup for a refill, and above all, encourage people to sit and relax with speciality coffee served in glass or ceramic.

It is a kick in the teeth to coffee drinkers who have bought a KeepCup, or better still relax in an indie coffee shop with speciality coffee served in glass or ceramic.

What the government has shown is that it is craven to Big Business. It has caved in to lobbying by the corporate coffee chains. The same chains, Starbucks and Caffe Nero that dodge tax, to which the government turns a blind eye.

2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away every year. Coffee cups that cannot be recycled, as what at first glance appears to be paper, is plastic-lined paper, and therein lies the problem, these plastic-lined cups cannot be recycled.

Plastic is a modern day curse, it is destroying our seas.

And what does the government do? Nothing. The government would rather pander to corporate greed.

Next time the government claims to care about the environment, respond with two words, latte levy.

Labour must commit now that one of the first acts on taking office will be to introduce a latte levy to take immediate effect.

Plastic pollution in the sea off Bali

March 6, 2018

British diver Rich Horner has filmed the level of plastic pollution in the sea off Bali.

Anyone who still believes plastic pollution is not a problem, that we do not need a latte levy to eliminate plastic-lined paper cups, that plastic is not a modern day curse or that we do not need to to eliminate plastic, watch these films and think again.

Surprise, surprise there weren’t many mantas at the cleaning station.

The dive took place in an area frequented by manta rays which come to get cleaned. The area lies off the coast of Nusa Penida — a small island with low population — there is a stretch of only 20 kilometres of water separating Nusa Penida from the island of Bali and its capital Denpasar.

The beaches of Bali are covered in plastic, the sea full of plastic.

The plastic breaks down into microscopic plastic, marine life cannot distinguish from plankton, eat the plankton.

The weight of plastic equals that of plankton.

Seabirds and sea turtles are eating larger pieces of plastic. They die, their stomachs full of plastic.

By 2050, the weight of plastic in the sea will equal the weight of fish.

Our first visible sign of the problem is litter dropped on the bus, in our streets, plastic covering our beaches, which finds it way into the sea.

Chiltern Railways pilots recycling of coffee cups

March 2, 2018

Everyone needs to take responsibility; the reality is that everyone has been getting away with it for a long time. — Peter Goodwin, Simply Cups co-founder

Chiltern Railways is to introduce a scheme to recycle coffee cups at its stations.

Each station will have bins to deposit the cups, which are then taken away to be recycled, except the passengers have to segregate liquid, lids and cups, three separate bins.

An estimated 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away every year in the UK. Anything that addresses this is to be welcome.

What appears to be paper cups are plastic-lined cups, and there lies the problem, these cups cannot be recycled and therein lies the problem.

At first glance the scheme looks good but does not stand up to close scrutiny.

The Chiltern Railways scheme is at best a distraction, at worst legitimises our throwaway consumerist culture.

If nothing else, it makes the point, plastic is not recycled, cf steel, glass, aluminium, it is down-cycled, the plastic to be turned into branded pens for Chiltern Railways.

In the natural world output from one process is the input to another. There is no accumulation of waste either in time or space.

Ancient woodlands are the perfect example.

Anything that forms closed loops, where waste from one system is input to another is to be welcome, but that is not the case with plastic.

The loop is not closed, all that has happened is a delay, the plastic has been down-cycled, then onward to a one way trip to landfill, incineration or the ocean.

Plastic is a modern day curse. The planet is being smothered in plastic, plastic pollution is killing our marine life.

From where do the passengers obtain their coffee?

A reasonable assumption, either on the train or a takeaway stall at a station somewhere en route.

Make it mandatory, a condition of the lease,  for any of these coffee outlets that takeaway cups have to be compostable, that they have on sale reusable cups for example KeepCup and offer a substantial discount if seeking a refill.

At the station, a bin for compostable waste or at rural stations a compost heap. Though there is a question mark on whether or not these compostable cups do actually compost on a compost heap.

On a different line, an example would be Alton Station, where volunteers maintain a station garden.

The introduction of a 25p latte levy will help to focus minds.

Whilst not applicable to rail passengers, we must end the grab it and go culture, encourage relax in an indie coffee shop with speciality coffee served on glass or ceramic.