More and more people are going online for things they need to do. Banking, shopping, selling, etc.
Many “get” their news only through the internet, particularly from social media sites, not caring who or what the source of the information is.
But just as real life is filled with risks, cyberspace has become dangerous. Various scams continue to be perpetrated online, some are new but many are variations on old “themes.”
So I want to start the new year by reminding readers once again to be vigilant and careful when they go online.
I received an e-mail recently supposedly from a friend asking if I was in town. The question seemed reasonable and did not raise any red flags. But after I replied, I got another e-mail from the same person asking for financial assistance to pay her mortgage. She was supposedly in the US and had to settle debts involving a property there.
I alerted the message “sender” and, as I suspected, her e-mail had been hacked.
I think the first e-mail was intended to make me let my guard down. The question was innocuous. The sender probably hoped it would convince me that the subsequent e-mail was legitimate.
The scam is actually a variation on an old one, which many of us have probably come across where friends, relatives, even mere acquaintances ask for financial assistance because they are stranded somewhere after losing everything, including identification papers, mobile phones, bank and credit cards, to thieves.
I am also getting a lot of messages from foreign “recruiters,” promising thousands of dollars in salaries if I accept their job offers. The fact that they do not know anything about me, except my e-mail address, makes the offers suspect.
I still get messages from “government” or “bank” officials wanting to share some despot’s ill-gotten wealth, but I have also been getting lately e-mail from “banks” offering loans at very generous terms. I do not think the banks mentioned in the e-mail are so desperate for clients they would offer their services to strangers across the globe.
As I have said repeatedly, if the offer is too good to be true, it probably is.
If adults, who are supposed to know better, can easily fall prey to predators in cyberspace, children are at an even greater risk. Parents may want to keep in mind these tips from Kaspersky Lab, a global cybersecurity company, on how to keep kids safe when they go online:
Talk to your children about the potential dangers they may face online.
Try to put the computer in a family room and try to make using the computer a shared family experience.
Encourage your children to talk to you about any experience online that upsets or makes them uncomfortable.
Restrict the content that can be accessed via the computer. Many Internet security solutions can help you do this. Internet Explorer includes a Content Advisor that can also help.
Set guidelines on what children are allowed and not allowed to do on the Internet. Explain that some online activities, like chatting with or sending messages to someone they do not know and trust, can be dangerous.
Install a good antimalware product that will protect the computer against malicious programs and hackers.
New takeout service
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Cabalen, the popular eat-all-you-can restaurant, now allows diners to take home some of their favorite dishes. I have always wanted to bring home the restaurant’s kare-kare. Now, for P199 per order, a diner can take home not just kare-kare but also dinuguan and four other dishes. Each order is good for two.
Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793-94; or e-mail [email protected]