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  • 7 May 2024 7:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Watch out for tech support scams lurking in sponsored search results

    Posted: May 2, 2024 by Pieter Arntz

    This blog post was written based on research carried out by Jérôme Segura.

    A campaign using sponsored search results is targeting home users and taking them to tech support scams.

    Sponsored search results are the ones that are listed at the top of search results and are labelled “Sponsored”. They’re often ads that are taken out by brands who want to get people to click through to their website. In the case of malicious sponsored ads, scammers tend to outbid the brands in order to be listed as the first search result.

    The criminals that buy the ads will go as far as displaying the official brand’s website within the ad snippet, making it hard for an unsuspecting visitor to notice a difference.

    Who would, for example, be able to spot that the below ad for CNN is not legitimate. You’ll have to click on the three dots (in front of where we added malicious ad) and look at the advertiser information to see that it’s not the legitimate owner of the brand.

    fake CNN sponsored ad

    Only then it becomes apparent that the real advertiser is not CNN, but instead a company called Yojoy Network Technology Co., Limited.

    Google Ads Transparency Center entry for Yojoy Network Technology

    Below, you can see another fake advertisement by the same advertiser, this time impersonating Amazon.

    Another fake ad by Yojoy impersonating Amazon

    In our example, the scammers failed to use the correct CNN or Amazon icons, but in other cases (like another recent discovery by Jerome Segura), scammers have even used the correct icon.

    fake ad for Wall Street Journal

    The systems of the people that click one of these links are likely to assessed on what the most profitable follow-up is (using a method called fingerprinting). For systems running Windows, we found visitors are redirected to tech support scam websites such as this one.

    Typical Fake Microsoft alert page with popups, prompts all telling the visitor to call 1-844-476-5780 (tech support scammers)

    Tech Support Scam site telling the visitor to call 1-844-476-5780

    You undoubtedly know the type. Endless pop-ups, soundbites, and prompts telling the visitor that they should urgently call the displayed number to free their system of alleged malware.

    These tech support scammers will impersonate legitimate software companies (i.e. Microsoft) and charge their victims hundreds or even thousands of dollars for completely bogus malware removal.

    Getting help if you have been scammed

    Getting scammed is one of the worst feelings to experience. In many ways, you may feel like you have been violated and angry to have let your guard down. Perhaps you are even shocked and scared, and don’t really know what to do now. The following tips will hopefully provide you with some guidance.

    If you’ve already let the scammers in

    • Revoke any remote access the scammer has (if you are unsure, restart your computer). That should cut the remote session and kick them out of your computer.
    • Scan your computer for malware. The miscreants may have installed password stealers or other Trojans to capture your keystrokes. Use a program such as Malwarebytes to quickly identify and remove threats.
    • Change all your passwords. (Windows password, email, banking, etc.)

    If you’ve already paid

    • Contact your financial institution/credit card company to reverse the charges and keep an eye out for future unwanted charges.
    • If you gave them personal information such as date of birth, Social Security Number, full address, name, and maiden name, you may want to look at some form of identity theft protection.

    Reporting the scam

    File a report

    Shut down their remote software account

    • Write down the TeamViewer ID (9-digit code) and send it to TeamViewer’s support. They can later use the information you provide to block people/companies.
    • LogMeIn: Report abuse

    Spread the word

    You can raise awareness by letting your friends, family, and other acquaintances know what happened to you. Although sharing your experience of falling victim to these scams may be embarrassing, educating other people will help someone caught in a similar situation and deter further scam attempts.

    We don’t just report on threats – we help safeguard your entire digital identity

    Cybersecurity risks should never spread beyond a headline. Protect your—and your family’s—personal information by using identity protection

  • 17 Nov 2023 12:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you're unsure about which mobile phone to choose, don't worry. We're here to help. There are many options available, and it can be overwhelming. That's why we've created a guide to help seniors like you when buying a new mobile phone.

    In this article:

    Smartphone vs dumbphone

    Yes, they really are called dumbphones. They're the basic mobile phones that were available before smartphones entered the market; they make and receive calls and texts but don’t connect to the internet.

    If you’re looking for a phone that can do more than just calls and texts, a smartphone is probably the way to go. Its online capability means you can do things like send and receive emails on your phone, scan QR codes, and use apps to get directions, just to name a few.

    Mobile phone features to look out for


    The image quality of smartphone cameras gets better with every release, but their specs do vary, so if taking quality pictures and videos is important to you then you may want to spend a bit more on a later model smartphone with higher specs.

    Find out more about how to use the camera on your iPhone or Android phone to do things like edit photos and use your favourite photo as your background image or wallpaper.

    Phone storage capacity

    Your smartphone needs internal space to store data such as your photos, videos, apps and other things to help your phone run. Smartphone storage is measured in gigabytes, or GB (pronounced “gigs”), and the higher the storage, the more expensive the phone.

    Find out how much storage you currently have on your smartphone to give you an indication of whether you need more or less storage in your new phone. You can check on your iPhone by going to the Apple support page , or for Android phones, go to Settings and type 'storage' in the Android search bar.

    There are also cloud storage apps for when you need extra storage or back up for your photos, videos and documents. You can find out more about cloud storage subscriptions that come with your Apple iPhone or Android phone in our free short courses. 

    Battery life

    Our smartphones do so much more than just stay in touch with others. They help us to find out what time the next bus arrives, get from point A to B, and even pay for things. Which is why a long battery life is an important feature to look out for. Before you buy, it’s worth researching the battery life of different phones to see how long they last before they need to be charged.


    A large screen can make things easier to see, especially if you use your phone to browse the internet. But a large screen generally means a bigger phone, so you also need to consider how heavy it is and how it’ll fit in your pocket or bag. The best thing to do is visit a store to test a selection of phones in person and get a feel for what works best for you.

    Accessibility features

    Accessibility features make your phone easier to use. While some of the big brand phones have built-in accessibility features to do things like increase the text size on your screen and convert voice to text, you can also find mobile phones designed for seniors. They include helpful features such as:

    • SOS button. Specially designed phones with an easy to access SOS button you can press to send an SMS or call your saved emergency contact(s).
    • Hearing aid compatibility. Hearing aid compatible (HAC) phones have an M or T rating of 1 to 4. The higher the number the less interference you can expect when using your phone. The M rating refers to how well the phone works with hearing aids that use the Microphone setting, while the T rating refers to the Telecoil setting. You should look for a minimum M3 or T3 rating which is what most phones have.
    • Charging cradle. Perfect for people with dexterity issues as the phone sits in a cradle to charge that's always plugged into a power outlet, just like a cordless home phone.
    • Extra loud ringtone and speakerphone volume.
    • Big buttons to make the numbers easier to read. 

    Find out more about the built-in accessibility features in iPhones and Android phones in our free short courses.

    You can also find out more about the Emergency SOS feature on your iPhone  on Apple’s support website and Google's how to get help during an emergency with your Android phone .

    4G or 5G compatible

    When you're not connected to your home Wi-Fi your smartphone connects to the internet via a mobile network called 3G, 4G or 5G. The ‘G’ stands for ‘generation’, so 3G stands for ‘third generation’, 4G is ‘fourth generation’, and so on. The higher the number the faster and newer the network.

    Telcos are switching off their 3G mobile network to make way for newer technology. So, if you’re looking for a new phone that will last you a few years, it needs to be compatible with the 4G or 5G network.

    If you have an older phone that works with the 3G network, it’s best to check with your current telco provider to see when / if they are closing down their network. For example, Telstra is switching off its 3G network  from 30 June 2024, while Vodafone  is shutting it down in December 2023.

    You can find which network your phone connects to by looking at the top of your phone’s screen next to the battery symbol (it appears when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi).

    Should I buy a mobile phone outright or on a plan?

    Buying a mobile phone outright means you pay the full one-off cost of the handset so you have the freedom to choose from a wide range of providers for your data, calls and texts, known as SIM-only or BYO (bring your own) plans.

    The other option is to sign up to a contract which lets you pay off a handset over a fixed term (normally 12, 24 or 36 months) on top of your data, calls and texts.

    If you can afford to pay for a phone outright, it can keep your mobile plan costs down as there are very competitive BYO phone or SIM-only plans available.

    You can compare how much it will cost you to buy a phone outright versus on a plan by calculating the total cost for both scenarios over the length of the contract.

    As an example, let’s say you find a phone for $80 per month on a 24-month contract. The same phone is available for $700 when you buy it outright and you find a BYO phone plan for $20 per month for your data, calls and texts. Both plans have similar data allowance. In this scenario, buying the phone outright saves you $740.

    Option A (plan): $80 per month x 24 months = $1,920.

    Option B (outright): $700 for the phone + ($20 per month BYO plan x 24 months) = $1,180.

    If you need help choosing a mobile phone plan, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN)  website has a helpful guide. You can also use comparison websites like WhistleOut and Finder to compare phone plans.

    Unlocked vs locked mobile phones – what’s the difference?

    A locked phone will only work on the network it’s tied to, like Telstra, Optus or Vodafone, whereas unlocked phones give you the freedom to use any telco provider. That means, for example, if you buy a locked phone to Telstra you’ll need to sign up to a Telstra phone plan. Places like supermarkets and Australia Post carry a range of unlocked and locked phones, so it’s best to check before you buy.

    iPhone vs Android

    Today's newer smartphones run on one of two operating systems: iOS (iPhone) or Android. iOS is made by Apple and only runs on Apple devices, whereas the Android operating system is made by Google and runs on a range of phones including Samsung, Google Pixel and Oppo.

    If you own other devices like a tablet or laptop that run on either system, it can make things easier to stick to the same system for your smartphone. Not only will you be more familiar with the features, but the devices generally do a better job of ‘talking to each other’.

    It’s also a good idea to talk to family and friends about their experience with their phone and visit a store so you can test a few models out for yourself.

    Top tip: reset your old mobile phone

    Before you get rid of your old mobile phone, it’s best to reset it to erase all your data and settings. That way your phone thinks it’s a new phone again which is especially important if you plan to pass the phone on to someone else. You should also do a reset if you’ve been given a pre-owned mobile phone so the previous owner's data is wiped. Here's how you can reset your iPhone or Android phone.

  • 30 Dec 2022 1:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    To reset your Apple ID password, you can follow these steps:

    Go to the Apple ID website: Visit the Apple ID website at and click on the "Forgot Apple ID or password" link.

    Enter your Apple ID: On the next screen, enter your Apple ID and click "Continue."

    Select a method for resetting your password: You will have the option to reset your password by answering security questions, receiving an email, or receiving a text message. Choose the method that you prefer and follow the prompts to reset your password.

    Create a new password: If you choose to reset your password by answering security questions or receiving an email or text message, you will be prompted to create a new password. Follow the guidelines provided to create a strong and secure password.

    Sign in with your new password: Once you have reset your password, you can use it to sign in to your Apple ID account and other Apple services.

    If you are having difficulty resetting your password, you may need to contact Apple for further assistance. You can find contact information for Apple support on their website or through the "Contact Us" link on the Apple ID website.

  • 30 Dec 2022 12:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If your email stops working, there are several things you can try to fix the problem:

    1. Check your internet connection: Make sure your device is connected to the internet and that there are no issues with your wifi or broadband connection.

    2. Restart your device: Sometimes, simply restarting your device can resolve any issues with your email.

    3. Check your email account settings: Make sure that your email account settings are correct, including the incoming and outgoing server names, port numbers, and any security settings.

    4. Check for updates: Make sure you have the latest version of your email client and any relevant software or operating system updates.

    5. Check for maintenance or outages: It's possible that your email provider is experiencing maintenance or an outage, which could be causing the issue. Check the provider's website or social media accounts for any announcements.

    If these steps don't fix the problem, you may need to contact your email provider or seek technical assistance. It's also a good idea to make sure you have a backup of any important emails or data in case there is a problem with your account.

  • 15 Nov 2022 2:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    How do you feel when you get one of these text messages?

    Do you feel anxious? Do you feel guilty? Do you feel angry? or do you think this is just another attempt to steal your money from a scammer?

    How you react when you see one of these text messages could determine a good or bad outcome from receiving one of these. 

    Even the most vigilant of people can get tricked into scams on any given day as the scams become more sophisticated and we are using more online tools such as shopping, parcel delivery, and accounts such as travel, banking and tolls. There are many opportunities for us to receive messages regarding our accounts and payments and so on. 

    The important thing to remember here is that if you receive a message with a link or phone number in it never click on the link and never ring that phone number. The odds are that this is a scam if it has either of these two options in the text and in particular if they are asking for money or your details as part of the outcome of receiving the message. 

    Whenever you get a message from any company asking you to log in or update your details or pay a bill or fine You should go to the official website and contact them using official means rather than clicking on any links or ringing any numbers in a message you may receive. 

    As a result of data breaches from companies such as Optus and Medibank private, we are seeing an enormous amount of Scam messages and attempts at getting your details from many different places and in many different forms.

    But following the basic rules of spotting a scam should still be enough to see us clear of most of these scam attempts. For example, the image in this post contains either a link or a phone number for you to respond to which would put you in danger of giving your information to a scammer or contacting a fake tech support scammer who would try to gain access to your computer and then get hold of your banking details. 

    If you do get scammed, however, do not be embarrassed or ashamed please share your story with others as this is the only thing we can do to help fight against the scammers. we can of course contact our bank and try and recover money identities after we have been scammed but sharing a story and preventing other people from getting scammed is the best thing we can do to help fight the scammers. 

    Report scams to Scamwatch HERE

    Ask for help HERE

  • 23 Sep 2022 10:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you are and old Optus customer of a current Optus customer your personal details and important documentation may have been exposed to criminals as a result of a data breach at Optus.

    This is a serious data breach and people are warned to be alert and prepared to receive an increase of scam calls, emails and messages from criminals pretending to be Optus, your bank, your license distributor or even the government.

    It is important to pay close attention to your bank accounts and make sure you have multifactor authentication enabled on all your account that offer this level of security.

    On your phones and devices I suggest that you enable biometrics as another step to accessing your accounts and apps on your phone.

    If you don't use a banking app now is the time to install it on your phone so that you have better control of your accounts and more options if you notice unusual activity.

    There is more information on what you can do if you think you are a victim inside the forum.

    If you need help learning more about this breach and other online life skills consider becoming a community member and get more alerts and free remote support and training to help you stay safe online.

  • 8 Feb 2022 2:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    There is so much information available on the Internet these days that sometimes we are blinded by choice so whenever I find a link to something I think you may find useful I will share it with you.

    Tis resource is called "Life and Technology" by Charlie Brown.

    Charlie Brown appears on talkback radio where he answers question from callers regarding everyday technology. He posts the answers to some of these questions in his blog / newsletter and he also has a show on channel 9 called Cybershack. You can hear Charlie on 3AW and other Nine network radio stations on Saturday mornings at 8am.

    Here is the link to his website 

  • 5 Oct 2021 9:21 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For a number of hours Facebook and Instagram and other services owned by Facebook have been put offline.

    Normal service was resumed at around 9.20am this morning Australian EDT and was blamed (in some reports) on an update by a "customer".

    The world wide outage lasted around 5 hrs, and is one of the biggest outages recorded by a public social media company.

    It is reported that the services are back online for most people.

  • 14 Sep 2021 4:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It is becoming a well known fact that Chromebooks are more secure than Mac and Windows computers because they do not have the traditional software often targeted by scammers and criminals.

    In fact, there is no operating system for malware and viruses to be installed on. This could also mean there is nowhere to install antivirus and antimalware programs either.

    But you can still be targeted by criminals if you are not alert.

    Chromebooks use the Chrome browser to access the Internet and the Chrome browser can be compromised by browser hijackers, rouge extensions, spyware and adware which often appear to be useful addons to your browser which can have a hidden purpose.

    Malwarebytes has a free extension which you can add to your Chrome browser which can help protect you from risky sites such as phishing and tech support scam popups. This s probably the most likely way you may become a victim of scammers so I recommend adding this to your browser even if you don't have a Chromebook.

    You can get Malwarebytes Browser Guard here.

    If you want to get Malwarebytes for you Chromebook you can get it from here.

  • 6 Mar 2021 8:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The COVID19 vaccination is currently available and is rolling out in order of priority. You do not need to register to receive the vaccination.

    When you are eligable to receive your vaccination you will be contacted by your care provider and given the opportunity to book your appiontment.

    You can check when you will be eligable here.

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