The internet is a fascinating, informative and entertaining place but it also attracts some unscrupulous characters.
I’m sure you’ve had emails from the Nigerian or Senegalese governments saying you are entitled to part of a $10million dollar windfall and all you have to do to get it is supply your bank account details, your password, your pass code, your date of birth, your passport number and your inside leg measurement.
These are the dreaded Spammers & Scammers who are out to take your hard earned cash from you, or try to get you to launder dirty money into your bank account. The main areas that spammers & scammers come from is Africa & the Far East but they can be as local as the next county, or even the next village! The problem is they can disguise themselves so well on-line that you often don’t know who they are or where they come from. These fraudsters will try their luck via various means. Their most common contact is via email and you can generally discover how dishonest these emails are simply by the ridiculously large sums of money, or the poor English grammar & spelling. So the first thing to do if you see these types of emails is to DELETE them.
How do they get hold of your email address? Easy! If you have mentioned your email address on any website on the planet they can find it. There are programs called ‘robots’ that constantly scan the internet for anything that resembles an email address. The program then creates a huge email database for these fraudsters to use so they can send emails generically or individually. Some less sophisticated fraudsters just scan the internet manually to create their lists. Often you will receive emails just to see if your email address is valid. If you reply to any of their emails they have achieved what they have set out to do…to find a potential victim. Then they try to bombard you into submission with even more clever emails. NEVER reply to any of these types of emails.
Another method of scamming you from your money is fake adverts. Websites like eBay have been plagued by scammers pretending to sell goods but when you pay up front for them you receive nothing. (One general tip for buying on-line is always try to use a Credit card. You have greater protection from losing your money). Avoiding these types of scams can be a little difficult as the fraudsters are getting better and better at it so its best to check out the company, or seller, as much as possible before you decide to buy. Look for testimonials, look for reviews on other websites and generally go with your ‘gut feeling’.
We at Village Friend have decided to combat both of these types of scamming by using  “Email forms” and  Ceasing access to our website from anyone outside of the UK.
 Email forms still allow people to contact you via email about your advert but they will never ever see your email address. You can decide to divulge your address if you want to once you have read and vetted the email that is sent to you.
 The other security feature we have incorporated is ‘IP deny’. ‘IP’ refers to the term ‘IP address’ which is a unique number that corresponds to your computer when you are on the internet. Every computer has one and they look a little like this ’128.56.22.01′. The first set of numbers refers to the country the computer resides in but there can be several numbers allocated to a country depending on its size. IP deny is a method of stopping ALL computers from a single country, or multiple countries, accessing the website by checking the first set of numbers and either allowing or denying access. The Village Friend policy is to stop ALL countries except the UK from accessing our website so we have ‘denied’ all IP numbers except the UK ones. This dramatically reduces the likelihood of this type of scam.
We have to be ever vigilant to stay ahead of these naughty folk – so enjoy, but be careful out there in the big bad world wide web!