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Current news about WOT, the world's leading community-based, free safe surfing tool.

Top 10 Valentine’s Day Scams

Ahead of Valentine’s Day, celebrated as Lovers’ Day all over the world, you might be looking for a gift to your significant other, or even trying to find your valentine online. Beware that falling to a scam is easier than you might think while doing this, it might happen to anyone. We prepared a list of some of the most common Valentine's scams, so you can watch out for them.

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Dating

Perhaps the most popular Valentine’s day scams are fake dating profiles, which scammers use to convince people into sending them money or personal information. Often the fake profiles claim to need money for health problems or for traveling to meet the victim in person. You should never send money to people you haven't met, even if you've been talking to them for months, or give out credit card, banking, or passport information. Last year, money transfer company MoneyGram had to refund an average of $3000 per person to more than 30 people as a result of this. Note that scammers are lurking even on legitimate dating websites or grieving forums.

eCards

This scam is about malware, which is delivered when you end up visiting a malicious website through an innocuous eCard invitation that arrives in your mailbox. You should always check the WOT reputation of the links sent to your email before visiting them, even if you know the person who sent it.

Sales

Some scammers try to take advantage of Valentine's day by promoting cheap products on fraudulent websites, either through spam or online ads. These sites may not only try to infect your computer, but could also try to cheat you out of your money. Check the reputation before buying from the web and be careful of sites you don't know. Also make sure the page where you enter your personal information uses HTTPS.

Flowers

Many people are planning to buy flowers to their significant others on Valentine's day, so this variation of the Sales scam deserves a special mention. You should avoid buying flowers from sites that don't have a reputation or have been rated poorly, or both of you could have an unhappy Valentine's day.

Giveaways

Often found through social media, giveaway scams can promise you traveling, flowers, perfumes, or other gifts, but try to steal your personal information instead. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. But just to be sure, read reviews from the WOT scorecard to see what kind of experiences other people have had with the site.

Chat boxes

Unexpected chat boxes can appear on infected websites while you're visiting them. A bot pretending to be a real person will try to lure you to another site that wants your credit card number to confirm you're over 18 years old. Don't fall for the scam and never give out your credit card information to a site you don't know.

Valentine’s wallpapers

Some of you might be in the mood of changing your wallpaper into a more romantic theme. You should be careful with wallpaper sites that distribute malicious software. If you're only interested in a picture, make sure you're not tricked into installing unwanted programs too.

Secret admirers

If you receive an email from your secret admirer, you should ignore it. These kinds of emails usually contain a link to a fraudulent website, which will try to deceive you and steal your identity or credit card details.

Heart healers

Heart healers pretend to be experts in the field of love and they promise to heal your broken heart after a break up or a loss. Sometimes they even promise to get your ex back. You can come across these experts through malicious ads or spam. Once more, check the reputation of the website to which you're being lead and remember that there are no shortcuts in healing broken hearts.

Fake social media profiles

If someone who looks like a super model sends you a friend request around Valentine’s day, chances that the profile belongs to the love of your life is not very high. Be careful when opening links to third-party sites and don't forget what we talked about dating earlier.

 

The WOT Team wishes you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Safer Internet Day 2014

Today is Safer Internet Day (SID). The day is organized annually by Insafe and it takes place on the second day of the second week of February. SID aims to raise awareness about safer and more responsible use of the internet, especially amongst children and people of young age.
 
This year’s celebration features a live-webcast event in Washington DC at the National Cable Telecommunications Association Auditorium on Capitol Hill. You can also follow the event on #SID2014 on Twitter.
 
In addition, in order to promote the safe use of the internet, a lot of companies such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! share useful safety tips.
 
The WOT Team wishes you Happy Safer Internet Day and thank you for helping us making internet a safer place!

WOT 2013 review and behind the scenes

As 2013 reaches its end and we get ready to turn the page and welcome 2014, WOT makes a review of what happened in 2013 in numbers:
During 2013, 6.9 millions new websites were rated. Out of these, 3.89 were rated as good sites and 3.01 millions as untrustworthy.

 
Top 5 most rated categories:
Spam (3.23 millions)
Scam (2.06 millions)
Privacy risks (1.47 millions)
Suspicious (1.35 millions)
Potentially illegal (1.07 millions)
 
Top 5 categories in untrustworthy sites:
Spam (2.04 millions)
Scam (580 thousands)
Privacy risks (291 thousands)
Malware or viruses (276192)
Suspicious (270 thousands)
 
But apart from the new ratings, 2013 was important for WOT since we introduced the new version of our service. WOT Team was working heavily behind the scenes in order to make our idea come true. Here are some “behind the scenes” images with mockups of the rating window. Note that some of these images are from our internal brainstorming and consequently you have never seen them. The date of each mockup can be seen at the left corner at the bottom.
 

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The WOT Team wishes you a happy new year, full of happiness, joy, health and creativity!

Happy holidays and Happy new year

Happy holidays from the WOT Team

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Finnish investigative journalism TV show goes after a used car valuation service

On Wednesday, the investigative journalism show "45 minutes", the Finland's equivalent of "60 minutes" (yes, we're pretty efficient here up north), had a segment on autonarvio.com, a used car value assessment service. Now, the idea of the online service is pretty useful. Instead of going through data in countless classified ad sites or trying to gain access to proprietary databases that car dealers use, you enter the license plate number and the car specifications, and you get an estimate what your banged-up old car would be worth in the second-hand market.

It's just the small print that has got the car owners infuriated. The fact that the assessment costs 69 euros is written in single-digit font size next to the Terms & Conditions tickbox, in which you confirm that you are at least of 18 years old. And wait.....there is more! Once you click, the valuation process is non-cancellable and you'll get an official invoice via the snail mail.

Since July, the consumer protection agencies have received over 1,000 complaints. That's a large number in a small country, in which even a herd of thousand reindeer would be considered sizable.

In the 45 minutes interview, the lawyer of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Kuluttajavirasto), Henri Telkki, is of the opinion that having no cancelling rights should be considered 'material information', meaning the marketing law requires it to be presented upfront. Further, officer Timo Piiroinen of the Finnish Police explains how they have received 150 filings of autonarvio.com and similar sites, and how they are also investigating whether to press charges.

So, some judiciary process is possibly awaiting these guys. But, as dictated by the fairness defined in the law, first the governmental agencies need to get in touch with autonarvio.com and give them a chance to tell their side of the story.

However, that seems to be not so straightforward. In the clip, consumer protection official in Finland, Päivi Hentunen, explained how none of their correspondence have been answered. The 45 minutes show tried to help. They actually sent a reporter to the office address in Delaware, United States, but only found a registration agency.

Maybe the autonarvio.com guys are busy travellling in Denmark or Italy in which they have similar sites? Or travelling in Estonia from where the invoices are sent and from where the invoice collection services are bought. There are many used cars in the world, after all, so the guys can be really busy.

Quite a mess.

Meanwhile, the WOT community users are slightly more straightforward. Read their verdict here.