We are happy to announce that few minutes ago we were informed that WOT won the Best Privacy / Security Add-on category in the Readers' Choice Awards 2014. WOT managed to win its category with a share of 49 % of the votes! The WOT Team would like to thank all of you who supported WOT with their votes and by spreading the word. We wouldn't have made it without you. This trophy belongs to all of you!
As usual, the scammers are lurking waiting for the right
opportunity to initiate a fraud. This time, the scammers focused on
the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (AKA, the missing airplane),
trying to take advantage of this tragedy.
This scam is usually spread via Facebook or Twitter. The posts contain a video screenshot and claim that the missing airplane was found (the place depends on the story but it can be everywhere, from Andorra to Bermuda triangle). Some of them go to the extent claiming that several of the passengers are still alive. In order to catch people’s attention, the posts pretend to belong to well known and respected news organizations such as BBC or CNN.
If someone tries to see the post, he will be asked either to share it or fill a survey. Some of them are even better disguised, leading to a fake YouTube page with an age verification dialogue. Of course, in the end, the user is asked to provide his personal data. In the best case scenario the user’s data might end up in a marketing list or he might lose few cents because of the surveys.
Beware of these kinds of posts. Facebook tries to eliminate them but they keep reappearing. Remember to check the reputation of the site you are visiting and keep in mind that if a post asks for sharing or filling a survey in order to see its content, it is probably a scam. As of today, 19/3 the research for the missing airplane still continues.
We have some great news! Once again, WOT has been selected as a
finalist in the 2014
About.com Readers’ Choice awards. Between now and March 19,
About.com readers will be voting for their favorite
Every year, the awards feature the best products and services in different categories. The awards are organised for 7th year in a row and it is the fifth year for Add-ons category. Every year WOT was participant in this category and in 2012 it wonwith 75 % of the votes!
Please help WOT win one more time with your vote.
The voting will be open until March 19. According to the rules, votes are limited to one vote per award category per user per day, and any votes not originating from the about.com domain will be rejected. About.com has internal checks in place to detect fraudulent voting activity, and in some cases the poll results shown during voting may not reflect the accurate final counts used to determine winners.
In our efforts to improve our service and further develop the recently introduced “Reasons behind the site reputation” functionality, we added a new feature to the comments. From today on, you may use #hashtags in your comments.
What are the benefits of hashtags?
- More detailed reason for the site reputation: Using hashtags allows you to conveniently describe the specific reason for a rating. For instance, if you are rating a site which you believe falls under the “scam” category, in your comment you can use a hashtag to describe the type of scam, such as #smsscam, #ponzi, #workathomescam, #counterfeit. We would suggest raters to carefully select hashtags that are as descriptive as possible, are used elsewhere too (e.g. in Wikipedia) and are used by other WOT users. To facilitate this we have introduced a basic auto-complete feature for using hashtags in the comment field. In the first release auto-complete is only available if you write the comment via WOT Scorecard. In the following releases we will also support auto-complete in WOT browser add-on. Using multiple hashtags in the same comment is perfectly ok if it makes sense, e.g. #workathomescam #getrichquickscam together.
- Search functionality: By clicking a hashtag in a comment field in the Scorecard you are taken to the new “Search for hashtags” feature. With Search page you can easily find other users’ comments that have used a specific hashtag. Search is also a useful tool to check what hashtags other are raters using. Or if you are focusing your rating efforts to e.g. finding and rating certain types of scams, Search helps you to find out about other rater activity, comments and websites related to the same type of scam.
- Explanations for hashtags: Whenever a particular hashtag becomes popular enough and it’s being used in a consistent way, the WOT team can link it to an explanatory page (e.g. to Wikipedia). For example #workathomescam could be linked to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work-at-home_scheme. Initially link to the explanation for a hashtag will be visible in the top right corner of the new Search page, however later it can be used in many other ways too to provide quickly and conveniently additional information about the website to WOT users. Providing an in-depth explanation helps visitors to understand why WOT is presenting a warning and typically increases the probability that they will take the warning seriously (whereas many users choose to disregard warnings if no easy-to-understand explanation or evidence is given for the site’s bad reputation).
We hope to see our raters start using the hashtags and coordinate their efforts so that a number of consistently used hashtags would emerge. Based on the usage and learnings from the use, the WOT team is looking to expand the hashtag related features in the future releases of WOT service.
The WOT Team
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!