09 Aug

The Most Common E-mail Scams To Be Wary Of – And How To Avoid Them

road-sign-464653_1280E-mail is a method of communication which is used more than you may think. Some of you will use e-mails occasionally if it’s for personal use, while others might send a lot if they’re using it for business. The fact is e-mail is hugely popular and it is estimated that roughly 217 billion e-mails are sent every day!

Fraud is something which occurs in all walks of life but the threat of e-mail scams is getting worse as time goes on.

The term for most e-mail scams is “phishing” and it’s where people try and get your personal information, bank details or other personal details pretending to be someone else.

As well as getting your personal details or trying to get money from you, phishing scams have evolved to include malicious software which could be used to ‘take over’ your computer – and this threat has been referred to in the news as “ransomware”.

Below I detail the most common e-mail scams to be wary of, based on experiences I have had in business.

Online Banking Scams

Aim: To get your bank account details and then access your bank account.

These fake e-mails will appear to come from reputable banks such as Barclays, NatWest, Lloyds TSB, HSBC, Halifax (in fact it could come from any bank) and basically make out that if you don’t verify your details by clicking on the link then your account will be shut down.

When you click on the link, you will be taken to a fake website which looks like the actual banks website, with an option to put in your personal and bank details. Unfortunately, when you submit this information you have just given all your details to an online scammer, who will use this information to access your bank account and take your money.

This scam works because most people will have a bank account with one of the major banks and believe that this e-mail is actually for them. Unfortunately, this same e-mail would have been sent to thousands of unsuspecting recipients in the hope a few will hand over their bank details.

Facebook / Social Media Scams

Aim: To gain access to your Facebook profile.

A relatively new phishing scam purports to be from Facebook, saying that you have notifications or new friend requests that need your attention. Once you click on the link you are taken to a fake Facebook website which will ask you for your username and password. When you submit these details however they are just sent to a scammer who now can access your personal details and messages held on your Facebook account.

They will do this most likely so they can take your identity and sent messages on your behalf, to try and get money or information from the people on your friends list.

Royal Mail / DHL / Other Delivery Services

Aim: To install malicious software / ransomware on your computer.

Unfortunately a few people I know have been a victim of this scam and it is very damaging to your computer and the data held on it. The e-mail pretending to be from a delivery service (could be Royal Mail, DHL, Yodel, etc.) sends you an e-mail saying that they attempted to deliver a package for you but it could not be delivered (for whatever reason).

To access the details of the undelivered package, you need to click on the attachment on the e-mail which will provide all the information. Most unsuspecting people will click on this link either because they might be expecting a package (and it’s just coincidence that they received this scam e-mail at the same time) or because they are curious. Unfortunately, once this file is clicked a virus is installed on the computer and the ransomware takes hold of the system.

The examples or ransomware I have seen have basically locked down the computer, rendering all files, documents, images, software programs, etc. unusable – and the only way to ‘unlock’ these files so they can be accessed again is to pay the scammer a ransom fee which could range from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand, and usually the ransomware will increase the fee on daily basis, making the victim panic and pay before the price gets too high.

The increased threat of ransomware can be reduced somewhat if you can do regular backups of your important files.

E-mail Mailbox is Full / Needs Upgrading

Aim: To gain access to your e-mails and contacts.

Like the banking scam, this fake e-mail will pretend to come from your e-mail provider and tell you that unless you click on the link and “upgrade” then your e-mails will be shut down. Of course this is not true but if you click on the link the fake website will ask for your e-mail address and password, and when submitted will go to the scammer.

Once they have your e-mail address and password, they can read your e-mails, send e-mail messages pretending to be from you and try and con your contacts or send them viruses such as ransomware.

Your Friend Is Abroad And In Need Of Serious Help

Aim: To extract money from you.

If someone you know has had their e-mail address hijacked (see the scam above) then a common scam these con artists try and pull is this:

Say your friend, we’ll call him James, has had his e-mail address compromised. You will receive an e-mail from “James” (who is really the scammer) telling you that he is abroad and was in a terrible accident, where he lost his wallet and is in desperate need of money to get home, otherwise he is stranded in a foreign country. To make it even easier for you, “James” promises that once he returns he will pay you back in full.

So if you get taken in by this scam you reply that you want to help, and then his response will be to make a bank transfer into his account so he can get out of trouble. Unfortunately, the details aren’t your friend James’ bank account but of a scammer – and once you’ve made that payment there is no way to get your money back!

Nigerian Riches Scam

Aim: To take your money.

This is one of the oldest e-mail scams going and the vast majority of people will have received one of these before and probably had a bit of a chuckle to themselves before deleting it. Unfortunately though, there are still people who are taken in by this scam (usually those who are vulnerable) and its aim is to simply take your money.

You will receive an e-mail from a person purporting to be from a Nigerian King (or some other Nigerian Government official) who is informing you that you are the beneficiary of some vast wealth (somewhere in the region of $100 million USD – yes, I’m not kidding) and the only way to access this is to give them all your personal details and bank account information.

Once you give them this, they will claim that they had some issues sending you the money (there’s a surprise!), so to overcome these problems you will need to make a small transfer (usually a few hundred pounds) to help with the administration error which is holding up the payment to you. They will then make up some other cock-and-bull story up and ask for more money.

People who have been taken in by this scam have usually sent out several payments, usually increasing over time – in a more desperate need to access this vast amount of money. As you may have guessed, these payments are long gone and there’s no way of getting them back.

You’ve Won The Lottery! Or Won A Prize Draw

Aim: To obtain your personal details for identity theft.

This phishing scam is from a “Lottery” company claiming you’ve won a large amount of money, or a business telling you that you’ve won an iPad or some other prize in a prize draw. But obviously you never bought a ticket to this lottery or even entered this prize draw.

To claim your “prize”, you need to click on their website and enter all your personal details (full name, date of birth, telephone number, address, etc.) but all this does is send all this information to a scammer for malicious purposes.

How To Avoid E-mail Scams

Now that you’ve read about some of the most common e-mail scams, you should helpfully be better informed about the different phishing scams that are out there.

Below are a few tips to help you identify whether you’ve received a scam e-mail:

  • Check the e-mail address which sent the e-mail. If it has been sent from a free e-mail provider such as @hotmail.co.uk, @outlook.com or @gmail.com, chances are it’s a scam.
  • Who is the e-mail addressed to? If it says ‘Dear friend’ or something generic greeting it’s likely to be a scam e-mail sent as part of a mass mailing to thousands of people.
  • If there are mistakes in spelling and grammar that is usually a tell tale sign that it is not a legitimate e-mail.
  • Scams work on urgency and panic – so if the message in some way tries to scare you then the likelihood is it’s a scam. Scammers prey on those who worry and telling you that you bank account or e-mail address might be shut down is one of the ways they scare you into giving them your personal information.
02 Aug

5 Reasons Why You Need To Redesign Your Website

10306516475_acf6d80077_bHaving an online presence is extremely important these days but unfortunately not all websites are created equal. Having a fantastic looking website is very important but you also need to have all the important ingredients so that it is an effective medium to increase sales and generate leads.

Your website really is the face of you and your business – it’s often the first thing people see. So you want to make a great first impression right?

A redesign might not necessarily mean a massive overhaul, it could just be a few tweaks here and there to maximise your websites potential!

Don’t forget Wirral Wide Web Design currently have some special offers on until the end of August where you can save up to £295 on their services!

There are many reasons why you would need to redesign your website, but below are the Top 5:

It’s Not Mobile Friendly / Compatible

This is one of the main problems most people have with their websites today. With technology changing all the time, the way people view websites has changed. While the days of ‘surfing the web’ on computers and laptops hasn’t completely disappeared and is still popular, the rapid rise of the smart phone has meant most people are now viewing websites using an iPhone, iPad or Android device. And why not? Simply getting your phone out of your pocket or purse means you’re instantly connected.

Depending on how old your website is, it might just not be mobile compatible or mobile friendly. With users going on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other social media applications on their phone these days, they are more likely to check out your website on their smart phones as well – and if you don’t have a mobile version of your website online then it just doesn’t look right on their phones. And if it doesn’t look right on their phones, you’re potentially losing out on a lot of customers.

Wirral Wide Web Design create a mobile friendly version of your website as standard when you get a CMS or website designed by them, so click here for more information.

You’re Not Getting The Results You Want

Have you had a website created and had no response from it? Perhaps you’re sceptical about whether having a website is worth it and are disillusioned about having one in the first place. But a correctly designed website is always a useful marketing tool and it’s important to have a website which generates customers.

Wirral Wide Web Design can complete a completely free evaluation of your website, outline where they think things can be improved and suggest ways to ensure your site reaches the customers you deserve.

Your Website Is Old Fashioned and Outdated

If your website is old then it might just look outdated and stale. A redesign can renew interest in your business and generate a buzz about your services and products. A new website design can be relaunched and promoted on social media and give people a reason to visit your website.

Unfortunately, roughly 75% of people will (rightly or wrongly) judge the credibility of a business based solely on the design of your website. And of course you want to look credible at the very least!

If your website looks old or outdated, then your potential customers and clients are just a couple of clicks away from seeing a competitors website which looks more professional, and going with them instead of you.

Ask yourself this – if you had a choice between 2 companies and one had an old, outdated website and the other a modern, professional site – which business would you use?

You’re Not Incorporating Social Media To Help Market Your Business

If your website isn’t incorporating social media in some form then you’re behind the times (and most likely behind your competitors). The bare minimum would be to have links to your social media accounts on your websites but ideally you would have your Facebook page and Twitter account fully integrated into your website so they are all linked together and work in tandem for promoting your services and products.

Redesigning your website will make it easier for people to connect with you socially and more importantly spread the word about your businesses and services via social networks.

You Want Greater Control Over Your Website

Do you have a website which just ‘sits there’? Do you have the ability to update your website whenever you want?

Then maybe you need a Content Management System.

A Content Management System, or CMS, allows you to update your website with your latest offers, add and edit content, plus much more, whenever you want. Keeping customers and website visitors engaged is one of the most important things and regularly updating your website allows you to do this.

With a Content Management System, you can also keep track of which pages on your site are performing better than others, keep track of which products and services people are more interested in and see how your website is performing online.

The things you can do with a CMS are almost endless and more importantly it puts you in complete control, and can help you build you business and grow depending on the trends of your customers.

27 Jun

Current Special Offers With Wirral Wide Web Design

At the moment we are offering several promotions to all new clients to Wirral Wide Web Design which are detailed below. Be careful when choosing though as you are only allowed to take advantage of one offer!

 

Offer 1 – Free Domain Registration and Website Hosting

What’s Included?

If you get a website, e-commerce solution or content management system from Wirral Wide Web Design then we will throw in free domain registration and website hosting for 2 years! This includes setup and installation of any e-mail addresses or mailboxes you need and a MySQL database if required.

Total value of this offer is just over £200.

 

Offer 2 – Free Social Media Marketing

What’s Included?

To go along with your new website, we will market your business on social media for a month. This includes the setup of your Facebook and Twitter accounts, daily posts promoting your business online and active engagement with your social media audience.

Perfect for any company or business who haven’t yet taken the plunge to join the world of social networking and want to see how it can benefit their business – for free!

Total value of this offer is £295.

 

Offer 3 – Free Logo Design

What’s Included?

Many new businesses are starting from scratch so if you get a website with us then why not take advantage of our free logo design offer? We will create a wide range of different logos for your business based on a brief (or detailed) specification, and tweak it until you are happy with it!

Total value of this offer is £195.

 

Small print: All offers are subject to a first-come first-served basis and are limited to a specific number. Only one offer can be redeemed and only applies to new clients. All offers apply to orders made on or before Monday July 31st 2017. Terms and conditions apply so get in touch for more details.

21 Jun

Do You Need A Website?

If you’ve just starting out or have a business that is already doing well then you have probably wondered if there’s any point in having a website?

Well take a look below for 10 reasons why a website will help you and your business in the long run:

1. Help Build Trust

Potential clients might want reassurance about your company, look at previous work you’ve done and details on your expertise and experience. These are all the things you can showcase on your own website.

2. Easy Accessibility

Your website is the portal and main point of contact. Of course you will have a telephone number but a website with an e-mail address or online enquiry form allows customers to get in touch outside of typical working hours or late at night when you’re not available to talk.

3. Strengthening Your Brand

You might have a flourishing Facebook page, engage with customers on Twitter and interact with people using LinkedIn, but having a website strengthens your brand and presence on the web. It could be a simple 3/4 page website, but as long as it looks professional and includes all the important information about your business, it can only help.

4. Keep Customers Up-To-Date

Not for everyone or every business, but it is easy to add-on a blog to keep your audience updated on the latest news and developments with your business. Certainly with companies that deal primarily with the public, engaging in your day-to-day or weekly activities can keep people engaged and strengthen your reputation.

5. Improve Your Social Networks

As previously mentioned, you might be doing well on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter but having a website to compliment them can make all the difference.

You can drive people to your website whenever it gets updated, or you’re offering a special offer – create a buzz and excitement about your business and products!

6. Offer Loyal Customers Special Offers

With a separate, stand alone website, it is easy to have a ‘members only’ area where loyal or returning customers can login to get special offers. Or perhaps you’ve built up a decent mailing list and want to sent special deals or ‘20% off’ promotions? You can do all this from your own website.

7. Sell Your Products

You might not want to sell online today but what about in the future? Many businesses that sell online didn’t start that way. What better way than to build an online presence, gain people’s trust in your brand and then offer something online? Once you’re ready to sell a new product online the hard work has already been done!

8. Streamline Customer Support & Save Valuable Time

You’re running your own business and spare time is of a premium – so let your website take away one of the biggest burdens! Instead of replying to Facebook messages or phone calls with simple enquiries, have an FAQ section on your website or an online enquiry form to streamline your customer service requirements.

Facebook messages and phone calls are still valuable selling tools, but it’s important they don’t dominate the vast majority of your time.

9. It Looks More Professional 

When a lot of businesses start up, they will use a free e-mail provider such as Virgin, AOL or Microsoft to setup a point of contact. For example, if your business was called Davis Autos, then typically you would register an e-mail address such as davesautoshop@outlook.com.

But wouldn’t it look more professional if you had an e-mail address such as info@davesautoshop.com? It’s easier to remember, more professional and people know what your website is from the address.

And if you’re worried about losing your old e-mail address, then don’t because you can always forward your fancy new address to your old one!

10. Having A Presence & Google’s Influence

How many times have heard people say “I’ll Google it”? If I want an Indian restaurant I’ll just type that in Google it it knows where I’m located and will list the websites of all the ones local to myself. If you don’t have a website then you could be losing out on customers.

Facebook and Twitter are excellent social networking websites and have a huge audience (pretty much everyone has a Facebook profile these days) which should not be ignored, but Google’s influence should not be ignored either!

20 Jun

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Use Wirral Wide Web Design

With the numerous web design companies on the Wirral and even more across the North West, you are probably wondering why you should use Wirral Wide Web Design? Well take a look at the Top 10 reasons below and decide for yourself!

1. Wirral Wide Web Design Will  Always Go That Extra Mile

A  lot of companies say it but it is something I firmly believe in.

Ask any one of my clients and they will all tell you how I have exceeded their expectations, gone that extra mile and ensured they have been more than happy with the final product. The vast majority of my work is from referrals and that’s because I truly believe in providing excellent service to everyone – and that a happy client is one who will always recommend!

2. Competitive Pricing

One of the biggest advantages of using Wirral Wide Web Design, especially in todays current economic climate, is the prices I charge. Compared to large web design companies that have overheads, staff and other expenses, I can offer the same product for a lower price. Does that mean the packages I offer are inferior? Please read below…

3. You Will Get An Excellent Final Product – Out Of Necessity! 

I started Wirral Wide Web Design in 2004 and while a lot of small businesses have come and gone since then, I have managed to survive the economic recession. Why? Because of several reasons, but the main one is providing an excellent product time and time again.

As I have already mentioned, although you may be paying less, the final product is still of an excellent standard. This is because I have had to maintain this high level of service – I certainly wouldn’t still be trading today if I offered anything less than outstanding customer service, fantastic websites and a real passion for helping clients realise their online potential!

4. My Personal Service Is Second To None

A big advantage with using myself to design, create and implement your website is my personal service and understanding of the project.

When you are getting something as important as your website created – something which is representing you and your business online – then it is extremely important that you know who you are talking to. There’s no need to talk to different people such as the researcher, designer, consultant or supervisor on a project as important as yours because you will be talking to me, the person who you will be working with on the project and the person who will take on board everything you say and understand exactly what it is you want and need.

5. I Will Complete Your Project Quicker Than Most

Web design is my passion. I love creating websites and seeing them online, and it is something I have enjoyed doing since I was 14 years old! If you ask any of my clients most will comment on how fast I have delivered the final product. Why is this? It’s because I am highly motivated and will work long hours, not because a project needs finishing but because I enjoy doing it! Do I spend more time on projects than I probably should? Perhaps! But I don’t see it as work!

6. I Want To Work With You!

Every web design job I undertake is more than just a job or project to me, it is an experience! I love web design but what I also love is meeting new, interesting and inspirational people. I get to work with business owners in all kinds of industry sectors and it is great to work with some of the most motivated, hard-working and interesting people around the North West.

I have stayed in touch with the vast majority of my clients and built up a good relationship with them, with some even visiting me when I my first born child arrived into the world!

7. I’m Not “Available” From Just 9am to 5pm

Do you want to schedule a meeting in the evening? Can you only see me at the weekend? Do you need to discuss your website needs late at night? No problem!

I am flexible as I need to be. The needs of my clients comes first and I will always schedule things around you. I understand that life isn’t 9 to 5 and sometimes you’re only available later on in the day. Or perhaps you’re just too busy during the week to have a meeting. None of that is a problem as I am available most of the time!

My clients will also tell you that at times they’ve called me late at night when they’ve needed to get in touch – if I’m awake then I’ll answer!

8. I’m Always Available By Phone or E-mail

Touching on the above point, my availability isn’t restricted to normal working days or hours. I’m usually up at the crack of dawn and work late so if you need me for whatever reason then I’m available. Even at the times when I’m not available because I’m in meetings then I always respond to voicemails as soon as the next opportunity arises.

You’re not left in limbo – and not calling up a receptionist who may or may not take a message which might take a few days to get a response from!

9. You’ll Always Be Informed

I am very organised and always keep clients up-to-date on how their projects are progressing, keeping them informed of any progress along the way. I have a commitment to ensure you’re always in the loop and that helps me make sure what I deliver is exactly what you want – with no confusion or unexpected surprises!

10. I’m Always 100% Honest

I’ll be quite frank, I’m not a salesman and although I am offering a service, “selling” has never been my forté. In fact, I have talked some clients into saving money on a project because I honestly believed that the higher-cost option wasn’t necessary for them – and my reasoning was that for a start-up business they can always ‘see how it goes’ before investing into a more sophisticated and expensive website.

Of course, each individual has different needs but I will always be completely honest and draw conclusions from my own experiences with companies, business and organisations over the last 15 years to offer the best possible solution for my client.