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1 month ago

What’s Behind Google’s Secretive Ad-Blocking Policy by Online Security

What’s Behind Google’s Secretive Ad-Blocking Policy by Online Security

University of Maryland law professor Frank Pasquale says Google has tried to have it both ways: sometimes it portrays itself as a simple utility and a mere conduit of its customers’ ads, but other times it presents itself as a content provider that can and should exercise control over the ads it shows.


Whenever Google is accused of abetting or enabling copyright infringement or defamation, it says, ‘We’re just [connecting people] like the phone company does, and you wouldn’t sue the phone company over this,’” says Pasquale. “But when people say, ‘If you’re a common carrier [utility], you should take all ads,’ Google will say, ‘No, we’re like a newspaper and we should have carte blanche over what we publish.’”


With payday loan ads, Google is characterizing itself as the watchful online guardian. The company has said it banned the ads to protect its users because “research has shown that these loans can result in unaffordable payment and high default rates.” (Google declined to comment for this story beyond saying that it constantly reviews its AdWords policies and updates them ”when necessary.”)


Google also seems to have been influenced by advocacy from a large coalition of civil rights, digital rights, and financial reform organizations. In late 2015, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and other groups sent Google reports detailing abuses that often accompany payday loans—among them fraud, unauthorized transactions, and long-term indebtedness. “We said, ‘This is a problem, and we want to talk to you about this,’” says Alvaro Bedoya, the executive director of Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology, who participated in the outreach campaign. “There were long conversations with Google and a lot of bringing this research to their attention over the course of a couple of months.”

3 months ago

Oakmere Road: New phishing scam targets fans of popular television show

Oakmere Road: New phishing scam targets fans of popular television show

The hugely popular hit HBO show "Game of Thrones" was the most pirated program in 2015. It's been a constant problem for HBO and the company often has to send out warning emails to users and take down demands to torrent sites.


But now, even if you're not pirating "Game of Thrones" you could get one of these notices - but it's not what it seems. Scammers have started to send spoof warning emails from HBO in order to get victims to to send over some serious cash.


The spoof emails instruct the victim to pay a few hundred dollars as part of a settlement for being caught pirating Season 6, Episode 10 of "Game of Thrones." The email reads:


"On this regard, request is hereby made that you and all persons using this account immediately and permanently cease and desist the unauthorized copying and/or distribution of the Work listed in this notice. You may also be liable for monetary damages, including court costs and/or attorney fees if a lawsuit is commenced against you."


The email later says you only have 72 hours to complete your settlement, otherwise further legal action will be taken.


The email is very convincing and could fool nearly everyone. It is professionally-worded and has minimal typos. So in this case, the best defense might be knowing what HBO's real cease and desist letters look like:


It's important to note that the real cease and desist letter doesn't demand money and there's no time limit. It also specifically names the IP address, whereas the fake email doesn't.



Scammers are getting trickier by the day, so you'll have to stay one step ahead of them. One way to do this is to know the warning signs and red flags to look for before clicking on any links or sending out any sensitive information.


- Keep an eye out for typos and bad grammar.

- Be able to identify where the email is coming from.

- Hover your mouse over any links before you click to see where they are pointing.

- Click here to take the Phishing Email quiz to see if you can spot all the warning signs of a phishing scam.

- Be wary of email-only wire transfer requests and requests involving urgency.

- Be cautious of mimicked email addresses.

- Practice multi-level authentication.

- Protect yourself with online security software. We recommend our sponsor, Kaspersky Lab, which offers software that helps to filter out and warn you about phishing scams, so your odds of being tricked are slim. Kaspersky Total Security can recognize and block malicious links and Trojan programs, and covers up to five devices on one license. Buy it today and save 50%.

3 months ago

Oakmere Road: Top 5 social media scams to avoid

Oakmere Road: Top 5 social media scams to avoid

Scammers have been worming their way into giant social media networks to trick people into giving over their personal and financial information.


Over the past year, the number of phishing attempts on social media networks like Facebook (FB, Tech60), Twitter (TWTR, Tech60), Instagram and LinkedIn (LNKD, Tech60) has exploded 150%, experts at security firm Proofpoint (PFPT) say.


That's because fraudsters can use social media to target hundreds of thousands of people at once, but also blend in with the crowd. They mimic users and their activities, and they take advantage of the way people use social media to deal with business problems.


Here are five of the most cleverly cloaked scams on social media right now, according to Proofpoint:


1. Fake customer service accounts on Twitter

Online criminals set up fake customer service accounts to phish for bank login and password information and other sensitive data. These imposter accounts look very similar to that of real businesses, but are often one character off -- or they include an extra underscore or other keyboard character.

When someone tweets at their bank or example, scam artists will intercept the conversation, and reply to that message with what seems like an authentic answer.


2. Fake comments on popular posts

A popular news story or social media post might generate a lot of comments. Fraudsters like to take advantage of that large audience by adding their own comments with links to other buzzy headlines that lead to credit card phishing scams.


3. Fake live-stream videos

As more media companies start streaming their shows and movies online, scammers are jumping on the bandwagon.

They do things like comment on the Facebook page of a sports team with a link that leads people to believe they can watch a free live stream of a game. But the links lead to a fake website that asks for personal information in order to start the video, which very often doesn't exist.


4. Fake online discounts

Fake online discounts work similarly to fake customer service accounts. Schemers will set up social media accounts that look like legit businesses, then pretend to offer a real promotion. In reality, they want to trick people into giving up their personal information.


5. Fake online surveys and contests

These tactics have been around for years and are designed to get answers to personal questions that fraudsters can mine and sell later. But criminals embed them into social media posts that often look legit because there's a normal looking profile picture and link, thanks to URL shorteners.

3 months ago

Oakmere Road: How first-year college students can avoid being victims of scammers

Oakmere Road: How first-year college students can avoid being victims of scammers

First-year college students go through a lot of growing pains as they face new challenges and opportunities. As they figure out which major to choose, learn how to juggle work and school and just live on their own for the first time, scam artists lie in wait hoping the students make a mistake.


First-year college students are exposed to all kinds of new possibilities, which make them vulnerable to scam artists who make attempts to take advantage of their lack of life experiences.


BBB sheds some light on the following scams, which target those attending college:


Accommodation scams: Rental owners are supposedly governed by strict controls over the conditions in which they maintain their properties. However, there are unscrupulous landlords who don’t play by the rules. You want to make sure you actually go to the property before putting any money down, and make sure you’re getting what you expected.


Non-existent rentals: They take your downpayment, and when you arrive, the person you gave the money to doesn’t even own the property, or the property doesn’t exist. Before providing any form of payment, visit the property and research the property management company by going to


Finding a place to work: If the job you’re looking at involves door-to-door selling, such as selling magazines, cleaning supplies, handyman work or even raising money for charity, you want to make sure you check the company out before you begin working for them. In some cases, the product doesn’t exist, the charity is bogus or the handyman really doesn’t do the work you’re selling, which means you’re not likely going to get paid.



Fake initial checks: Steer clear from any job that sends you a check to deposit, then wants you to wire funds or put funds to a prepaid card. The problem is, the check is fake or it might be a forged check from an actual bank account (but not from the company on the check), and you could be charged with money laundering if you cash it.


Paying for school: Be on the lookout for phony scholarships and grants. These people are just trying to get your account information to wipe it out, not to deposit money for school as they claim.


Paying for anything: Some identity thieves set up fake credit card application booths luring students to give away very personal information in exchange for a T-shirt or an umbrella or something like that. It’s basically an easy way to steal information. If you want to get a credit card, go to the bank and apply for one.


Unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot: Using Wi-Fi on an unsecured network puts you at risk for identity theft. A lot of students use public places to study. Make sure you use encryption software and password protection to block identity thieves when doing homework in these Wi-Fi hotspots, and do not log onto your bank account or other sites that contain personal information.


For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, please call the BBB Hotline: 903-581-8373 or use BBB Scam Tracker.

4 months ago

International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission: About Belize

International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission: About Belize



Location:East Coast of Central America, bounded on the North by Mexico, on the South and West by Guatemala, and on the East by the Caribbean Sea

Capital and Major City & Towns: (Capital) Belmopan City ; (City) Belize City, (Towns) San Ignacio, Santa Elena, Corozal, Orange Walk, Dangriga, Punta Gorda, San Pedro and Benque Viejo del Carmen

Climate: Subtropical (dry and wet season)

Rainfall: Annual rainfall ranges from 60 inches in the North to 200 inches in the South

Land Area: 22,923 km. sq. or 8,867 sq. miles


People & Society


Nationality: Belizean

Official Language: English. Spanish is also widely spoken. There are also a number of indigenous languages e.g. Creole, Garifuna, Maya and Ketchi.

Total Population: 282,600 – (2004 mid-year estimates)

Density of Population: 31.9 – (2004)

Labour Force: 102,437 – (2003 LFS Survey)

Literacy Rate: 76.5 – (2000)

Religions: Predominantly Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Protestants. Small groups practise Islam, Buddhist, Hinduism and Bahai




Form of Government: Democratic – Bicameral Legislature

Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II

Governor-General: Sir Colville N. Young Sr.

Head of Government: Prime Minister, Hon. Dean O. Barrow

Governing Party: United Democratic Party (UDP) 2013 – 2018

Next Election: By August 2018

Independence Day: September 21, 1981.

Business Hours: Government working hours: 8:00 am – Noon, 1:00 pm – 5:00pm (4:30 on Fridays) Banking: Mon. to Thur 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

4 months ago

Non-IFRS financial statements by International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission

Non-IFRS financial statements by International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission

Because some companies have limited liability, the protection of shareholders, members and third parties dealing with these companies is of special importance. With the Accounting Directive, Member States are given direction on the reporting by such companies.


The Directive addresses the presentation and content of the annual or consolidated financial statements, of the management reports, of the measurement bases used and of publication. With this shared set of principles, non-IFRS financial statements in the EU are not only of high quality, but also comparable to a great extent.


The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission was established to promote investor confidence in the securities and capital markets by providing more structure and government oversight.

4 months ago

International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission: Fool-proof Investing Tips

International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission: Fool-proof Investing Tips

Interested investors can get more information on the disciplinary record of any FINRA-registered broker or brokerage company by utilizing FINRA's BrokerCheck for free. In 2015, as many as 71 million reviews of broker or firm records were conducted using this free service. Investors can access BrokerCheck by visiting or by calling (800) 289-9999. Investors can browse the site to obtain copies of disciplinary actions and her disciplinary records in FINRA's Disciplinary Actions Online database. They can also get in touch with FINRA's Securities Helpline for Seniors at (844) 57-HELPS for further assistance or to make inquiries about any concern they have with their investments and brokerage accounts.


The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is recognized as the biggest independent securities regulation agency for all firms operating in the United States. FINRA commits to safeguard the interests of the investor as well as the integrity of the securities market through efficient regulation and appurtenant compliance and technology-based systems. FINRA covers substantially every aspect of the securities market – beginning with registration and education of all industry players to evaluation of securities companies, writing regulations, enforcement of such regulations and the federal securities laws, and the education of the investing public in general. Moreover, FINRA conducts investigations and other regulatory tasks for equities and options markets, including trade updates and other related industry services. Finally, FINRA serves as the main administrator for resolutions of disputes for investors and securities firms.