Make Safe Financial Transactions


NOTE: “I am trying to help people make safe financial transactions but I take no responsibility for anyone’s financial loss. Reading and following this information is done at your own risk.” — HC

The news is telling us about people who have been defrauded while making financial transactions when they have to exchange large sums of money, particularly when purchasing real estate. This has made me think through the issues and give my two penny worth of advice about how to make safe financial transactions, particularly when email is involved. In particular I refer to the use of Digital Certificates otherwise referred to as Digital IDs (Identities) when sending emails.

Items Covered by “Make Safe Financial Transactions”

  • Some methods used to get people’s money by using fraudulent communications,
  • How to avoid being persuaded to send money to a fraudsters account,
  • Use of email Digital Certificates (Digital IDs),

What Is Happening

People purchasing real estate or other valuable property have to give somebody else a large sum of money by some means. They could give them cash, pay with a cheque/banker’s draft or perform an online transaction.

Some fraudulent actions may appear to be online issues but could just as easily be performed offline. This is because the method, used by the fraudster, is to persuade people to deposit their money in the fraudster’s account rather than the correct recipient’s account.

“The method, used by the fraudster, is to persuade people to deposit their money in the fraudster’s account rather than the correct recipient’s account.” — HC

How does the fraudster know there is a transaction taking place? Well that’s another matter. The fraudster may have a job in a bank or with a solicitor or estate agent, or otherwise know the payer or payee. They could have hacked into the IT systems of any of these people. The fraud may be committed by a team, not just an individual.

Emails And Phone Calls

It would seem that the payers of money are being persuaded to deposit money into the fraudsters account by the fraudster’s emails or phone calls. The payers are being advised by the fraudsters that a mistake has been made in the original communication of:

  • the Account Name,
  • the Account Number,
  • or the Sort Code.

The payer believes it is a genuine message from the payee or their representative. Then it turns out that the original communication was correct and there was no mistake, only a fraudulent attempt to divert the money to the fraudster’s account.

The original communication may well have been genuine and could have been in the form of an email, sent by snail mail letter from a solicitor or passed by hand in an obviously genuine way. Then the fraudster steps in to change the details to those of the fraudster’s own bank account by sending their own email or making a phone call to the payer and make it look as if it was sent by the originator of the correct instructions. The payer is tricked into thinking nothing is wrong with this and accepts the new account details and sends the money, often in haste, to the that account – the fraudster’s account. This is the point at which the payer must be aware they can be duped.

The fraudster also tries to speed the transaction up because they want to receive the money and move it on quickly (launder it) so they can escape detection.

Payers Must Protect Themselves

It is at this stage that the payer of money must protect themselves since the bank won’t usually compensate the payer if they voluntarily decide to send the money to another account.

NOTE: On receipt of any communication advising a change of account the payer should contact the payee directly on a phone number out of the phone book or otherwise known to be published in the public domain, not one given in an email or one passed to them in a phone call (that could be the fraudsters own number). Don’t trust the clerk – speak directly to the solicitor/payee who you know and have dealt with before. Alternatively meet them in person.

Be Cautious When Paying

Whenever the money is actually sent the payer should just send a small amount, e.g. £1 up to £10 (or $1 up to $10), and check it arrives in the payees account correctly. Again ask the payee not the clerk. The clerk could be the fraudster but at the end of the day if it hasn’t arrived at the correct account only a small sum will get lost. The payer must be able to trust that they have communicated with the payee.

Using On-line Banking

With online banking the payment details will normally be set up in a way that can be re-used to send further amounts. So when the first transaction has proved satisfactory the rest should be sent using the payment method already set up. That way account numbers don’t have to be re-entered. This avoids sending the larger amount to the wrong account merely by making a typo.

When using online banking keep all software up to date and consider using extra security measures on your PC/device such as IBM Security’s Trusteer Rapport. This compliments other antivirus/Internet Security software and is recommended by many banks.

Using Digital IDs (Digital Certificates) To Sign emails

Anyone embarking on email communication regarding expensive purchases, perhaps via a solicitor, should validate their own identity and secure their email, and require other parties to do the same. All parties should get email Digital Certificates and use email clients installed on their computers that can deploy Digital Certificates to add Digital Signatures to emails, e.g.

After two parties have set themselves up with Digital IDs they will be able to digitally sign the emails they send to each other, or anyone else, to prove those emails are from them alone. They will also be able to encrypt emails sent to each other. Then they can hide there bank account details from eaves droppers.

NOTE: emails can only be encrypted when the sender and recipient both have Digital IDs.

What Are Digital IDs (Digital Certificates)

Digital IDs (Digital Certificates) are:

  1. an invisible coded string of data which is sent along with the email like an attachment.
  2. NOT anything to do with the visual text/images, that are refered to as a signature, which a person may create and hold in their email client to automatically include at the end of the email text as seen in this example:

make safe financial transactions - Visual email Signature

Please read my other post “Using Digital IDs In Outlook 2010” to learn how to deploy Digital IDs (Digital Certificates) in Outlook 2010 specifically and thus Outlook generally.

My Weight Is Reducing Slowly But Surely


Since my last post on body weight (Excel Templates for Body Weight Records) I have continued to try and lose weight. Well slowly but surely my weight is reducing and I have my latest graph to demonstrate it below (select it to enlarge it):

my weight is reducing
My Weight Loss Graph for 2015 up to 27th July.

I have struggled to lose 35 pounds (2½ stones) over a 10 year period. I recall saying I wanted to retire at the correct weight, but that never happened. Well I’m nearly there so I hope those struggling to lose weight can gain some cheer from this article.

Continue reading My Weight Is Reducing Slowly But Surely

Which Lamp Do I Need Lighting Chart?


Since the decline of incandescent lamps there have been many alternatives made available based on fluorescent tubes bent in many ways to condense a long tube into a confined space. I had my first Philips SL prismatic Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) lamps soon after they came on the general market back in the 1980’s. I only recently sent my last one to recycling after deciding that even my shed could do better than have one of those long time warm-up devices.

In the early days of low energy lighting there was nothing better than the good old fluorescent tube, usually confined to kitchens and garages in the British house. I still have two twin fluorescents in my kitchen. If you want the room lit with no shadows that’s the way to do it. After much searching in 2003 I found some streamlined fluorescents fit for the modern era to replace my old fluorescent ‘chunky boxes’. Unfortunately they’ve gone off the market and I am struggling to find a decent looking replacement that doesn’t cost a fortune. There were some problems with the ones I used. They had a self destruct mechanism built in. The plastic fixings for holding the wires in place on the frame all deteriorated under the ultraviolet light given out by fluorescent tubes. I replaced them with zip ties but they suffer from the same problem.

To get back to the point of this article, which is to advise on the brightness of replacement lamps, I have chosen to publish a chart by espares lighting chart which seems to relate to the UK/European market and another by ovo-logo which relates to the American market and appears to suggest their lamps emit more light than European lamps, e.g. UK/European 100W ≅ 1300 lumens, American 100W ≅ 1600 lumens (see A USA Lighting Chart). Continue reading Which Lamp Do I Need Lighting Chart?

Repairing Rotten Garden Seat Legs


I have two teak garden seats which spend all their time outdoors on the lawn or patio. They go back to the 1980’s and the bottom of all the legs has rotted where they are perpetually in contact with the ground. I first noticed the problem while I was cleaning and sanding them ready for repainting and had them upside down. I dug a penknife into the underside of the end of each leg only to find the wood was soft and easily dug out. I had painted them with exterior paint several times over the years but this wood wasn’t good to paint anymore. I had noticed a deterioration in the wood previously when I painted them but just put plenty of paint on the bottom of the legs after letting the wood dry out. The problematic area was in the bottom 5mm to 10mm of each leg and It had got to the point where the wood was crumbling away and the legs were no longer all of the same length. I had to find a method of repairing rotten garden seat legs. Continue reading Repairing Rotten Garden Seat Legs

WordPress Fatal Error Out of Memory

How I Resolved ‘Fatal Error Out of Memory‘ For A Single Post

After much editing  of my WordPress post entitled ‘How A Toilet Silent Fill Valve Works‘ , since I wrote it in May 2014, (there must have been at least 150 edits, and I changed it from a page to a post too) I suddenly had this ‘Fatal Error Out of Memory’ script on the WordPress White Screen of Death when I tried to edit it:

Fatal error: Out of memory (allocated 54001664) (tried to allocate 49253 bytes) in /homepages/22/d382273723/htdocs/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1380 Continue reading WordPress Fatal Error Out of Memory

Postures And Movements Requiring Agility


As people grow older they often lose their agility and so lose their ability to take up certain postures and movements requiring agility. This article offers a list of postures and movements requiring agility which I have concocted and tried. I would expect these postures and movements requiring agility to be easily formed by healthy young people under the age of thirty, but not by older people over sixty, for example, unless they do regular exercises to maintain their flexibility. Continue reading Postures And Movements Requiring Agility

From investigation and reason comes understanding.