How To Make Safe Financial Transactions

Warning

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

Introduction

“The criminals hack into the email chains between sellers and buyers and their solicitors and estate agents. The fraudsters then send an email – usually on the day of sale completion – informing the parties that bank account details have changed at the last minute and that money should be deposited in a different account.” – Robert Mendick, and Nicole Blackmore,

The Telegraph

The news is telling us about people who have been defrauded while making financial transactions where they have to exchange large sums of money, particularly when purchasing or selling 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.

Digital Certificates are used to digitally sign an email. When the process is performed correctly by all parties it would take a really massive effort by a fraudster to make his fake email appear genuine.

I cannot deny that steering clear of computers, mobile phones and other forms of IT would be the safest way. Beware of information passed in a phone call too. That could be fraudulent as well.

“We are getting more and more instances of this. The outcome for the fraudster is tremendous. They can earn £1m on the sale of a house in the south-east.” – Steve Proffitt, deputy head of Action Fraud.

Quoted from The Telegraph
This Article About Safe Financial Transactions Covers:
  • 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).
Continue reading “How To Make Safe Financial Transactions”

Bank Machines Will Use Windows XP Beyond The MS Deadline

Well, well, well, whose not keeping on top of things then. It looks like all the major banks. This article from ITPRO taken from Reuters points out that some major banks will not have updated their Automatic Telling Machines to Windows 7 by 8th April 2014. This is Microsoft’s published deadline after which there will be no support for the old system. Apparently 95% of the worlds 2.2 million ATMs were using  Windows XP and 2/3 of them will still be using it after the MS deadline. So the banks involved will be paying some large sums of money to MS to keep their systems updated beyond the deadline.

This tells me that these banks have got all their eggs in one basket. They should diversify and have another company’s system running on alternate machines with similar geographic locations. This should be a requirement of bank regulators.

Phishing Email NOT From TESCO Bank

Where Does This Email Pretend To Come From?

This phishing email pretends to come from:

Tesco Personal Finance customerservice@consumercardservicing.tescofinance.com.

As you can see from the image of the email content below if you were to click on the link:

http://www.tescobank.co.uk/1/2/TESCOCAM10;&user=% colin.ride@btinternet.com % 

. . . you will not go to a Tesco website. Look carefully and you will see that the real URL behind the embedded link is displayed above the hand pointer when the hand hovers over the link in the text.

Tesco Bank Phishing Email 1

In the facsimile above the obscured paragraph reads:

During our regularly scheduled account maintenance and verification
procedures, our records show your Tesco Credit Card Account registered
to email user ” < the recipient’s email address > ” has been inactive for some days.
To securely confirm and reactivate your account please click on the link bellow:

You will in fact go to:

This link is in fact an image and not text. So it isn’t a link you can accidentally select here.

This is not somewhere I’m going and I wouldn’t advise anyone to go there. You might pick up a nasty cold. It looks like a games website in Spain (the domain is “es”). I presume the page looks like a Tesco Finance log-in page. When you enter your log-in credentials the owner of the page can save them and use them to log-in to your real Tesco Finance account and play a dirty trick on you.

This email was delivered to my MS Outlook Inbox from a btinternet.com account. It wasn’t picked up by them as spam nor was it detected by Norton Internet Security, presumably because it is a new kid on the block.

I have forwarded the email to TESCO Bank for their perusal.

So now you know how to check a suspect email. Good luck and watch out.

Euro Banknote Issuing Country Codes

Introduction

The Euro crisis has caused some people to be concerned as to who is the Euro Banknote Issuing Country for the banknotes that they hold. The concept being that if a country in the Euro-zone goes belly up its notes will lose considerable value while the notes of the other Euro-zone countries will maintain their value. This situation is encouraging some people to hold onto the notes issued in certain countries while ditching (spending quickly or returning them to the bank) notes from certain other countries.

Table of Euro Banknote Issuing Country Codes

So according to Wikipedia this table relates the serial number prefix on Euro Banknotes to the country that issued them (see the notes below where codes are in parenthesis):

Euro Banknote Issuing Country

NOTES:

There aren’t any notes prefixed with the letters in the notes below.

  1. W, K and J are reserved for countries that are not yet in the Euro-zone.
  2. R is reserved for a state that doesn’t currently issue Euro Notes but is in the Euro-zone.

EXAMPLES:

  1. The following example is a 5 EURO note from The Netherlands: P22280693815.
  2. The following example is a 10 EURO note from Germany: X73209895409.

ns&i index linked bonds

I have seen a reference on citywire money to ns&i index linked bonds.

One person – nodrog60 – has an issue with advice he was given over the phone by ns&i. As a result he thinks the interest on his investment will be a pittance. Amongst many others one person – ND – has been very helpful and given a concise reply explaining why he should get a better return. He has not just made what would amount to a passing remark like, “You should read the brochure.” he has understood how it is that people have genuine difficulty understanding these arrangements and carefully laid out his explanation in detail with arithmetic and examples so we can all see his point of view.

I commend ND for his very helpful reply. He is obviously a very helpful person and deserves a mention. I quote him here:

[In reply to] nodrog60,

You have made a very common mistake in understanding what “RPI” means and it sounds like the folks at NS&I you talked to didn’t explain things very well either, but it’s nowhere near as dire as you believe.  Read on and I’ll explain…

RPI is actually not a percentage, the percentage is RPI inflation, i.e. the change in RPI, which is the Retail Prices Index.  It’s understandable that you’ve misunderstood this as just about everyone uses the two interchangeably, even the ONS themselves!

The Retail Prices Index reflects how much it costs to buy a basket of goods, and was set at 100 in January 1987.  Now, the most recent figure is for February 2012, and the Retail Prices Index figures for that and the previous two Februarys are:

Feb 2010  219.2

Feb 2011  231.3

Feb 2012  239.9

So, a basket of goods that cost you £100 in January 1987 would have cost you £219.20 in Feb 2010, £231.30 in Feb 2011, and £239.90 in Feb this year.

That’s the Retail Prices Index.  RPI inflation, i.e. the change in the RPI, across those Februarys was:

Feb 2010 – Feb 2011 : (231.3 / 219.2) – 1 = 5.5%

Feb 2011 – Feb 2012 : (239.9 / 231.3) – 1 = 3.7%

Now, the common mistake you are making is in thinking that where the NS&I T&Cs say that in the event of a decrease in the RPI level you will only get the 0.25%, you are thinking that refers to the RPI inflation % figure, and seeing that the % rate of inflation has decreased you (wrongly) believe you’ll only get the 0.25%.

However, where the NS&I T&Cs talk of “the RPI level” they are referring to the Retail Prices Index — the 231.3, 239.9, etc — not the %.  The %age dropping just means that the rate of inflation has slowed, but prices — and the index — are still going up and you’ll get a return from the bond commensurate with that.