THE NEED TO BE STREETWISE IS GREATER THAN EVER. There are people out there who will abuse our bodies, steal our identity, raid our savings and try to humiliate us at every opportunity. Most of us know someone who has had a distressing experience.
The list below is based on media reports and personal experience. PLEASE SHARE IT WITH FRIENDS.
1 Learn how to deal with bullying. It has become a serious problem on social media sites. If necessary, seek expert advice. Never forget that bullies are SICK, SICK, SICK individuals who crave power. Your best defence is to ignore them. Privacy settings often enable you to shut bullies out. If they don’t work, click logoff and don’t log back in. Find nicer people to mix with.
2 It is appallingly easy and can cause serious problems. Two recent cases illustrate my point. a) A young friend acquired a criminal record when the criminal who stole her identity went before the courts to answer charges of fraud committed in her name. b) A local accountancy firm found it had employed an “accountant” who lacked the necessary qualifications; their fault was to assume that two people with the same name must be the same person.
The lessons here are: a) shred or otherwise destroy all documents of the sort used to establish identity; don’t put invoices, rate notices etc in the recycle bin. b) double check the qualifications of people you employ in professional positions and be on the lookout for anyone who might be practising in your name.
1 I almost fell for this one. By good luck, my wife was at hand to save me. Our email connection was giving trouble and she had been talking to Telstra (Australia’s telecom) about the issue. So when the phone rang and a man said he was from Telstra, I wasn’t suspicious. He said he needed to connect to my computer and run some tests. It was a pure coincidence. Everyone got the same story whether their system was malfunctioning or not. My wife knew the routine. You must ask for the man’s identification number then phone your telecom and check him out. The guy didn’t check out. If he had got into to my computer, he could have gained access to banking and other sensitive information.
2 You pick up your phone and a man says your line is about to be disconnected because a bill has not been paid. You say you paid by internet transfer and are told that the funds were not received. If you don’t pay immediately, the phone will be cut off and you will have to pay a hefty reconnection fee. This can be avoided by providing credit card details. You demand identification. The man says he can prove he is from telecom. “Please put down your phone and try to make a call. I will disconnect the line. When you find your phone is dead you will know I am genuine.”
You do as you are told and find the line is dead. A minute later, he calls back. If you are taken in by the scam, you will believe that only a telecom employee can disconnect the line. This is not true. All your caller had to do was press his mute button and leave his phone turned on.
3 YOUR COMPUTER IS RUNNING SLOW ETC … These sorts of scams can be planted on websites. My book club falls victim from time to time and has to tell members to ignore the scams. Other websites are paid to host them. Everyone’s computer will go slow if it gets clogged with data and most operating systems have ways of dealing with the problem. It doesn’t cost anything. Just go to your computer dashboard and follow the prompts. The people working the scam want to sell you software. They don’t know whether your computer is going slow or not.
1 Spiked drinks. Don’t accept drinks from people you can’t trust and don’t leave your glass unattended in bars and at office parties, etc. Don’t assume that the so-called “rape drug” is used exclusively for sex or that it is used exclusively against women … click for more.
2 If a thief demands something, give it to him. Don’t fight unless you are highly proficient in the martial arts. Even then, use caution. People have gone to jail for inflicting injuries on muggers. I’m personally aware of one case (in the UK) and I know of one (in Australia) where the resulting legal fees far exceeded anything the mugger could have got from his victim. There are people who are paid to deal with muggers. They are called police and their advice is to throw the item (wallet, say) in one direction and run in the other. Your attacker is likely to go after the wallet and not after you.
3 Don’t leave your car unlocked. There have been frightening incidents where women have returned to their cars and driven off only to find a man hiding on the back seat. Gangs are reported to have initiation ceremonies in which the initiate kidnaps a woman and takes her back to the clubhouse. There is nothing new in this. The Australian police have just solved a thirty-year-old murder mystery in which two young women were kidnapped and gang raped.
4 My karate instructor gave this advice: if attacked, fight your way out, run and make lots of noise … elbows, knees and feet can deliver powerful blows … biting and gouging are effective counter measures.
5 Don’t leave children alone in cars. This is illegal in Australia where there is a serious risk of heat exhaustion. There is also a risk of kidnap. This poses problems for mothers with small children at filling stations. In a recent case in the UK, a kidnap was averted when an observant staff member raised the alarm. The UK police have issued warnings.
6 If you get in your car and see a piece of paper stuck to your rear window, become immediately suspicious. This technique is being used for carjacking. The aim is to get the driver out of the car with the keys still in the ignition. You can guess what happens next.
7 If you are driving along a remote country road and see a car pulled up with a forlorn looking woman and baby beside it, don’t stop to offer assistance unless you are the sort of person who can handle a group of men with iron bars. I first learnt of this frightening scam from friends who had been holidaying in Spain. It has evidently spread to other countries. If you have the slightest doubts about the woman’s predicament, drive on and use your phone to call the emergency services.
Rush of Testosterone
In almost all societies, young males are far more likely to die violently than young females. Let’s face it guys, we want a bit of excitement in our lives and sometimes get more than is good for us.
1 A night-on-the-town can be an attractive proposition, particularly when you are away from home and unlikely to encounter anyone you might know. The bright lights beckon and you meet an uninhibited bunch of girls who share your desire to know one another better. Beware, things aren’t always what they seem … click for more.
2 You want an enjoyable evening with friends. You enter a nightclub and all goes well until fights break out and one of your party falls victim to an unprovoked attack. An alarming number of young men have been seriously injured, even killed, in mindless violence. The Australian police say the danger period is when the clubs close in the early hours of the morning. If such things don’t happen where you live then you have nothing to worry about. Otherwise, heed the advice of the local authorities.
3 My karate instructor taught a way of dealing with attacks by a group intent on causing grievous bodily harm. He would pick one of us as the potential victim and get the rest of the class to mount an attack. If the victim got it right, he would identify the ringleader, grab him and use him as a human shield. His next trick was to tell the rest of us that he would break the guy’s arm if we didn’t clear off. I’m prepared to believe that such tactics can be highly effective but prefer to stay out of situations where they might be needed.
If you have warnings of your own that could be added to this list, please let me know via CONTACT MIKE at the top of this page.
PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH FRIENDS WHO MAY BE AT RISK.