Covid, QR codes and the new course…

By | September 21, 2020

Our new course to help you keep yourself safe online is proving very popular indeed.  We’re about a week into our enrolment time now, so I’ve answered a few common questions we’ve been getting at the end of this email.

But first – an update on the new covid-19 rules for eating out…

So as of this weekend just gone, whenever you go into a cafe, pub or restaurant you need to register your visit – and that usually means online.  Before this, a lot of places were just collecting names and phone numbers on a bit of paper, but the rules have got a bit stricter. They now have to take your details (by law) so most firms are switching to an online system.

The way most places are doing it is by putting up what’s called a “QR” code for you to scan with your smartphone – either on each table, or next to the till.  If you’re not used to using them, here’s how they work (and what you can do if your phone can’t read one).

First things first – what actually is a QR code?  A QR code is a little square pattern that works a bit like a 2D barcode.  It stores a small amount of information – in this case, a website address.  To use one with a smartphone:

  1. Open the camera on your phone and point it at the QR code.  You don’t need to take a picture, just point at it.
  2. On some phones, a little message will pop up automatically asking if you want to follow the link in the QR code.  On others (mine included) a button will appear on the screen that looks a bit like a QR code, and you need to tap that first to scan it.
  3. Once you’ve scanned the code, you’ll need to tap on a link to take you through to the webpage.

If you can’t get the QR code to work, or your phone’s camera doesn’t read QR codes, it’s not the end of the world.  All it’s doing is giving you a shortcut to the webpage.  You can still just open your web browser and type in the address manually (it should be printed near the QR code somewhere).

Once you get to the webpage, you’ll need to give them some details about where you are – e.g. which branch of Costa you’re in (sometimes there’ll be a code number on the wall for you to type in).  Then you’ll be asked for your name and contact details and how many people are in your party.  Finally, you’ll need to have a guess at how long you’ll be there for.

And that’s it.

It’s not too onerous once you get used to it – the “new normal” and all that – and some cafes, pubs and restaurants let you save your details so you don’t have to put them in each time you visit.

If you don’t have a phone with you at all (or you don’t have one that you can connect to the internet) then it’s down to the individual pub, cafe or restaurant to deal with that. Most businesses will be reasonable if you explain, though, and take down your details some other way.

And now – a few questions you might have about our Avoid scams, fraud and internet nasties course…

…along with the answers of course:

I’ve got an iPad with its own built-in security – do I still need this course?  

iPads and iPhones do have lots of inbuilt protection against viruses, so you don’t need separate anti-virus software. But there’s a whole lot more to internet safety than protecting against viruses. 
In this course, you’ll also learn how to protect yourself from email scams, account hacking, online payment fraud and identity theft – whatever device you’re using!

Is there a time limit on when I have to start it?

No – you can start straight away or leave it till later. Once you’re enrolled in the course you have complete access for as long as the course is online (at least 3 years), so you can join now and then start it whenever you like.

Do I have to work through it at set times?

No – it’s not like an evening class in that way.  You can work through each part or “lesson” whenever it suits you.  Do it in the evenings, the mornings or even the middle of the night if you like!

You can even get halfway through a lesson and stop there and carry on again next time from wherever you got to – you’re in control.

Can I join any time?

No – the course is open until Friday 2nd October.  After that we’ll be closing enrolment so you won’t be able to join – best get in before then if you think it might help you.

The full details (including how to join and the rather unusual guarantee) are here – why not have a read.

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