The newsletter that only went to 6 people

By | May 15, 2011
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In the Computers newsletter this month:
  • The newsletter that only went to 6 people
  • A quick webpage tip
  • Be careful if you get one of these phone calls from TalkTalk
  • Tip from Next Door – Claire
  • Something that’s nothing to do with computers at all!
Hello 

On a whim, I just checked how many issues of this newsletter there have been and this is the 94th issue! I had no idea I’d written so many but I thought it was a good time to mention the archive, where you can read all 93 of the pervious issues – though probably not all at once! Right back to the first one in July 2005 which I think went out to just 6 people (it’s more like 6 thousand now!)

You can get at them here: /newsletterarchive.htm

Quick tip – using the tab key on a webpage

I’ve only just discovered this myself (by accidentally knocking the key due to clumsiness!) but if you are on a webpage and tap the tab key (above caps lock), it takes you straight to the top of the webpage. Handy if you’re on a long page – it saves you scrolling all the way up. It doesn’t work on every webpage but on nearly all of them.

Dodgy sounding phone calls from TalkTalk

Just as I was thinking about what to include in this newsletter (I was writing it at home) I got a phone call from TalkTalk. They said that as a loyal customer I was due a discount. “Good-oh”, I thought, “the supply of single malt in the cupboard is running a bit low so I can spend the money I save on re-stocking that”.

Then they asked me to answer three security questions to prove I was me. “Hang on a minute” I thought “they rang me, so they know it’s me – but how do I know it’s really Talk Talk?”

They insisted that they needed the questions answering “So we can make sure only Mr Wakeling gets the discount”. But hang on, the discount was going to be knocked off my bill, so they couldn’t give it to the wrong person.

After I’d got off the phone, I did a bit of research – and found out the call was genuine in that it was really from TalkTalk… but they’d been telling a porky. In fact, I’m not going to pull any punches – they’d been down-right lying.

Here’s what you should know if you get one of these calls:

  1. They don’t need you to answer security questions in order to make sure it’s you that gets the discount. Since the discount comes off your bill, it can’t go to the wrong person. It’s simply a bare-faced lie.
  2. The real reason they want the security questions answered is that later in the call they’ll offer you an extended contract so you’re tied in for a year (or two). That’s only a legal contract if you’ve proved it’s you speaking.
  3. The reason they don’t say that is they don’t want to mention the extended contract – only the discount that goes with it. So they lie instead.

Now the deal they’re actually offering is quite good in a way. Yes, you’re tied in for a year, but you do pay less per month. But I don’t think lying to your supposedly most loyal customers is a good way to promote it!

I don’t approve of these calls at all – even aside from the lying. I think even genuine calls that ask you to give security details “train” people to give security details over the phone – which means they’re more likely to do so when it’s a scammer.

Anyway if you get one of these calls and you’re not sure what to do, there are three good options:

  1. Decide you won’t do business with a company that lies to you in order to sell you something and switch to another company (if you’re feeling stroppy like I am right now!).
  2. Ask them to give you your account number before you’ll answer their questions. Only TalkTalk will have that. Of course that means you need to look it up yourself.
  3. Refuse to answer the questions, check their phone number on the web or on your bill and ring them up to carry on. That way you know you really are speaking to TalkTalk.

But don’t just answer the security questions without doing one of those three because I bet there are scammers doing the same thing as TalkTalk even as I type.

Tip from next door – Claire

I’ve not given a tip from Claire before because she’s been on maternity leave – but she’s back now so here’s her first one! 

Recently we got a new laptop at home, and it’s great – has a webcam built in and everything. But as always there’s one thing that just isn’t quite right. The touchpad just isn’t very good – it’s not very responsive, which makes it a bit frustrating to use. So I’ve started trying to avoid having to use it – and wherever I can, I use the keyboard instead if there’s a button that will do the same thing.

My favourite shortcut gives me a quick way to get onto the Internet, which is what I use the computer for most at home. Instead of clicking on the “start” symbol on the screen, I simply press the “start” button on the keyboard. It’s at the bottom left of the keyboard, between the “ctrl” and “alt” keys. It brings up the start menu, just as if I’d clicked on “start”, but it’s much easier than faffing with the touchpad. Then I can use the up/down arrow keys to get to “Internet Explorer”, and press “Enter” to start it up. And Bob’s your uncle – up pops the Internet.

Not anything to do with computers, but…

This isn’t at all to do with PCs but if you’ve ever thought about having a holiday home in the Lake District or moving up to Cumbria, you might find this interesting:/InBroughtonSquare.htm

That’s all for now – I’ve got to go and look into whether any other broadband companies are actually any better!

Yours
Tim Wakeling
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