FIRSTLY – Watch those Downloads
Take care over unofficial downloads…
Many organisations provide downloadable information such as forms or newsletters for their readers.
However there are some websites which take copies of these without permission and then ask you to download from their website instead.
You may not therefore be downloading an official version, but simply a copy, which may or may not have been tampered with. At the least, the copy may be out of date – meaning you will not know the latest situation, or have to reapply with a current, official document.
This is particularly important when it relates to official documentation and forms from public bodies such as councils, etc.
What you can do to be safer:
- Check the web link name (URL) before clicking it (there is usually a small pane in your browser that shows this information)
- Does the name appear to be from the original publisher?
- Double-check the first part of the web name is correct – e.g. basingstoke.gov.uk or hantsweb.gov.uk
SECONDLY – Dodgy forwarding addresses
This is potentially a lot more dangerous – Beware the offer of forwarding email addresses.
A ploy is that website owners may claim to provide you with a personal email contact address, but instead they a create temporary one from their own account. What they don’t tell you is that these can direct the mail to themselves as well, rather than them going only to you, the intended recipient.
Sometimes they will even do this without telling you! Or try to tempt you with bogus claims, like stopping spam.
For example a website owner could, if they wish, create emails for email@example.com.
The emails could then go through them first – or only to them!
It is fine if you had given permission, but not if it were done without your knowledge, or through someone you didn’t personally know.
It is very strongly advised that you beware of such practices.
In the short term it may sound good, but you should realise that the address could also end up in lots of email address books. You may then find that personal or confidential emails intended for yourself would be going to firstname.lastname@example.org!
And, spammers will of course put that new email address in their books, too!
Note that anyone sending something to such an address in good faith, also has no guarantee that it will ever reach its intended recipient. Some describe it as a form of identity theft, others describe it as scary.
What you can do to be safer:
- Check the email address before clicking on a link (most browsers will show you it in an info pane at the bottom, just by hovering on the link)
- Check the ‘To’ or ‘Cc’ line before sending your email – is part of the name the website where you were? If so, be careful!
- Check the ‘Subject’ line of the email – was it filled in automatically?
Can you be always certain who you are dealing with?
Safety at This Site
This site is owned by Whitchurch as a community site. It is managed by the registered charity, the Whitchurch Association. The volunteers running it are known and fully accountable to that charity.
This web site is recognised officially by Hampshire, Basingstoke and Whitchurch Town Councils.
Everything is fully open, accessible and accountable, to the town. Indeed the author writing this is also CRB checked too.
Take care who you deal with!