British Expat Newsletter:
4 January 2006

Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.

In this issue

  • This week: Gone fishin’
  • Virtual Snacks
  • Bizarre Searches
  • Quotation and joke

This week

Happy New Year, everyone!

Sorry we missed last week’s newsletter but we put the Gone Fishin’ sign on the door and, erm, stayed in and played computer games. A bit of a busman’s holiday but never mind. What did you do? If you’d like to write in and tell us, we’ll add it to our “Christmas around the world” series.

Do you ever get that “after the party” feeling around this time of year? It’s like lingering on when everyone else has gone. It’s almost as if you’re the only one around. Surfing the Internet, I see sites with their “buy Christmas gifts” banners still up. It’s as if everyone else has gone fishin’ too. And the disruption to normal business activities can be a nightmare – but that’s another story.

Part of the reason I chose “gone fishin'” for this week’s topic, is that we have had another type of phishing thrust in our faces this week. Some scumbag joined our free webmail service and sent out phishing emails in my name. Luckily one recipient was very switched on and immediately contacted me to alert us to the situation. Naturally we tracked down the perpetrator and are in the process of reporting the crime (fraud) to the appropriate authorities. We’ve also put an announcement at the top of the site’s homepage to warn people that these emails are hoaxes.

You have to wonder why these spamsters and scamsters do this, but I guess that as long as there are people around who believe their lies, then crime does pay.

What is phishing, anyway? Basically, it’s a specialised form of spamming where the emails have the object of getting you to divulge your personal details – bank accounts, passwords, you name it – and then make use of them to clear out your accounts, run up charges on your credit cards or rip you off in other ways. In short, it’s identity theft. Some attempts are pretty shoddy, incorporating poor grammar and spelling or linking to sites which clearly don’t have any connection with the organisation they claim to come from. But others are much more sophisticated and closely mimic the appearance of genuine emails from the company, while disguising the links to make them look as if they point to the company’s site.

Like spam, phishing is one of those ugly parts of life on the Internet which we’ll probably all have to learn to live with. That applies especially if you spend a large part of your time online dealing with companies like eBay, PayPal or the major banks. The lesson that anti-phishing organisations impress upon all of us is a straightforward one: if you’re in any doubt at all about whether an email is genuine, then don’t click on its links – open your web browser yourself, go to the company’s own home page and log in that way.

Be careful out there.

Do you have anything to say about this topic, or do you have some suggestions for other issues we might discuss in our weekly email? Why not comment and tell us about it?

Virtual Snacks

Try the anti-phishing working group’s (APWG) excellent website for information about phishing and consumer advice about how to avoid becoming a victim.
APWG website

How good are you at spotting what’s phish and what’s real? Take the Phishing IQ test. Unfortunately it takes ages to load all the screenshots if you’re on dial-up. (What was I saying about disruption to business activities over the holiday period? Our satellite connection has been down for 10 days now.) I highly recommend this test. Even if you get some wrong the reasons why the emails are legitimate or fraudulent are very useful and interesting. It’s a fun way to get a crash course on the subject and help you to protect yourself. Do it! (As Janeway says.)
Phishing IQ test

And finally, if you’ve got some spare time on your hands, you could try this one for a bit of fun. I’ve only checked it out briefly, and it seems very interesting, but it comes highly recommended from some of our BE stalwarts.

Bizarre Searches

Some strange search terms which have led people to visit British Expat recently:

  • tits oot
  • brits beware american
  • lounge suit women
  • electric shock pussy
  • how to build a giant ogre halloween
  • moving to small and buoyant country [sounds like some kind of floating island…]
  • what did edwina curry say about eggs
  • morris dancer fighting
  • across my knee
  • which famous singer renowned for his extravagant birthday parties held a wild party in 1986 featuring waitresses wearing nothing but body paint and rumour has it dwarves carrying bowls of cocaine on their heads?
  • church british vulture
  • stretch peoples faces

Till next time…
Happy surfing!

British Expat Magazine


“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.”

– Author unknown


Two hackers were phishing on the Internet. Said the first phisher to the other, “What do you get on your line?”

“No bytes!” replied the other.