How do I know if an email is genuine?

Sooner or later you’ll get an email telling you you’ve won the lottery, ordered something you don’t remember ordering, missed a delivery, are due a tax refund, or that you need to “verify your account”. How do you know if you can trust these emails or not?

The first thing to know is that you can’t trust who the email says it’s from. Here’s a message from my spam folder:

It says it’s from someone called “Track My PPI”, whose email address is sigint@app.topica.com. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but I can’t tell from the email address that is shown.  This is no more reliable than the address written at the top of a paper letter – it’s created by the sender. If they are dishonest, it may well be a lie. Just because it’s “the computer” doesn’t make it true. Continue reading How do I know if an email is genuine?

How do I know if a website is genuine?

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Sooner or later everyone gets an email saying you have to “verify your account” and warning of the dire consequences if you don’t. These are always a scam.  No-one genuine will ever ask you to verify (or “re-verify”) your account. Sometimes you might have to verify your email address (by click on a link in the email) but you’d never have to verify your account. Here’s a screenshot (left) of a typical “verification” page. It says it’s from Apple, but it’s not.

You’d get to this site by clicking on a link in an email that “Apple” sent you. We’ll look at that in a later post, but for the minute let’s look at the web page. Continue reading How do I know if a website is genuine?

How to stop Microsoft Word from double-spacing everything

I get asked this a lot. Microsoft changed how Word initially works a version or two ago, and here I explain (with screenshots from Word 2016) what’s going on.

One feature of Word that new users tend to ignore is its “styles” function. Initially, Word uses the “Normal” style, but lots of other styles are available, for example the “No Spacing” style. To choose a style, just click it on the “Home” tab:

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Continue reading How to stop Microsoft Word from double-spacing everything