UK banks today releasied their top 10 current phishing scams:

1. Fake government emails offering grants of up to £7,500. Clicking on the links allows scammers to steal personal and financial information

2. Scam emails offering access to "Covid-19 relief funds"

3. Official-looking emails offering a "council tax reduction" 4. Benefit recipients are offered help in applying for universal credit, but fraudsters grab some of the payment as an advance for their "services" 5. Phishing emails claiming that the recipient has been in contact with someone diagnosed with Covid-19 6. Fake adverts for non-existent coronavirus-related products 7. Fake emails and texts claiming to be from TV Licensing, offering six months free but asking people to update their payment information 8. Emails asking people to update their TV subscription services payment details by clicking on a link 9. Fake profiles on social media sites are used to manipulate victims into handing over their money 10. Fake investment opportunities are advertised on social media sites, encouraging victims to "take advantage of the financial downturn"

and phishing scams in general having escalated during lockdown - our friend and Cybersecurity Expert - Ian Harris, Head of the Cybersecurity Course at Robert Gordon's University in Aberdeen, has provided us with this advice to share.


When you receive an email check the following:

FROM: It’s not some from someone I normally have contact with It’s really unusual to get an email from this person It is from a person or organisation I usually get emails from BUT the from address is strange or not quite what I expect this person to send from (hover over the email address to check the return email - watch for missing letters, it may be only out by one letter or digit or a very tiny alteration) TO: It was sent to me and an unusual list of other people SUBJECT: The subject line is misleading or not related to the message The subject line is badly spelt, or with lots of numbers replacing letters. The subject line looks like a RE: reply message, but I didn’t send one first ATTACHMENTS: There’s an attachment I wasn’t expecting The attachment is a ‘dangerous file type’, you can only really trust .txt text documents CONTENT: The message is really short, doesn’t make sense, with a link to click The message has one or many spelling mistakes The message doesn’t address me by name, just ‘Customer, Sir, Madam, User’ The link in the message isn’t the normal address for the destination it claims to be The content is trying to make me do something, scare me, or worry me,  a ‘call-to-action’, click a link or reply. The content claims to know something about me, trying to embarrass me. I just have a gut feeling, somethings not right about this message. And if you receive an email pressing you to act... Whatever happens, take a moment, read it twice, think about what it’s really trying to get you to do. An email never needs immediate action, they’d phone you if it was really important. You don’t have to trust the content of an email. And if they do phone you, hang-up, wait 5 minutes. Google search for the contact details, call or email them. Ian Harris Lecturer School of Computing Science and Digital Media, RGU

We work with many parents who say they can't get their children off their phones and many children who wish they could get their parents off their phones. A simple tip to reduce that number of times you are tempted to pick your phone up is to turn it grey! Studies have shown that turning the screen to greyscale significantly reduces how attractive it is to the human brain and some studies have shown a reduction in stress levels as a result from using the device in black and white.

Have a try and see whether it helps you or your family. Here's a 45 second video showing how to change the settings on a iphone. Let us know how you get on!

PEGI is the system by which games and apps are age rated to provide guidance to parents as to whether they are appropriate for their children. The PEGI rating considers the age suitability of a game, not the level of difficulty. It's ratings are the suggested MINIMUM AGE at which a game should be played.

For the quickest access to information on all games, which is incredibly useful if your child comes home from school saying "Can I download THIS game that x or y or z has. It's amazing! Please, please, please!!!!" you can download the free PEGI app allowing you to make a first check on the game. You can then cross check on and for further information about the detail of the game/app.

It's useful to understand the categories before you start. The categories are:

PEGI 18 - suitable for ages 18+

The adult classification is applied when the level of violence reaches a stage where it becomes a depiction of gross violence, apparently motiveless killing, or violence towards defenceless characters. The glamorisation of the use of illegal drugs falls into this category too. 18 games may also contain explicit sexual activity (intercourse) - check for the SEX content descriptor.

PEGI 16 - suitable for 16+

This rating is applied once the depiction of violence (or sex) reaches a stage that looks the same as would be expected in real life.

PEGI 12 - suitable for 12+

This category includes violence towards fantasy characters or non-realistic violence towards human-like characters, sexual innuendo or posturing, mild bad language and/or gambling.

PEGI 7 - recommended for ages 7+

Game content with scenes or sounds that can possibly frightening to younger children and very mild forms of violence (implied, non-detailed, or non-realistic).

PEGI 3 - recommended for ages 3+

Content is considered suitable for all age groups.

PEGI also uses 7 "CONTENT DESCRIPTORS" to help you further with deciding what is appropriate for your child - these are particularly helpful to identify individual features within games which you may want your child to avoid. The descriptors are: Violence, Bad Language, Fear, and Discrimination. Here is the shortest summary we could make!

SEX - PEGI 12 = sexual posturing or innuendo, PEGI 16 = erotic nudity or sexual intercourse without visible genitals, PEGI 18 rating = explicit sexual activity in the game.

VIOLENCE - In PEGI 7 games violence = non-realistic or non detailed. PEGI 12 = violence in a fantasy environment or non-realistic violence towards humans, PEGI 16 or 18 = increasingly realistic violence.

BAD LANGUAGE - in PEGI 12 = mild swearing, PEGI 16 & 18 = swearing + sexual expletives

FEAR - PEGI 7 = frightening pictures or sounds for young children, PEGI 12 = horrific sounds or horror effects (but without any violent content).

GAMBLING - Can only apply to PEGI 12, 16 or 18 = the game contains elements that encourage or teach gambling.

DRUGS - The game refers to or depicts the use of illegal drugs, alcohol or tobacco. Games with this content descriptor are always PEGI 16 or PEGI 18.

DISCRIMINATION - Used if the game contains depictions of ethnic, religious, nationalistic or other stereotypes likely to encourage hatred. This content is always restricted to a PEGI 18 rating (and likely to infringe national criminal laws).

Parental Control Tools

Parental control tools allow you to protect your children's privacy and online safety according to various parameters. You can select which games children are allowed to play (based on the PEGI age ratings), limit and monitor their online spending, control access to internet browsing and online interaction (chat), and set the amount of time children can spend playing. A full list of parental controls on ALL devices and how to set them is found here.

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