Penalties, traps and cancellation exploits

Consumers are overwhelmed with choices nowadays, so companies routinely use penalties, fees and traps to lock you in.  Backed up by long wait times to customer services, hidden addresses and a “you must call us to cancel” approach, the average customer just gives up and pays the ransom.

So how to avoid the traps?

  1. Before signing up for anything ask how
    1. do I cancel?
    2. How much does it cost to cancel?
    3. What is the postal address? Old school letters are still binding and more effectively than 20 mins waiting on the phone or arguing with 1st line customer services.
  2. Use a dedicated email address for subscriptions to you can ghost (delete the email account) them if things get tricky.
    1. Give only mandotory info about yourself.
  3. Ask for a list of penalty charges.  These are probably published in the terms and conditions that you never read.  So, ask them which clause to look for.

Sounds easy but many “busy” consumers never do this and end up paying over 2000 GBP for a mobile phone.

Exploit successfully executed

Next time you sign a contract

So you think you’ve been hacked

As an individual, where do you turn if you think you’ve been breached and your antivirus software tells you nothing?

Your Internet Service providers? Your bank?
Your email provider?
The techie friend of a friend who can find a job in the industry?
Your insurance company?
Your IT department at work?

…or your friendly neighbourhood CISSP®Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

Generally, though, it’s down to you and Google to figure it out.

Take your life offline if you get hacked.

In the meantime, you stumble around telling friends you’ve been hacked or that your tech is crap.

Naturally, social media is a massive help to find out if someone else has the same problem.  In my experience, the emotional pressure is one of the biggest issues.  Feelings of WTF and “why are they doing this to me” cloud your judgement and objectivity.

Don’t be a victim, be a warrior. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice