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New Resources for Security Awareness Programs

Book Review: The Little Book of Big Scams

The Metropolitan Police Service have published a thoughtfully prepared book to raise public awareness of online scams. The Little Book of Big Scams covers the most important messages any government agency, community, or private organization should convey to citizens and members to help them understand scams they will undoubtedly be exposed to when they are online, at work, or at home.

The book begins by debunking myths about the Internet and Internet websites. MPS debunks the most basic misconceptions - "All Internet Websites are legitimate" - to misconceptions that are often held by trusting people ("All companies, businesses and organisations are legitimate because they are approved and monitored by the government."). The MPS then presents 10 Golden Rules to help you beat the scammers. The rules are similar to many I've recommended in my posts and commonly found elsewhere (1, 2, 3)

The real meat of the book follows. MPS does a fine job of describing ten *big* scams (see panel). For each, MPS explains the nature of the scam, what the scammers are after, and offers clues you should look for that will help distinguish a scam from a legitimate transaction or solicitation.

Intentional or otherwise, I liked the fact that the MPS messaging style is similar to the STOP.THINK.CONNECT. program in the United States.



Each scam comes with its own sidebar labeled


and gives the reader a summary or takeway message.

The book continues with a discussion of frequent scamming tools and several case studies, and concludes with Handy Hints to Protect Yourself and resource should you fall victim to a scammer.

MPS acknowledges that a similar book created by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inspired their publication. You can find the ACC's Little Black Book of Scams here.

Both books are worth making available to your community, your organization and friends.


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