Alternatively, attackers can also guess numbers and manually add them to contacts on WhatsApp.

The problem with this is that the insurance premium is charged in one fell swoop right from the start and is regularly financed in addition to the loan amount. If the bank can prove that the deal was voluntary, it does not have to include the costs in the effective interest rate. The contract forms are designed accordingly, criticize consumer advocates. Thus it is difficult for consumers to see the real costs.

The mental hurdle to reschedule or increase debt is reduced

There is also consumer credit without residual debt insurance. But many borrowers feel that they need to complete these in order to get a loan, for example. There is also another aspect: as soon as consumers have taken out initial financing, the mental hurdle of going to the bank for a further or higher loan usually decreases.

Many banks also actively approach their customers on a regular basis and convince them to reschedule and increase the loan. At the same time, she sells expensive residual debt insurance for such chain loans.

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Calculate and calculate before borrowing

Experts warn that loans or zero percent financing with allegedly small debt ratios are often an entry point into the spiral of debt through such practices. Borrowers realize too late that they have taken on too much debt. The best thing is: Before taking out a loan, consumers should calculate what loan amount and what installments they can afford in the long term.

Sources used: dpa news agency

Addressed to the address of the AfD, Berlin’s State Secretary wrote about the name Mohammed: “We’ll make sure that this name never disappears!” A little later, Twitter blocks the account. 

The Twitter account of the Berlin State Secretary Sawsan Chebli has meanwhile been blocked. A publication by her about the first name Mohammed was considered a violation of the rules of the Internet platform. This can be seen from a screenshot that was available to the German Press Agency.

“Incorrect information about elections”

The company wrote to the SPD politician to justify: “We have come to the conclusion that this tweet violates the Twitter rules, in particular: Violation of our rules for publishing misleading information about elections. You are not allowed to publish content in which incorrect information about elections or voting registration is provided. ” For this reason, the accounts of some other Twitter users were recently temporarily blocked.

Chebli had listed family members with the first name Mohammed in a tweet and wrote: “We’ll make sure that this name never disappears!” The background is a recently published statistic, according to which Mohammed was the comparatively most popular first name for babies in Berlin last year. Chebli had directed her Twitter message to the AfD. 

Sharp criticism of Twitter

The politician appealed against the blocking of her account by Twitter. It was not possible to use the account while examining the objection. When asked by the dpa, Chebli said: “Again and again, like many others on Twitter, I lodge complaints against tweets that are racist, inflammatory and personally threatening for me and others. Nothing happens. My tweet does not violate anything.” A platform must ensure that people can feel safe. Therefore, “apparently incorrectly programmed machines should not worry about the detection of rule violations”.

According to Cheblis, she received the blocking report on Saturday evening around 6 p.m., and until Sunday afternoon she had no access to her account. The politician’s profile on Twitter was still visible, however, and it was not On Sunday afternoon, Chebli was able to access her account again, and the short message that was criticized was also available again. “I’m glad that Twitter checked the case and has now reactivated my account,” said Chebli.

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According to the Internet portal Golem, it was similar to other Twitter users, such as the IT lawyer Thomas Stadler. On May 4, 2019, his account was blocked because of a tweet from March 2016. “Urgent recommendation for all AfD voters. Be sure to sign the ballot. ;-)”, Stadler tweeted at the time, according to his own statements. On his blog he now writes: “The accusation is that I would try to influence elections with this tweet (sic!). A three-year-old joke about AfD voters is said to violate the Twitter rules.”

At the end of April, Twitter provided a new function for the European elections: users can now report incorrect and misleading information related to the election. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have repeatedly been criticized for not doing enough to counter digital disinformation. Twitter’s “Election Integrity Policy” states, among other things: “It is not allowed to share false or misleading information about the way you participate in an election or any other citizens’ vote.” And: “No false or misleading information may be shared with the aim of intimidating voters or deterring them from participating in an election.”

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Chebli has been Berlin’s representative at the federal government and State Secretary for civic engagement and international affairs in the red-red-green Senate since 2016. The 40-year-old deactivated her Facebook account in October 2018 because of a large number of hate messages, especially from right-wing extremists.

Sources used: dpa news agency

Telephone advertising is a nuisance. And if the advertiser is dubious, it can even be that you get something that you didn’t want. How do you get out of the contract?

Beware of these phishing messages

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Beware of telephone advertising: If you don’t pay attention here, you will quickly end up in a subscription trap. The Rhineland-Palatinate consumer center is warning of current events against subscriptions for dietary supplements that have been postponed by telephone.

Specifically, for a man, for example, a “yes” to an apparently harmless question on the phone was fatal. He received a shipment and an invoice. Reason: He agreed to a subscription. Other consumers were lured with a sample pack, which turned out to be an expensive subscription. 

Sample letter for termination

If you were caught off guard on the phone and did not want to conclude a contract, you should immediately revoke the contract and reject the claim, advises the consumer advice center. For this purpose, it provides a sample letter online. You can find the link in the references below.

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If you want to protect yourself from such calls, it is best to use your data sparingly. The telephone number should generally only be passed on if it is absolutely necessary for the execution of a contract.

Sources used: dpa news agency, sample letter from the consumer center

Billions of people worldwide use WhatsApp – and there they can share all kinds of private information. Researchers from Germany have now shown how easy it is for criminals to get hold of them.

If you use WhatsApp and want to protect your data and yourself, you should check your privacy settings. Cyber ​​criminals can easily access users’ personal information via the messenger service. This is shown by a current study by security researchers at the University of Würzburg and the TU Darmstadt on so-called crawling attacks.

In the study, the researchers not only limited themselves to WhatsApp, but also looked at the security of the Signal and Telegram messenger services. The result: WhatsApp and Telegram in particular allow criminals to easily obtain private user data in the standard settings.

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Numbers requested in the USA

For their study, the researchers used publicly available information on telephone numbers to generate around 758 billion possible cell phone numbers worldwide. Tools could be used to check which of these numbers actually existed. For the actual evaluation, however, the scientists concentrated on messenger users in the USA. The reason: In the United States, there are 1.5 possible cell phone numbers per inhabitant. This increases the hit rate significantly, as Thomas Schneider from the TU Darmstadt – one of the persons responsible for the study – explains on request from t-online. In Germany, for example, 6.5 numbers per inhabitant are possible.

Using other tools, the researchers were able to control the extent to which they could access profile information on WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram. In an automated process, for example, 25 WhatsApp accounts tested 60,000 numbers daily over a period of 34 days. The result: With a randomly selected number of 150,000 users, the profile picture was publicly available for almost 50 percent. At Signal, it was around 46 percent in a comparison group.

At Telegram, the researchers were only able to query 100,000 numbers in 20 days due to system limitations. A profile picture was visible for around 44 percent of users, and in some cases several photos could also be viewed. And: A certain module in the programming interface even made it possible to access data from users who are not registered with Telegram. “This can help attackers to obtain probably active numbers and with which to search other platforms,” ​​the researchers write in the study.

Why a public profile picture can be dangerous

Security researcher Schneider says of the find: “We did not check the photos, but in general there can be very delicate things here: such as pictures of children or photos with sexual content – which certainly not everyone should see.” In addition, all tools used are generally accessible, even if they require programming knowledge. “Security experts and cyber criminals are familiar with such programs and can use them,” says Schneider.

Alternatively, attackers can also guess numbers and manually add them to contacts on WhatsApp. With a little luck, the contact actually exists and he has made his profile picture publicly available. This profile picture can be traced back to a social media account using a search engine, for example, where the user concerned could have published personal data such as the home address, an email address or the birthday. With just a few clicks, criminals can access all kinds of personal data. This information can be used, for example, for parcel fraud (more on the scam here) or other identity theft – in the worst case with high costs for the user. Here you can read more about it.

How users can protect themselves

Schneider therefore advises users to check their privacy settings and change them if necessary. In WhatsApp on Android it works like this:

Open “Settings” by clicking on the items in the top right corner. Click on “Account”, then on “Data protection”. Here you can determine who can view your information.

On Telegram, do the following:

Click on the three lines in the top left and select “Settings”. Now click on “Privacy and security”. Here you can determine who can view your information and, for example, remove payment information or set up two-factor authentication.

With Signal, personal information is usually not visible by default. You can also check the data protection settings:

Click on the three dots in the upper right corner. Select “Settings” and then “Privacy”. Here you can, for example, switch off read receipts or set up a PIN to protect your account from unauthorized access.

Not necessarily safe on the server either

In addition to identity theft, there are other dangers from crawling attacks, as the researchers write in the study. Users can become victims of phishing calls or attackers can try to smuggle malware onto the victim’s device via chat messages, the researchers write in the study./p