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Louth in Lincolnshire

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Round-up: Apathy, Scams and Bugs

May 5th 2011

Louth Town Meeting

The annual Louth Town Meeting took place at the Town Hall on Tuesday. I don't know whether it was a failure of publicity, a reflection of political apathy, or simply because people were still recovering from the long Easter holidays, but it was very poorly attended. About 30 people showed up, of whom 21 were councillors. The whole thing was over after 25 minutes and only a couple of questions from the public.

This meeting could have been a good opportunity to grill the council about recent local spending decisions in advance of the election. Oh, well.

Phone malware scams

Yesterday I got first-hand experience of a phone scam that's doing the rounds in this area. The caller claimed to be from "Microsoft Live Support", and he offered to fix all of the terrible viruses and malware on my computer. Before I had time to wonder how they got hold of my number the guy regaled me with scary tales of identity theft and credit card fraud.

The true fraud happens if you turn your computer on and allow the scamster to talk you through a set of diagnostics which allegedly prove your computer is infected, and you're asked to download a programme from their dodgy website. This is scareware that flags up even more imaginary threats until you pay up in order to make it keep quiet. I didn't get to this stage, so thanks to my brother Dan of Rawcode Computer Consultancy for explaining the details.

First of all, Microsoft have an expensive support line that they want you to call, so they're unlikely to call you for free out of the blue. Secondly, the scamsters will usually withhold their numbers and won't be able to provide any credentials to verify who they are. I'm inclined to deal with the next one by keeping them talking as long as possible while I run network diagnostics on my kettle and defragging a nice, juicy apple.

Bugs and other wildlife

Some kind of insect
A chainsaw sculpture of an owl and a squirrel
On a lighter note, I came across this brilliant-looking bug on a walk beside the canal. I have no idea what it is, but it caught my eye because it seemed to be about the size of a small bird. I was also taken by this chainsaw sculpture of an owl and a squirrel, pictured right, spotted on a tree in North Cockerington. This week the scams may be ugly, but there's beauty too if you know where to look for it.


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