Am I Stupid, Was I Born Yesterday? Scam Telephone Calls

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Am I stupid? Was I born yesterday?
I have written in the past of unwanted telephone calls, silent calls, and calls that say, “Congratulations, you have ……..“, all disrupting my day, evenings and work, and some from outside the UK.
Today the telephone rang and the phone displayed 03606339006, not a number known to me, and not looking like a UK number, so I am ready for them.
They start, “Hello can I speak to Mr Holt?, My name is Mike”. 
So this person calls himself Mike, but has an Indian accent, there is a long delay on the line, from when I speak and there is a reply, and I can hear my voice echoed back, so obviously not originating from the UK.
I ask, “What is your real name? What part of India do you come from?
His reply, “No I am British.
The line went dead.
Two minutes later the phone rang again, this time 04524069010.
Still the same person, still same strong Indian accent, so let’s play him along, I know your game “Mike”.
He tells me he is from a virus checking company, and that my computer has a virus.
Oh Poo Poo (short for sh-t) I say, what can I do?
He asked me to switch my machine on. 
What so you can access my machine.
Do you think I am stupid so called Mike with a hard Indian accent?
You are a scammer, you are the dirt of the world attacking venerable people.
WARNING If you get a call from 04524069010 or 03606339006 put the phone down.
The idea is that they target unsuspecting people, people with little or no knowledge of computers or the internet, and tell them that there is a virus on the computer. 
How do they know? 
They say they have had a report from Microsoft or some other company, and that they can remove the offending file. They get the person to believe that they work for say Microsoft, which sounds very plausible, but Microsoft has disowned them, has nothing to do with them, and any licenses held by the calling company have been withdrawn.
Once they have access to your machine, they will have free run on it, being able to see all of your data, emails, email addresses, address books, confidential information.
As you watch, you will see your screen changing, and they will access a file, open it up, and show you error messages, and all sorts of other information.
Or they will ask you to open a program called Windows Event Viewer, to the unknowing the file that is opened is worrying, as it contains error warnings, critical messages, but all PC’s have this file, it is normal.
They will tell you that your computer is infected, and that they can fix it, just download a program from a web site they will give you, and once done they are in to your machine.
They will charge you a some of money to subscribe to their service, say £200, before they will start any work, but there is nothing wrong with your computer. 
Not only have they access to your computer and data, you will have given them your credit card details, your PayPal or AlertPay account details.
The calls have been running for many years, and the main company responsible for the call centres is based in Calcutta or as it is known Kolkata, in India, the Guardian Newspaper also names the town of Kota in Rajasthan.
Unfortunately, the British authorities are unable or unwilling to tackle this scam, as the telephone numbers are not allocated by telephone service providers like BT or Virgin Media, but are sold by VoIP (Voice over the Internet Protocol, Voice over the Internet Provider) providers, and costs the scammers virtually nothing as the calls are over the internet.
Again, it is such a pity the Indian Government does not stop these scammers, thieves, because it is surely not good publicity for their country, and as people receive a telephone call and hear an Indian voice on the telephone, they know there is a good chance that it is a cold call, unwanted call, and just put the receiver down.
Perhaps that is why many responsible British companies who placed their call centres in India are now returning to their home shores.
If you have been a victim in the UK, you can report the incident to Action Fraud.
Oh, so called Mike, just to let you know, I use an Apple computer.
Read next blog on the subject.

I failed to tune in, internet access is a big problem.

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For the listeners who tune in to my weekly radio broadcast on a Saturday, (visit web to listen), whatever time it is in your country, I must apologise for not being on air on the 27th August 2011, this program and the subsequent recording will be rescheduled.

Often when I travel, internet access is a big problem.
In todays modern communication, (today being August 2011, how time flies when I read my first entry in this blog), new ways of connecting to others are emerging all the time. Some of the best, Skype, MSN, Blackberry, SMS, all require access at some point to the internet in some form to make instant connections. These connections via the internet could be by the mobile phone providers eventually routing a call or message from a receiving station say in the USA, into the internet system, then in the destination country from the internet into their transmission station to the persons receiving the call or message.
On an iPad or tablet computer a similar system could be employed or through WiFi, when the device or computer has the ability to pick-up and transmit radio signals, enabling connections to the internet, or there is the hardwired ethernet cable, where there is a physical wired connection to the internet.
All the above require a node, an access point from the computer or telephone, and without it you are lost. 
How often am I without communication as my mobile phone cannot locate a cell?
How often is it that I cannot send or receive emails as I cannot find an internet connection?
Many times. Often it is as if I am in the middle of no-where, no civilisation.
But then there are times when there is access, but because companies, individuals place restrictions on accessing via their node, perhaps by the radio frequencies or passwords I am again internet-less. I agree in principal as the  infrastructure, the equipment needs to be provided and paid for.
But, as in many cases, service providers overcharge for this access. 
Take making and receiver telephone calls when out of one’s own providers country, they are making a fortune out of travellers, data access via smartphones and tablet and mobile computing is excessively expensive.
Then there are the hotels that already have the access points, so the infrastructure has been paid for and they pay a set fee to the internet service providers for access, yet charge their guests extortionate prices for access, maybe 25 euro per day.
Yesterday I was returning from Spain to the UK, and my slot for the radio broadcast coincided with me being at the airport in Malaga preparing for boarding, but I would have time to do the interview.
Although I have a UK internet dongle for my computer, I could not afford nearly one hour international data connection charge to the USA. I tried to purchase a Spanish providers internet dongle at a cost of 49 euro, excessive cost, but non were available, so many travellers had my idea.
Surely there would be access via WiFi at the airport?
With half an before my slot, after booking-in and going through security, I sought internet access, and the only one available was Telefonica, the biggest Spanish broadband and telecommunication provider. I was able to access their login page or registration web page and found it very confusing as it was in Spanish, another language I do not speak, then I eventually found a tab for the English language, but pressing the tab I received the message in Spanish, page not available.
Fifteen minutes to go.
Not to be outdone, I asked a Spanish lady for help, who could not quite understand what I wanted, one hours worth of access to the internet. “this is not possible” was her replies to my requests, and her friends agreed with her.
Ten minutes to go.
I knew I was right, one hours worth of internet access is available.
I persuaded her to keep helping me gain access, and I led her through the web pages, until we found a registration page, for name and other details. A great debate took place as to where I placed my first name and my family name, plus other information.
Five minutes to go, still time.
I came to the entry of passport number, now I had to find my passport. People around me wondering what this madman was so anxious about.
Done, three minutes to go.
Credit card ready.
Assess refused, I needed a Spanish passport.
One minute to go, and there was no way I could gain access to the internet and my radio program.
Modern communication works, “IF ONLY”.
Sorry for not making the slot.

A Ferrari in disguise

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My travels takes me to many, what people would say, exotic places. This week I find myself in the Spanish coastal town of Puerto Banus.

The town is a typical white painted house place, created in the boom years of the Spanish growth, creating the Spanish equivalent of Monte Carlo, the playboy’s paradise, the place to been seen, the place to show off wealth, the place to buy the expensive handbags, shoes and clothes, only to be worn once, the place to drive the most expensive cars, and moor the most luxurious boats.

The man made, boxed shaped harbor opens out to the Mediterranean through a narrow entrance, with the boats of various sizes continually coming and going, carrying their pleasure seeking passengers, as this is not a fishing harbour. 

Puerto Banus habour is packed with boats, there is not one spare mooring, and is laid out in a very orderly fashion, and the boats moored it seems strictly by size and value.

The first moorings have some of the biggest yachts I have seen, many decks high, furnished within like palaces. The tender boats, placed in their allotted on the large decks, are bigger than the boats moored at the other end of the harbour, and I could not even afford to think about buying one of those.

Around the the inner harbour is a road, entrance to which is controlled, thus only the most wanted are allowed in, and fronting this one-way road are restaurants and shops, mostly catering for those who must have won the lottery.

Designer names like Gucci, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Pravda, line the harbour, and open fronted restaurants where the waiters wear smart white dinner jackets, waiting to serve cuisine seen in the top Milano, Paris and London restaurants.

Cruising around this controlled one way street that divides the moorings from the shops and restaurants will be the sightseers, the holiday makers and those who want to be seen.

Those that want to be seen are in their best outfits, as if ready to attend the annual ball, expensive and certainly only worn for the parade around the harbour as there is not a crease in the fabric, not a hair out of place, whereas my clothes, fresh on looks as if I have slept in them for a week.

The most expensive cars, the Zonda’s, the Lamborghini’s, the Rolls Royce’s, the Bugatti’s, the Ferrari’s, cruise the one way street, or find a convenient parking place. Please note I have not mentioned Mercedes or Porsche as they are cheap common vehicles here.

I love to walk down the short distance from where I am staying to this parade street early in the evening at about 8 pm, wearing my best clean shirt and trousers, hair combed and shoulders back. For those to be seen, 8 pm is too early for diner, so the restaurants are empty, and the white jacketed waiters are eager to attract custom.

Being reasonably attired, with an air of confidence I will be often shown to a front table edging the parade street, as the restaurant wants to attract other diners. I also reason, that as the restaurant want to attract other diners, the food that is served will be good quality and attractive.

I then have over an hour to relax and enjoy the expensive meal with a good wine, watching the luxury boats return from their little half day cruise to unload their special passengers, to watch the cruising cars rare and expensive cars slowly pass by, and to watch the people walking by, watching me watching them watching me.

Expensive? This is 2011 and one pizza and a glass of beer cost €25, and the beer was good.

But some people do not need to show off their wealth, and will hide their opulence, but I can tell and wonder why someone would want to disguise their Ferrari?

The 6th radio interview of the series

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In todays interview with Ashford Radio Publishing, Phillip Holt talks about hypnosis, and talks about in a short talk the history of hypnosis and what can be achieved, and how Phillip Holt got involved with the greats of hypnosis, Ormond McGill, Paul McKenna, Jerry Valley, Gill Boyne et al, enabling Phillip to teach other and give stage hypnosis shows all over the world,

For some computer systems the radio button will not appear on this page, so either click here or visit all Phillips’ radio shows by clicking here to listen.

Listen to internet radio with AshfordPublishing on Blog Talk Radio

Please leave any comments you may have below.
I am available to give courses to corporate and the public, in many subjects around the world, plus talks and presentations, and will work with individuals on personal issues.
Contact me for more information.
Find other radio interviews by clicking here.

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The London-Surrey Classic Bike Race 2011

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This morning was so quiet, with the major road from Kingston upon Thames to London closed for the rehearsal and test cycle race for the 2012 London Olympics, the London to Surrey Classic Cycle Race.

Although the roads in the area were closed at 6am in the morning, it was not until 11:45am that the two leading riders rode through Kingston and Norbiton.
One second they were there, and the next, they were gone. Who the riders were I have no idea, nor could I read any of the logos they were wearing on their tight lycra outfits.
About a minute later, the main group rode by at speed followed by the support cars. I think most people found the cars just as interesting along with the other support teams, police, organisers etc, as the spectacle lasted longer.
Another minute went by, and a second group zoomed past.
Then followed further waits for the slower riders in smaller groups, including a rider who we were told had been knocked off his bike by a support car and who finished the race supported by two of his team mates.
All too soon the event was over and gone, and it took some time to re-open the roads to the noisy and polluting traffic.
Ban all traffic from the roads I say, well until I want to go out in my car.

So quiet, the London-Surrey Cycle Classic

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Today is the London-Surrey Cycle Classic bike race, a test and to prepare for the 2012 London Olympics.

The race, some 250km for the men and 140km for women, runs from The Mall (Buckingham Palace in Central London, out into leafy Surrey a place called Box Hill and back, passing through six London Boroughs, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Wandsworth, Richmond and were I live Kingston. 

From Kingston the race will pass through many small towns and villages in the County of Surrey.
To facilitate the race, many roads have been closed, and will be for most of the day. The road I live on is a major route, carrying many hundreds of cars and buses per hour, but today there is nothing, save for one or two “official” cars.
Our roads in Kingston upon Thames will be closed between 6am and 1500pm, yet the race will pass we are told at 11:50am. Why is it required to close the road so long, especially if the race is anything like the Tour De France, all the racers pass in one big block, blink and you will miss them?
For anyone who has stayed with me, traffic noise can be a problem, but today, it is so quiet, I can even hear birds singing and pigeons cooing in the distance.
It is like living in the country-side, so I am not complaining, even if I like many people are locked into their home as they cannot leave their premises because the roads are closed and the only way to use their car is barred.

The 5th radio interview in the series

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In todays interview with Ashford Radio Publishing, Phillip Holt talks about how to become great, the best at what you can achieve, and gives quotes from the books of Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers, Blink, What the dog Saw Tipping Point, and Matthew Syed’s book Bounce.

For some computer systems the radio button will not appear on this page, so click here to listen.

Please leave any comments you may have below.
I am available to give courses to corporate and the public, in many subjects around the world, plus talks and presentations, and will work with individuals on personal issues.
Contact me for more information. 
Find other radio interviews by clicking here.

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Echinopsis Oxygona finished

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The full moon on 12th August 2011 influencing nature

Yesterday I wrote about the flowering cactus, (which I have been informed is a ECHINOPSIS OXYGONA), on how for the last two months on the night of the full moon, the cactus produced a wonderful large bloom, and that in the same short time, the bloom would close and die away.

Today this is the bloom.
Echinopsis Oxygona
It was such a wonderful and beautiful flower.      
Echinopsis Oxygona

This experience reminds me of relationships, some are like a rose that lasts for a long time, some are like the cactus flower, short. Some relationships have something special, like some flowers have a wonderful fragrance, a rose, lily or jasmine bloom, yet some have a pungent odor, whilst others have nothing.
Whether a flower or relationship lasts a short time or long time, whether it gives that something extra  special, it will have had some influence upon us and stay with us for the rest of our lives. 
Like the moon influences the cactus, at this time I personally have no idea how, let our own experiences have a positive influence upon us, leaving behind wonderful memories, perhaps never happen to us again. 

How do they know?

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Today is halfway through the moon cycle, that is it is a full moon. It is also halfway through for Muslim’s the holy month of Ramadan, as their Islamic calendar is based upon the phases of the moon, as is the Chinese calendar.

The moon has a very big influence upon the earth and life upon it, from the weather, the tides of our seas and oceans, animals, plants, our health, beliefs and not forgetting werewolves.
In my home in Norbiton Hall, Kingston upon Thames, there are plants, and one in particular a cactus on occasions produces a spectacular flower on a long stem which grows in a couple of days, and fades in a similar time.
Over the last two months, a couple of days prior to the full moon, the cactus has had a flowering shoot or shoots, and on the eve of the full moon, the flower opens.
Three blooms in July 2011 at full moon.
Echinopsis Oxygona flowering cactus

Echinopsis Oxygona flowering cactus
Single bloom in August 2011 at full moon.
How does it know when to open?
How do the turtles know when the moon is full to hatch, burrow themselves to the surface of the sandy beach, to then scramble out to a life at sea?
What power, what forces are the animals and plants being influenced by?
Echinopsis Oxygona flowering cactus
Close-up of cactus bloom
Why are we as humans not consciously aware of these powers?
Life has so many mysteries.
If you know the name of this cactus please let me know.

Further to the Cambridge Road Tower Block Fire

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A comment was made on the 8th August 2011 about the article and film of the fire in the Madingley tower block of the Cambridge Road Estate in Kingston upon Thames which happened July 2010 (click to see videos)
which said :-

its still all burnt out like that today, they havent done anything to it”.

It is now over a year since the fire, and work is progressing on repairing the block, and it has been for some months. The devastation caused by the fire, is obviously going to take time to put right.

Madingley Tower Block, Cambridge Road Estate, Kingston upon Thames
Madingley Tower Block, Cambridge Road Estate, Kingston upon Thames
The action of one person has caused so much in the lives of not only the families that used to live there but the whole community.
The cost of rebuilding the tower block for and the rehousing of the residents has to be paid by the council tax payers of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, by the people who pay to insure their own homes as the insurance companies raise there rates to cover their costs.
The troubles that are affecting London and other cities of the UK, the rioting, the burning of buildings, the ransacking of goods from shops that have been broken into by a mindless few, will take a longtime to resolve and put right, and at a cost that will effect us all.
click to see videos of the Madingley Tower Blog on fire