Archive for the 'Computers & Internet' Category

Another scam email

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Scam Laptop Shows Scheming Hoax Deceit And Fraud Online

(courtesy dreamstime.com)

By Spencer D Gear PhD

This is a  scam email I received on 23 January 2016:

Subject: ACCOUNT 7.0 UPDATE
Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2016 07:20:53 +0100
From: Mail iiNet <mveerappan.co@gmail.com>

DEAR iiNet USER,

We have upgraded the security on all account due to complain on identity theft, You are advised to update your account. Click, Updated Page for instant update
Regards,

©2016 iiNet Web, Inc

The indicators of a hoax

Fraud Warning(courtesy dreamstime.com)

 

These hoax indicators are mixed with signs of the real thing. My Internet provider is iinet.com.au. The hoax is from ‘Mail iiNet’ that looks like iinet and is addressed to ‘DEAR iiNet USER’. It is signed, ‘©2016 iiNet Web, Inc’. This reads oh so normal.

BUT, there is a give-away indicator and it is one that should always be checked with unknown and unexpected messages that come from one’s Internet provider or from any other source. Who is the email from? The full address of the person or organisation is, ‘Mail iiNet <mveerappan.co@gmail.com>’ The address in this line gives it away: mveerappan.co@gmail.com. That is not iinet but a scam, hoax, fraud – however you want to put it.

That email address told me it was not from iinet, but was a scam, designed to get me to link to some scam website that was called ‘Updated Page’ for security. Who knows what I would have encountered if I had clicked on ‘Updated Page’, What would have happened to my PC?

There is another indicator of it being a possible hoax. That is found in the incorrect grammar used in the email: ‘We have upgraded the security on all account (sic) due to complain (sic) on identity theft’. These two spelling errors signify it was possibly sent from an overseas and foreign source without knowledge of some fundamental English grammar and spelling.

What to do with the spam email

Computer Monitor Screen ...(courtesy shutterstock)

 

I immediately forwarded it to iinet Provisioning Team at: support@iinet.net.au, advising that ‘this is a hoax email I received re iinet and thought I should advise you of this’.

Then I removed it from my email inbox by choosing the letter j to send it to the junk folder (I use Thunderbird as my email programme).

Be warned!

If an email looks fishy in its title or content, it probably is. Make sure you read the sender’s email address carefully. There you will pick up the hoax or scam email signs in a wrong address. If you have any doubts, forward a copy to your Internet provider and ask if this email is sourced from that provider.

The more emails that come into our inbox, the higher the risk of receiving hoax and potentially dangerous email will be. We can be caught, unless we remain vigilant all of the time.

May you enjoy your computing, while taking the necessary precautions.

 

Copyright © 2016 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 25 January 2016.

I fell for an email hoax

Friday, January 8th, 2016

an attack happened here by Andy_Gardner

The hoax email sounded so plausible

By Spencer D Gear PhD

I have been warning people on this homepage since 2013 about the damage done by hoax email and misinformation on the Internet.

However, on 7 January 2016 I was a sucker to such an email myself. When I woke up to its content and origin, I deleted it immediately. This is how it happened.

Hoax email content

I received an email with a heading that incorporated UPS [United Parcel Service]. Since I have lived in the USA, I knew of the extensive delivery of packages by UPS. The email stated that a UPS package was unable to be delivered to me and that I should pick it up at my local UPS agency. There was an attachment that gave the details.

What caused me to query such a statement in my mind was that I live in Australia and do not know of a local UPS agency. UPS is a USA based agency that has a worldwide distribution network.

What made it sound plausible was that it gave a delivery number and there was an attachment that I attempted to open. It was then that I realised this was a hoax with a nasty intent. My virus protector kicked in with a scan.

I immediately looked at the sender’s email address and it had no connection to UPS.

Confirmation of evil intent

I went searching to find if this kind of hoax had been experienced by others. Snopes.com confirmed the fraudulent nature of this email:

#We have become aware there is a fraudulent email being sent that says it is coming from UPS and leads the reader to believe that a UPS shipment could not be delivered. The reader is advised to open an attachment reportedly containing a waybill for the shipment to be picked up.
This email attachment contains a virus. We recommend that you do not open the attachment, but delete the email immediately.
UPS may send official notification messages on occasion, but they rarely include attachments. If you receive a notification message that includes an attachment and are in doubt about its authenticity, please contact customerservice@ups.com.
Please note that UPS takes its customer relationships very seriously, but cannot take responsibility for the unauthorized actions of third parties (snopes.com 1995-2016, ‘Package Delivery Virus’).

address book

The UPS offers this warning on its website, ‘New Fraudulent Email Circulating’. It stated:

View Examples of Fraudulent Emails

Please be advised that UPS does not request payments, personal information, financial information, account numbers, IDs, passwords, or copies of invoices in an unsolicited manner through email, mail, phone, or fax or specifically in exchange for the transportation of goods or services. UPS accepts no responsibility for any costs or charges incurred as a result of fraudulent activity.

In its preventive work to fight fraud, UPS recommended this approach:

Help Us Prevent Email Fraud

errors

If you suspect someone is fraudulently claiming to be UPS, let us know. Email us at fraud@ups.com. Reporting fake or bogus emails helps us in our fight against criminal activity.
UPS is a global company with one of the most recognized and admired brands in the world. Occasionally, fraudsters take advantage of UPS’s reputation by using our name or services to target your personal and sensitive business information. By creating tempting downloads and attractive websites, fraudsters can lure you to links that prompt you to enter sensitive information or download malware — malicious software such as viruses or spyware. While UPS is not liable for the actions of third parties, we are working to prevent and detect fraud where possible (Fight Fraud, 1994-2016. United Parcel Service of America Inc).

Unfortunately, I had deleted the email I received before I was able to report it to UPS. In fact, it was only after deletion that I investigated what UPS recommended that I should do.

Criteria for identifying email and Internet hoaxes

The Australian government has online help with its article, ‘Recognise scam or hoax emails and websites’ (Department of Communications and the Arts).

WikiHow has a valuable article on How to Spot an Email Hoax or Phishing Scam. This article deals with:

# Understanding Phishing

# Spotting the Hoax

# When Not to Reply (Most Times)

# Hoax-Proofing Yourself and Your Family Questions and Answers

Alert

On 7 January 2016, I learned these criteria from the mistakes I made:

1. If the wording of the heading of the email sounds strange, it probably is and warning bells should be ringing not to open it.

2. I should have recognised this as I’ve had nothing to do with UPS and knew of nobody who was sending me a parcel via UPS. My three overseas books from the UK had arrived in the last few days and I knew they were coming through Australia Post.

3. Then look at the email address of the sender. Is it an email with which you are unfamiliar or is it a variation of a familiar email, but with some contamination?

4. If so, do not open the email but go searching the hoax sites (see below), using the exact wording of your email content, to investigate if this is a phishing method that has been used previously and is being used on you.

5. If possible, advise the reputable source that may be associated with the hoax email so that it knows of this contamination of its product.

Beware of those email fraudsters

Many people are falling victim to circulating Internet and email hoaxes about various subjects. I got caught myself yesterday. We are all vulnerable to these con men and women on the Internet who want our money and to ruin our computers and reputations through spreading viruses.

Many of these hoaxes can be checked out at various sites on the Internet that investigate possible hoax emails and Internet smears. These are the ones I use regularly:

#Snopes.com;

#Urban Legends;

#Hoax-Slayer; and

#TruthorFiction.com.

 

Copyright © 2016 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 8 January 2016.

Logical fallacies hijack discussions[1]

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Logic function Exclusive-NOR vector drawing

(public domain)

Spencer D Gear

Over the last 10 years, I have participated in 6 Christian forums[2] worldwide and I’ve discovered that one of the most common ways to high jack a discussion has been with the use of logical fallacies.

What is a logical fallacy? To put it simply, a logical fallacy is an error in reasoning. It is a way of stating an argument where the the premises given do not support the conclusion in a statement. It is illogic in action. When this happens, it is difficult to have a logical discussion with a person.

I’ve been greatly helped in understanding the use of logical fallacies by Dr. Michael C. Labossiere, the author of a fallacy tutorial. You can find his material on The Nizkor Project site.

I mention two common fallacies that I see on Christian forum sites:

File:Kipper.JPG

kipper (wikimedia)

A.    The red herring fallacy

Labossiere explains:

A Red Herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue. The basic idea is to “win” an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic. This sort of “reasoning” has the following form:

1. Topic A is under discussion.

2. Topic B is introduced under the guise of being relevant to topic A (when topic B is actually not relevant to topic A).

3. Topic A is abandoned.

This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because merely changing the topic of discussion hardly counts as an argument against a claim (Fallacy: Red Herring).

This can happen on any Christian forum when a person, say, is discussing reasons for opposing once-saved-always-saved (OSAS) with Bible verses. A person can reply that that is not what the Bible teaches and then give a group of Bible verses to oppose the person who opposed OSAS. What does this do? It does not deal with the exact verses that a person used to oppose OSAS. The response was off and running with pro-OSAS verses. This is using a red herring fallacy and logical discussion is brought to a halt as the issue is not being dealt with – the verses that oppose OSAS.

Another fallacy that often arises is:

B.    The straw man fallacy

Labossiere’s explanation is:

The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person’s actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position. This sort of “reasoning” has the following pattern:

1. Person A has position X.

2. Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X).

3. Person B attacks position Y.

4. Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.

This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because attacking a distorted version of a position simply does not constitute an attack on the position itself. One might as well expect an attack on a poor drawing of a person to hurt the person (Fallacy: Straw Man).

I have seen this fallacy from time to time in two situations:

(a) When anti-charismatics try to expose the ‘error’ of Pentecostals. A false view of Pentecostals is not difficult to construct when one sees extremism in the movement. However, when all Pentecostals are painted with the extremist brush, it is using a straw man fallacy.

(b) Calvinists who paint all Arminians as Pelagians or semi-Pelagians. This is using a straw man fallacy.

There are a number of other fallacies I’ve seen used on Christian forums. These have included:

3d-shinnyblue-star-small Ad hominem. Most moderators of Christian forums exclude this fallacy because it most often is a flaming or goading technique.

3d-shinnyblue-star-small Begging the question (or circular reasoning). This is where a person reaches a conclusion but it is based on his/her premise. Of course that will be the conclusion reached because the person’s presuppositions demand that conclusion.

3d-shinnyblue-star-small Appeal to authority;

3d-shinnyblue-star-small Genetic fallacy.

The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Do any logical fallacies bother you in discussions with people on Christian and other forums or in discussions with people? Do you remind them of these fallacies? It is good to know the name and nature of logical fallacies. A professor of IT attends my church and he tells me that it really gets under his skin when students and staff use logical fallacies.

What say that we watch each other and the fallacies we might use in any responses on Christian forums or in personal discussions?

Some other sites dealing with logical fallacies

3d-shinnyblue-star-smallA list of fallacious arguments’,

3d-shinnyblue-star-smallLogical fallacies’;

3d-shinnyblue-star-smallLogical fallacies and the art of debate’;

3d-shinnyblue-star-smallLogical fallacies’;

3d-shinnyblue-star-smallOnline Writing Lab: Logical fallacies’ (20wl, Purdue).

Notes


[1] I started a thread with this title at Christianity Board, Christian debate forum, ‘Logical fallacies high jack discussion’, OzSpen#1, available at: http://www.christianityboard.com/topic/21503-logical-fallacies-high-jack-discussion/ (Accessed 26 May 2015).

[2] These have included Christian Fellowship Forum, Christian Forums.com, Christian Forums.net, Christianity Board, UK Christian Web, and another UK forum whose exact title I forget.

 

Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 2 December 2015.

     

The Coalition’s NBN lemon

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

clip_image002

Fibre to the premises design (courtesy Wikipedia)

By Spencer D Gear

If I were in charge of building a new highway from Brisbane to my hometown of Bundaberg, Qld., Australia, I’d want it to be the best bitumen highway for the 21st century all the way – 373 km or 232 miles (courtesy travelmath).

Imagine if it was bitumen for about 360 km of the road and a dirt, corrugated road for the remaining 13km. Well that’s the parallel we have with the Coalition government’s National Broadband Network (NBN) Internet plan. This is a statement about that plan:

The new NBN model will now see the massive infrastructure project rolled out to 26 per cent of premises with direct fibre connections by 2020, while a further 44 per cent would have fibre to the node — which uses Telstra’s existing copper network for the final few hundred metres to homes. Thirty per cent would get a service using hybrid fibre coaxial pay-TV cables (Mitchell Bingemann, ‘Coalition orders “technology mix” to officially replace Labor’s NBN plan’, The Australian, April 09, 2014).

While this article said the Coalition model would cost less than the Labor plan, the facts for this model are that 44% of people will be receiving fibre to the node and the remaining copper network will be used to the house. It is like a bitumen highway for all but 13km of the trip from Brisbane to Bundaberg.

It was put brilliantly by a person who wrote to the Brisbane Times on the topic of ‘TPG declares dial-up dead’ (January 16, 2015):

3rd world internet and this mob think leaving the copper in place with some fibre bits will make a difference? a bit like building a freeway that ends in cobbles and dung at the exit for the last couple of km home, or a bullet train that stops while you change for the horse towed tram on the last bit .. you still can’t get even ADSL where we live on coast 200km south of Sydney, the plug in USB stick aerial on my roof works now and again at snail speeds if not too many people are on it (amateur hour, 16 January 2015).

Savings at a galloping slow pace

BUT, Malcolm Turnbull, Minister of Communications, and the one responsible for the government’s roll-out of the NBN, tells us that

the NBN Co’s Strategic Review published in December 2013 found that if we had continued the project under the settings in Labor’s plan, typical household broadband bills would have increased by up to 80 per cent or $43 per month. And that is the inevitable consequence of a more expensive network (‘Why Labor Got It Wrong on Broadband in the Bush’, Malcolm Turnbull, 12 December 2014)

clip_image003

(NBN Co wireless outdoor antenna, courtesy Wikipedia)

Mitchell Bingemann summarised the differences between Labor and the Coalition on the NBN:

While Labor’s model proposed to roll out super-fast optic fibre to premises for 93 per cent of Australian homes, the Coalition’s strategic review into the NBN found that model would have needed $29bn more in peak funding than the $44bn forecast because of cost blowouts and revenue targets that were never achievable.

In that review it was estimated that in total, Labor’s plan would have cost $73bn and missed its 2021 deadline by three years (source HERE).

It’s a lemon

clip_image004

(courtesy Healthmad, public domain)

Before the Coalition won the federal election to government on 7th September 2013 (The Sydney Morning Herald, Sept 12, 2013), there was this provocative interchange that was reported by The Australian newspaper (online), ‘Coalition NBN policy is a lemon: critics’, 9 April 2013:[1]

RMIT University telecommunications expert and senior lecturer Mike Gregory said the policy wasn’t a sensible answer to Australia’s communications needs.

“This is the biggest lemon in Australia’s history,” Dr Gregory told AAP.

“What they are trying to do is offer us a bag of lollies by saying we can do it cheaper and faster, but what we are really being sold is a lemon.”

The coalition’s NBN would cut costs by using Telstra’s copper network from the node to premises in city and most rural areas – bypassing Labor’s plan to roll out optic fibre cable all the way.

“We will build fibre-to-the-node and that eliminates two-thirds of the cost,” Mr Abbott told reporters in Sydney.

Conclusion

When new fibre cable directly to the house is not there for 44% of houses we are being sold a bummer of an NBN. I consider this to be a foolish plan that will offer a large chunk of Aussies a stingy broadband Internet service. They will have a horse and sulky service for the last few kilometres at the end of the freeway.

A friend who is an IT professional told me that he is livid about what the Coalition is doing to super fast broadband services that are needed for the 21st century.

It’s a lemon of a plan, a sour end to what could have been a sweet, powerful National Broadband Network, because:

  • It is like allowing an old road, suitable for an old, old truck, to be allowed to continue when the road needs a super fast highway for the 21st century.
  • It’s like a freeway that ends in cobbles and dung;
  • It’s like having a bullet train that stops at the end so that passengers can be towed to their destination on a horse drawn tram.

(Single by the Mojo Singers, courtesy Wikipedia)

You can do better than that. Is it going to take a change of government to achieve a super fast communications highway, all the way from Brisbane to Bundaberg – and without 10 km of dirt track – and then all around the country?

clip_image006

Partial map of the Internet based on the January 15, 2005 data found on opte.org. Each line is drawn between two nodes (courtesy Wikipedia)

Notes


[1] Accessed 21 January 2015.

 

Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 21 November 2015.

Death by computer: An app may tell you

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

(courtesy public domain)

By Spencer D Gear

Would you believe that an app has been created to try to predict the date and time of your death?  What next? Take a read of this brief article in Time magazine, ‘This App Predicts When You’re Going to Die‘.

The Time magazine article explained: ‘Feed the app basic information about your medical history and lifestyle, and it spits out the date that might just appear on your tombstone, along with a countdown clock that lets you watch as the seconds evaporate into regret’. The article explained that Deadline’s ‘prediction is nothing more than a statistical estimation, and regular doctor visits are still a good idea’.

Deadline’s accuracy

(courtesy clker.com)

The app is called, ‘Deadline’, but when you go to that link it does at least admit the limitations of this app: ‘Deadline uses statistical information to attempt to determine your date of expiration, but no app can really accurately determine when you will die, so consider this a way to motivate yourself to be healthier, and consult a physician as necessary’.

A God’s-eye view

How do the Christian Scriptures regard the date and time of your expiration – your death? Let’s check out some verses:

1 Samuel 2:6, ‘The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up’ (NIV).[1]

Job 14:5, ‘A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed’.

Psalm 39:4, ‘”Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is’.

Psalm 104:29-30, ‘When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. 30 When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.

Psalm 139:16, ‘Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be’.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 11, ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end’.

James 4:13-15, ‘Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that”’.

Whom will you believe?

Which one are you going to believe? Will it be the word of the computer (a Deadline view)? Or will you choose the word of the Lord (the guaranteed originator of life and the one who determines the when and how of your death)?

I know the One to whom I am committed. He also is that one who said, ‘Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him’ (Hebrews 9:27-28).

Notes


[1] All Bible quotations are from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible.

 

Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 20 November 2015.

How to get people to read Internet posts and email

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Internet  Clip Art

clker.com

(courtesy )

Are there any techniques of the advertising trade that could help to attract people to read your posts to your homepage and Internet forums? Will these same tactics improve the rate of reading of email you send?

Do you suspect that many people don’t read your posts on the Internet? Do you have a hunch that your email often makes it to the delete bin rather quickly?

I contribute to a large forum, Christian Forums, and to the theological area. I’m of the view that many posts are not read because they are in directories that have official theological labels such as Soteriology; Paterology, Christology & Pneumatology; Ecclesiology; Hamartiology; etc. This is not the language of everyday folks. It is for theology buffs.

What can you do to prevent your posts from being consigned to the no-read file? Or email to the delete bucket?

How to get people to the first step: Read it

 

I came across this article in The Brisbane Times, ‘How to get people to read your emails‘. I found these principles just as important for Internet posts as for email and other writing. These are the same principles I used when writing advertising copy for radio and TV quite a few years ago.

Why don’t you take a read of this article? To give you a taste of the principles, the first two are:

  1. Use punchy subject lines;
  2. Write newsy no-nonsense copy.

There are 6 points that are easy to read and could be adapted quite easily to Internet forums and email.

What do you think is the sixth point?

Some examples of punchy subject lines

Let’s try a few examples of punchy subject lines in that Internet forum:

clip_image002 ‘Soteriology’ deals with the Christian teaching on salvation. Some punchy lines on this topic could be:

  • Bloody cure for bloody crimes;
  • Why would God waste his time?
  • Save the criminals.

clip_image002[1] ‘Hamartiology’ is the Christian teaching on sin. Could these be some punchy lines for an Internet forum?

  • It’s worse than you think.
  • All of us have the criminal in us.
  • Sinful stupidity.
  • Self-esteem nonsense.

clip_image002[2] Christian apologetics should provide plenty of opportunities for punchy subject lines. Let’s try a few:

  • Who made God?
  • Why doesn’t God stop all of the crap in the world?
  • Why does a loving God let paedophiles rape children?
  • Jesus’ resurrection is fanciful nonsense.

In these kinds of topics, there are plenty opportunities for ‘newsy no-nonsense copy’ to provide answers to these provocative topics. I consider that Christian Forums should drop its fancy theological names. Change

  • Soteriology     clip_image004 Salvation
  • Paterology      clip_image004[1] God the Father
  • Christology      clip_image004[2] Jesus Christ
  • Pneumatology clip_image004[3] The Holy Spirit
  • Ecclesiology    clip_image004[4] The Church
  • Hamartiology clip_image004[5] Sin

 

Conclusion

The principles stated in this article from The Brisbane Times are very simple and could be used by anyone. But there is a challenge: How does a person use these principles to gain clout with email and Internet posts? That will take practice and I recommend using a group experience to bounce ideas off people to help refine the methodology.

Anyone can improve his/her email and Internet forum titles, but it will take quite a bit of practice to make these principles work for you. I find them very practical and important in gaining clout in communication.

Email Clip Art

(courtesy  clker.com)

Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 12 November 2015.

The damage done by hoax email and misinformation on the Internet

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Image result for photos people smugglers boats public domain

(photo courtesy au.news.yahoo.com, public domain)

By Spencer D Gear

I was at a Bible study group on the morning of 31 July 2013 in an outer Brisbane suburb. There I received a scanned copy of a page that indicated that Centrelink benefits for an Australian aged pensioner and spouse were $16,068.00 annually compared with $56,680.00 annually for illegal immigrants/refugees living in Australia.

This is what was handed to the members of the group, not by the leader, but by a group member:

clip_image002[6]

(image courtesy theantibogan)

What are the facts?

This image was located on this webpage in the article, ‘Asylum seekers: “Robert Bretton” liar & fraud’, March 15 2012.[1] It was also located HERE (on 31 July 2013).

When I was provided with this handout, I found these figures to be questionable and I ‘smelt a rat’. It would be unjust of the Australian government to promote this kind of inequity. I found the information to be somewhat unusual so I searched online. I’ve tried to verify the figures that were given in the handout.  This is what I found:

Robert Bretton’s information shown to be a hoax

Vietnamese boat people (image courtesy Wikipedia)

1. ‘Hoax e-mails[2] (The Refugee Council of Australia, May 2012). This includes the hoax of the Centrelink benefits that were allegedly higher for refugees than for aged pensioners.

2. Refugees and asylum seekers receive higher social security payments than Australian aged pensioners (The Refugee Council of Australia, February 2011).[3] This article states:

“Refugees and asylum seekers receive higher social security payments than Australian aged pensioners.”

A refugee who has permanent residency in Australia receives exactly the same social security benefits as any Australian resident in the same circumstances. Refugees apply for social security through Centrelink like everyone else and are assessed for the different payment options in the same way as everyone else. There are no separate Centrelink allowances that one can receive simply by virtue of being a refugee.

Centrelink payments are calculated at exactly the same rate for both refugees and non-refugees. A single person with no dependent children applying for Special Benefit or the Newstart Allowance (whether or not he or she is a refugee) will receive $469.70 per fortnight, whereas a single person on an Age Pension payment will receive a fortnightly payment of $658.40. A single age pensioner therefore receives over $180.00 more per fortnight more than a single refugee (or a single Australian citizen or permanent resident) who qualifies for Special Benefit or Newstart. Australian citizens and permanent residents with dependent children on lower to middle incomes (including refugees) may also be eligible to receive Family Tax Benefits or Parenting Payments. However, none of these allowances are paid at a higher rate than the single age pension.

Asylum seekers are not entitled to the same forms of financial support as citizens or permanent residents. The Asylum Seeker Assistance (ASA) Scheme provides assistance to some eligible asylum seekers who are in the process of having their refugee status determined. The ASA Scheme offers income support to cover basic living expenses, at a rate below Centrelink benefits.

Please note that the figures on Centrelink payment rates quoted above are current as at February 2011 and are subject to change. For the latest payment rates, visit www.centrelink.gov.au

3.    A House of Representatives Committee statement, dated 28 September 2012, ‘Australian Government assistance to refugees: fact v fiction‘.[4] This indicates that the information that was provided to the study group was a hoax and it is in emails that are circulating around the country/world.

4.    The Refugee Council of Australia on March 9 2010 stated that these figures about the discrepancies between benefits for aged persons and refugees were false. See, ‘Response to outlandish claims about benefits to refugees: update‘.[5]

5. The Australian Red Cross issued a ‘Fact sheet Migration Support Programs: Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme’, part of which stated:

Australian Red Cross : The Power Of Humanity

Australian Red Cross

Our case workers can assist you in accessing financial assistance to cover:

• basic living expenses (89% of Centrelink special benefits)

• general healthcare

• protection visa health and character checks.[6]

6. Parliament of Australia, 13 February 2013, corrected this benefit misinformation in, ‘Asylum seekers and refugees. What are the facts?’[7] It states:

In recent years, a series of emails have been widely circulated throughout Australia claiming to describe higher social security entitlements for refugees, compared with those of other Australian residents. A common claim in these emails is that refugees in Australia receive higher social security benefits than age pensioners.

There is no truth to claims that refugees are entitled to higher benefits than other social security recipients. Refugees have the same entitlements as all other permanent residents—they do not receive special refugee payments or special rates of payment.

7. In a letter-to-the-editor to the Fraser Coast Chronicle (published 17 June, 2010), sent by Sandi Logan, National Communications Manager, Department of Immigration and Citizenship by the Australian Government, ‘Asylum seekers don’t receive Centrelink benefits‘, it was stated:[8]

The figure mentioned in the letter of a $50,000 benefit paid by Centrelink to asylum seekers is completely incorrect. Asylum seekers, while in detention undergoing the processing of their claims, are not entitled to Centrelink social security benefits.

Until such time as an asylum seeker is determined to be a refugee, as defined by the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), or returned home, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is solely responsible for the care of detainees.

If an asylum seeker is ultimately found to be a refugee and granted a visa, they then become a permanent resident and have access to exactly the same entitlements as any other resident or citizen of Australia: no more, no less.

Another questionable email sent by Christians

On 10 August 2013, I received an email titled, ‘She was a Christian’ that began with these words and these font colours:

WARNING:  THE PHOTO BELOW IS QUITE GRAPHIC….BUT VERY TRUE!  IF YOU THINK YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO STAND LOOKING AT IT THEN PLEASE DELETE THIS EMAIL.

What’s wrong with the Muslim world ???

HORRIBLE !!!!

SHE WAS ATTACKED – RAPED BY ABOUT 20 MUSLIMS AND AFTERWARDS MURDERED IN SYRIA.

WHAT WAS HER CRIME? “SHE WAS A CHRISTIAN”

MAY OUR DEAR LORD TAKE HER IN HIS ARMS……    AMEN!

Then followed what looks like Arabic writing and two photos, one of a beautiful teenage girl and beside her a photo of a murdered teen with the base of a cross shoved into her mouth and blood gushing forth (it’s too graphic for me to include on this page). The first thought that came to my mind was: Is this an accurate depiction from a credible source? Or is this another example of credulous Christians who pass on information without checking. So I went on a search, thanks to Google and some sites that check Internet hoaxes. This is what I found:

There are a number of reports in news items online of a 15-year-old Christian teenager in Syria who experienced multiple rapes from Muslim men. See:

cubed-redmatteSyria: 15-Year-Old Christian Girl Systematically Raped By Islamist …

cubed-redmatteMost victimized in Syria? Young Christian women – WND

cubed-redmatteList of Islamic Terror Attacks on Christians – TheReligionofPeace.com

cubed-redmatteTeenager in Syria raped & killed by 15 Islamist rebels

cubed-redmatteRumors confirmed: Christian women being raped in Aleppo …

cubed-redmatteMembers of ‘Free Syrian Army’ raped, killed girl in Syria, UN official …

cubed-redmatteSyria: 15-Year-Old Christian Girl Systematically Raped By Islamist …

cubed-redmatteChristian Girl Raped by 15 Islamists in Syria by the Side …

However, from where did this gory, bloody photo of a teenager with a cross being forced down the woman’s throat originate? I had doubts that this was genuine in referring to an actual Christian woman, so I sent an inquiry online to www.snopes.com to ask them to investigate if this is a hoax.

I did find this statement in a news item, ‘Support Remy Couture and You Support Violence Against Women‘. Part of it stated:

Quebec filmmaker, Remy Couture, was charged in 2009 under the Criminal Code obscenity law over material posted to his website, and went to trial in Montreal in December 2012. The material in question includes hundreds of photos and a pair of videos that depict gruesome murders, torture, simulated rape, extreme violence and necrophilia, all with young female victims. The sets viewed in court included titles like “Hook”, a series of photos depicting a woman being tortured with hooks by a masked man. Another picture set titled “Burn” involves a woman’s burned body being assaulted and mutilated.

The films, titled Inner Depravity I and II, feature Courture in the role of a serial killer who hacks off limbs and performs sex acts on his victims. Couture says the films are meant to depict the life of a serial killer, assisted by a 10-year-old boy, whose tendencies lead him to also have sex with his dead female victims. One sequence shows a woman bleeding after a crucifix was shoved down her throat. Another graphic scene shows a character carving out a victim’s organs (emphasis added).

The pictures that were supplied to be by email of this young woman and a cross being forced down a throat come from twicsy, the Twitter Pics Engine. I urged the person who sent the email not to pass these things on until they are verified as genuine. They may be genuine, but in a quick look on the www this morning, I cannot verify them as genuine from a woman who has been raped by Muslims in Syria, murdered, and then a cross shoved down her throat.

I came across this item from 20 March 2011,

**GRAPHIC** Body of Young Christian Woman, and Indonesian Jihadi Brutally Murdering Christians **GRAPHIC** with other graphic images, but I don’t know if these are genuine. They could be, but I don’t know. However, a comment on this website confirmed that that picture of the woman with a cross down her throat is from the film ‘Inner Depravity’.

However, what about the other pictures at the bottom of the article? Are they also from a film and are fake? I don’t know how to confirm the authenticity. However, some of the pictures from the bottom of this article are labelled as ghostpics. I investigated to find the nature of ghostpics and found this article to confirm how ghostpics may be genuine pictures but they have been known to manipulate pictures electronically. See, ‘Best Ghost Pictures Ever Taken‘.

This picture of the cross down the throat is also found in Encyclopedia Dramatica, which seems to suggest that this is not a genuine photo.

I urge Christians and others not to forward these kinds of email until their content can be verified.

It is critical to check the facts before circulating

This information indicates that the figures provided in the handout this morning are from hoax emails that have been circulating. Would you please do all you can to put an end to this kind of email that misrepresents the situation should you come across these incorrect figures?

There are too many people who are falling victim to circulating Internet and email hoaxes about various subjects. Many of them can be checked out at various sites on the Internet that investigate possible hoax emails and Internet information. These are the ones I use regularly:

check Snopes.com;

check Urban Legends;

check Hoax-Slayer; and

check TruthorFiction.com.

Notes:


[1] Available at: http://theantibogan.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/asylum-seekers-robert-bretton-liar-and-fraud/ (Accessed 31 July 2013).

[2] Refugee Council of Australia, available at: http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/f/myth-email.php (Accessed 31 July 2013).

[3] Refugee Council of Australia, available at: https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/f/myth-long.php#centrelink (Accessed 31 July 2013).

[4] Parliament of Australia, available at: http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BN/2012-2013/AustGovAssistRefugees (Accessed 31 July 2013).

[5] Available at: http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/docs/releases/2010/100309%20Updated%20Response%20to%20email%20on%20Centrelink%20benefits.pdf (Accessed 31 July 2013).

[6] Available at: http://www.redcross.org.au/files/20120203_ASAS_Fact_Sheet_.pdf (Accessed 31 July 2013).

[7] Available at: http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BN/2012-2013/AsylumFacts#_Toc348096472 (Accessed 31 July 2013).

[8] This online version of the letter is dated as 22 July 2010, available at: http://www.immi.gov.au/media/letters/letters10/le100722.htm (Accessed 31 July 2013).

 

Copyright © 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 1 May 2016.