Saturday, February 13, 2010

Phishing and Other Scams

I get email updates from a site called, Lifehacker. They currently have an interesting piece that points out the above pictured flow chart, with a link to a previous article about phishing attacks.

It never fails to amaze me how some folks, who seem to be fairly intelligent people, can get taken by scam artists. The guy emailing you from Nigeria with a subject line of "Dear blessed friend," probably doesn't
really have 50 million bucks to share with you!

Here's a few tips that I hope are not new for anyone, but the recent article on Lifehacker tells me that some people just don't see the runaway dump truck heading for them:

-If a strange email has an attachment, avoid it! Only open attachments from trusted sources, and when in doubt, send a separate email to that source and ask them if they meant to send you a file, what it is, etc. I doubt if your freind or relative will cry too terribly hard if you don't watch the video they sent you of some kid crashing his bike into a porta-pottie.

-If you get an email from a company that you do business with, and the email asks you for personal information, report the email to the real company, because they won't do that! Popular methods for this scam include asking you to "update" your info, due to some sort of security "alert." A real email from a reputable company will ask you to simply go to their website, or call them. No reputable company will ask you for your personal information in an email.

-If an email sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Emails telling you that you have won something, and then asking you to send them a fee of some sort, are scams. Don't do it! If an email asks you for your bank account number and routing information, avoid it.

-Thanks! If an email thanks you for a recent contribution to a charity (these are popular after natural disasters, like the Haiti earthquake), and asks you to confirm your credit card number, and you don't hear alarm bells, you should get your hearing checked. Don't send your credit card information, or any other financial info, via email.

-Never give your email password to third party applications, or anybody else for that matter. I know that some sites ask for your email username and password, so that they can more efficiently provide you with some sort of functionality. Don't do it! There used to be some reputable sites that use this feature, and I think that a certain social networking site does the same thing ("help us invite all of your contacts!").

This list is not all-inclusive, but it hits some of the wavetops. If you're unsure, avoid the urge to click with that mouse button. There's more info out there, so do your homework, and don't get taken to the cleaners by an email/online scam.


Jenn of the Jungle said...

Are you saying my Nigerian friend is not real???? WAAAAAAA!!!!!

TexasFred said...

I won 5 different lotto's last week... Well, I got notification that I did...

You don't think those guys want my info do ya??

Just John said...

@Jenn: Sorry to burst your bubble!

@Fred: Nah; sounds legit to me.

Anonymous said...

What gets me, is that with all the bank accounts with millions of lost dollars out there being offered to me all the time, that Africa wouldn't such a poor country.

(/snark off)

B Woodman