It’s your lucky day, over and over! The King of some far off land has passed and wants to give you his fortune, just like the one the day before, and the day before that right? Are you that lucky, or is someone just trying to trick you? Probably the latter.
Unfortunately, spammers and scammers frequently lurk our inbox wanting nothing more than to cause harm to your computer and bank account. You may not fall for their games, but many do. According to cNet.com, over 30% of knowingly Americans open spam, and 8% even open files attached to the e-mails!
This may seem harmless, but those users are living on the wild side. Opening unknown attachments leaves your computer susceptible to viruses, malware, and phishing attacks. We’ve already told you about cryptoviruses, but did you know that there’s a virus that reroutes your browser and even steals files off your computer? Did you know that cryptoviruses can encrypt your entire operating system, leaving your files and documents worthless? Some even install passwords that record your keystrokes and steal all of your passwords.
Spammers keep the charade going because gullible people still fall for the tricks. In countries like Ghana with a dearth of job opportunities, scamming Americans is actually a growth industry. Because of the nature of their crimes, they can’t be prosecuted in America, and users are giving them a 1 in 3 chance of success!
Don’t let it be you. Many times you can’t discern between lucky breaks and those that are too good to be true, so avoid them all. When was the last time you’ve heard of a random person being e-mailed a fortune? There are many more stories like Daryl Adams of Ohio who lost 39,000 corresponding with someone he thought was the woman of his dreams. It actually turned out to be a scammer.
The “sweetheart scammers” contact people via e-mail or social media, looking to strike up a conversation. Soon they ask for money and it’s all downhill from there.
How do you avoid spam altogether? Here are some tips:
Don’t use your primary/business e-mail: Sites frequently send your e-mail off to third parties who have nefarious intentions with your address. When signing up to any site that isn’t business or banking related, the rule of thumb is to use a “disposable” e-mail. This way you essentially use that e-mail to verify signups and that’s about it.
NO, you don’t want to sign up: When you’re filling out forms or signing up for something on the web, there’s frequently a check box at the bottom that asks whether you’d like to be signed up to receive alerts, and news. It sounds tempting, but that potential 5% discount you may get is offset by the amount of junk by the spammers those sites sell your information to.
No one asks for your Password via e-mail: There are spammers that appear to be your financial services, and may even code their e-mails to look similar to those services. You can tell the real from the fake by what they want of you. No business ever e-mails (or calls) asking customers for their password, social security number, or any personal information. If they already have it, why would they need you to
Repel the Spam: Here are some sites that are proven anti-spam services:
These sites have sophisticated encryption and POP message protection which staves off the flood of Spam, sending it to rot in the junk folder.
In these times, no one is in the business of giving away money. If you’re curious about a suspicious job offer or financial opportunity, check their email address. Is it a supposedly large corporation using a gmail or yahoo e-mail? Is the pitch text full of typos? Are they not going through the employment screening channels? If you think there’s something fishy, that’s because there is.
The most important tip is to trust your gut instinct when reading e-mails. For instance, If you receive a job offer for menial work that pays $2,000 a week, and all you need to do is send your routing info, it’s probably a scam. Surf on, but surf wisely!