We’ve just passed the holiday season where e-greeting cards sent by scammers ran rampant; now we’re heading into another huge e-card time with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, so read how to be prepared.
Greeting card scams count on your curiosity about who is sending you a card, and what the card says, to lure you into their exploit. This type of scam has become a common tool among organized crime groups to distribute malware onto computers.
Learning to spot and avoid these scams is easy to do and will spare you the grief of getting malware, having your information stolen, or worse.
Test Your Skills
You should be able to find four clear red flags that tell you this e-mail is fraudulent. If you find all four, you’re a pro with little to worry about. If you find fewer than four, consider practicing on some more of our other spam scam examples.
Here are the red flags that show this email is a scam:
- You’ve never heard of the sender, and the company email address is really weird (in this case it’s @WopBQeR.com) that company name is as bogus as a 2-cent piece.
- The email is not addressed to you. I know for a fact that my email alias is not chrisreynolds…..
- The email begins with ‘You’ not your name, and it comes from ‘someone’ not a named person of your acquaintance.
- There is a link to click – never click links in email! – you will notice if you hover your mouse over the link, that at the bottom of the email you will see the actual URL (web address) that you would be routed to. To see just how badly this scam can mess you up, type the URL into the SEARCH box (not the address bar!) in your search engine. See example in the graphic. Notice that the website has been flagged by McAfee’s SiteAdvisor as being malicious. Reading their review, the site has been flagged as malicious due to spamming and phishing activities.
If you don’t have a website safety review tool installed on your browser that shows you whether a site will be safe, install one now. I happen to use SiteAdvisor, and it’s a free tool. There are many other tools, including tools the browsers offer, that can also check sites for you.
While curiosity in this case won’t kill the cat, letting your curiosity about this fake ‘card’ will seriously sicken your computer and compromise your information.