Folks are sending more e-mails around the holidays and shopping online more than ever. With that extra activity combined with a rushed attention span, hoaxsters know how to take advantage of that. Hoax emails disguised as order confirmations, financial alerts and “feel good” forwards so that they are more easily propagated.
Enter the phony order or invoice emails that claim to need your immediate attention. Your first instinct is that something isn’t right but the verbiage seems to imply this is something you need to check out right now! Don’t.
Pay Attention to Detail!
Before forwarding any e-mail, or clicking on any links within that claim to be of importance or has a message everyone needs to know, you need to vet the e-mail. Make sure it is not a hoax or a scam. Here are a couple sites to checkout e-mail claims before you embarrass yourself by forwarding them “to everyone you know”.
Hoax Vetting Websites
And, never ever click on a link from someone you do not recognize. No matter the what the Subject: field states or the message implies. Hoaxsters have become pros at making e-mails look like they are from legitimate contacts or companies (UPS, Amazon, PayPal, etc.). That’s called phishing.
The practice of luring unsuspecting Internet users to a fake website by using authentic-looking e-mail with the real organization’s logo, in an attempt to steal passwords, financial or personal information, or introduce a virus attack; the creation of a website replica for fooling unsuspecting Internet users into submitting personal or financial information or passwords.
Don’t Click Hoaxy Links!
Before clicking on any link, move your mouse over the link and see what displays in the location bar of your e-mail software.
When you can see where that link takes you, you can immediately determine if the link is trouble. Here’s how using Amazon.com as an example:
- https://www.amazon.com/something-after — Good
- https://www.amazon.com/ — Good
- https://amazon.hoaxdomain.com — NOT Good
- https://www.hoaxdomain.com/amazon — NOT Good
These guys are very clever too — they know how to make the underlying URL look legit. If you do not see the company name directly in front of the .com you know something “phishy” is going on and to NOT click the link.
If you see a link with .php/.js/.asp (actually anything not a typical domain ending) tacked on the end that’s a “Danger, Will Robinson” moment! Just delete that e-mail because that would lead to a page that most likely has a trouble-making script of some sort.
The last thing you want to do is forward e-mails that contain nefarious links within that could cause the other side to click on them. If you don’t want to take the time to confirm an e-mail’s legitimacy, then you don’t forward — just hit delete.
And with that my friends I wish you all a Merry Christmas! I’ll see you back here in 2018!
Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.