For those of you out there who are new to the Internet or who are otherwise unknowing of the many dangers that lurk out there, I give you The Dangernet:
The Scam is On
Paypal keeps sending me e-mails warning me that my account has been suspended, and that I need to click on the provided link and log-in to verify my account information. Once a week or so, I get an e-mail from Chase Bank asking me to click on their link and log-in to update my account information. And just what is the deal with those e-mails that arrive with completely indecipherable subject lines? We're supposed to open those?
Yes, I do have a Paypal account, but it is not under the e-mail address from which I am receiving notices. And although I once did have a Chase credit card, my account was paid off and cancelled over a year ago. In any event, new Web-surfers should understand that if a company wants information from you - especially account information - they are not going request that you click on a link in an e-mail. They will either snail-mail a request to call them, call you directly, or request that you visit their website on your own, indirectly. Having you click on a link that sends you to a bogus website is a common Internet scam referred to as "phishing". Some of these fake websites look exactly like the sites they are duping. Even experts can be fooled. Spare yourself the hardship: If you get an e-mail from eBay, or PayPal, or any other company you do business with and they ask that you click on a link and enter account or user information, DO NOT DO IT. Call or visit the company's website yourself (outside of the e-mail).
I'm an America Online user (spare me the mud-slinging!). I get occasional e-mails from "AOL Support" asking me to click on a link and login to verify my User Name and Password. Well, duhhh, if I'm online and reading my e-mail, then they already know my user name and password - I just gave it to them when I logged in. People fall for that one, too, unfortunately.
Thanks for the Virus, Sally
You get an e-mail from a friend of yours who jusy loves passing around jokes and funny pictures to everyone in her address book. She's sent you many things, and you know she would never send you a virus. But have you asked yourself where she gets those funny jokes and pictures? What's attached to the attachment? People pass things around the Internet like the wind blows. She could be unknowingly passing a virus around. And you could be, too: So far in 2006, one in every 141 e-mails has been infected with a virus. So take a few seconds to scan e-mail attachments for viruses before opening them - even if you know the person sending them. Right-click on the attachment, and if you have anti-virus software - and you better, the "Scan for viruses" option should be there. Yes, I know, it's a pain. Okay then, don't do it. I live in Springfield, MA, I charge $50 to scan for and remove viruses, and I can be reached at this URL: http://ipenetwork.net/pc-boot/
Thanks for your money!
Speaking of virus alerts: Neither Microsoft nor any anti-virus software maker (McAfee, Norton, etc.) sends out e-mail alerts across the Internet warning of virus threats. They post threats at their websites and/or provide updates and patches for their customers. If you receive virus alerts or information via your e-mail, the chances are excellent that they are either hoaxes or viruses themselves. They may even be phishing scams, sending you to a fake McAfee site, for instance, for a "virus fix". Sucker.
Allow Me to Introduce Myself
It begins thusly:
REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP
FIRST, I MUST SOLICIT YOUR STRICTEST CONFIDENCE IN THIS TRANSACTION. THIS IS BY VIRTUE OF ITS NATURE AS BEING UTTERLY CONFIDENTIAL AND 'TOP SECRET'. WE ARE TOP OFFICIAL OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACT REVIEW PANEL WHO ARE INTERESTED IN IMPORTATION OF GOODS INTO OUR COUNTRY WITH FUNDS WHICH ARE PRESENTLY TRAPPED IN NIGERIA. IN ORDER TO COMMENCE THIS BUSINESS WE SOLICIT YOUR ASSISTANCE TO ENABLE US TRANSFER INTO YOUR ACCOUNT THE SAID TRAPPED FUNDS....
Yes, people still fall for this one - despite the fact that a version of this scam has been around since the 1920s.
Fwd: Forward This - JERK
Whether it's a "Hunting for Bambi" promotion, a chain letter about a missing persons alert, or a "good luck" letter that will damn any person who doesn't pass it along, we've all seen these messages in our e-mail box, and a great many of us have passed them along. Many sound terribly sincere, and a few are just so danged funny we can't help but pass them on to our friends. But it's spam, folks. Junk mail. And everytime you click the "Forward" and "Send" button, you become a part of the problem.
Here is a Snopes.com directory of these annoying messages.
The Internet can be a great tool for finding information on merchandise, travel rates, long-lost friends, or even English Ivy. But when it comes to surfing the Web, the old X-Files credo should always be kept in mind: Trust No One.