Saturday, September 4, 2010

Watch out for e-mail scams

E-mail scams have been around since the internet spread its wings. I still receive e-mails from some people who claim to be nationals of some African country and ask for my bank account number and other details. I have even received these messages on my cell phone.
Another kind of scam doing the rounds is mails claiming that you have won the British national lottery. The latest scam doing the rounds however is a lot more sophisticated, it arrives from Microsoft or Yahoo, stating you have won a lottery. The mail comes with a file attachment and if you check the web address it takes you to a site that issues discount coupons.
I once received a message from one of my banks that my internet password was incorrect, what confused me was the fact that I had never registered for internet banking for that particular account, the reason for that was, it was an old account which I just used as a savings account and never did any transactions through it.
I have even received mails from PayPal stating that my account has a problem, but the e-mail id used was incorrect.
Fake friend requests from popular social networking sites is another common kind of scam. Facebook, Linked in, my space are some of the most vulnerable social networking sites. Some people create fake accounts just to gather e-mail addresses and gain access to important personal details. Most people on sites like Linked in actually put in lot of personal details on their profile.
Messages from site administration stating that your account has a problem or that you need to log in update some information are one of the most sophisticated scams and you have to be very watchful. If you have not encountered any problem logging into your account do not click on the links provided.
Have you come across sites that promise to offer you freebies like e-books and then when you click on the link it takes you to a page which asks for your paypal password, remember never ever give out your password, you may make a payment from your account but do not give out your password.
I have also received bogus e-cards from unknown people, the reason I clicked on some of them is because the addresser referred to my school and I thought may be a friend I have forgotten has sent the card. My computer did not get hacked because I opened these e-cards from a terminal at my office.
Avoid opening mails from unknown recipients to escape any kind of scam and do not give in to panic when you see any kind of threatening message, as in my case when the mail came from the bank stating that my account was hacked whereas I had not even registered for net banking I just ignored the mail.
If you are a little vigilant you can be sure that none of these scams are going to affect you and remember, you can’t win a lottery unless you bought or applied for one.

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