Claiming to be a newspaper report:Another way to fight scam is simply to be aware of it and not be taken for a ride. What appears to be a newspaper report here is not one, despite its appearance. It is a more sophisticated type of scam, with fake testimony, which tries to pass off as a newspaper report (the whole thing has been written by a scammer, or to put it simply, a swindler). Click for example. Very original modus operandi:This one is also a scam although they provide you with all the information of your VISA or Master Card, thus baiting you before swindling you! What they are really after is your 3-digit Security Code. The Security Code, which comprises the last 3 digits of the number that appears on the back of your Visa card, is required for all online purchases. This is their modus operandi as unveiled by Deborah Turner.
How to keep your email spam-free
Ok, the spammers are too smart for you. But there are a number of things you can do to outwit them. One is to have two different email accounts - one for your personal friends, family members or professional requirements only, the other for all other purposes such as registration (when you need to download certain programmes) or commercial transactions (when you order things online). In this way your first email is likely to be spam-free (though never completely, you can be sure).
Since anyone can easily open an email account for free at Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo this should not be a problem at all. (Just click on the name of any one of the above to start opening a new email account rightaway).
Once created, give this address only to friends and not to acquaintances and make sure that this new email address doesn't appear anywhere in internet. After all spammers get your email address through their robots scouring the internet (my email address in my website is an example) and if they don't find it there they can't spam you, can they? In fact such lists of email addresses are often sold to pharmaceutical and other such-like companies.
You don't have to close the old one though - use it for all the occasions when you are obliged to supply an email address for all kinds of registration purposes and for confirmation emails where you are provided with a link on which to click in order to validate a request.
Also make sure you don't use this new email address in forums or message boards. Use your old email for this purpose if you really want to keep the new one spam-free. And ask your friends (plead with them if necessary!) not to show your email address in their forwarding lists to be visible to everyone else as such lists can easily be picked up by the spammers. If they really have to include you in their lists then ask them to use the bcc (blind carbon copy) option where all the e-mail addresses are invisible to the other recipients.
While most spam mail is obvious, others are more subtle. For instance, there is the type of spam mail with an attention-grapping news item in its heading such as "Hillary Clinton sues Barack Obama". When you have not subscribed to a news site for alerts, you should just delete this type of email(s), however tempting the heading might be. Recently I received one such email with the heading "Mexicans kill flu victims". Ingenious, I must say, as it seizes a topic that is of interest to people all over the world at the moment. The sender's name is "me" which makes it even less intrusive.
I opened it for the purpose of this article. It contained a link to this url: "http://www.fuoljaram.com" which redirected to "http://moverextra.com/", a pharmaceutical online site selling Viagra and Cialis pills and other male enhancement products. This type of spam is less serious, as its only intention is to make you take a look at their products. By the way don't do what I did. I mean, don't click on the links in the spammed email as it would indicate the validity of your email address. The ideas of spammers never cease to grow. Another junk mail I received had the heading "Article in wikipedia on subject". One's natural impulse on reading such a heading is to open it to see what the subject of the article is about but again, if you do, you will only be falling into the hands of spammers.
In fact much of present-day spamming comes from the pharmaceutical field. All kinds of medication not normally available without a doctor's prescription, such as Viagra or Cialis, find their way into your email box. There are also male-enhancement pills or recipes to add inches to your manhood or pills to help you lose weight.
Then there is the group of spam mail that try to sell you "cheap oem software" proposing, among others, Windows XP and Vista for a fraction of their prices. Other websites that never tire of sending me their uninvited emails are Rolex watches and how to lose weight (thank you, I'm already way underweight as it is!) or on "how to get university diplomas" - fake ones, of course. No, thank you, I already have mine, through three years of sweat!
The Gmail filter will automatically send such emails to the "junk" folder thus saving you lots of time that could have been wasted unnecessarily. However this does not mean that it is 100% reliable and you should always cast an eye on your junk mail folder to see if a friend's letter did not end there by mistake (at one time any email with "Hi" or "Hello" in its heading is automatically relegated to the spam folder).
Beware of sites that offer to send free e-cards for birthdays, etc. They are often the source of your email account being spammed as they tend to send you publicity stuff after that. The most notorious among them is 123greetings.com. Thus you have also to inform your well-intentioned friends that if they were to send any e-cards to you they should not use your new email address but the old one.
I have to make an exception for Hallmark ecards which are perfectly spam-free. It used to offer free ecards at some time in the past but it now charges $12.00 a year for this service. You can send any number of such ecards during the 12-month period so it works out to only $1 a month for unlimited sending of greeting ecards for birthdays, Christmas or New Year and many other occasions. A good buy, considering that it doesn't follow up by sending you spam mail.
Another similar site to Hallmark is Jacquie Lawson. It has ecards for all occasions and does not spam you. The price to pay for this service plus peace of mind is the same as for Hallmark i.e. USD12.00 a year for unlimited sending of greeting ecards to your friends.
Then there are emails purportedly coming from your friends. Hotmail account holders are particularly vulnerable to this type of spam. When you see your contact's name in the "From" line your first reaction is "Great, he (she) is thinking of me". Yet when you read further you notice that the nature of the content is not in keeping with the writing style of your friend.
Whatever you do, never reply to spam, whether in nicely-couched language such as "Please be kind enough not to send me any more such email. Thank you." or with curses (I used to do that in my younger days). Believe me, you will just be wasting your time. It wouldn't have any effect as there is normally no human being behind it but just a cold-hearted computer programme that doesn't understand human feelings.
Next time you get a spam mail, do like me - take a sigh, delete it and carry on with your life, or whatever work you might be doing.
Spamming the spammers!
But if you have plenty of time on your hands and don't know what to do with it, you can take the spammers on at their own game. You do this by forwarding their junk mail back to them via the site http://www.return2-sender.com which is a site that will send the junk mail back to their owners on your behalf. It is equivalent to the Post Office's "return to sender" service. Just highlight the junk mail, click on the "Forward" button and put this as the email address to send to: email@example.com (copy-paste if you like). Please note that you are not sending the junk mail back to the spammers yourself but to a third-party who will then send it back to them on your behalf. However if the junk mail do not come from a person but are auto-generated (as is quite often the case) then you'd be merely banging your head against the wall by returning it to them!
Phishing for passwords
The original "Nigerian scam" has been too well exposed and is practically non-existent today. In its heyday it swarmed emails with offers of a percentage of a huge sum of money belonging to some wealthy dignitary that has to be transferred out of an African country if you will only allow your bank account to be used for the purpose. In its place you will often receive emails with the heading "PayPal Notification" whose sole aim is to steal your log-in and password. Same for "mortgage applications". Similarly I've been getting bogus emails purportedly coming from eBay and Amazon.com. Spammers use similar ploys for UPS and FedEx customers.
So be warned about spoof or phishing e-mails. Things are not always what they seem. Just look at the following two links. They are the same, aren't they? Yet, they're not.
The first one is the genuine one, the second one is fake. (I'm using Citibank as an example as it is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, bank in the world)
http://www.citibank.com/ http://www.citibank.com/ If you click on the second link you will not be taken to Citibank (or Amazon or Paypal or Ebay, three other common targets, if their names appear). Instead you will be taken to a spoof website (but which resembles the Citibank website to a T) whose aim is to get your account number, password etc. in order to go into your account there.
This is possible because it is quite easy to reproduce the genuine site (including the log-in, account number and password boxes for you to type in the details).
Once you fill them up you've had it. Frightening, isn't it? How not to fall into its clutches? Simple.
JUST DONT CLICK ON A LINK FROM AN EMAIL (PURPORTEDLY) COMING FROM YOUR BANK. If you do online banking (I do it myself as it is very convenient and almost 100% safe, though there is talk of "pharming" nowadays) type your bank URL (the part that starts with http://) yourself into the address box of Internet Explorer or Firefox at the top of the screen. Once you sign in you see a tiny "lock". In such a case you should have nothing to fear.
One very important thing to remember when you make use of online banking is to log off (or click on the button Disconnect) when you're through with it. The fact that you closed the page doesn't mean that the next person who clicks on your bank link (if you're in a cybercafe or in the office) will not find himself in your bank account, so be warned. This is also true for emails. When you're through with your email, you've got to log off or disconnect. It's not enough just to close the email page because if you do that the next person who clicks on Hotmail or Gmail could find himself in your email account! Frightening isn't it?
I don't know if you have emails dated "Tue, 1/19/38". I have (in my Yahoo account). Because of the 2038 year in their dates these emails remain at the very top of the emails received all the time. If you do not want to waste your time each day scrolling down the page to look at your latest emails then you have to delete them all.
A number of emails have the "Unsubscribe" button (more usually it's just a link) at the bottom of the email (see example on right). This is in fact a sure-fire way of finding out that that email account of yours is active. One rule of thumb is, never click on the "Unsubscribe" button of those unsolicited emails (except from reliable and reputable companies) that you receive. You will only be playing into their hands as the spammers will now know for sure that you are reading emails sent to this address and so will add it to even more updated lists. The same for emails that contain a line such as We hope you enjoy receiving emails from (whatever). If you do not wish to receive them, please click here. As I explained earlier never click on any link in your emails that does not come from a friend. If you have to, right-click on the link, choose Copy then Paste the URL on your internet address box. When you do this there is no trace that you are clicking from your email account.
If you are quite naive about the whole thing what you can do is to install a programme that will filter out all the spam mail for you. One such is Spamfighter (its standard version for non-commercial users is free). You can download it for free here and install it. During the installation process when you are asked to give your email give your real one (I mean the main one, not the secondary one that you use for other purposes) as it is this email that it is going to protect. The next time you start your email client (Outlook Express, etc) you will see the SPAMfighter folder where all the spam mail will be sent. But make sure you have a look at it before deleting the emails completely just in case a valid or legitimate email should find its way there. And if a spam mail happens to slip through its net you just click on the Blacklist button and it will not happen again.
Any lonely bachelors among you reading this? Don't get excited when you get an email like the one below. It could come from girls with such alluring names as Aylin (in this case), Allison, Virginia, Emilie, Elaine, Denise or Janessa but they all have the same @EmailSpeedy.com part. It is making the rounds this Xmas Day. And my dear woman readers are advised not to get excited neither if they should find such emails in their husbands' email accounts. I don't know if it is the spammers' intention to break up happily-married couples. If so this is really something new!