What a rush! Mark Zuckerberg knows I exist and, even better than that – he just gave me $200. Yes! $200! Thanks Mark; I’ll get right on that.
You don’t believe me I hear you saying – then, take a peek at this email from my Gmail spam box. Oops, I’ve just given myself away – haven’t I? The email is in my SPAM box. With good reason, of course.
While it’s true, that in this particular case, spam filters have isolated this email as both spam and a probable fraud – do not rely on filters as the ultimate safeguard. That’s your job – you are your own best protection.
Click to expand.
As an experience and educated surfer, you’re quite use to navigating over the rough trails of the “Wild West” Internet. You know, that this email is just too preposterous to be taken seriously. Although, as difficult as it is to believe, there are those who are gullible enough to respond.
If you’re a regular reader here, please forgive me for repeating the following same old – same old – advice.
Be kind to your friends, relatives, and associates, particularly those who are new Internet users, and let them know that there is an epidemic of this type of scam on the Internet. In doing so, you help raise the level of protection for all of us.
A technical approach to protecting yourself against fraudsters:
Check whether the email was authenticated by the sending domain. Click on the ‘show details’ link in the right hand corner of the email, and make sure the domain you see next to the ‘mailed-by’ or ‘signed-by’ lines matches the sender’s email address.
Make sure the URL domain on the given page is correct, and click on any images and links to verify that you are directed to proper pages within the site.
Always look for the closed lock icon in the status bar at the bottom of your browser window whenever you enter any private information, including your password.
Check the message headers. The ‘From:’ field is easily manipulated to show a false sender name. Learn how to view headers.
If you’re still uncertain, contact the organization from which the message appears to be sent. Don’t use the reply address in the message, since it can be forged. Instead, visit the official website of the company in question, and find a different contact address.
How gullible can people be? When Michael Jackson passed, I wrote a piece entitled “Hey Sucker – Read This! Michael Jackson’s Not Dead!”, simply as a test of “curiosity exploitation”.
The results that followed were astonishing – within days, this article was getting thousands of daily hits. Even today, this article continues to get hits. Talk about gullible people!