What You Can Do to Avoid Becoming a Victim of SCAM
Because most email scams begin with unsolicited commercial email, you should take measures toprevent spam from getting into your mailbox. Most email applications and web mail servicesinclude spam-filtering features, or ways in which you can configure your email applications tofilter spam. Consult the help file for your email application or service to find out what you mustdo to filter spam.
You may not be able to eliminate all spam, but filtering will keep a great deal of it from reachingyour mailbox. You should be aware that spammers monitor spam filtering tools and software andtake measures to elude them. For instance, spammers may use subtle spelling mistakes to subvertspam filters, changing “Potency Pills” to “Potençy Pills.”
Regard Unsolicited Email with Suspicion
Don’t automatically trust any email sent to you by an unknown individual or organization. Neveropen an attachment to unsolicited email. Most importantly, never click on a link sent to you in anemail. Cleverly crafted links can take you to forged web sites set up to trick you into divulgingprivate information or downloading viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.
Spammers may also use a technique in which they send unique links in each individual spamemail. Victim 1 may receive an email with the link <http://dfnasdunf.example.org/>, and victim 2may receive the same spam email with the link <http://vnbnnasd.exaple.org/>. By watchingwhich links are requested on their web servers, spammers can figure out which email addressesare valid and more precisely target victims for repeat spam attempts.Remember that even email sent from a familiar address may create problems: Many virusesspread themselves by scanning the victim computer for email addresses and sending themselvesto these addresses in the guise of an email from the owner of the infected computer.
Treat Email Attachments with Caution
Email attachments are commonly used by online scammers to sneak a virus onto your computer.These viruses can help the scammer steal important information from your computer,compromise your computer so that it is open to further attack and abuse, and convert yourcomputer into a ‘bot’ for use in denial-of-service attacks and other online crimes.
As noted above, a familiar “from” address is no guarantee of safety because some viruses spread by first searchingfor all email addresses on an infected computer and then sending itself to these addresses. It couldbe your friend’s computer is infected with just such a virus.Use Common SenseWhen email arrives in your mailbox promising you big money for little effort, accusing you ofviolating the Patriot Act, or inviting you to join a plot to grab unclaimed funds involving personsyou don’t know in a country on the other side of the world, take a moment to consider thelikelihood that the email is legitimate.
Install Antivirus Software and Keep it Up to Date
If you haven’t done so by now, you should install antivirus software on your computer. If possible, you should install an antivirus program that has an automatic update feature. This will help ensure you always have the most up-to-date protection possible against viruses. In addition, you should make sure the antivirus software you choose includes an email scanning feature. This will help keep your computer free of email-born viruses