Wednesday, August 31, 2011

E-mail Scams - Beware!

How many times do we need to be warned?

I received the following e-mail today:

Good day,
As requested I give you Invoices issued to you per Aug.


KARLYN Collins

The e-mail had an attachment, a zip file attachment:

Even though I KNOW BETTER, I was sorely tempted to click on the link to see what it was. I actually did click on the link, but stopped the process when my zip program asked for permission. These things are powerfully seductive. One feels the need to check it just to see.

In this case, yesterday I had actually called one of the companies with whom I do business and asked about an invoice number. Today this e-mail arrives in my inbox.

But I did not ask for an invoice. I asked for an invoice #. Moreover, I did not give my e-dresses. Yes, this was sent to two of my e-dresses. This was a red flag, but I was tempted to check the attachment anyway. Thankfully, I did not open it.

I did, however, investigate further. I clicked on the “view” tab and then selected “headers all” to reveal all of the header information for the e-mail. The sender was listed as:

All Tree is my company name. is my domain name. I did not send myself an e-mail with an attached zip file.

Moreover, all of the red flags were present.

* Uninvited and unexpected attached file
* Bad grammar
* Bad punctuation and capitalization
* False e-dress
* Nondescript information
* Unidentified sender/company

A little later, the company that I called yesterday returned my call and answered my question and confirmed that no e-mails were sent by them.

The bottom line is that we must beware. Never open an e-mail attached file unless the sender is a trusted acquaintance who previously informed of the sending of this attachment. NEVER.

Especially never open zip files sent as attachments in e-mails. There is absolutely no reason for an invoice to be sent as a zip file. A PDF file is the standard. But zip files can contain viruses and other malware.

I still am amazed at the power of my curiosity. “Who sent it?” “What is it?” “Just check to see who sent it.”

NO! Don’t be stupid! Leave it alone! Delete it! Do not open it or click on it!

I have heard this hundreds of times. I know this is the right response. Yet the temptation remains strong.

Such is the nature of temptation. The right answer to temptation is always “NO!”

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