Internet Scams 104 -- Particularly Vicious Scams

Written by Janette Blackwell

Some scams userepparttar name of organizations we trust, and they arerepparttar 148917 most vicious.

Awhile back scammers sent an e-mail supposedly fromrepparttar 148918 FBI. The address seemed to be, andrepparttar 148919 message told you that you had accessed illegal websites and that your Internet use had been monitored byrepparttar 148920 FBI’s “Internet Fraud Complaint Center.” You were then told to open an attachment and answer some questions. The FBI says that this e-mail is a scam. If you open that attachment your computer will be infected with a virus, tracking cookie, or trojan horse.

•Anti-scam rule 1: Even trusted government agencies can have their addresses stolen. A trusted government agency will not ask you to open an attachment.

Another extremely vicious e-mail identifies itself as Microsoft Security Bulletin MS05-039, and offers a link to what it claims is a patch againstrepparttar 148921 Sober Zafi and Mytob worms. In fact, there is no such thing as Microsoft Security Bulletin MS05-039, and real Microsoft security bulletins offer links to a Microsoft download site, rather than torepparttar 148922 patches themselves. If you click on this supposed patch, you will be infected with malicious software that gives attackers complete access to your computer.

•Anti-scam rule 2: If you want to download something from Microsoft or another legitimate organization, do not click on an e-mail. Go to their official site and download it there. That’srepparttar 148923 safe way to proceed.


The scam e-mails seeking my eBay account information started out low key. “Dear eBay customer, During our regularly scheduled account maintenance and verification procedures, we have detected a slight error in your billing information.”

That one didn’t have an eBay logo, but it apparently brought in enough innocent victims to warrant an upgrade. Subsequent mailings grew more alarming andrepparttar 148924 official eBay logo began to appear in vivid color: “Dear eBay customer, Due to recent activity, including possible unauthorized listings placed on your account, we will require a second confirmation of your identity with us in order to allow us to investigate this matter further. Your account is not suspended, but if in 48 hours after you receive this message your account is not confirmed we reserverepparttar 148925 right to suspend your eBay registration.”

Internet Scams 102 -- Hijackings and Spyware

Written by Janette Blackwell

My friend Janice is afraid to go onrepparttar Internet because ofrepparttar 148916 terrible things that might happen to her. She views a simple trip to get e-mailrepparttar 148917 way she views going alone, late at night, to a dangerous part of town.

Please . . . it’s not that bad. Though, come to think of it, it’s ALMOST that bad: hijackers can now do things to people who already have antivirus and anti-spyware programs. To people who have carefully NOT clicked on scam e-mails. Some hijackers can disable your firewall, your antivirus software, and your spyware killers. Or they can prevent antivirus and spyware from being updated.

But there are solutions. Here’s what you do:


You know you’ve been hijacked if your start page is different and if you keep getting things you didn’t intend to get -- frequently pornographic sites and popup ads. You change things backrepparttar 148918 way they were, but they won’t stay changed.

These nasties nabbed you through a security hole in Microsoft Windows.If you haven’t been caught and don’t want to be, says,

“First and most simply, stop using Internet Explorer. If you use either Mozilla, Firefox or Opera, you are immune to virtually all browser hijackers.”

Actually, it’s not that simple. There are ways scammers can get around Firefox. Microsoft is also busy locking its barn doors, though I’m afraidrepparttar 148919 horse has already been stolen.

If you decide to stay with Internet Explorer, be sure to keep it up to date, especially with what they call “critical updates.”


The most basic and most necessary protection, one you’ve probably installed already, is antivirus protection. The antivirus programs upgrade constantly to protect us fromrepparttar 148920 latest viruses. Norton isrepparttar 148921 most common, and a good choice. If you prefer a simple, uncomplicated solution, go torepparttar 148922 site that sells Norton,, and download allrepparttar 148923 antivirus protection you want.

If you’re a thorough person, however, one who wants to learn about allrepparttar 148924 options, go to, and you will learn of problems and solutions you never dreamed existed.


Unfortunately, an antivirus program alone is not enough these days. You need ANTI-SPYWARE.

Becauserepparttar 148925 latest hijackers can disable anti-spyware -- AND keep you from downloading updates -- you want some that is really, really good. The techie who manages my website says, “Get something that can WARD OFF attacks, not just remove them after they’ve infected you. Once really vicious spyware is on your machine, it may be impossible for anyone but an expert to remove it.”

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