Internet Scams 105 -- The Most Vicious Scam of All

Written by Janette Blackwell

Not all e-mail scams are vicious. Some are kind of old-shoe, and a person would feel fond of them, except they are still cheating people out of their life savings. I recently got this classic:

“I am George Mudashiru, a close friend and personal assistance to Abba Sani Abacharepparttar son ofrepparttar 148914 former Nigerian military ruler Sani Abacha. I got your contact throught a directory of prominent members inrepparttar 148915 world so I decided to contact you through mail on regarding this proposal.

“As a close associate to Abba, he gave me a large sum of money which he said to help him transfer abroad and be deposited in my name in a security company. . . .” And good old George would like to deposit $10 million in my bank account if only he had its number. A great classic, which is to scams what a Duncan Phyfe table is to furniture. I didn’t give good old George my bank account number, and I’m sure you wouldn’t either.


Now forrepparttar 148916 worst one. It started off on an alarmingly high note. (Or maybe I ignoredrepparttar 148917 e-mails they sent for starters -- because I’m on three e-mail sucker lists I get daily news, in triplicate, aboutrepparttar 148918 terrible things supposedly happening to my PayPal, eBay, and bank accounts.)

This one started out: “We recently have determined that different computers have logged 1nto (sic) your PayPal account, and multiple password failures were present beforerepparttar 148919 login. One of our Customer Service employees has already tryed (sic) to telephonically reach you. As our employee did not manage to reach you, this email has been sent to your notice.

“Therefore your account has been temporary suspended. We need you to confirm your identity in order to regain full privileges of your account.

“To confirm your identity please followrepparttar 148920 link below:” (the link looked like a PayPal link but I am sure was not).

Well. They suspended my account. We’re playing inrepparttar 148921 big leagues now.

I do have a PayPal account, though not at that particular e-mail address. And if I hadn’t received so many scam e-mails, this would have led me to go torepparttar 148922 REAL PayPal website and ask if they sent that e-mail. Instead I hung tight.

And gotrepparttar 148923 doozy. It hadrepparttar 148924 official PayPal logo and format. Onrepparttar 148925 right-hand side ofrepparttar 148926 page it said:

“Protect Your Account Info. Make sure you never provide your password to fraudulent websites. To safely and securely accessrepparttar 148927 PayPal website or your account, open a new web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer or Netscape) and type inrepparttar 148928 PayPal login page ( to be sure you are onrepparttar 148929 real PayPal site. PayPal will never ask you to enter your password in an email.”

Internet Scams 101 -- Attacking You Through Your E-mail

Written by Janette Blackwell

The Internet is filled with scams, and eventually they wind up in your e-mail box. The ingenuity of these people is astonishing. Their goal is usually to get you to click on an e-mail attachment, so they can infect your computer with a virus, a tracking cookie, and/or a trojan horse.

•COMPUTER VIRUSES strike fear into all our hearts. When a particularly vicious virus comes out, announcements are made on television and in newspapers. For a good discussion of computer viruses, go to

•A COOKIE can be perfectly aboveboard and even helpful. For example, when you visit, you get a cookie which enables their computer to recognize you when you return and to rememberrepparttar sort of thing you’re interested in. TRACKING COOKIES, onrepparttar 148913 other hand, recordrepparttar 148914 places you go online and what links you click on, telling advertisers what type of ads should be aimed at you. It’s true, they won’t transmit a virus, but who wants an Internet bloodhound baying on their trail? Good anti-spyware will remove tracking cookies.

•A TROJAN HORSE pretends to be something it is not, such as an e-mail from a friend or something you’ve ordered. The text ofrepparttar 148915 e-mail may say, “Here isrepparttar 148916 information you wanted.” Or, “Keep this as a secret between you and me.” Or, “You’ve just won our grand prize!” Anything to make you click on that attachment. Once you do,repparttar 148917 trojan horse takes over your computer. It can do any malicious thing it wants, from erasing files to changing your desktop. It then propagates by sending itself to other people in your address book. A good friend just had his Internet address list stolen, and I’ve been getting messages supposedly from him ever since. They all want me to click on an attachment torepparttar 148918 e-mail. I e-mailed asking him if he’d sent that message. He had not.

Even if you’re smart enough not to click on a trojan horse attachment yourself, one ofrepparttar 148919 friends on your address list may do so, your address will then be stolen, and off you go intorepparttar 148920 underworld.

Once scammers get your e-mail address, they may use it to send malicious e-mails to thousands of people in your name. I usually discover this when I get “I’m out ofrepparttar 148921 office” automatic responder messages from people I never heard of. It’s frustrating, but I know it isn’t my fault.

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