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Here are a few email scams you should be aware of going into the new year, think before you click on that email link. There are many ways to avoid clicking on email scams or links in email scams. The email scammers are going to great lengths to appear normal.
There has been a lot of information about email scams and hackers harvesting information from your computer, but computer users continue to be victims of the email scammers. This article was first written in 2016, and now in 2021 the email scams have gotten even more sophisticated.
Email scams are getting worse as time goes on. From beginner to advanced computer uses, email scams are downloading email bots in a variety of ways. Horrible computer scripts are downloaded that damage your computer. Some of them steal your email contacts, some steal bank accounts, and among the worse are password grabbers and utility bots that enable them to control your computer. Stay vigilant, stay aware and don’t click anything in email. Go to the website through google search, yahoo or bing search.
1. Automatic Email Harvesting Scams:
If you have a website with your email address on it, someone with email harvesting software can scan the web and pick up your email address. Instead of using [email protected], use myemail(at)me.com on your webpage, this will avoid automatic email harvesting software. You can now mouse over the “from” email and see that it is gibberish, or non-sense letters typical of a bot email.
If you click on an email with a subject line that appears to be malicious computer code, it could include code that is unloaded onto your computer when you click on the email. If there are a lot of characters in the email, it is sure to include hacker code. When the code is unloaded on your computer, it allows the hacker to consume your email list from your computer.
When you open a bad email, you will be instructed to open a link in the email, to buy something, give personal information, or with a message to view something interesting. The link is usually malicious computer code. They usually appear to be a legitimate company, it is not and the links have malicious code.
If you click on a malicious link in the email, most of those links include code that will unload your entire email address book, along with your personal email address, onto the scammers computer database. With that information , they will send out millions of spam emails with your email address in the “from” line and your friends email address in the “to” line.
Those emails will instruct your friends to open a link in the email that is actually malicious code. The links unload something called a “bot” onto your computer, and allows them to control your email address book.
It will appear that the email is coming from a friend to you, but the message line is usually not meaningful, or the email will ask you to click on a link in the open email that will unload a “bot” or coded program to access your computer and computer email address book. Your anti-virus does not usually delete these email bots in due time.
The only way to avoid giving your email address and your email address book to strangers is to avoid opening trick emails.
2. Responding To Trick Emails:
Understand trick emails to protect your computer and your personal information, including your passwords.
Fake emails that respond to a product you are selling online, an ad you placed, for anything ranging from a job to selling a computer, will ask you to click the link in the email for more information, and the “bot”, is usually code to install a keystroke tracker. The keystroke tracker, records your pass codes on their computer.
This is how online banking accounts are stolen. Large companies have had millions stolen by hackers, when just one employee clicked on a link in an email with a keystroke tracker installed. Employees must be educated, as well as personal computer users.
3. To Avoid Email Tricks and Downloading Malicious Code
Run an anti-virus update and full scan before you use online banking account. Use a highly rated anti-virus program on your computer.
4. Clicking on Links to Unsolicited Emails Sent to You
This sounds super easy to avoid. But, the email scammers have gotten very sophisticated. They will email you several emails that appear to be from legitimate companies. These companies we use all the time, so folks don’t get suspicious.
The problem is when the emails look like an amateur put them up, and they have links that encourage you to click them. Clicking on these links will download a “hidden bot” or script also known as code that takes personal information off of your computer. Many times it disables your computer from working all together.
This is serious, but if you are vigilant you can avoid being a victim of this scam. If you didn’t order anything from said company, you know it is a spoof of that company, so you don’t need to open the email. If you think you ordered something and can’t remember go directly to your account page on that website or paypal to check to see if you ordered something. But, absolutely NEVER click on a link in a suspicious email.
5. Do not open emails with [no subject], in the subject line
Do not open emails with email addresses you know are in your email address book or belongs to a friend, but that friend no longer uses that email address. This email came from a bot, downloaded from your friends computer to the email scammer.
Emails with any type of perverted information in the subject line; these are designed usually for men or those who are extremely “curious”. The information will tell the user to click on the link to get more perverted information, but the link is a malicious bot, to steal information off the users computer.
Emails that come from companies that you don’t do business with, they hope you will open the email and click on a bad link to be curious about why they are contacting you.
Emails that claim to be your bank or some other place you do business with—do not open–call the business instead, with a phone number you already have. These are called fishing emails. They are crooks, fishing for information from unsuspecting computer users.
They usually send out emails appearing to come from hundreds of different banks, hoping they will land your bank name on your computer. Don’t fall for the trick.
When you place your email address on your website, place it as (at) instead of @.
6. Understanding Limitations To Anti-Virus Software:
Anti-virus software has limited use, be aware that it does not work when you answer a fishing email and/or click on a bad link to automatically download a malicious bot to your computer. A carefully chosen, high quality software can protect you.
The bot normally downloads information to your computer before the anti-virus picks it up. Get an anti-virus and a malware removal program.
Anti-virus usually works to keep viruses, worms, and bots off your computer hard drive, but you must be vigilant.
Update your antivirus and malware software a few times a day, and run a full scan, at least once a day. Don’t leave your computer off for extended periods, that is, weeks at a time. If your computer is not in use, turn it on at least once a week, update your anti-virus software, and run a full scan.
If your computer is left off for too long, the hard drive can become overwhelmed with viruses, worms, and bots—and therefore the computer may not function in any capacity.
Become friends with your delete button. After you have taken a close look at each of your emails, and you are not positively sure it is from a trusted source, delete it right away.
7. This is a 2022 update to email harvesting and malicious bots. Your phone has also become a target.
Your phone has also become a target for home and business abuse. Many unscrupulous types use spoof cards to mimic a legitimate company on your caller ID. The ID can have both the name of the company and their number which has been spoofed by a spoof card used before the call is made to disguise the real caller’s information.
You can get a hint that the caller ID is fake if; 1. The caller ask for a financial donation to a legitimate source, 2. The caller ask for banking information, or 3. A computer answers the phone when you pick it up. It helps to be suspicious of every single email and call.
Do not give out credit card information, or any other confidential information when someone calls you. 4. Telephone calls are outrageous, always different scams asking for money for a created fraud — tell seniors – DO NOT ANSWER, they use fake phone numbers to match real businesses.
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