Whats Lurking In That Email
Sunday 21st October 2018,


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Whats Lurking In That Email

posted by PC Systems and Security Liaison  
Filed under Featured, Malware, Online Safety Threat Alerts, Spyware, Virus

Protect Yourself From Email Scams

Email has become a very important way to communicate with friends and relatives and take care of  business – it’s fast, easy, and can be extremely effective. Many messages have attachments, like documents, photos, or links to Internet sites that senders may think are of interest to the recipients.

Cyber criminals , very often use email to mislead people into opening attachments and visiting malicious web sites that collect personal information or unknowingly download malicious software. They overload our email inboxes with spam messages we don’t want and certainly didn’t ask for.

Internet criminals will continue to hone their evil skills, but with some knowledge you may be able to  stay ahead of them by staying alert for suspicious email and using various tools to filter unwanted messages.

Almost everyone I know uses their email filter otherwise they would have an extremely hard time managing their messages.

Any email account Left unchecked will sooner or later become overloaded with junk  emails (SPAM), some of which will  certainly contain viruses or some evil scams. Unknown to a lot of users most email programs contain options for filtering out what you don’t want. Take some time and learn how to use those tools properly to make your email experience  a lot easier and non threatening.

The first step is to enable a junk email (or “spam”) filter . Most email programs and online services come with one of these installed. In many cases these are set to “on” by default, but if they’re not, you can easily activate by finding your filtering preferences tab, or using your program’s “help” tool.

Some junk mail filters, like the one that comes with Microsoft Outlook, have multiple level for settings how restrictive you want your filter to be. If you use the highest level, these will filter out virtually everything you don’t want and a lot of things you may want.  If you use the high junk mail filtering option, make sure to take an occasional look at your junk mail folder and move the stuff you recognize back to your inbox. Usually you will be able to mark your good messages as not junk or put the sender on you allowed of safe list and they should be delivered to your inbox the next time. But some programs look into you address book and send messages that look like it from someone you may know (spoofing).

The next level of email filtering is to block all email from specific annoying or bad addresses.  This works differently in different email client programs.  For instance in Microsoft Outlook, you just select the email message from the sender you wish to stop from going to you inbox by selecting  “block sender” from the “message” drop-down menu, then clicking “yes” and then “ok.”

PLEASE BE AWARE: No email filter is exact, so please treat every message you get, even the ones that look like they are from companies you communicate with — with a certain degree of caution.

Phishing attacks use email or scrupulous Internet sites to collect personal and financial information from the unaware.  When request account or personal identity information, these messages are made to look like they are from seemingly reputable credit card companies or banks. When users respond with the requested information, and it can be used to gain access to accounts or commit other crimes.

How do you avoid being a victim online fraud?

  • Do not include any personal or financial information in an email message, and certainly do not respond to any email requiring this information. This includes following links sent in email.
    • If your bank or credit card company needs your info they will most of the time request it in person.
  • Do not send sensitive information over the Internet before checking a Web site’s security.
  • Pay very close attention to the URL  (http://www.olinesafety411.com) of a web site. Malicious web sites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com versus .net).
  • If you are not sure that an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the requesting establishment directly. Contact them by using the information provided on the account statement, not information sent in the message. Information about known phishing scams are available online from groups such as the Anti-Phishing Working Group.
  • Install and maintain anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewalls, and email filtering software to reduce malicious attacks.

What to do if you believe that you are a victim of online fraud?

  • Report it to the appropriate authorities within the organization, including information systems administrators. They can be on the lookout for any suspicious or unusual activity.
  • If you believe your financial accounts may be compromised, contact your financial institution immediately and suspend or close the account(s) if needed.
  • Watch your accounts for any suspicious charges.
  • Consider reporting the attack to the police, and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission.

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