What’s in Your Email and What Should You Do with It? Four Favorite Schemes

download-key-logger-programIt seems that not a week goes by without having to check my spam mailbox as it fills with ever more increasing frequency.  When they said “spam” and phishing schemes where on the rise they really meant, on the rise!  I thought I would share with you my five favorites this week that you should be on the look out for.  One or two  have already hit some friends  and I wouldn’t want them to happen to you.

You Got Mail!

This phishing email message is sent allegedly from FEDEX or UPS.  You have a very important package that they tried to deliver but couldn’t.  If you could just take a minute to provide this information your VIP package will be on it’s way.   This one quite often asks for information, payment of an invoice (requiring me to open an attachment) and will include a subject like like this one,  “UPS Delivery Notification Tracking Number:EVKDBQXRTKRXN4CTMI.”

UPS offers more information on these fake emails as does FEDEX .

Report these types of messages to UPS at fraud@ups.com and to FEDEX at abuse@fedex.com

You Have WON!

So far this week I have won from a lottery that I never entered (scratch offs are about as far as I go) as well as won money from a casino I never heard of, let along gambled at.   Even the FBI got in on the act, telling me that I won $1 million!  This, of course, is different from the email I received last week where the FBI (who I’m quite sure already has quite a bit of information on me) attempted to phish for some more.

You have been Blessed! 

These may start like this . . . “My husband and I won One hundred and Forty eight million six hundred and fifty six thousand pounds (£148,656,000 GBP) Euromillions jackpot on the 10 August 2012 and have voluntarily decided to donate the sum of £1,500,000.00 GBP to you as part of our own charity project to improve the lot of individuals all over the world.”  This one simply offers me an attachment that says “read carefully” and “God Bless.”

This poor woman is dying of cancer and wants to give me $22.400,000.00 USD deposited with a bank in Singapore because she just knows I’m a very special person who could run her dying father’s last wish of a charitable organization.  How she knows all this I’m not exactly sure, but she has no other family or friends to turn to.  Nice to know I am the last kid chosen to play on her team.

Big Business

This one reads a little something like this . . .”. Can you please assist me to receive and invest this fund, US$20,000,000,00 Million in your company or any business in your country?. I will give you more details and my profile as I hear from you.”    These types of fraudulent solicitations will include words like “invest” and “business.”

FedEx offers up these tips which are very good ones to keep in mind about common warning signs your email may be a online scam:

  • Unexpected requests for money in return for delivery of a package, often with a sense of urgency.
  • Requests for personal and/or financial information.
  • Links to misspelled or slightly altered Web-site addresses (fedx.com, fed-ex.com, etc.)
  • Spelling and grammatical errors or excessive use of capitalization and exclamation points.
  • Claims that you have won a large sum of money in a lottery or settlement.
  • Certificate errors or lack of SSL for sensitive activities.

Unfortunately SPAM mail is a part of having the convenience of email.  Whether the information for your email address is bought, stolen, hacked or “borrowed” from a forwarded message most people will agree that they get some of these sorts of messages each month.   Here are a few good ways to protect yourself:

  • Forward messages from sites that pretend to be legitimate like Amazon, PayPal, FedEx or UPS to their spoof or spam email  department so that they can try to stop some of this in it’s tracks.  
  • Place your SPAM filter on your email at the highest level setting.
  • Check your SPAM box frequently.  Most services will delete them all at the end of the month, but sometimes important messages can end up in there and you really didn’t want them too.
  • Do NOT open attachments, click on links or respond.  They often contain viruses and other malware programs.   If they are “random” and arrive in your inbox simply use your SPAM feature on your email service and they will be held there until deleted either by you or on the deletion date scheduled by your program.

What is your favorite phishing scheme this week?  I admit, some of them are actually very good for a laugh.