A quick guide to avoid being scammedMikey 8 comments
In light of recent events involving a woman who sent $US400,000 to a Nigerian scammer, it got me wondering why there isn't some sort of mandatory service or kit immediately available to Internet noobies designed to avoid situations like this.
So what do I have to offer apart from the usual finger wagging? Maybe this list is a good starting point. If you have a family member or friend who is new to the Internet and a little too gullible, I suggest you make them aware of this page. Feel free to add more in the comments at the end. Let's start with the one that spawned the idea for this article.
Every email that comes from a stranger in a 3rd world country is a lie.
Sending 'good faith' money isn't going to make them deposit millions into your account. This is so bleeding obvious that you almost deserve to fall for it if you believe for a nanosecond it might be true. But I wouldn't wish that on anyone, simply trust me on it.
If you haven't been to Spain, you probably didn't enter their lottery.
Most lottery commissions don't make multi million dollar mistakes. Sending a small fee to 'release the winnings' or 'cover insurance costs' is akin to throwing money into the toilet.
The little girl isn't really dying.
You won't really be sending money to her family so she can have that life saving operation. You will really be sending money to some idiot whose been thinking about getting his 3rd Porsche. If you are compelled to give money to a charity, do so to one you know and trust.
That iPod is not free.
No matter how good the deal sounds, not matter how much sense it makes to sign up with your credit card for 'free', you won't be receiving a free iPod - ever.
Viagra can be bought at your local chemist.
If you don't have any and you really need it, handing over your credit card details to a dodgy web site will leave you exactly where you started.
Your bank is not having technical difficulties.
In the extremely unlikely event that your bank somehow managed to bypass all security protocols and privacy policies, they will not be sending you an email asking you to re-enter your password. In fact, no reputable organisation in the entire world will ask you to do this. Just because the email has their logo on it doesn't make it genuine.
If your anti-phishing filter says the site you are about to enter may be a scam or phishing site, it's probably true.
Browser security experts spend their lives building software to alert you when there is a chance you could be taken advantage of online. Ignoring these warning messages is not only an insult to their profession, but also a good way to get key stroke loggers and other nasty spyware on your system, tracking your every move, looking at your files.
Your anti-virus program needs updating for a good reason.
I've heard it argued that people who are too lazy to update their anti-virus software deserve to get infected. I don't think anyone deserves to get infected, but I do think they deserve a slap in the face. And nothing says 'slap in the face' more than having ones critical files deleted.
If the invoice is for a product or service you don't own, you don't have to for pay it.
Seriously. If the domain name renewal invoice is for a domain name you don't own, or you don't even know what a domain name is, leave the credit card in your wallet.
If you don't know the sender, the attachment is probably dangerous.
Nothing could be easier to understand. If you don't know who sent you the email, don't open any of the attachments. Doing so will unleash a world of pain not felt since the days of the I Love You virus.
It's pretty simple, because it's just common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. When in doubt, ask your Internet savvy friend. But be prepared for a much deserved mocking.