Some time ago, the media started talking
about a little internet thing called "phishing". Another
one of these showed up in my email box just recently that was very
cleverly conceived and I almost bit on it. I had gotten used to the
HTML emails that claimed to be from banks, but this one appeared to be
in plain text and didn't trigger my suspicions ... till I started to
look a little further.
If you get this
email or anything like it, trash it immediately. Do not
click the link in the email.
Here's how it starts out:
Subject: eBay Fraud Mediation Request
***Urgent Safeharbor Department Notice***
eBay Fraud Mediation Request
Date: 01 May 2005
You have recieved this email because you or someone had used
your account to make fake bids at eBay. For security purposes,
we are required to open an investigation into this matter.
Sounds pretty ominous, huh? The email goes on
to get even more scary. I just about clicked the link, but something
warned me to look a little closer before I did. Here's what I noticed:
The email address to which this message was
sent was not an address I had ever used on eBay.
When I held my mouse over the link, the
displayed URL was not the one shown in the message. It wasn't an
eBay site at all.
That's all I needed to know. This
message did not come from EBay and someone was "phishing" for my
Moral ... STAY ALERT. There's always another
sleaze-bag out there trying to capture your identity and separate you
from your money. Watch for the warning signs.
No legitimate company would ever send you an
email and ask you to enter your sensitive information. If you
receive an email (even if it looks like it came from a company that
you do business with) that requests sensitive information (user
names, passwords, personal & financial information), start off by
assuming it is fraudulent.
Just because an email comes from a company
you actually do business with, do not assume that it is actually
that company that is sending the email. Email addresses are easy to
Don't click links in emails that you suspect
may be a scam. Even if a link looks like it goes to the legitimate
company, clicking the link may actually send you elsewhere.
If in doubt, contact the company you
have an account with, using the contact information you have for
that company. Do NOT reply to the suspicious email or click links.
Here's the advice your mother likely told you
once upon a time and it still holds
If it smells bad, it
probably is bad.
Be careful. Be
suspicious. And don't fall victim to these predators.