Identifying scams

A dangerous but believable email scam is doing the rounds. YOURLifeChoices Webmaster, Drew, tells you how to identify the real from the fake.

YOURLifeChoices receives a fair amount of scam emails and this one is the latest which is extremely dangerous as, if followed, could result in stolen identity and credit card fraud.

The email comes in from an Australian Internet Service Provider. The one we received was supposedly from the Optus E-Mail Technical Information’s Department ([email protected]) and with the subject, “your email has been infected with Trojan Virus”.

The first sign of fraud is the poor use of the English language with the subject not making grammatical sense. When opened, the content explains your email box is infected and needs to be recovered via a link. While I did not click this link, it is safe to assume that it will ask you to do one of two things. It will ask you to either log into your account via their fake Optus website, or alternatively, make you confirm many of your details with their system. There is also the possibility that it may link you to a site, which automatically infects your computer with a virus.

How did I know that this link was fake? In Microsoft Outlook you can “hover over” which is to put your mouse over a link and within 1-2 seconds, the website address that the link takes you to will become visible and you can see exactly where it was taking you. This address I saw was a “.kr” address which means it came out of Korea, which is definitely not where Optus is based!

While writing this article I also received another cunning scam. This time it was titled “You received a wonderful postcard from a family member!”. Once again, they have failed to use proper English in their subject header immediately alerting me to a scam email. The text tells me that a family member has sent me a virtual greeting card and to find out who sent it and what it is, I have to go to the site detailed below and pick it up. There is a link to a “popular” website for e-greeting cards but when I hover my mouse over the web address, the site is a “.to” (Tonga) web address and is set to download a .exe file, which is a program that would install a virus on my computer.

It only takes one click to cause untold technological horror, so be careful what you click!