If you should fall for a scam, your problems have just begun.
A friend of mine is up to more than 60 suspicious e-mails a day, and counting. She’s spending more time deleting bad boys than answering legitimate mail.
This started when she clicked on a pop-up ad indicating her PC has a virus. She sent in $29.95 to have her system “cleaned.” That touched off an avalanche of spam mail. Obviously, these guys communicate.
I’m tempted to open spam just to see the latest in scammery. A better scheme is to copy the subject of the suspicious message into an Internet searcher. It never fails.
I got one called “Password Reset Confirmation.” The breezy message, purportedly from Facebook, says my password was changed in a security check. I must open the attachment to activate a new password.
QuickNet check: Do that and it sets off script that steals every password on your computer.
A variant of this is the “Confirm Password Change” pop-up box. It does the same.
Some of these scams ask for no cash, so users may believe they are harmless.
Many folks piggyback onto a local Internet network by “borrowing” a signal from a nearby wireless router. It didn’t take long for the scammers to invent a trick for this.
They broadcast what looks like a legitimate network connection. Log on and it contains a variety of scripts to steal your personal identity information. This is called the Evil Twin. It can be hard to detect.
Charity hoaxes are so commonplace, many real organizations no longer solicit via e-mail. Often, scammers just copy the same hard-luck stories and change their names. They most often involve children.
Have you seen the ads for “turn your computer into a money-making machine?” You pay a fee to download a program that automatically clicks on web ads for as long as your PC is on.
This artificially builds ad traffic while totally screwing up your own system. You then allegedly are paid for the clicks, but you must have millions beforehand.
Telemarketing has become a contact point for computer scams. You get a call purportedly from your Internet provider that your system has a virus. Then the caller wants money to fix the problem, which does not exist, of course.
If you should fall for a scam, your problems have just begun. Your name will go on a sucker list that spammers sell to each other. Sucker names are the most valuable in this business. Then the real e-mail begins.
Contact Jim Hillibish at firstname.lastname@example.org.