Cyber Wellness - Fraudulent E-mails

Chapter 3
Explain the characteristics of fraudulent e-mails and the methods to minimize them

In this post you should be about to describe a popular e-mail terminology, identify types of undesirable e-mail, explain measures to be taken to minimize spam e-mails and guideline on how to handle suspicious e-
mail.

Common terminologies

  • Spam - Spamming is the common abuse of electronic messaging system to indiscriminately send unsolicited bulk messages. The most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam. Spam refers to commercial electronic messages sent in bulk to large group of recipients. Electronic messages include both messages sent to mobile phone numbers and emails. Spam may try to trick you into verifying your email address by asking you to unsubscribe from their mailing list. Any email send to you will be filtered by a Anti-Spam E-mail system, spam control software or spam filtering service provided by your Internet Service Provider or email service provider can help filter spam.
  • Hoax - A hoax is an act, document or artefact intended to deceive or defraud the public. We now seldom receive this, in the past I will receive a lot of nonsense chain E-mail asking me to forward it to people I know. Email hoaxes in particular spread false information from person to person with astonishing rapidity by encouraging recipients to forward documents, to everyone they know. Some ways to identify and avoid hoax mails are:
    • Look for the tell-tale phrase, "Forward this to everyone you know!" The more urgent the plea, the more suspect the message.
    • Look for statements like "This is NOT a hoax" etc. They typically mean the opposite of what they say.
    • Watch for overly emphatic language, as well as frequent use of UPPER CASE LETTERS and multiple exclamation points!!!!!!!
    • If the text seems aimed more at persuading than informing the reader, be suspicious. Hoaxers are more interested in pushing people's emotional buttons.
    • Check for references to outside sources of information. Hoaxes don't typically cite verifiable evidence, nor link to trusted Websites.
    • Research any factual claims in the text to see if there is published evidence to support them. If you find none, odds are you've been the recipient of an email hoax.
    • Any message forwarded multiple times before it got to you is more likely to be hoax.
    • Be especially aware of health-related rumours. Most importantly, never act on "medical information" forwarded from unknown sources without first verifying its accuracy with a doctor or other reliable source.

Identifying types of undesirable mails

Here are a few phrases to look for if you think an e-mail message is not trustworthy.
"Verify your account." Businesses should not ask you to send passwords, login names, Social Security numbers, or other personal information through e-mail. E.g. If you receive an e-mail from Microsoft asking you to update your credit card information, do not respond.
"If you don't respond within 48 hours, your account will be closed." These messages convey a sense of urgency so that you'll respond immediately without thinking.
"Dear Valued Customer." Fraud e-mail messages are usually sent out in bulk and do not contain your first or last name.
"Click the link below to gain access to your account." The link you see does not take you to that address but somewhere different Web site.

Measures to be taken to minimize spam e-mails

  • If you receive a spam email at work, report it to your organization following their established procedures. They can most likely adjust the email filters to block future spam from that source.
  • Don't follow instructions in a spam email.
    • Don't click on a link or open an attachment in a spam email. Don't follow instructions to go to a website or to download software of any kind. If a spam email instructs you to take any action, such as to click on a link, open an attachment, go to a website, or download software, do not do so. The spam might say the action is needed in order to secure your computer, prevent viruses, fix software bugs, or even prevent spam -- but in fact it could lead to an identity theft scam, a sales scam, or a virus.
    • Don't reply to a spam email or click on an Unsubscribe link. If you reply or click on an Unsubscribe link, it just lets the spammer know that your email account is live and valid, and you may end up receiving more spam, not less.
    • Don't fall for hoaxes, scams, and chain letters. Spammers are out for their benefit, not yours. Never send back personal information such as a password, social security number, bank account number, or credit card number.
  • Guard your business email address. Use your business email address for business purposes, not for personal use. Don't give out your business email address for purposes such as personal online correspondence, purchases, subscriptions, surveys, or contests. Use discretion when distributing your business card to vendors and business contacts at trade shows and similar gatherings. When browsing the web, stick primarily to trusted, work-related sites. Be aware that some rogue websites can capture your email address without you knowing it.
Coming to think of it, what's the use of people sending us spam e-mail. You are wasting your time and gaining minimum benefit so I think you should stop it and there shall be peace in the internet world. To the people who receive it, best is not respond to a suspicious email or click anything in it just delete the E-mail will do.

Declaration: I mean no harm or infringement of copyright, am re-posting to share and create awareness on Cyber Wellness only.
Source: ITE Cyber Wellness Notes

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