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Spam or SCAM?
Check the sender's address BEFORE opening an email

Every time you check your emails you are likely to have a few that are spam. Your email service should generally tag them as such, leaving you the choice of whether to open them or not. Although most are after your money, they are not all swindlers. There will probably be a few from companies you have bought products from in the past, usually follow-ups advertising the latest updates and so on. The ones to be careful of are those purporting to be who they are not, especially any offering something for free; and particularly when you are claimed to be a lucky winner, or have come into an inheritance. Examples screen-dumped were too fuzzy for this web page, but they can be viewed in the PDF.

Our first concern was a private email apparently from Qantas, and as we fly with them on occasions it seemed okay. When the mouse cursor was moved over the sender, however, the full address was peculiar. There was another further down the spam list, apparently the same sender's iconic name, but from a different source. Take it from me, NEITHER WERE FROM QANTAS!

Although your service provider sifts out the spam, it does not usually give any indication of authenticity or risk factor. This is the job of your security manager. A simple check will tell you if the actual sender is trustworthy. Move your cursor over the name in bold type on the left and read the tag detailing the actual sender's address. Ignore the first part that includes the @ symbol - this is a standard email address. Just make a note of the following website(s).

In the PDF example they are: and We Googled the first and looked for the security assessment. In this case, Norton gave it a "?" meaning that it is currently regarded as questionable. Please take that to be SUSPICIOUS!

The fact that search engines had been blocked from entering the site to obtain further information was an added worry (robots.txt is a coding that prevents this) and its inclusion begged the question: what are they trying to hide?

Should you decide to open a suspect email (I would prefer that you don't), please refrain from clicking on a link that could take you anywhere. You will certainly regret your curiosity if it results in a virus or bug invading your system. As for the type of scams that are waiting out there for you, have a read of: Focus F10 -"The Cyber Minefield"; and "Don't be Fooled by Scammers" - Money MM28.

Just remember - the Internet is a wonderful tool, but it has a double-edge that is very sharp!

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Where every effort has been made to be accurate and fair-minded, comments and opinions expressed on this website are based on personal experience and do not necessarily reflect the views of the wider community or those groups and institutions mentioned. A Season of Happiness and its staff accept no responsibility for any outcome based on suggestions offered. What works for us may not work for you. Please bear this in mind.

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