It must be the holiday season because the spam in my Inbox has gone up tenfold. Every spammer on earth (and maybe some from elsewhere, who knows) is getting into the act. There are the usual deals on Viagra and weight loss, but the ones that sound like legitimate bargains are the ones to worry about.
Just today I got one from zBiddy-Deals. I opened it and it looks like some great deals on consumer electronics. Fortunately for me, the deals look a little too good, so I know it’s bogus. A brand new iPad for $40? I don’t think so.
I also got one from Overstock, or so I thought. Overstock.com is a legitimate site with great deals on everything from furniture to laptops. They have remaindered or overstocked items from retailers or online stores. You can find deals of 20% or even 50% on some things, but not a $500 item for $40.
The first key is to look at the sending email address. This one came from astonishingyearsnow.com. I went to the site and it looks like a coupon site. These always make me nervous, since I never know how legitimate they are. I also looked at the signature line and it was again from zBiddy. I went to that site and it seems legitimate, but the deals look a little too good.
Here are a few good tips to make sure that you aren’t caught by spammers.
- When in Doubt, Throw it Out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way
cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to
delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email.
- Think Before you Act: Be wary of communications that offer amazing deals that sound too good to be
true, implore you to act immediately ? including those about a problem with an order or payment or ask
you to view the website via a provided link.
- Make Sure the Site is Legitimate: This includes a closed padlock on your web browser’s address bar or
a URL address that begins with shttp or https. This indicates that the purchase is encrypted or secured.
For new sites, check online reviews.
The best thing to do with your spam is delete it. If it’s something important and real, you’ll get it again. At its best spam can be annoying. At its worst it can steal your money and identity.
This holiday season should be a time of giving and getting together with family and friends. Lots of us are going to legitimate online site to buy all kinds of things. Everyone is always looking for a deal, but make sure you aren’t duped by all the spam.
Photo credit retrosurfer1959