You Should Warn People About This Scam

A concerned reader named Terry wants to make sure everyone knows about this scam.  She writes:

BIG QUESTION:  Have received suspicious email messages like this many times and NEVER open them.   They begin Hello Terry – then a link and then the first name of someone I know.  I forwarded it to her, told her NOT to open the link and asked if this was from her. Her answer is below. You might want to warn your subscribers about this VERY PERVASIVE PROBLEM. Now the question – who can I report this to so the perp can be caught???????

Terry included this screenshot of the scam e-mail

e-mail-link-scam2

And here’s her daughter’s response.

e-mail-link-scam-response

The good news is that you did exactly the right thing. Never click on a strange link without checking. E-mails like this are far too common. We get several of them a day to our customer service address.

The issue with reporting them to the police is that they are almost always generated from overseas. U.S. law enforcement has no authority there and for many countries, running spam e-mail operations is a big business.

Your best bet is to keep marking e-mails like this as Spam. It helps teach your e-mail account to filter these types of messages out.

This e-mail may or may not have actually come from your daughter’s e-mail account. She can check the sent messages folder to find out, but it’s likely her e-mail address was simply spoofed and used to make you think that’s where the e-mail was coming from.

Someone may have acquired her contact list because either your PC or mobile device or her PC or phone was compromised. But it’s also possible that the contact list of a person who has both of you in their contacts was compromised.

Still, she’s smart to change her password. Both of you should also make sure you have up-to-date anti-virus and malware software in place. You can report scams like this to the Federal Trade Commission by forwarding the message to spam@uce.gov and also to reportphishing@antiphishing.org. The Anti-Phishing Working Group — which includes ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies — uses these reports to fight phishing.

~ Cynthia

4 thoughts on “You Should Warn People About This Scam

  1. Quite often you can also either right click on the unopened email and select the option for ‘View Headers’. Near the top of the info is a line that shows ‘Return Path’ and shows the last email/domain name of the sender. If it does not match anyone that you know, you know for sure that is a bad post.

  2. Hello; I thought my mother had a great idea.

    The other day she sent this message out “To all of my family, relative, church, or friends,, what is going on is a scam,… If I want to reach you I will send you a message with a hint that you will know for sure its me.”

    This may not be fool proof but it will cut down quite a lot of phishing scams.

    1. I have done something similar. Forget the exact wording but something like “If you sent me an email yesterday with links, be aware I will not open links without wording in the message indicating that it is really you emailing me. Therefore, yesterday’s email was deleted.”

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