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of suspicious e-mails
This page lists a variety of typical online bogus e-mails, and their fraudulent behaviour.
Don't open an e-mail attachment that has a hidden extension! See anti-virus measures. Here are a few suspicious e-mails which are typical of the sort of thing to look out for: (There are now even more on ROGUES GALLERY PAGE 2)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves:
The consistently bad spelling, presumably designed to fool you into thinking it's being written by one person just for you, fails to distract from the fact that the attachment is a .exe which if you ran it could do ANYTHING to your computer. The text is always the same but the file varies and is sometimes a .scr which again is executable. If you run things like this, you will sooner or later be wiped-out! I have never run this file, but I can surmise that it is a VIRUS!
----- Original Message -----
Ask Your Advice?:
Don't let the "How are you?" friendly style fool you! The dead giveaway is the attachment.xls.pif (which you will immediately spot if you have followed the advice in the anti-virus measures page!) - almost any double extension has to be considered suspicious! If you run this one, your machine will e-mail your friends and send them messages which will look like they have come from YOU! Note that "John Smith" (name changed for demonstration purposes here) is innocent and is not deliberately sending viruses, but is also a victim of a self-replicating virus.
The attachment is sometimes: credit application.doc.com . This is designed to fool you into thinking it's a .doc file, when in fact it's a .com , (not a domain name - it's an old MSDOS-style command file executable). Also see the emails for credit card refunds from hotels. You've never stayed at the hotel, and they don't know your credit card number, but if you open the attachment, something bad can happen.
If you receive a message like this you should not blame the person, but instead alert them, preferably by phone. If you send an e-mail make sure you get confirmation that it has been received.
|<attachment: Schedule Q.xls.pif>
From: John Smith
Sent: Friday, September 21, 2001 11:45 AM
Subject: Schedule Q
Hi! How are you?
I send you this file in order to have your advice
See you later. Thanks
On the individualised:
This looks like something educational, perhaps something important to need to send somewhere, and you might be tempted to run the attachment. DON'T! It's almost certainly a virus, as per the previous example. Instead, contact Sue Jones (again the name has been altered to maintain anonymity), and make sure they know they have been hit by a virus! This could be you! If you get a virus, it could be YOUR name appearing as the sender for virus e-mails!
----- Original Message -----
From: Sue Jones
Sent: Saturday, August 18, 2001 12:58 PM
Subject: on the individualised
Introduced in 1994-95.This is the first statistical first release to include numbers of students on further education provision in higher education institutions. The data for higher education institutions are based on individualised student records returned to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Returns from 430 colleges, 256 external institutions and 57 higher education institutions contributed to this statistical first release.
The "Nigeria Scam*" / "419 Scam":
This isn't a computer virus, it's a SCAM. You are being offered a cut of some ill-gotten gain. You have to pay a few hundred dollars to be IN on the deal, and then you get a few million when the deal works out. Except you don't! It's a very old scam, and used to exist as a postal offer. It's quite cleverly done, as some of the historical details in the message can be verified to be true. However, there is of course no huge booty to be had, and the only money changing hands is that of the gullible people paying the people running the scam. By the way, the phone/fax numbers and e-mail links have been removed from these specimens, but the names have been left in as they are merely pseudonyms of the people trying to tempt you into the scam. Official advice on this is: Don't reply, but tell the police!
Learn more about Nigeria Scams at The 419 Coalition , www.419eater.com , Freeman Institute, and this page at AllAfrica.com: http://allafrica.com/419_scam.html (note:AllAfrica.com has a policy of allowing anyone to publish, so don't assume that Nigeria Scam articles on there have any credibility just because they're on AllAfrica.com!)
There's an excellent reply by Outblaze when a Nigeria Scam was reported. See THIS
Also see a page like this by the FBI: http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/phnx/pxfraud.htm#Nigerian%20Letter (Page temporarily down. Please let me know when it's back, or if there's a replacement page) Update: There's a new page. Well Done to the FBI for this!: http://www.fbi.gov/majcases/fraud/fraudschemes.htm. However, beware of random spam e-mail messages pretending to be FROM the FBI! They are not from the FBI, they are from scamsters impersonating the FBI! For example, look at this: FBI HOAX. Clearly a pernicious scam, and definitely not from ROBERT MUELLER III.
A must-see resource for this is: Scamorama - Specialists at making fun of the Nigeria Scam! Also, the detailed anatomy of the Nigeria Scam is explained at www.makemoneyfastworld.com/content/view/29/38/, where the key features are discussed and analysed. Plus, there are a lot of interesting anti-fraud things going on at Anti-fraud International
There is an excellent educational resource at Rip and Scam where scam-busting is the speciality. Well worth a look around.
* "Nigeria" Scam? Not exclusive to Nigeria
three very similar examples of this type of thing:
(scroll round this way to see them all) >>>>
There is something which looks similar in a way, but where the sender is offering to buy something expensive from you by cheque. This is explained in the page about the Cheque Scam. Another scam worth being aware of is the Triangulation Scam where you pay for goods and they arrive, but it later turns out that the goods were paid for using a stolen credit card!
Also, if you receive a message which appears to be from Microsoft, take a second look! There is a type of message which impersonates Microsoft and warns you about Microsoft vulnerabilities and asks you to run an attachment. Don't! Read More about this>
Also, if you get a message offering you a free Worm Klez E immunity tool, Read THIS first!
A similar worrying situation can be seen in the Yahoo Games Screensaver message
Plus, what about the ATM Cash Machine Scam? Is it real? Make your own mind up HERE
And don't allow ActiveX in e-mail (again another way viruses try to get into your machine)
Active Scripting can be a problem too! See TERRAKT IN AUSTRALIA - another suspicious e-mail! Similarly, AOL warning which is also a type of panicmail
Also, if you were getting a mortgage, would you get it from mortgage spam? Surely not?!
There are also some examples of viruses to view safely in the virus museum!
Beware of "Mail Returned" messages! Some are genuine, for example if you've sent to a nonexistent e-mail address, but viruses can impersonate such messages! See Mail Returned virus messages
And what about YOU being accused of sending SPAM?! What's all this about ADVERTIGER? See The email@example.com message
An e-mail arrives alleging you have made a video and put it online and you'll be in trouble. That's PANICMAIL
Dating websites can be fun, but you should be careful to avoid being scammed by con artists. Fortunately you can save your save yourself from scammers by being aware what kinds of ploys those rascals get up to. See Online Dating Scams
Also see: Crime-fighting links and anti-virus measures
Also, if an incoming message is long and looks like getting you emotionally involved in some long story, quickly flick through it first, it might be a Chain Letter! Never forward-on any message containing a threat or insult or emotional blackmail, even if it pretends to be on the side of good and makes out you are bad for not sending it on. This type of thing is known as a CHAIN LETTER. There's a lot more to this, and it's important you are forewarned! See the CHAIN LETTERS page
Get Rich Quick schemes aren't all bad. Indeed sooner or later someone may come up with something that works! Meanwhile, there is a particular type you should be aware of, and that's Pyramid Schemes. You know, you get $5 and you send it to someone on a list and... etc
Also, it's worth using some commonsense when considering such offers as GET A UNIVERSITY DEGREE! MAKE MORE MONEY! NO ABILITY REQUIRED! etc. See Qualifications on Qualifications
Message from Vodafone offering you £50 if you register with the Vodafone E-Topup system. Can that be real? Not if it's anything like THIS Vodafone E-Topup Hoax Message
Then there's Congratulations You've Won the LOTTERY! - well you haven't won it by receiving a spam e-mail message!
How about a virtual Greetings card? Is it really from your friend or is it a hoax/scam? You can tell if you know what to look for and what to do. See Virtual Greeting Cards to Beware of
What if you receive an email from Kofi Annan offering you $250,000 compensation for being a victim of the Nigeria Scam? Is that genuine? Take a look and find out how to tell!
Similarly, if you receive a message claiming to be from EFCC Nigeria it's important to realise these things often aren't what they claim to be!
If you receive a message which says that the BBB Better Business Bureau have a complaint against your dealership with a customer, try not to panic as the BBB Complaint message is a hoax.
If you receive an email that says you are guilty of driving at over 55 MPH in New York even though you probably have never been there, it could be the Uniform Traffic Ticket viral attack. Don't open the attachment.
If you receive an e-mail saying Unlock Your Student Finance Account Now, please bear in mind it is not because your profile has been locked. You're probably not in the UK anyway.
Another helpful link is Get Safe Online.org
If you receive a card or voicemail saying you've got a parcel to be collected and there's a phone number, you should make sure it's a basic phone number and not an expensive premium rate number, because if it is, then it could be a SCAM! See Parcel Delivery Service
Security Server Update from your bank? Or from PayPal telling you your account is going to expire? No! It's a scam! See Bank Security Update Scam. Also see eBay Spam Hoax and the O2 online billing hoax email, and now also the Amazon security verification of identity scam message.
And if you have any comments on any of this, or if you have anything to add, please e-mail with a subject line of "Rogues Gallery" so we know you are talking about the Rogues Gallery of suspicious e-mails rather than the Shopping Portal, for example! (this site has thousands of pages).
Continued! There are even more of these dodgy e-mails at the ROGUES GALLERY PAGE 2