Internet Dangers – Sneaky Snakes and Spam Spiders

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”18″ size_format=”px”]Watch Out for Spam Spiders[/typography]

pic of a spiderEveryone who is working at home or who wants to work at home and spends hours on the Internet must be aware of the ever-present Internet dangers. Sneaky snake spammers turn their spiders or robots loose to crawl through the Internet and harvest email addresses that can be used many ways….one of them is identity theft. 

When you are active on the Internet, either as a student of the business possibilities, involved in training of any kind, or establishing your new business, you must make yourself available to your suppliers, customers, and potential customers. Instead of posting your email address on your website for the world to see…and the Spam Spiders to find…it is much wiser to embed your address in a graphic; or to use contact information that is web based and does not publish your email address.

E-mail addresses are used to appeal to your generosity and your willingness to help those who are less fortunate than you. These admirable qualities are used by sneaky snakes in clever ways to take your money and have you feel good about it.

Following is example an appeal to your generosity that has been used for years in one form or another.
[box]Hello, my dear Friend,

Please excuse me for any inconvenience caused by this message. My name is Valentin. I’m a student and I live with my mother in city Kaluga, Russia. My mother is invalid. She cannot see and she receive a very small pension which is not enough even for medications and food. I work very hard every day to be able to buy the necessities for my mother, but my salary is very small, because my studies still not finished. Due to deep crisis authorities stoped gas supply in our district and we cannot heat our home anymore. I don’t know what to do, because the weather will be very cold in the next months and the temperature outside can be lower than minus 35 degrees Celsius, as it was in the last winter. I am very afraid that the temperature inside our home can be very cold and we will not be able to survive. I don’t know what I can do in this situation.

Thanks to the free internet access in our local library I found several e-mail addresses and I decided to appeal to you with a prayer in my heart for a small help. If you have any old sleeping bag, warm blanket, portable stove, warm clothes and shoes, electric water-boiler, canned and dried food, vitamins, medicines from cold, any hygiene-products, I will be very grateful to you if you could send it to our postal address which is: Valentin Mikhailine, Rileewa Uliza, 6-45.Kaluga. 248030, Russia.

If you think that it would be better or easier for you to help with some money, please write me back and I will give you details for sending it safely if you agree. This way to help is very good because in this case I will be able to buy a portable stove and heat our home during the winter. I hope to hear from you very soon and I pray that you will be able to help us to survive this winter. I also hope very much that this hard situation will get better very soon in our country.

Please excuse me, once more, for any inconvience caused by this message.

Valentin and my mother Elena.
Kaluga.
Russia.
E-mail: valyam@eposte.ru[/box]

The letter was copied and pasted exactly as it was received via email. I did not make any corrections to the spelling or the grammar.  It is a cruel hoax that is being perpetrated by an Internet sneaky snake.

Email addresses that are harvested by Spam spiders can also be used to send emails that appeal to the very human desire to make a lot of money without having to do any work – plus helping someone out in the process. Wow! That sounds like a real win/win/win situation. I have to admit, when I saw the first two or three messages of this scam, it made me drool.  I actually took a little time to think about how it may work – that’s how good they are. It isn’t a win for anyone except the perpetrators.

These emails are purportedly sent to you by somebody in a foreign country who is concerned about crooked government officials getting their hands on his (or his family’s or his church’s) money. According the letter the money may be earmarked for orphans, building a church, or some other noble cause.

The sender is asking for your help.  All he (or she) wants is the use of your bank account. In return, you will be given a substantial percentage of the funds (sometimes in the millions) – just for the inconvenience.

The Nigerian scam is old news; but, there is another one going around with a slightly different twist. This sneaky snake wants to give back the money that his countrymen stole from you…..

[box]Comment:gooddaysir/ma,

my name is usman abdulahi i am the chairman of the financial aid in nigeria.

my aiim of writting this lettrer is to inform you that thje rate which nigerians has been sending scam mail is much and has also been collecting money from people in other countries. we are sending this lettrer to every body who has nigerians must have stolen their money to please send us a mail and the information on how they collected yoiur money and the money will be sent to you.

the number of 1000 m,en has been caught running scams and has been arrested .we also went further on and saw the sum of $32million in their account and now this money has to be shared to every body who has lost their .i want you to send me a mail; if your was stollen so that we refund the money to you and also send us full information on how they collected it .i am expecting to hear from you to refund 

thanks
usman abdulahi[/box]

Gee, I don’t know….maybe if he could spell? Please….do NOT send your information to this (or any other) sneaky snake.

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”18″ size_format=”px”]Pharming and Phishing[/typography]

Both of those words are common Internet jargon, which you have probably heard. If you don’t know exactly what they mean, you need to learn. Below are the definitions taken from Search Security.

Phishing is e-mail fraud in which the perpetrator sends out legitimate-looking e-mails that appear to come from well-known and trustworthy Web sites in an attempt to gather personal and financial information from the recipient. A phishing expedition, like a fishing expedition, is a speculative venture: the phisher drops the lure into the Internet and hopes to reel in as many fish as possible.”

The best way to protect yourself from all phishing scams is to never, EVER click on a link supplied by the sender of an email.  If you are sure whether it is phishing, or not, go directly to the site using an e-mail address that you know is legitimate and ask the company about the request.  (I have received a number of these from my bank that looked so authentic that when I received the first one I thought it was a little strange, but I really had to stop and think about it. Fortunately, I checked with my bank and was told that it was a huge phishing scheme.

Big reliable sites have been fooled be these snakes…and you could be fooled, as well.

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”18″ size_format=”px”]On receipt of message that may even possibly be phising, you should . . .[/typography]

  1. DELETE IT!  (This is the best choice)
  2. NEVER REPLY! If you reply, your “from address” will be used to harvest a list of working email addresses which the spammer can use to optimize his or her operations.
  3. Beware of any e-mail that automatically loads images. Spammers can encode your email address in the URL used to retrieve images.
  4. NEVER click on any links in an email from a source you do not recognize – or even if you do recognize the “sender’s email address” be careful, it could be a forged e-mail address. If the message seems strange in any way, delete it.
  5. NEVER buy anything from a spammer.

Pharming is a scamming practice in which malicious code is installed on a personal computer or server, misdirecting users to fraudulent Web sites without their knowledge or consent. Pharming has been called “phishing without a lure.”

Both of these illegal practices are used by the Internet sneaky snakes and are very dangerous. They are designed to rob you of your personal information or to hack into your Website, and then to use the information in a multitude of criminal ways (as explained above).

We will discuss the problem of pharming a bit more in the next chapter. 

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