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Email Fraud

Monday, July 30th, 2007

When you first open your email box in the morning, do you recognize everyone who sent you new messages? Do you ever open email from addresses you don’t recognize but who looks legitimate?

Email fraud is one of the biggest problems on the Internet today. And fraudulent emails are becoming harder and harder to spot. Everyday, people are getting scammed into giving away money or even worse…personal information that could lead to identity theft.

How to spot Email Fraud

The point of email fraud is to get you to respond in some way. Some fraudulent emails will promise you a big return on a little investment. Others make you think that you will be giving to a humanitarian organization. The emails they send may look very professional and may seem like a really good idea, but beware! The people who are behind these scams move fast. And your money could be gone before you know it.

Here are some way to spot email fraud:

  • Does the email look legitimate?
    Unfortunately you can’t go by looks alone these days. Most hackers are sophisticated enough to copy the exact look of a brand you trust- like your bank. They steal logos, colors, fonts and design to trick you into thinking it is your bank.
  • Is the email urgent and does it ask you to enter sensitive, personal information like your account number, social security number, etc?
    It is a common practice of email fruad to scare you into clicking on a link and entering your personal information to “protect” your account. In reality, they’ve led you a fake website and are quietly collecting ALL of your information.  Be extremely cautious if you get an email saying something like this:

    • We regret to inform you that your account has been suspended
    • You are required to verify your account by following the link
  • Are there links in the email?
    Take a close look at any links in an email. Hackers may trick you into thinking they are legitimate because they contain all or part of the real company’s name.
  • Is there an alternative method for communicating the requested information (i.e., telephone, mail, and physical locations)?
    With email fraud, there typical won’t be any alternative contact methods.
  • Does the email contain an attachment?
    And when you open the attachment are you asked you to install software? Hackers sometimes do this so that they can use it to record your keystrokes and online activity.

With all the ways email fraud can trick you into giving away something important, you need some extra help to make sure your PC and personal information stay secure.

How do you protect yourself from email fraud?

First, it is important to understand that legitimate businesses should never ask for your personal information through an email. But since not all legitimate businesses follow this protocol, you should have some extra protection to know the difference between an honest email and a hoax.

Get the Advanced Protection You Need with Secure IE Browser Security

Secure IE‘s Security Manager allows you to corral your favorite sites (like your bank or eBay etc) into security zones that you can see at the bottom of your browser window. Think of security zones like you would a traffic light. Green means "Go", Yellow means "Caution" and Red means "Stop". If you click on a link in an email and it sends you to what you think is your bank’s website, simply check the security zone at the bottom of the page.

Since you trust your bank, lets say you have categorized it as:

Prevent Email Fraud

However, the link you clicked on takes you to a page that looks like either of these:

Browser Security Medium

Browser Security High

Since the security zone is different, this immediatly warns you that you are in dangerous waters and it is likely the site is an imposter.

As an added measure of security, Secure IE also includes McAfee Site Advisor. Secure IE with SiteAdvisor can identify fraudulant web sites and will provide a warning whenever you navigate to a potentially dangerous site.

 Site Advisor

Email fraud is just one of the ways that a hacker can attack your computer. Here’s how Secure IE’s multifaceted security protects your computer:

Secure IE’s unique approach to online security:

Phishing Protection Software

  • New! Integrated McAfee Site Advisor warns of dangerous Web sites, places safety ratings alongside search results, and provides a site’s safety rating upon request.
  • Seal up security gaps with our automatic security tune-up.
  • Stop Spyware (which is often used in computer fraud) at the point of entry with out exclusive Browser Shield.
  • Automatically blocks Malicious ActiveX, which hackers and identity thieves will use to gain entrance to your PC and commit computer fraud.
  • Block Pop-ups, including Windows Messenger pop-ups.
  • One click access to security zones, which allow you to designate which websites get certain privileges.
  • Intercepts Malicious File Downloads and scans for viruses (requires virus-scanning software).
  • Stay one step ahead of hackers with built in auto-updates.

For more information, see Secure IE Browser Security

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