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What is a Hoax or Scam?

It can be anything from an email of impending doom for your computer or email, requests for money for charities,  to any number of "rumors" that circulate the Internet as well as "the real world" and, once they get started, they seem to ever stop.

This is here for your convenience. Check things out FIRST at the Hoax Slayer website http://www.hoax-slayer.com/

www.hoax-slayer.com

If you still have a question on the validity of an emails, check with Sonoran Business Solutions for assistance.

Don't be fooled into forwarding "Virus Warning Emails" you might receive from well meaning family and friends!

This can cause others great alarm, clog the Internet and local networks as well as people's inboxes with junk mail. Let's not forget how many emails come through with viruses infected attachments or links to dangerous websites. Don't forget that many of these "links" contained in these emails are not going to take you where you are lead to believe they will take you (see "Phishing Scams" below)

This can be especially embarrassing if you forward an email warning to friends, family and/or business connections that's been around-the-world for 5-10 years.

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From Hoax Slayer: Website:

"Hoax-Slayer is dedicated to debunking email hoaxes, thwarting Internet scammers, combating spam, and educating web users about email and Internet security issues. Hoax-Slayer allows Internet users to check the veracity of common email hoaxes and aims to counteract criminal activity by publishing information about common types of Internet scams. Hoax-Slayer also includes anti-spam tips, computer and email security information, articles about true email forwards, and much more. New articles are added to the Hoax-Slayer website every week." (1/1/2010)

 

"Spotting the latest email hoaxes may be easier than you think!"

There are thousands of email hoaxes moving around the Internet at any given time. Some may be the latest email hoaxes around. Others may be mutated versions of hoax messages that have travelled the Internet for years. These email hoaxes cover a range of subject matter, including:
 

  • Supposedly free giveaways in exchange for forwarding emails.
  • Bogus virus alerts.
  • False appeals to help sick children.
  • Pointless petitions that lead nowhere and accomplish nothing.
  • Dire, and completely fictional, warnings about products, companies, government policies or coming events.

The good news is that, with a little bit of foreknowledge, email hoaxes are easy to detect. Hidden within the colourful prose of your average email hoax often lurk telling indicators of the email's veracity.

Probably the most obvious of these indicators is a line such as "Send this email to everyone in your address book". Hoax writers want their material to spread as far and as fast as possible, so almost every hoax email will in some way exhort you to send it to other people. Some email hoaxes take a more targeted approach and suggest that you send the email to a specified number of people in order to collect a prize or realize a benefit.

Another indicator is that hoaxes tend not to provide checkable references to back up their spurious claims. Genuine competitions, promotions, giveaways or charity drives will usually provide a link to a company website or publication. Real virus warnings are likely to include a link to a reputable virus information website. Emails containing Government or company policy information are likely to include references to checkable sources such as news articles, websites or other publications.

A third indicator is often the actual language used. Email hoax writers have a tendency to use an emotive, "over-the-top" style of writing peppered with words and phrases such as "Urgent", "Danger", "worst ever virus!!", "sign now before it's too late" and so on, often rendered in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS for added emphasis. Paragraphs dripping with pathos speak of dying children; others "shout" with almost rabid excitement about free air travel or mobile phones. As well, some email hoaxes try to add credibility by using highly technical language.

Before forwarding an email, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does the email ask you to send it to a lot of other people?
  2. Does the email fail to provide confirmation sources?
  3. Is the language used overly emotive or highly technical?

A "yes" answer to one or more of the above questions, should start some alarm bells ringing. These indicators do not offer conclusive evidence that the email is a hoax but they are certainly enough to warrant further investigation before you hit the "Forward" Button."

Phishing Scams:

"You may receive an email from a bank/online service provider/ financial institution that asks you to click a link and visit a website in order to provide personal information. Such an email is more than likely the type of Internet scam known as "phishing".

A phishing scam is one in which victims are tricked into providing personal information such as account numbers and passwords to what they believe to be a legitimate company or organization. In order to carry out this trick, the scammers often create a "look-a-like" website that is designed to resemble the target company's official website. Typically, emails are used as "bait" in order to get the potential victim to visit the bogus website. Be wary of any email that asks you to click on a link and provide sensitive personal information such as banking details. Information submitted on these bogus websites is harvested by the scammers and may then be used to steal funds from the user's accounts and/or steal the victim's identity.

Most legitimate companies would not request sensitive information from customers via email. DO NOT click on the links in these emails. DO NOT provide any information about yourself. If you have any doubts at all about the veracity of an email, contact the company directly."

 

 
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