Email Spam and Phishing
It seems like the volume of email spam has doubled
in the last month. Increasingly, we receive daily emails for better
pharmaceutical discounts, and offers to enlarge body parts we don’t
The next generation of sophisticated tools is available
to email spammers. Hidden code can be embedded into email allowing
to track it. A “spam beacon” lets the sender know that
this is a valid, live, email address. The sender can also tell if
you’ve opened the email before you tossed it. “Nearly
half of all spam is bugged with so-called "spam beacons" for
tracking users who open junk mail, said e-mail filtering firm MX.”
The latest email scams have also evolved. The newest
scams are called phishing attacks. Spammers copy and paste web
coding, making their
email message appear to be official. They provide links to “look
alike” websites where they try to trick you into revealing
your personal financial information, by asking you to update an account
such as Ebay, PayPal or CitiBank (or other well known entities).
Phishing attacks are successful 5% of the time.
The primary motivation behind these emails is identity theft. Scammers
are looking to get you to their website and get your information.
If the authenticity of the sender is questionable, call the company
that sent the email. Most business email will also contain a phone
Earthlink is trying to address this problem by releasing
new software. Its latest anti-spam software is available to both
members and non-members.
The software installs with Internet Explorer and automatically downloads
a list of known “scam” websites. If you surf over to
a site on the list, you will receive a warning.
Given the large volume of unsolicited email that
must be sorted through and deleted daily by businesses, do not
rely on email as
your primary vehicle of communication. If the information is time
sensitive, it’s best to follow up with a phone call.