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Hitting ‘reply’ to a spammer can cost you

“phishing” scams identity theft malware just delete

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#1 Hum

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 15:29

Anyone with an email account has no doubt waded through spam, a.k.a. junk mail, in their inbox -- perhaps in the form of a “phishing” scam that tries to get you to reveal personal information.

You know, the ones that look like authentic messages from your bank, credit card company or favorite online retailer. They usually have familiar logos and wording, but are really a malicious attempt to lure you into giving out personal or financial information so the scammer can steal your identity for financial gain.

A typical phishing attempt looks something like this: "We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, immediately click the link below to confirm your identity."

They often have a sense of urgency, and often pretend they're acting in your interest.

You never want to click on the link in these emails because you're one step away from voluntarily giving up personal information, plus some of these sites contain malware that could infect your computer.

Never reply to the sender, either, because all you're doing is confirming your email address is valid, which invites more phishing attempts and spammed messages.

Phishing emails are often sent to millions of addresses at the same time, in the hopes a few bite. Scam artists don't know if you're really getting these emails, but writing back proves you did.

Jut tap delete whenever you get a suspicious email like this. Your bank or Internet Service Provider (ISP) will never ask you to confirm sensitive information like this. You could also forward the entire email to the financial institution or ISP its spoofing or send it to the authorities, but I wouldn't get your hopes up. Tech-savvy scammers are often hard to track down and many of these emails originate from overseas.

source & video


#2 Nick H.

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 15:32

Never reply to the sender, either, because all you're doing is confirming your email address is valid, which invites more phishing attempts and spammed messages.

Funny. Despite the fact that I know my email address (well, my junk one) can be found all over online, I still class the above as "common sense." I also wouldn't have the patience to deal with someone I know is trying to scam me. I've done it once in real life, that was enough.

#3 Astra.Xtreme

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 15:35

Expanding a little further on this, I've heard that if you try to "unsubscribe" from some spam emails, it simply confirms you're real and the problem will get worse. I don't know how much truth there is to that, but I wouldn't be surprised.

#4 LaP

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 15:39

Expanding a little further on this, I've heard that if you try to "unsubscribe" from some spam emails, it simply confirms you're real and the problem will get worse. I don't know how much truth there is to that, but I wouldn't be surprised.


The best is to flag the email as spam and let it die in the spam folder.

#5 mmjm

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 15:49

I once replied to a Nigerian scammer as a joke
he replied back addressing me with my real name

was not happy.

And then followed a flood of Nigerian scams emails

#6 LUTZIFER

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 15:59

I heard many many years ago, do NOT reply. Replying just verifies that the email address exists, then you'll be spammed for sure.

#7 +warwagon

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 16:06

Saw this video last night. For some reason I found it very entertaining to watch.



#8 Growled

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:47

Funny. Despite the fact that I know my email address (well, my junk one) can be found all over online, I still class the above as "common sense."


I agree but sadly common sense is lacking in our day. Many people will click those links in a heartbeat, not thinking twice about it and then can't figure out what happened.

#9 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:53

Expanding a little further on this, I've heard that if you try to "unsubscribe" from some spam emails, it simply confirms you're real and the problem will get worse. I don't know how much truth there is to that, but I wouldn't be surprised.


If it's from a reputable site that you signed up to then the unsubscribe feature works exactly as advertised, as I've unsubscribed from numerous emails and barely get any spam at all. Obviously you wouldn't do that if the email doesn't address you by name and it's from a company / website you don't recognise.

#10 OP Hum

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:53

I agree but sadly common sense is lacking in our day. Many people will click those links in a heartbeat, not thinking twice about it and then can't figure out what happened.


^ I've concluded that most people on computers are simply bored.

#11 Marshall

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:58


Funny. Despite the fact that I know my email address (well, my junk one) can be found all over online, I still class the above as "common sense." I also wouldn't have the patience to deal with someone I know is trying to scam me. I've done it once in real life, that was enough.


^This

It is common sense among tech people, but the general public, not so much. Any time you click on a link or attempt to unsubscribe from such emails you're only confirming that the email address is indeed legitimate.



#12 Rohdekill

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 02:00

Expanding a little further on this, I've heard that if you try to "unsubscribe" from some spam emails, it simply confirms you're real and the problem will get worse. I don't know how much truth there is to that, but I wouldn't be surprised.


And expanding even more... never set an out of office auto reply on, either. It too, tells them it is an active email account.

#13 LUTZIFER

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 02:07

I've used the same 2 email addresses for god only knows how many years, and I don't think I even get any spam in my inboxes at all,
maybe 2 or 3 a year make their way in to the spam folder, that's about it.
May have gotten a few more than that many years ago, but nothing excessive, that's for sure.
Not that it's a big deal, we all get spammed more in real life than online.
And it's easier to just click "Delete" than have to throw a crapload of junkmail from the post office in to the garbage.

#14 AR556

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 02:16

I wish you could whitelist emails so all others would be auto bounced back to sender.

#15 Detection

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 03:03

I wish you could whitelist emails so all others would be auto bounced back to sender.


You can tell WLM to bounce back blocked / junk emails



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