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Archive for the ‘Email Scams and Hoaxes’ Category

No matter how many “awareness campaigns” are going on around the world, there will always be greedy people falling victim to this email hoax and forwarding it, continually circulating this hoax and making more people fall for it. It’s a continual cycle, an infinite loop.
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But what is there to do? The world is full of simpletons… or noobs, as we would say in gaming terms.
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Today, once again, I’ve received a forwarded email from one of my contacts… the exact same email hoax I’m presenting to you today.
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Do you know how long this particular email has been circulating? Since 1997! It does make you wonder just how many simpletons our world has, huh?
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In case you still think it’s real, ponder on these points:
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  • There is no way an email can be tracked so easily without raising privacy issues; if you really want to track an email, some kind of hidden script has to be embedded into it. Would you like your email to be made known to the world through that nifty little script? No? Well, that’s why Microsoft can’t track email like this… it would cause a wave of complaints throughout the world.
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  • They can’t track the email using the headers either. You know when you receive a forwarded email, you get that long list of “From: so-and-so” and “To: so-and-so” thing? It tells you where the email has been circulated thus far… providing the previous senders didn’t delete it. What happens if you were to delete that list and forward it to your list of friends? Would they know where the email have been around before it came to you? Of course not. Same goes for Bill Gates and Microsoft, they can’t track emails in this manner.
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  • Okay, so let’s assume for a moment that a forwarded email can be tracked. If a million Hotmail users were to forward the email and ONE person who forwards to so many people receives around $500 USD, wouldn’t that mean that Bill Gates would have to fork out $500 million USD? $500 million USD is already half a billion; if their net income is $4 billion USD a quarter, do you think Bill Gates will give a quarter of his company’s income freely to people who barely spent a minute forwarding emails? Would you want to do that if you were him?

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Still don’t believe it’s a hoax? Read the articles in these links:

  • Hoax Slayer: Money from Microsoft Giveaway Hoax (link)
  • Urban Legends: Bill Gates Is Sharing His Fortune! (link)
  • Snopes: Microsoft / AOL Giveaway (link)
  • Trend Micro: Make $$ “Bill Gates Fortune” Hoax (link)

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You can also ask Uncle Google about this by typing “Bill Gates sharing fortune email” and seeing what you’ll get. The same thing what I’m telling you about, right?

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But hey, what does Microsoft have to say about this? Here’s an official statement from Microsoft:

REDMOND, Wash., May 12, 1999 – Recently an email has been circulating on the Internet about a new "email tracking system" from Microsoft.
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As you may have suspected, this is a hoax and did not originate from Microsoft.
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Microsoft does try to investigate the source of these hoaxes and take appropriate action. However, many times the hoaxers take elaborate steps to shield their true identities and we cannot identify them. Privacy and security are very important to us here at Microsoft, and we work every day to build great software for the Internet that keeps information safe, secure and private.
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We regret any inconvenience this may have caused you.

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You can search for the official statement by typing “Bill Gates sharing fortune email official statement” in Google search.
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Conclusion? It’s a hoax, an annoying chain mail. So why waste a minute of your busy day even reading this hoax email? You could’ve have a minute more to do other stuff, right?
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So please, don’t blindly forward emails; do search about it online (Uncle Google is best) and find out if it’s a hoax first before you forward them. It’s rather tiring to receive the same email over and over… for a span of ten years!

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~Estrelita Farr, tired of hoaxes. >_<

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Oh, darn, I just realised that I haven’t been posting here for the past… what, four weeks? Five? And it’s June already!
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Unfortunately I was caught in the wave of events lately. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds, but being the blur-case I am, I just simply forgot about this for a while. o_o
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An update on Est-chan’s life: I finished my industrial training, so I was on holiday for a week, then I went back to university for my next semester, got promoted from a class representative to a course representative (more work T_T), being put in charge of organising an event here at the university, and had to figure out what to write for my final year project (FYP) thesis. Once I got my FYP title and went to ask the lecturer (to be my supervisor), I realised that there’s an army of students (a.k.a. my coursemates) looking for him as well. He’s too popular so I was worried!! Then I got him to sign the letter of undertaking, so I’m under him, but now I’m worried because he accepted 12 students, and he may not have time to supervise all of us… T_T
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Oh yeah, and I started playing Granado Espada, too. xP
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Anyways, I know I’m supposed to be writing about GE since I started playing it, but… I got too occupied/lazy to edit the screenshots properly. o_o
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So, here’s the topic for today!

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Updated Wallpaper of the Week:
The Cat God of the Brush

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Of Email Scams and Greedy People

What Email Scams are like and Some Ways to Recognise Them

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A Brief Introduction: Why Write on this Topic?

I’m not too sure on other countries, but here in Malaysia, you always see articles in the newspaper on how some people were scammed in many different ways (via fortune tellers, buying charms, etc). There are often articles like that, but how many articles have you seen are on online scams? None, as far as I’ve seen.
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So I wanted to bring it to light, because since the newspaper don’t highlight them, goodness knows how many people are getting scammed over this?
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That, and the fact that lately I’ve been getting these scam emails by the masses. I mean, yeah, I’ve been getting these emails occasionally in the past years, but to receive 84 of them (not including a small number with warning messages and those that were stuck in my junk folder) in the past 4 weeks is a bit much, isn’t it? And the number of email scams I receive each day is increasing!
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And so, I’ve been collecting them for this post. xP

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What are Email Scams?

Email scams are those kinds of emails sent to you for the purpose of scamming you (or just spamming your inbox). Read through and click on the example links for pictures of how email scams look like!

(Because I’m too lazy to really explain what an email scam is. xP)

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How do We Find Out They’re Scam?

There are several ways, though they’re not exactly foolproof (especially when you’re blind to everything but the desire to get that amount of money). We’ll look at each one of them carefully!

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  • Subject headings that are all caps.
    I had 34 of these out of 84 scam emails I saved (or 40.5%). Like, literally “TRANSFER OF US$14,000,000” or “CONTACT ME”. What I found is that official emails are hardly (if not) found in all capital letters. Note that I said official emails and not personal emails, so this isn’t exactly foolproof. But hey, if you see an email from MASTERCARD and the subjects are in all caps, then you know it’s most likely a fraud without even opening the message!

Example of an all caps subject.

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  • Email sender names that are all caps.
    I had 32 of these out of 84 scam emails I saved (or 38.1%). Yep, even those that says “HSBC BANK LONDON” (I got one of those before). Official companies don’t usually use all caps in their company names, so when you see an all caps name, then you know it’s a fraud. And that’s even before opening the message!

Example of an all caps email sender name.

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  • Weird/suspicious subject headings.
    This one depends on your own discretion. Some of those email subject headings may strike to you as suspicious or weird, and it’s not easy telling people what is suspicious or weird. One thing you can be sure of is official company email subjects should not have excessive exclamation marks (!!!!!!), unless it’s a reply (Re:) of your email and you used a lot of them.

Examples of weird/suspicious subject headings:

Scam victim compensation? Is there even such a thing?
Doesn’t the word “whooping” strike you as odd?
Might have trusted this (not!) if it weren’t for the second part of the subject!

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  • Weird/suspicious sender names.
    Also depends on your own discretion, but in my opinion, it’s a little easier than the previous. Look for misspellings in the company name, numbers (yes, numbers, like “Mr. Alex Hammingwey 05”), titles like Mr. and Dr. (I’m always suspicious of those in emails), funny symbols (question mark, full stop, etc), and warnings such as “OUTSTANDING DEBT PAYMENT” and “GRANT AWARD” (it’s fine in the subject, but sender name?). Oh, not to mention really funny looking ones like the lottery example below.

Examples of weird/suspicious subject headings:

Where’s your company name?
Misspelling, ahoy?
Full stops are used. And don’t you find the subject suspicious?
Yahoo and Msn aren’t by same companies… and they have a lottery board?!

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  • Email requesting personal information like full name, address, etc.
    Now that we’re done filtering by the email sender name and subject heading, now we’ll look at the actual email content. First, you can ignore most of the email. The important part is if they ask for personal information such as your full name, phone number, home address, bank account number, etc. If they do, it’s instantly a scam, because if actual companies were to email you, wouldn’t they already have your personal info if they have your email in the first place?

Example of a short email scam asking for personal info.

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  • “Please reply to (insert free email address, i.e. Yahoo, Hotmail).”
    Seriously, are you going to trust a company that uses free email addresses such as Yahoo and Hotmail that anyone can easily create an account in?

Examples of reply-to-free-address email scam:

Reply to Yahoo mail example, with red safety bar (Hotmail).
Reply to Live mail, with yellow safety bar (Hotmail).

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  • And other ways I can’t think of now. Figure those out yourselves. xP

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How to Avoid Getting Email Scams?

All I can say is, don’t simply give your email everywhere. Don’t put your email in public view on your website/blog/guide/etc, don’t sign up at fishy looking websites, and stuff like that.
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There are actually bots that search for emails to spam them like heck. Even if you think “Ah, it’s only my email!”, coming from a person who gets over 5 scam emails a day, I’ll tell you it’s really annoying. O_o
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And yes… that’s exactly  how my old email got spammed like crazy. It’s because I put an email in plain view in a website I used to have, and I can’t remove it because I lost access to it. It’s sad. T_T

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What to Do After Receiving an Email Scam?

Ignore it, of course!
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Because if you reply, whether with true personal info or to give them a piece of your mind, they’d be happy to spam you more with those, since by replying, you’re telling them this is your active account. (At least, this is what my boyfriend said. o_o)
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It’s your choice to set these emails as junk mail or put the emails on your block sender list, though I haven’t tried either so I can’t tell you whether it works or not. O_o
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Those with experience, please state your views!

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Hopefully you guys are happy enough with this post, it’s pretty long. xP
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And hopefully I wouldn’t get too lazy to post about GE next time! =D

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~Estrelita Farr, signing out!

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