So it is time for another Internet Safety Tutorial. I know that our email in boxes can get inundated with email and we don’t always have the time to go through them, especially for those that just have one email address (or addy for short). I will address that in another tip. Today is just about keeping yourself safe when you are opening email.
The first thing I want to say is that if you EVER receive an email from a “family member” saying that they were traveling overseas and their wallet was stolen, please send money….DO NOT SEND MONEY!!!!! EVER!!!!! What happened is somehow, their Social Media site (generally Facebook) was hacked and they are email everyone in their friends list. I know for those of you that are reading this that are not internet savvy, it is difficult to understand how this all happens, but trust me, it does. A family member would NEVER contact you this way. I know that it seems like it is coming from their email and you want to help a loved one, but it would never happen that way. Do not do it. PLEASE!!!! Side note, even though this is about Internet Safety, the same would go for a phone call from a third-party. Never send money because you think a family member is stranded somewhere unless you talk to THAT family member directly! Even overseas, if something like that should happen to a family member, there are places they could go, their hotel would let them contact you, the police, US Embassy, etc. It would not be through a third-party that you do not know!
Now, that leads me to opening email in general. For the most part, the email you receive is safe and you do not have to worry about it. The ones I am focusing on in this blog are the ones that seem to trip some people up.
The first one I am going to focus on is when it looks legitimate at first glance but it shows up in your junk email. Use the filters in your junk email for a reason! They catch things internally that you might not always see at first glance.
I recently received an email Titled “expedited Shipping” Now, I have been ordering a few things lately, so I thought, maybe it isn’t really junk mail, it’s a notice of something arriving. Then I opened it and I realized right away that it was junk. Not everyone would though.
This is what it looked like:
If you notice, it has USPS on it, so you would think that it was sent from them. But it wasn’t the typical logo and style of USPS so that had me on alert. If you weren’t familiar with their style of email or if you didn’t catch subtle things like that, it might have you fooled.
Now, here are some basic steps to help keep you safe. The first thing you want to do is look for the email address of the sender….not just what they listed as the title. For example, “Expedited Shipping” isn’t their email address, all email addresses end in XXXXXXXX@something.com always look at the name AFTER the @ sign. That is the key to who it is from. If you are looking at the email from a tablet or smart phone, you may have to click more or click on the name to see the email address. It is IMPORTANT that you do that! In this case, this was the email address:
It was clear that it was not from anyone at the USPS. If it was, the email would have been something like
XXXXXXXX@USPS.com At this point, you would be best to just delete it and move on.
For those that like to go the extra step to prove that it isn’t the right thing to do….If you notice in the pic up above, I said that you could right-click on the “Print Address Label” and copy the path. If you are looking at the email on your computer, you can also often click properties after you right-click and it will show you the path. For this blog, I am showing you a sample of what it would look like on an iPhone. I held down over the “Print Address Label” and then clicked “copy”. From there, I opened up a blank text message screen, held down over the area you text in, and clicked “paste”. This is what it showed me….
The sender’s whole goal is to get you to click on “Print Address Label” In doing this, it may have allowed them to put a virus on your computer, it may have allowed them access to your computer to get into your files. There is no telling WHY and WHAT they had in mind. By doing these few extra steps, you can save yourself a lot of headache.
Another popular trick that is happening is that the sender’s name may be a name you recognize, maybe even someone you have emailed in the past, and the spelling is the exact same….do not be fooled! If it ended up in your JUNK or SPAM folder, there is probably a reason. Or if it just says “Web Page for __________ (your name)” BE SUSPICIOUS!!!! Chances are, it’s SPAM.
Now, because it was in my junk email AND it was just a generic title, I took the one extra step and click to see the email address. This is what I saw:
These are just a few of the examples of how to protect yourself from opening bad emails or causing damage to your computer or your personal information.
I hope this helps.