Get Well Soon: Victims Sickened by Electronic Greeting Card Scams

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ScamBusters.org reveals how fake eCards can infect PCs and steal confidential data -- and what Internet users can do to protect themselves against this latest security threat.

"Get Well Soon." "Happy Birthday." "Thinking of You." Since as early as the fifteenth century, people have used greeting cards to express warm sentiments to friends and family. With the creation of the Web -- and the electronic greeting card, or e-card -- it's easier than ever to tell someone you care. Unfortunately, the popularity of e-cards also makes it easier than ever to scam Internet users.

"Hackers are sending out fraudulent e-card notifications by the millions," says Dr. Audri G. Lanford, Co-Director of ScamBusters.org, a public service website that has been helping people protect themselves from Internet scams since 1994. "People are so used to sending and receiving e-cards that they open these emails without even thinking," says Dr. Lanford. "But simply opening a fraudulent email may trigger the download of a virus, Trojan, or some other piece of malicious software."

One of the most dangerous of the rogue software downloads is a Trojan called "Storm." This vicious piece of code hijacks your PC and transforms it into a virtual robot hackers can use to launch remote attacks on other unprotected PCs.

In some cases, fake e-cards install software that attacks your email address book, automatically spamming all your contacts with still more scam e-cards and unwanted marketing messages.

How to spot a fake e-card

ScamBusters.org notes that fake e-card notifications often include telltale signs such as:

  • The sender isn't someone you know.
  • The "From" line is generic ("Friend," "Neighbor," "Admirer," etc.)
  • The email contains spelling mistakes
  • The "From" line includes bogus names such as "Joe Cool"

Internet users can learn more about how to protect themselves from e-card scams at: http://www.scambusters.org/ecardscams.html

"When in doubt, delete any suspicious-looking email without opening it," says Dr. Lanford. "And never download attachments from someone you don't know."

About ScamBusters.org
ScamBusters.org is a public service that has been helping people protect themselves from Internet fraud since 1994. Founded by Co- Directors Audri and Jim Lanford, ScamBusters.org provides a free weekly email newsletter that shows you how to protect yourself from cunning scammers -- online and offline. ScamBusters offers a lively, entertaining and opinionated approach to avoiding the most popular scams, viruses, spyware, phishing scams, identity theft ploys, credit card fraud schemes, and urban legends making the rounds.

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