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Friday, May 23, 2008

TweetThis! How to Recognize and Avoid scams

What NOT to do
If somebody you know, sends you email messages asking for money, I suggest that you don’t rush to respond to that email, DO NOT eMAIL THEM BACK. Sending back an email is proving to the 'potential hacker' that you are operational. Replying back to them is almost an OK sign for them go ahead and try to break into your system, compromise it and steal your information.

What you CAN do
If you receive any email message asking for money or critical information such as Name, Password, Date of Birth, Place of Birth etc, try to call or text that person in their phone (if they have one or call a close friend of their, if you are not one) or get information from other close friends and relatives that will help you determe if the said person is okay or not. I am pretty sure that, if that person is worth a spot in your contacts list, you would be better off wasting TShs 3,000 by calling them than wasting TShs. 30,000 + your personal information to e-thieves.

If you receive information (other than your email) telling you that your account has been hijacked or is sending false and conflicting information, I suggest that you quickly find a computer that has access to the internet and change your password and secret word (if it has not yet been changed by the hacker). Then send a message to all your contact list assuring them that you are ok (if you are really ok) and that they should not respond to any appeal for money or product advertisement.
I also suggest that youi create and keep atleast three email addresses. For example: one should be for work/school related stuff, the second for messages from friends and relatives and the third one for receiving and sending information in e-groups/forums that you might subscribe for news updates. You could also go further setting up at least one email address that can  be used to subscribe to unknown websites that require registration to try out their products/softwares.

Useful links
Below are some useful links that teach people how to use web addresses, or URLs, to identify phishing sites. The tactic can also be useful in analyzing suspicious email messages.

Test your e-knowledge
It is reported that, people who spent at least 15 minutes playing the Anti-Phishing Phil game were better able to identify fraudulent websites than people who spent the same amount of time reading traditional anti-phishing tutorials.

  1. Follow this link: http://wombatsecurity.com/antiphishing_phil/index.html and click on the words saying ‘Play!’
  2. Follow this link here: SonicWALL Phishing IQ Test to start the test. When you have completed the test you’ll get a score along with a chance to see “why” a question was a phish or legitimate.

Learn these tips

Did you know that "A security consultant based in New Zealand has released a tool that can unlock Windows computers in seconds without the need for a password?… merely by plugging in your Firewire cable and running a command”- interview in ITRadio’s Risky Business podcast, Boileau.

Click to read more about "scambaiters" and "Advance Fee Fraud"  (also called 4-1-9 fraud).

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