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05 August 2014

Safeguard Yourself From Unscrupulous Emails and Hacks

A lot of people have recently contacted me about problems with their Hotmail, Gmail and Facebook accounts. Some people have just had the account compromised and a change of password has been enough to solve the problem, others have had to delete their accounts altogether!

So I thought I would put together some advice which will help unsuspecting people in the hope to reduce the problems these hackers are inflicting on us.

Access to your accounts through emails.

We are all now aware of the African lawyer who has a client with millions of dollars who would like to share this with you. For help in transferring the funds you will receive a substantial reward! For those who don't know, this is a scam. They con you into sending money to cover "expenses" or whatever and eventually you get so tied in to the scam that you end up parting with everything! Do not even answer them, just delete from your emails.

Amazon Deliveries / UPS Delivery Notices

This is an email which portrays to have been sent from Amazon or UPS (and others) about a recent order and confirmation. A zip file or other document is attached which is claimed to have the details. Click on these and open them and your computer will be infected. Even with the latest antivirus software, these files seem to be able to circumvent some antivirus programs.

If you have recently ordered something from Amazon and this may be being delivered by UPS they rarely send anything within a zip file or attachment. If you are worried you will be missing something just go to their webpage directly. DO NOT FOLLOW ANY LINKS FROM AN EMAIL, just open a new webpage and type in the company, bank or whatever directly and check your account.

Emails from Banks

As for the emails you may get from Amazon or UPS, hackers are sending emails out to people pretending to be from your bank. Obviously if you don't have a Nat West bank account you will know immediately that this is a scam or potential virus but maybe you do have a NatWest account and think its from them. Possibly the email has come from a bank which you do have, in these cases it is tempting to open the attachment; DON'T!

First check...

Was the email addressed to you as the bank or building society knows you. Did the email contain your name?

Does the email come from the bank itself? A quick check can be done by resting your mouse over the email and the whole email will be displayed. if the email does not end in the correct banks domain then its a fake. For example it might be This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This looks right but a bank or other reputable company will not have anything between the comany name and the .com or .co.uk so in this example the actual domain name is "emailsystem.com" and not barclaysbank!

If you are unsure that the email has or has not come from a bona fide source just ignore the links within the email and go directly to your web browser and use your normal method of opening your bank's web page or go to the address bar at the top of your browser and type it in. If the email was sent from the bank you will probably have a notice once you have logged in to let you know. If not the email was more than likely a hack.

Facebook Scams

Have you ever seen an interesting post by one of your Facebook friends and though you would like to view it? You will be redirected to another page where you will be asked for permissions to share things on your account and maybe even have access to other parts of your Facebook account. If you see anything like this the video is probably a scam to get access to your account and not worth the risk

Another scam is the one which states you can see who has blocked you. Its tempting to see who might be blocking you on Facebook (and other systems) so you click the link and you are asked for your username and password so they can check who is blocking you!!! Dont do it! This will provide them with your details and that will be the end of your account. This is also true for messenger and Skype account blocking notices.

Generally Take Note

Do not follow any links in emails unless you are absolutely sure it is from the correct source. Check the email address it was sent from by resting your mouse over the email to see the full email address and not just the alias

Do not reply to get rich quick by helping to transfer some dead persons wealth by an African prince whose dad owns an oil rig!

Do not follow links from people you know who all of a sudden send a link to you in an email which has several other people in the "to:" field. Especially if the subject of the email does not seem like it would come from that person. If in doubt email that person and verify they sent this to you.

Finally, if in doubt dont do it! It really is that simple. Make sure your antivirus software is up to date and running correctly.

Latest Spam/Hacking emails

If you receive the following email with zip file attachments just delete them:

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