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June 07, 2009

Warning: Have you been "Tagged"

Have you received email with a subject line such as: "John Sent You Photos on Tagged :)" -- except instead of "John" in my example, it is the actual name of someone you know?

If you were the suspicious type, and you should be, you would have sent an email to that friend or relative or business associate and first asked them if they actually sent it. If not, then you probably need to do the following things immediately:

1. Write to the person and tell them about the email you got.

2. Advise them to send out a real email to all the people in their email address book warning them not to open any such email (because it didn't come from them) and not to click on any links in such an email and definitely not to fill out anything on the website that link goes to.

3. Advise them to make sure their anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware programs are up-to-date and to scan their computer.

4. After you've done that, you will want to follow the exact same advice yourself.

5. In the future, you (and they) will hopefully be more careful and suspicious.

Additional notes:

Some folks who went so far as to click on the link and de-selected the entire list of email ids that this site captured from their address book thought by doing so no one else would get spammed. It appears that is not the case, since the site already has that information and has apparently used it to spam everyone in that address book.

Please be careful. And while I have your attention, if you are one of those people who forwards chain emails or things that really seem just too good to be true, please stop immediately. And even if you are forwarding real valid emails, unless it is in a work environment where showing who has been involved in the communication chain has some value, just cut and past the relevant part -- don't include the hundred other email addresses buried in the email. That's another way spammers get valid email addresses to use. And when sending email to a group of people who may not all know each other or wish to have their email shared with the world, use the BCC option.

Richard L. Kuper
The Kuper Report

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