Thursday, 18 June 2009

How to spot an Email Hoax

Spotting the latest email hoaxes may be easier than you think!

There are thousands of email hoaxes moving around the Internet at any given time. Some may be the latest email hoaxes around. Others may be mutated versions of hoax messages that have travelled the Internet for years. These email hoaxes cover a range of subject matter, including:
  • Supposedly free giveaways in exchange for forwarding emails.
  • Bogus virus alerts.
  • False appeals to help sick children.
  • Pointless petitions that lead nowhere and accomplish nothing.
  • Dire, and completely fictional, warnings about products, companies, government policies or coming events.
The good news is that, with a little bit of foreknowledge, email hoaxes are easy to detect. Hidden within the colourful prose of your average email hoax often lurk telling indicators of the email's veracity.

Probably the most obvious of these indicators is a line such as "Send this email to everyone in your address book". Hoax writers want their material to spread as far and as fast as possible, so almost every hoax email will in some way exhort you to send it to other people. Some email hoaxes take a more targeted approach and suggest that you send the email to a specified number of people in order to collect a prize or realize a benefit.

Another indicator is that hoaxes tend not to provide checkable references to back up their spurious claims. Genuine competitions, promotions, giveaways or charity drives will usually provide a link to a company website or publication. Real virus warnings are likely to include a link to a reputable virus information website. Emails containing Government or company policy information are likely to include references to checkable sources such as news articles, websites or other publications.

A third indicator is often the actual language used. Email hoax writers have a tendency to use an emotive, "over-the-top" style of writing peppered with words and phrases such as "Urgent", "Danger", "worst ever virus!!", "sign now before it's too late" and so on, often rendered in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS for added emphasis. Paragraphs dripping with pathos speak of dying children; others "shout" with almost rabid excitement about free air travel or mobile phones. As well, some email hoaxes try to add credibility by using highly technical language.

Before forwarding an email, ask yourself these questions:
  1. Does the email ask you to send it to a lot of other people?
  2. Does the email fail to provide confirmation sources?
  3. Is the language used overly emotive or highly technical?
A "yes" answer to one or more of the above questions, should start some alarm bells ringing. These indicators do not offer conclusive evidence that the email is a hoax but they are certainly enough to warrant further investigation before you hit the "Forward" Button.


Wednesday, 25 February 2009

The Hallmark e-card virus - A Hoax?

Is The Hallmark e-card virus a Hoax?

There are various opinions on this subject, some caliming that it is a hoax, others that it is true. This blog only provides information from reputable sources. Below is an article on the subject from Web User, UK's best selling internet magazine.

Virus hidden in Hallmark e-card

"Surfers should beware of opening emails purporting to be from the popular card company Hallmark as they may carry a virus.

Security firm MessageLabs has intercepted emails from 25,000 IP addresses containing a new virus that arrives from the sender with the subject line, 'You've received a Hallmark E-Card!'

Along with the email there is an attachment entitled If opened a Trojan virus will attach itself to the hosts computer and recruit it for a botnet, a web of infected computers.

According to MessageLabs the emails were sent in bursts with a surge of the malicious emails detected on 23 July.

This latest bout of malware is a variation of the Storm botnet which popularised postcard/e-card attacks last year. Web User reported on a similar scam just last month.

"As long as recipients continue to fall for these old tricks, malware authors and spammers will continue to use them," according to Matt Sergeant of MessageLabs."

The following is what Hallmark themselves have to say on the subject.

"How to retrieve legitimate Hallmark e-cards and identify fradulent e-mails

Consumer security and the integrity of our brand are of great importance to Hallmark. Occasionally, we are made aware of fraudulent e-mails and other deceptive practices, such as the postcard virus currently circulating, which we take very seriously. While Hallmark's legal team addresses these concerns, we want our consumers to be aware of how to spot a fraudulent e-mail, which may contain major greeting card company names such as Hallmark.

These fraudulent e-mails do not originate from Hallmark. The Hallmark name has been used by a third party. All legitimate Hallmark e-cards can be retrieved at with the code provided. A legitimate Hallmark e-card will include the name of the sender, a confirmation number and does not include an attachment to download.

Additional Information

Downloading attachments in these fradulent e-mails could download a virus onto a computer that compromises personal data. Here are steps consumers can take to reduce the chances of this happening:

Delete the e-mail without opening it.

If you have opened it and want to forward it to us, send it to Due to the large amount of e-mail we receive at that address we will not be able to reply to your e-mail, but we will investigate. Then delete the e-mail from both your inbox and your sent folder. If you click on the link in the bogus e-mail, you will launch a Trojan virus. This virus installs an Internet Relay (IRC) chat client and causes the infected computer to connect to an IRC channel. Attackers then use that connection to remotely command your machine for the purpose gathering your personal information. An example of this virus is the Zapchast virus.

If you use Windows XP and Internet Explorer you should visit to update your browser and operating system. Then you will be less likely to be affected by the virus.

Report suspicious e-mail to your e-mail service provider so they can take action.

File a complaint at

If you are unsure if you’ve received a legitimate Hallmark E-Card, don't click on a link in the e-mail. Instead locate the EG number in the e-mail and use our E-Card pickup.

What Hallmark is doing:

Contacting the Internet providers identified as the source of the spam requesting that they shut down the imposters.

Working with Microsoft to include the virus code in their phishing filter to protect consumers who use their web browser and e-mail client software.

Working with anti-virus software corporations to get the virus code added to virus definition updates.

Reviewing Hallmark's E-Card notification and pickup procedures.

Educating consumers about how to avoid E-Card abuse.

How to tell if a Hallmark E-Card notification is real:

Hallmark e-card e-mails do not include any attachments. To be safe if you receive an e-card notification with an attachement delete it immediately, then empty your "trash" or "deleted e-mails" from your email client.

The sender's first name and last name will appear in the subject line. If you do not recognize the name of the person sending the E-Card, do not click on any links in the e-mail. Delete the e-mail.

The notification will include a link to the E-Card on as well as a URL that can be pasted into a browser.

The URL will begin with followed by characters that identify the individual E-Card. Hover your mouse over the words "click here" in your e-mail. If you do not see the URL above, it is not a legitimate Hallmark E-Card.

Hallmark E-Cards are not downloaded and they are not .exe files.

In addition, will never require an E-Card recipient to enter a user name or password nor any other personal information to retrieve an E-Card.

If you are unsure if you’ve received a legitimate Hallmark E-Card, don't click on a link in the e-mail. Instead locate the EG number in the e-mail. Then go to, click on the "Cards & E-Cards tab," and then on "Pick Up an E-Card" link from the dropdown menu and enter the EG number to retrieve your card.

E-mail Safety Tips:

Don’t open e-mails you know are spam. A code embedded in spam advertises that you opened the e-mail and confirms your address is valid, which in turn can generate more spam.

Don't open e-mails from unknown senders.

Don’t open attachments in e-mails unless you are expecting to receive one. If you receive an attachment that you are not expecting, even if it’s from someone you know, first read the e-mail and make sure the attachment is legitimate. If you’re still not sure, call or e-mail the sender to confirm, but do not reply to the original e-mail.

Don't click on links in e-mails that appear to be from financial companies (PayPal, banks, credit card companies, etc.) that direct you to verify or confirm account details. Instead, call the company if you are concerned about your account."

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

'Worm virus' hits 9m computers

A worm that infects computers lacking the latest security patches or updated anti-virus software is spreading rapidly, according to security experts.

The malicious program, variously known as Conficker, Downadup or Kido, was discovered in October 2008.

On its blog pages, online security firm F-Secure estimates the worm has now infected 8.9 million machines globally. However, the Finland-based firm recently suggested that the "worm virus" may be a dud.

The virus does not appearing to be working as intended, according to F-Secure. Chief security adviser Patrik Runald told PA that its coding suggests a type of bug that alerts computer users to bogus infections on their machines and offers to help by selling antivirus software. Instead, the virus is mostly spreading to little effect - though it may still pose a threat to infected computers.

Microsoft released a security patch to deal with the worm on October 23. However, computers that have not had the latest security patches installed – or which lack up-to-date anti-virus software – remain vulnerable.

"Obviously the best thing you can do - as we stressed back in November - is make sure that Microsoft’s patch is in place on every vulnerable computer on your network," wrote Sophos security expert Graham Cluley on his blog.

"In addition, you should ensure that your anti-virus software is up-to-date."
Cliff Evans, head of security and privacy at Microsoft UK, said: "Our advice is for users to ensure their antivirus protection is up to date with latest definitions. One of the ways Conficker spreads is by exploiting a vulnerability which was addressed at the end of October 2008 with Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-067 which we further recommend users download.

"Other means of infection include exploitation of weak password policies and unprotected file shares. The easiest way to ensure latest security updates are installed is to enable the Automatic Update feature in Windows. Those that do not use Automatic Updates can go to

"We have updated our customers on this threat through the Microsoft Malware Protection Center blog. We’ll continue to provide updates as necessary."

Users can download the security patch for their version of Windows from the following site

Further information on the Conficker worm and how to deal with it can be found here;


Sunday, 11 January 2009

Paid for doing online surveys? Yeah right, I wish...

I tried one of those online survey sites about 4 months ago that
say all you have to do is spend a couple of minutes filling out
some surveys and you will be making hundreds a day.....
YEAH RIGHT, I didn't make anything.

I joined 7 of these stupid websites and I actually tried filling
out a couple of surveys on each site and they took forever and then
at the end they wanted me to buy things or I couldn't complete
the survey.

These are complete scams so be aware!!! I couldn't believe they
were even allowed to sell such bogus products.

Then about 2 weeks ago I was watching the news and they had some
vice presidents and marketing managers of some major multi million
dollar companies talking about a site that they personally work
with to pay consumers for their opinion, a site that actually just
wants the "average Joe's" honest opinion on products
and services and is willing to pay big money to get them.

I tried this site out and it is the only one I have ever
seen that actually pays you just to take surveys. I made
almost $100 in my first day just filling out 3 simple surveys.

This is the only legit survey site online, so if you are
interested in making hundreds per day just giving your opinions
then make sure you check this out.

P.S. there is a video on the homepage that will explain everything.
If I were you I would at least check the video out and if you don't
make at least $300 in your first week they have a 3 month refund
policy so just get your money back!!! This is definitely worth a

I've been cheated & I want a refund!!

Wanted to talk a little about the sad state of Internet
marketing nowadays....

Recently, I've received tons of JV requests and plenty
of ebooks to review and to be honest, if I bought 95%
of them, I'd be screaming that email headline you've
just read.

...and mind you, there are plenty of big names in there
as well. But there was only ONE that really caught my eye

...I want to introduce you these two young hot shots - they
are going to take the Internet marketing world by storm!


They have devised a (sneaky) clever way that *you*
can easily start profiting on the internet without:

* A Website
* Products
* Doing Anything 'Technical'
* Marketing As An Affiliate
* Or selling anything!

You won't have seen anything like this before,
and this is a *real* opportunity. It involves siphoning
literally free traffic from Google for massive profits!

Like anything genuine it does involve a bit of effort - but
little more than a couple of hours easy set up!

Take a look now and see the $30,971.82 proof
(In just 2 weeks!!)


Click here to find out more:


You'll be glad you did!

P.S. I don't lend my name or reputation to many
products, but this gets my highest recommendation.

I strongly urge you to check it out:


Monday, 5 January 2009

FREE Master Resell Rights to 200 Products!

I was speaking with Cody Moya the other day
(a well-known Internet Marketer), and he started
talking about how his website is here to offer
free gifts!

What are the gifts, you ask?

Here they are:

Giant Package of 200 Products with Master Resell Rights

These amazing gifts are not only great resources,
but they can lead to thousands of dollars in revenues!

All with Master Resell Rights!

The catch? Cody said he can only offer this to you
for a short time, and then the deal is off. Go ahead
and click the link, sign up, and download your gifts now.



P.S. - You may be wondering, "what's the catch?"…well,
there ISN'T one. Simply go and enter your name and email,
and you'll receive 200 Products with Master Resell
Rights and more.

I hope that you will make lots of money
selling and using those products!