For Immediate Release
Computer Related Article by Will Claney
You Are Being Sued – It Says So Right Here in This Email
“You are being sued,” screams the headline on the email you just received. The headline continues to say you haven’t paid your bill so legal action is being taken against you. Really? Being sued usually requires you to receive a notification from a process server, but, you’re only human so you open it.
“Unpaid Invoice number 81721 for $1827.32” touts the subject line of your email. You are curious, and want to correct the record, so you open it. The message indicates the amount they say you owe; just click this file to view your overdue invoice. You do, all the while thinking which member of the family was dumb enough to run up a bill, not tell anyone and try to skip paying for it.
“You’re qualified for a free credit card,” all we need is your approval and you will have your card in 3 days? Great deal right? So, you open the email and give them your name.
Have you ever heard the old saw, “If it’s too good to be true?” [Thomas Lupton] Well, right here, right now I am officially reframing that idiom to be, “if it’s too bad to be true, it is a scam.” We are all human and have feelings. Scammers know this and take advantage of your feelings by saying outrageous things. When they do your natural instinct is to react to set the record streight.
My all-time favorite is, “Hi I’m from Microsoft and your computer is infected; just call this number for Microsoft support.” Let me be perfectly clear, MICROSOFT WILL NEVER CONTACT YOU. NEVER, EVER, NEVER-EVER. They don’t have reps that look for viruses, they don’t have tech’s that will remotely access your computer to help you out.
If you open one of these outrageous emails and perform any task, like looking at the fake invoice they say you have, or calling the Microsoft help support line for technical assistance you have just been scammed. Enough! Stop it. If they say they are going to sue you, let them. They threatened your credit rating, ok bring it on. Fight scams with intelligence, patience and a great deal of skepticism, then just ignore it, press delete, and eradicate the email bearing such ridiculous information and don’t open email from people you don’t know. As a human, I know this is tough to do, but stiffen your resolve.
This week has been especially harsh to users opening emails, more than I have ever seen or heard. They range from the scams, like the above, to ransomware. Scammers prey on your feelings of injustice or curiosity and when you fall for it you lose money, gobs of it in some cases. Just tell them to “bugger-off.”
If you get hit with a crypto locker virus all your data is held hostage. But you can get it back? How? Oh, just pay the ransom. Okay, so now they want your trust. Like quicksand, they suck you in. But they are going to make it better, just send money for an unlock key. The process is thus, get your credit card, give it to a Bitcoin center for (wink-wink) secure processing, they will send it to the scammer in untraceable currency and request a key. Trust us. So, you just got scammed, your credit card is now all over the Internet and your data may never be recovered and you’re out five-hundred bucks. But that’s not the end of it, it’s the beginning.
So, what to do? First, don’t open emails from people you don’t know. Second, get a backup system and use the grand-father, father, son backup scheme (Google it), and lastly be suspicious of everything. It’s up to you to be vigilant; your government is more likely to help the bad guys than you.