Beware Of The Phishermen!
Some Email Statistics
In 2010 around 294,000,000,000 (294 Billion) emails were sent… per day. This means that about 3.4 million email are sent every second. The problem is that only a small percentage are emails that you actually want.
Spam and other evils
It is estimated that 90% of the 100 trillion emails sent each year are spam. So what is regarded as spam?
Spam is basically unsolicited email. These are email that you didn’t ask for and if you have had an active email address for any amount of time, you will be getting loads of spam. If you use an online email account like Gmail, most of the spam that you receive goes unnoticed directly to your spam folder and is automatically deleted after 30 days. However, some spam filters are better than others and you might find heaps of spam in your inbox.
It is totally up to you whether you want to support the spam industry by clicking on these emails but you could do the world a favour and avoid them. If no one responded to these emails there would be a whole lot less of them.
According to Commtech Software Ltd the breakdown of types of spam for the first quarter of 2010 is as follows:
Pharmacy – 81%
Replicas – 5.4%
Enhancers – 2.3%
Phishing – 2.3%
Degrees – 1.3%
Casinos – 1%
Weight Loss – 0.4%
Others – 6.3%
So it seems the target of spammers are uneducated, overweight, sick gamblers with a compulsion for collecting copies of things and have undersized wieners or erectile dysfunction. Unless you are one of these people there is absolutely no need to open any of these mails. If you, and you get viruses or malware on your computer you only have yourself to blame.
How to Identify Spam
It is usually quite easy to identify spam. Firstly, the subject of the email is a dead giveaway. If the subject is something you have no interest in, there is a good chance it is spam.
Spammers are quite clever at tricking the unsuspecting people into opening their spam emails by making it look like the mail was sent by someone other than them. When you open your emails you might find the an email has been sent by your bank or another trusted source but before you open it, hover your mouse over the ‘from’ name is in most cases you will find that it comes from some dodgy email address like firstname.lastname@example.org. Obviously this does not come from your bank. But still be alert because they are still able to make the email address look like it came from a trusted source.
What you may find is that you open an email that actually looks like it is from your bank and you are required to click on a link or open an attachment. For goodness sakes, don’t do it. This could very well be a phishing email.
Phishing (pronounced: fishing) emails are the most dangerous type of email. These con artists include a link in the email that they send to you. It usually looks like it is coming from a bank and the message tells you that your account will be closed for inactivity, you have money owing to you, some kind of an upgrade or some other message to entice you to click on the link and log in to “your” account.
When you click on that link you are taken to a website that looks just like the bank’s website login page. But… it is not your bank’s website. When you enter your information it goes to the phisher who is able to access your account and steal your money.
Banks or anyone else of worth will never ask you to click on a link in an email and they will never ask you to confirm your details online. Now you know, so don’t do it.
On a final note, a scam artist is able to steal your identity with only your bank account details and ID/Social Security number. This will allow them to open accounts and even get credit cards in your name. An easy way to avoid this is to make sure you NEVER give out these details to anyone that you don’t know… EVER.
The internet is a safe and rewarding place to have a presence as long as you stay vigilant and be aware of potential threats. Enjoy it!
Statistical information sourced from:
Commtech Software Ltd