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TOPIC: Email Warning
#55165
Time on my hands
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Email Warning 6 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 3
Because of the recent discussions of 'fishy' messages and spam, I thought I would share another type of problem going around right now. The warnings of not opening an email from someone you don't know are quite sound. But, you should also beware of some emails from people you do know. This happened to me just a couple of weeks ago.

My ISP is Charter, and I use their email. Several months ago, they had a huge server failure and deleted massive amounts of email from a lot of customers accounts including their archived stuff, pictures, etc. Fortunately, our account wasn't one of them, but it spooked my sons and they started using Yahoo.

My oldest (30) sends me stuff all the time. Cartoons, jokes, links to news stories. Anything he comes across or is sent that he thinks I'll be interested in. One day I got an email from him with an attachment. Didn't think anything about it. Normal occurrence. The only thing different was that it had no text. Only the attachment. He always says something like: Read this. This is funny. Or so and so sent me this, you'll laugh your... off.

I thank God he happened to be standing behind me reading over my shoulder at that time. He said, "Mom I didn't send you that." It looked totally legitimate. From his email address and everything. Absolutely no reason to believe that he had not sent it. I deleted it immediately without opening it. If he had not been there I would have opened it without thinking twice about it. I got two more just like it before we got to the bottom of it.

After some investigation, we found out that there had been a Yahoo security breach and a lot of email addresses got hijacked. They have supposedly fixed the problem, but now my sons use a code in the email that tells me it really is from them. You might get your friends and family to start this practice. Spammers and identity thieves may find new ways to get your email, but they can't get a code word out of you if you don't give it to them. Ours is something that is not easily identifiable as a code. It is just something that anyone might say in an email, but not something that a spammer would know had to be present to get me to open it.

It gets harder everyday to stay safe online. I hope this prevents at least one person from opening something that is harmful.
 
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#55167
1CarinoInu
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Re:Email Warning 6 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 9
A very sound warning and good advice.

I also use Yahoo and received an email from someone I haven't heard from in years. Since the email itself was blank but had an attachment, that sent warning bells off. I am going to assume it was part of the same deal you mentioned.

Explain to me what you mean by using a code? I didn't quite understand how you use it. Is it in the message itself or in the subject line?

Thank you
 
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#55169
knifethrower
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Re:Email Warning 6 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 75
I can't get into my Charter e-mail at all. When I try to access it, it doesn't give me any message as to what is wrong, it just sends me back to Charter's home page again. I plan on having my husband (who makes a very intimidating emissary) go to their office to try to get to the bottom of what is going on, but now I'm wondering if it has something to do with the server failure "Time On My Hands" mentioned. I'm an old-fashioned person, and don't use my e-mail much at all, so it HAS been a long time since I tried to get into it. Now I hope it has truly disappeared, and has not been hijacked by some evil entity. Am I being paranoid?
 
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#55170
SesshysRose
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Re:Email Warning 6 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 11
yeah. I am super careful about what I open in my e-mails (I use yahoo) and I didn't know they had a security breach or anything! Shouldn't they have to inform their users of this?
 
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#55173
Freya Ishtar
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Re:Email Warning 6 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 39
Rose, if someone could hack the system to cause the security breach, they certainly could have circumvented any notifications from the system to subscribers.

Even emails that say they're from your email provider should be opened with caution. A few months ago, I received an email that looked like it was from MSN (I use hotmail) but when I looked at the email, it was a warning that because of a security breach, they were going to randomly close down some clients emails and that the only way to be certain your email wasn't among those that risked being terminated you had to respond to their message with you email account info.

Clearly, I thought this was 'fishy', so I didn't respond, instead saving the email because it actually gave a time period of 'non-responsive' subscribers 3 days before their accounts were terminated, figuring that if there were any truth at all to the nonsense, I'd see it in 3 days. Nothing happened to my email, but I dread to think about anyone who took the msg seriously.
 
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#55183
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Re:Email Warning 6 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 3
The code we use is a simple phrase. You could use a particular way of greeting. Something like, "Hi y'all. What's up?" Nothing out of the ordinary, but if it is something that you have agreed to use and it is not in the email, then you know that the email is not from that person because they did not use the agreed upon 'code'.

I got the code idea from the Doc Savage novels I read when I was younger. For those of you who are not familiar with Doc Savage, he was a 30's and 40's pulp hero. The stories were reprinted by Bantam years ago. He had five aides who worked with him. Since it was commonplace for their messages to get hijacked and changed, they developed a secret code they used to verify the authenticity of the message.

During that era, most communication was done by telegram. Those of us who are older know the format... A sentence. Stop. Another sentence. Stop. You get the drift. Anyway they used a five letter code. Meaning that each sentence of the telegram would start with a five letter word. Maybe... Stop. Shall... Stop. That let them know that the message was real. If they got one that said, Did... Stop. Will... Stop. They knew that it wasn't sent by one of them.

Your code can be anything. Maybe start by asking how a nonexistent family member is doing. How is Aunt Whoozit doing? Obviously there is no Aunt Whoozit, but a spammer doesn't know that.

There was a small story about the Yahoo breach, but for the most part they kept it as quiet as possible. It was around the time that Microsoft had their problem.
 
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#55179
SesshysRose
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Re:Email Warning 6 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 11
yeah, Freya, I get a lot of those too. That or "Bank of America" (which I don;t even bank with) wants info from me. I'm very gullible, so I'm extra careful when it comes to opening an e-mail. If I'm not expecting the e-mail or it isn't from here, facebook, or beta, I don't even bother with it. Better safe then sorry...
 
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#55180
Freya Ishtar
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Re:Email Warning 6 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 39
Precisely.
 
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#55197
Langus
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Re:Email Warning 6 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 6
I got an email like this as well from my mother's account (her hotmail account). It basically said "I know we haven't talked in a while but I just got this great job offer...".

The irony being that my mom and I really hadn't talked in about a month and two months prior that she'd lost her job so had been actively looking for work.

The email wasn't from her and was definitely some kind of spam. She had to send an email out to everyone letting them know NOT to open it.

So keep a heads up! It might come from someone you know.
 
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#55234
~CherrySakuras~
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Re:Email Warning 6 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 4
Omg I'll let my mom know right away since she emails me random stuff too. Also this sound alot like what was happening with myspace. My friends were all telling me how in myspace people were getting messages from there friends with viruses in the message it's self. Then after you opened the message it would instantly send the same message to all your friends on your list and it would go on and on. I guess that's the main reason I don't want a myspace or facebook. But I might get a facebook. . . Maybe. So yea becareful of that one too guys and I'll be on the look out for the emailing one
 
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#55237
Discontent Winter
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Re:Email Warning 6 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 23
Hey Thanks!
You just solved a mystery for me.. ^_^
At work, I received an email a few months ago... from myself, and cced to another email address of mine. It even had my 'first' and 'last name' listed as the alias.

Mine just had a link so I kept it disabled in my junk mail folder just in case I needed to refer back to the time stamp info.
 
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#55522
Anna
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Re:Email Warning 6 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 0
I find that gmail has always been reliable. I do get lots of spam but it gets filtered out. The only issues I've had with spammers is that they think they can get past the filter if they set the return address as my own address. The filter still picks it up anyway. Of course I'm not saying that you should change your email, but having different accounts set up for different things works. I have a main/casual address, an official address and a fanfic dedicated address. That way I don't lose track of things.
 
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