Last week I wrote about possible dangers of “FREE” offerings.
While verbiage varies, the end result is the same if you follow their link: headaches of an unimaginable magnitude for you!
Here’s an example of many I see each day in our company emails:
Dear email@example.com ,
Your mailbox quota is full.
This may cause your mailbox to be disabled or you may no longer be able to receive more emails
to continue using your mailbox. You will need to upgrade your mailbox quota immediately. This service is free.
Re-update your account
Note: Failure to update your account might lead to permanent deactivation of your account.
The Security team. 2019
Clicking lands you on an extremely convincing page. One wanting me to enter my email login information even had “© 2018 CharlesWorks” in it.
These work based on two principles: Offering the FREE “we’ll fix it” service and threat of imminent services loss. Together they convince you to bite. Especially that sense of urgency! Remember the world isn’t going to halt if you don’t act right away – it can wait until you deal with it properly.
Companies don’t have you “verify” your email account this way. If anything seems fishy concerning your email, call your email provider and ask for assistance. That’s what you pay them for!
It surprises me how many people still fall for anything with “FREE” attached to it. We shockingly still see “free counters” on many websites. They’ve been around as long as the web. Newbie web users still get fascinated by counters showing site visitor numbers.
There are problems with some freebies. If you visit a website and see that 3 people have visited it, that doesn’t exactly instill confidence in the site.
An aesthetic issue is that really nice, elegant looking websites don’t usually have counters. So site visitors aren’t distracted by traffic to the site. In fact, site counters are simply not that much in fashion these days.
Another problem is that many free counters are actually security risks. For an example, I recently read about a “Free SuperCounter Widget” that many have been using. It redirects site visitors to other sites (like dating and gambling and so on). So folks installing this counter were unwittingly sending site visitors away from their site.
Even more insidious is where the counter loads malware/viruses into the website – infecting site visitors as well.
The bottom line here: Yet another simple lesson about getting what you pay for. If your site has been infected, contact us or your developer for help.
With 20+ years in the web business, scams and schemes to steal from people still amaze me.
Several web clients have made me aware of a scam to frighten them into making a bitcoin payment.
They’re from addresses like “Anonymous Hacker” or even your own email. Subjects are “You have been hacked” or similar. They gloat they’ve infected you through some (usually unsavory) site you visited. They explain how they did it in terms most folks don’t understand – making you think they are really an expert – and frighten you into believing they’re monitoring your computer.
They threaten to send very personal items and even videos of you to everyone you know unless you comply with the demand within some short time period. They warn if you report them, they’ll distribute the “dirt” on you immediately.
We try to force these messages to spam on our servers. Sometimes they get through. We reassure several people each week they are a scam because they usually are.
However, devices DO get hacked. If you truly believe you’ve been hacked, you should see your IT person or someone who specializes in “cleaning” computers ASAP. We can recommend folks who can help.
We get many questions about spam (Junk E-mail). Spam clutters up your email. It’s also used to deliver online scams and malware/viruses.
A common question is “Any idea of why I’m seeing spam emails in my Inbox?” Spammers most likely got your email address from your friends or acquaintances – people you know and correspond with – whose computers or phones were compromised. Their contact lists get added to the spammers lists. Spammers also get emails from when we purchase online and from finding email addresses on websites.
Spam is difficult to avoid. One way to handle it is to hit the delete key. That’s much the same as just throwing junk mail away that’s delivered by the mail carrier.
However, spam email can be filtered. The good news is that better than 98% can be filtered into a junk email folder.
One filtering problem is determining which are actually spam – Home Depot, Lowe’s, Staples or other vendors are spam to many and not spam to others. Good mail servers allow users to “mark” items as not spam in that case.
There are numerous email servers that behave in just as many ways handling spam. If spam is an issue, check with your email provider about your options for handling it.
Charles Oropallo (Charles@CharlesWorks.com) started CharlesWorks in Peterborough NH in 1998. His team does website design, hosting, search engine optimization (SEO) and related web services.
Charles Oropallo, CharlesWorks founder and owner, Peterborough NH
Welcome to The Web Corner!
Charles Oropallo from CharlesWorks in Peterborough, NH will be bringing you articles on popular web topics with helpful hints. Most are expected to be simple and some are for the more experienced. All should be useful and educational by many readers. We will address:
- Passwords with our focus on making them secure – yet easy to remember.
- Common Internet scam information about domain name renewals to perhaps save you a lot of grief going forward.
- More Internet scam information about Directory Listing scams to again save you a lot of grief.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in layman’s language and how it works.
- Current web design products like WordPress – a free content management system for building websites.
- Some information about spam and how you get onto those spammer’s lists.
- Common myths and misconceptions about domain names aimed at helping you protect your online brand.
- The ease (or not) of website self-maintenance for do-it-yourselfers.
- The importance of shopping local and supporting your own community.
- Things to know about email security on your phone or on your computer or on your tablet.
- Website hosting and the advantages to local servers vs cloud storage.
- The occasional pitfalls of having your friends help you with your web needs.
- Reviewing your website now and then.
- A little about email etiquette and things to avoid.
- A common email extortion to ignore.
- Secure Socket layers (SSL) and the surrounding hype.
- Some tips and thoughts about choosing domain names.
- Free counters and issues surrounding most “free” web stuff.
- Info about a common “you need to update your email” scam.
- A brief explanation of “the cloud” as applied to the Internet.
- Social media – Facebook in particular – and how it relates to your web presence.
- How long you have to get site visitor’s attention.
- Who owns your domain and info about domain ownership.
- Checking up on your web content and the minimum needed.
- Checklist to help you find the best web developer.
And more! We’ll try to keep this page updated over time with the topics we cover each week!
There is a lot to share!
Feel free to email Charles with questions/suggestions. Check out The Web Corner each week here to see our new articles!
Charles Oropallo (Charles@CharlesWorks.com) started CharlesWorks in Peterborough NH in 1998. His team has provided website design, hosting and related web services for thousands of web clients on four continents.