"Forward this message to 10 people and you'll receive a cash prize!"…
"Grant a dying child's last wish- send an e-mail now."…
"Alert! Your computer has been infected with a DANGEROUS VIRUS!!"
These are examples of some common Internet hoaxes and scams currently cruising around the information superhighway. They are frauds, hoaxes, myths, and chain letters. Then there's spam -- the irritating electronic equivalent to junk mail. Learning how to discern the fakes from the facts may help save you time and unnecessary concern.
Among the most common types of frauds found on the Internet include phony prize offers, bogus travel packages, fraudulent investments, and false virus warnings.
You can spot these and other scams by keeping the following in mind:
@ Beware any unsolicited e-mails. Was the text actually written by the person who sent it to you? If not, be skeptical.
@ Red flags should go up if you see the phrase, "Forward this to everyone you know."
@ Look for over emphatic language, the frequent use of UPPERCASE LETTERS and multiple exclamation points!!!!!
@ If the communication declares, "This is not a lie," it usually is. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always apply common sense and never feel compelled to forward messages, no matter how urgent they may seem.
To cut down on the number of unsolicited messages you receive, do not respond to the common spam instruction to "reply" and "unsubscribe." When you do this, you simply confirm to the spammers that they have a valid e-mail address on their list -- prompting even more unwanted e-mail.
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