Dec 082014
 

Fake order confirmations. I’ve seen a lot of these the last couple of weeks. Particularly repeated email messages claiming to be from Costco (Walgreens, etc.) with “Order Confirmation” as the subject. Of course, I never placed any such order(s). Examination of the messages (without actually opening them in an email app) revealed various sender addresses having nothing to do with Costco. Links in the bodies of the messages went to various Web addresses, sometimes indecipherable. Some used attachments, bogus receipts or order confirmations, as well.

Some of these scams are crude self-declarations. Just one or two sentences. But others are artfully crafted to look legitimate — well written copies of legitimate order or shipping notices from well-known companies.

I hope that most people will be suspicious of such email messages, resist the impulse to open them, and just delete them immediately. Many of these scams use Web beacons which notify the scammers that your email address viewed their message (which means that you’ll keep getting more spam scams). But clicking on an embedded link or opening an attachment is worse, possibly infecting your PC with malware.

This holiday season these scams are in full swing once again. As PC World summarized in their article “Beware this online shopping scam: Fake order confirmations” (12/8/2014):

Brian Krebs, a respected authority on security and all-things-cybercrime, wrote a cautionary post earlier this week. “If you receive an email this holiday season asking you to ‘confirm’ an online e-commerce order or package shipment, please resist the urge to click the included link or attachment: Malware purveyors and spammers are blasting these missives by the millions each day in a bid to trick people into giving up control over their computers and identities.”

Remmember, if you have an online account with the vendor, you always can login and check your order status. Some vendors also have customer service phone numbers.

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