So Talwar’s e-mail account hacked?
Well, yahoo fears so and there are a lot of people who do not have any idea on it commented there too! I am not sure whether his email account has been really hacked or not. But it is surprising nobody including the author didn’t mention it is nothing but the same old Stranded Traveler Appeal Scam. Even internet-savvy people get confused on receiving such emails. So what is the best way to find out whether it is a scam or not? First and foremost – Google is your friend. Copy paste a part of the email content to google search box and chances are very high that you will get more info on that particular scam. Do not trust the email content just because it may appear to be sent from a friend or relative, you may find even the name and email address of the sender is correct and known to you. There are so many crooks in the cyberspace who want your money, so be very careful. Now, how do they send email that has your friends name and email address? Your friend’s email account has been hacked? Not necessarily, and less chance for that.
There are many ways to get the names and email addresses. Those chain letters and forwarders which looks like not harmful, those online petitions you sign, those forums and discussions groups where you didn’t set the privacy settings properly so that the email address is visible to all, the hundreds of ‘unsubscribe’ links you clicked when you were tired of spam emails, the angry emails you sent as replies to the viagra ads thinking they will read those and apologize for sending the same – the list goes on. OK, now we know how they get names and email address, but how do they send emails? Is that too complicated or technical? No, pretty easy actually. Anybody know the very basics of any internet programming language (PHP for example) can write an email triggering script in minutes. And for those smart kids, there are thousands of example scripts (piece of software code) available in internet itself. Just copy it, make necessary changes for name, email address, content and you are done. That sounds pretty scary, so no way to detect or prevent it? There are ways and most of the email providers warn the user or block such emails. But then technology has gone much fast that the bad guys always find ways to tackle it all.
So what to do when I receive such an email? First, never send them any money, and second, never send any reply to the email. Confirm the email is authentic by calling the sender, or calling his family members. Check for the typos and way of writing, it will be easy for you that way. And what if my friends call me to tell they received such an email (in some cases – even porno materials!)? Tell them it is an email scam and ask them to delete the email immediately. Try to login to your email account, if you can, change your passwords. And finally do not forget the good email habits.
Oh well, I really hope I do not get stranded in any foreign country