I have received easily over a hundred e-mails over the past 3 years from teachers regarding e-mail received that is fraudulent. We typically class messages like these as “spam,” but I wanted to take the time to re-visit this in light of recent questions.
When we are sent a message, and it arrives in our inbox, one of the following is true:
- It comes from someone we are familiar with and we trust the message;
- It comes from someone we are not familiar with, and we trust the message;
- It comes from someone we are familiar with, but it doesn’t “sniff” well, and we begin to doubt the authenticity of the message;
- It comes from someone we are not familiar with, and we do not trust the message.
Most of our e-mail falls under #1. You get an e-mail from John Hendron, and you trust it. Unless I seem crazy from what I’ve sent you, you don’t fall into #3… if it looks like every other message I’ve sent, and you recognize my name, then our minds lean towards trusting that message.
Numbers 2 and 4 are the ones we are concerned with here. We are likely to trust a message from an unknown sender for a number of reasons:
a. they say something that seems legitimate; b. on the surface, they look legitimate; c. they promise something that emotionally we connect with, and we want to believe the message.
Despite all of this, it’s relatively easy to spoof e-mail. It’s so open and un-protected that it’s likely laughable just how many e-mails we actually do trust.
Behind the scenes, there are ways to check-up on the legitimacy of e-mail. If an e-mail doesn’t pass the “sniff” test, then start looking before you click on links, provide information, or or linger with the message.
If the message seems too good to be true, then it is. I.e., no one wins the lottery through e-mail.
Things to check.
- Where does the message come from? I have nothing against foreign countries, but e-mails that come from foreign lands have a high probability of not being legitimate, as laws in other countries don’t prohibit e-mail scams, or at least prevent these scams from coming to us in the U. S.
- Does the e-mail request additional sensitive information, such as passwords, social security numbers, or account numbers? If so, delete.
- Does it sound as if it comes from a tech person but you don’t recognize the name? If it isn’t John Hendron, Peter Martin, Sean Campbell, or Jen Bocrie, be suspicious. Oh, ok, you can trust Ginni Nichols, Bea Cantor, Tiffany Ray, Susan Vaughan, Deb Cross, and Beverly Cooley, too. 🙂
- Does it look like it comes from your bank, a courier service, or some legitimate business but the e-mail address isn’t from that business? Delete.
To check details, with a selected message, in Mail, go to View > Message > All Headers, or “Raw Source.” Two things in this message “stink”:
> > Received: from s3.pdg.pl ([22.214.171.124])
.it domain extension in e-mail, and .pl mail server domain extension. These point to Italy and Poland. And the e-mail address may not even be legitimate. Similar e-mails have come from Mexico.
Receiving spam is not hazardous, usually, unless you click on links to fraudulent websites. It’s annoying, yes. Just delete these messages and if you’re suspicious, just delete spammy e-mail.