Saturday, January 14, 2012

Email: “Click here to…”

There has been a recent spate of email messages arriving saying nothing more than "Click here to see the attached photos” or "Click here to read this message”.
These emails generally seem to come from someone you know and trust and so you might  be tempted to "click here" to see what it's all about.
Typically you then get taken to a web site where you are offered the chance to win some great prizes and before you know it, you've been tempted to dial or text some number and very soon you find that it's cost you several pounds!  (Remember calls and texts from mobiles may be considerably higher!)
The thing that makes it so bad is that the email seemed to come from someone you know and trust!
Someone’s got hold of an address book and is sending out lots of these things.  It's extremely easy to send out emails claiming to be from anyone... there's nothing magic about emails... it's just a lot of text which includes (among other things) a line saying 'From:', or whatever address you care to put in there.

So how did they get hold of an address book with your name in it?  You remember all those 'fun' emails or 'warning' emails that say, "send this to everyone in your address book"?  By complying with this you send out the contents of your address book!
As a basic principle, NEVER copy emails to lots of people in this way.  If you are responsible for sending out, for example, a newsletter, always use Blind Copy (BCC) for the list of recipients.  In that way you won't be sending out lots of email addresses!