Because of the recent book about email etiquette and an Oprah show about
email scammers, I thought it’d be a good idea to briefly touch on basics
of not getting burned in email.

If you think about it, "phishing" is actually pretty easy to avoid.
Companies such as ebay, paypal and nearly any reputable outfit is NOT
EVER going to ask you for sensitive information by email. Instead
they’ll notify you when you log on to their site.

It’s also a good idea to NEVER click on a link in an email unless you
are CERTAIN that it’s really pointing to the site it looks like. To be
sure of what you’re looking at you can use your email program’s ability
to ‘view source’, or at least turn off html email. There are ways to
disguise urls in html email that could have you think you’re clicking on
a link to a legitimate site when it’s really a site made to look like
like the real one so that you’ll give your information to them. DON’T
use the link in the email, instead take the few seconds to type it into
your browser’s location bar yourself. It’s well worth the time to know
what site you’re going to.

Another thing to look out for is the "419" or "Nigerian" scams.  These
are scams that sound legit on the surface but are just efforts to get
you to pay this or that fee to get something for nothing.  If you get an
email telling you about a contest, sweepstakes or lottery that you’ve
won, double check.  There is no such thing as winning a contest without
knowing about the possibility.  If you didn’t enter, then you didn’t
win.  If you check them out, don’t use the contact info or links in the
emails.  Instead go to a search engine and look up the company’s website
and get contact info from there.

Emails that tell you to forward the message to everyone in your address
book need to be deleted as soon as you see the part saying to forward it
to everybody. Petition emails are also a waste of time.  They’re nothing
but lists of names (and sometimes email addresses) that get duplicated
and sent all over.  If you want to email a representative or senator,
search out their official web site or use tools at sites like eff.org to
do so.  Email petitions are absolutely meaningless, the ONLY thing they
do is waste time and bandwidth.

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