Not all e-mail scams start with the easy to detect con: “I’m a rich Nigerian prince who needs your help moving millions of dollars. And guess what – I’ll give you a hefty sum of money if you just help me out and provide your bank account number.”
Cnet’s Tech Republic (a site for IT pros) recently blogged the top 10 e-mail scams to watch out for. And some of them look remarkably similar to legitimate messages.
Here are a few to be wary of:
Fake Facebook “friend” messages mimic the real deal. Pay attention to the text in the “to” and “from” fields – if it doesn’t look right, don’t click on the links. Also, make sure the URL is facebook.com (or whatever social networking site the message claims to be from) before clicking.
Virtual holiday cards are a nice way to send friends or clients an inexpensive greeting (the Chamber started creating its own two years ago). Scammers quickly picked up on the growing popularity of these though. Bogus holiday cards likely won’t tell you the name of the sender; instead it will say something like “A friend sent you a card.” Tech Republic recommends doing a web search of the card service before clicking on the greeting.
If you’re not expecting a package, be leery of e-mails from what appears to be a delivery service. Scammers are sending messages from what appear to be FedEx, UPS and others that say a package could not be delivered because of a problem with the shipping address. The e-mail asks you to fill out an attached form so the parcel can be delivered. Instead of a package, you’ll end up with a computer virus from clicking on the attachment.
Others on the list: fake admin messages; fear-mongering messages; account cancellation scams; threats from the government; "you’re a winner!"; census survey says…; and in Microsoft (or Apple or Dell or HP) we trust. Read the full list and details on how to avoid these scams on the Tech Republic web site.
If you’re not using ExactTarget for your mass communication efforts, you might be in the minority. The Hoosier e-mail marketing company saw a 50% jump in revenues in 2008. The Indy Starreports:
ExactTarget, the Indianapolis-based e-mail and marketing specialist, announced today it posted record-setting annual performance in 2008, boosting revenue by more than 50 percent and adding more than 1,000 new direct clients.
Scott Dorsey, chief executive officer, said in a news release that the nearly 400-employee company has had 12 consecutive quarters of profitability.
The company earned $48 million in revenue in 2007, with net income of $2.1 million. It is privately held but filed paperwork in 2007 to go public, hoping for a listing on the NASDAQ.
That is pending.
New customers who use the service include Advance Auto Parts, Priceline.com and Trip Advisor.
ExactTarget distributed 13.5 billion permission-based e-mails, but its impact wasn’t limited to cyberspace.
ExactTarget, which is headquartered in Monument Circle, opened a second site in Indianapolis last year — a 50,000-square-foot product development center in the Gibson building.
We wish congrats and continued success to ExactTarget, an Indiana Chamber member.
Investments in chambers of commerce and other legitimate business organizations are beneficial at all times. We at the Indiana Chamber, and many of our colleagues, are passionate about what we do. That’s why we take it somewhat personally when others try to use the “association” name to illicitly extract your hard-earned money.
Here’s the latest: A letter from the U.S. Local Business Association informing your company that you have won a Best of (insert local community) award. It instructs you to simply fill out the order form to receive your plaque. At the end, you learn that this plaque will cost anywhere from $100 to $700, according to various reports.
The problems, cited by various Better Business Bureau chapters and others:
There is no way to contact the company other than e-mail
Web site domain registration for the organization has been completed privately
You must provide and submit information about your company before finding out the cost of the award plaque
Before you agree to accept the award, the organization already has a press release on its web site stating that you are a recipient
The “vanity scam” label comes from the fact that you might (I repeat might) actually get an overpriced plaque you can hang on the wall and look at. It means absolutely nothing, however, and, in fact, will probably be a detriment as customers or clients will at some point realize that you have been a victim, not a victor.
At least one Indiana company reports receiving this solicitation (example here). To all, be forewarned.