Common Sense can protect you against malice
If you get an email out of the blue that reads something like this:
"This message may be coming to you as a surprise but I need your help.Few days back my family and I made an unannounced vacation trip to Dubai. Everything was going fine until last night when we were mugged on our way back to the hotel.They Stole all our cash,credit cards and cellphone but thank God we still have our lives and passports safe. The hotel manager has been unhelpful to us for reasons i don't know.I'm writing you from a local library.
I've reported to the police and after writing down some statements that's the last i had from them.i contacted the consulate and all i keep hearing is they will get back to me. Our return flight leaves soon...I need you to help me out with a fast loan to settle our bills here so we can get back home . I'll refund the money as soon as we get back. All i need is $1,650..Let me know what you can do so I can tell you how to get the money to me. "
What it actually means is that someone has gained access to a friend's email account and is mass mailing everybody in the address book in the hope that someone will fall for it. Tell the person to change their password.
If you get an email that may be a scam, don't click on any of the links. If you're not sure and it's a company you do have dealings with access your account online using a bookmark to see if there is an issue. If the email contents no personal data, such as "Dear Customer" then it's probably fake. File these as spam in your email account and that will help get them blocked. If you receive an email that just contains a link from someone you know, don't click on the link but ask them if it was from them and tell them their account may have been compromised.
If you're not sure then google the first couple of sentences or look them up. www.snopes.com is excellent for spam/scam emails, and these include ones warning you about viruses that will descend on you if you don't do as they say.
July 11, 2012