I realize I’m probably not the typical e-mail user, but I’m constantly amused at how pathetic phishing e-mails are. So this is a public service announcement… Don’t trust e-mails:

  • That claim to be from a big, legitimate organization, such as a greeting card company or the Nigerian government, yet are mailed from something like a Yahoo account.
  • That link to a random IP address as a company’s website.
  • That ask you download a .exe file for no apparent reason.
  • That tell you that someone you’ve never heard of has sent you agift.
  • That claim that the Nigerian government owes you lots of money if only you can send some money to the guy e-mailing you.
  • If you ‘win’ $2.5 million in an online UK lottery drawing that you never entered, that will be payed out from their Africa branch, after you contact their “fiduciary agent” with an e-mail address on Yahoo in Poland. (I give them credit for knowing the word fiduciary, though.)
  • If e-mail from a complete stranger has nothing but an attachment. (Since I’m on Linux, where .exe viruses won’t do any damage, I opened the attachment, a ZIP file. It actually just contained a PDF with spam in it. But who (besides me) is dumb enough to open attachments from strangers that don’t even have an explanation?)
  • If the Central Bank of Nigeria says you won $15 million, but that their payment system is broken so they need your bank account information.

When convincing looking e-mails come in purporting to be for a bank trying to ‘confirm details’ after ‘a problem with your account,’ I can see how some people might fall for it. But when the Central Bank of Nigeria is trying to deliver you $15 million in cash for no apparent reason, but needs your bank account information first? And the e-mail is littered with misspellings and just nonsense? How could anyone fall for that?

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