It’s actually more annoying than silly. For the past few months, I have been getting spam emails that advise me that my anti-virus suite has expired. It usually comes, supposedly from a well known on-line retailer on behalf of one of the large anti-virus (AV) companies. It’s not an issue to simply to click on the ‘junk mail’ button and send to offending mail to the deleted folder. No, the issue is the number of emails that are turning up every day.
Up to the current time (13:00) today, I have had 7 of these scams. All purport to come from an online supermarket, but the underlying email address is usually a random address that simply doesn’t exist. The image on the left shows the number of emails that I received in a 3 hour period, in just one address.
The thing that angers me most, is that the supposed AV company does not seem to be interested. Most other companies that I have dealt with, regarding spoof and phishing emails have (or appear to have) a dedicated address to which the offending mail can be forwarded to for investigation. This particular AV company only accepts the email if it has been added as an attachment. Not good enough. There is a huge amount of embedded information in an email that is not available if the mail is sent as an attachment.
The interesting thing (if you can call it interesting) is that I have never had a anti-virus subscription and definitely would never pay for one.
The number of times I have warned people about the dangers of Internet shopping, I go and get caught myself. I’m forever saying that ‘…if it looks to good to be true, then it is…’ I can’t remember how many times I have told family and friends that the cheapest is not the best option as ‘…it’s usually cheap for a reason…’ That and advising people to look at the reviews and feedback, and then I go and ignore it all.
It was basically down to greed at the end of the day. I need a new, cordless hammer drill. The one I have is a cheapish one and I bought it about three years ago. The battery pack has started to lose it’s charge very quickly even if not in use. I can put it on charge one day and the charge will be lost without even using the thing. So when I had to use my corded drill to complete a simple job, I thought it was time to get an updated one. I did the usual trawl of the internet (or should I say eBay) to get the best price for what I wanted, and my results were coming up at between £35.00 and £50.00. So you can imagine my surprise when one showed up at £41.99 with ‘free’ accessory pack. What I wanted at the price I was willing to pay! Without any further research, I went through my cash-back site and purchased it, via PayPal.
It was a few hours later that I got an email from eBay advising me that “Your recent eBay transaction may be from a compromised account”. It also went on to explain, that “The item has been removed from the site, and the transaction was cancelled“. I checked my bank account, and of course the payment had gone through to PayPal. I then checked PayPal and found that the payment to the seller was pending. I quickly cancelled the payment and PayPal showed that my back account will be re-credited with the amount. There was a small caveat though, PayPal said it could take up to 30 days for the transaction to credit.
After wiping the egg off my face, I realised that this kind of thing can happen to anyone. I just took my eye off the ball and was caught. Massive lesson learned here.
I am referring to those ‘Special Offers’ and ‘Freebies’ that seem to be on every type of food these days. You know the kind of thing ‘Collect 5 special tokens for your free …..’ and other such amazing offers. Tried one Friday. An offer from a frozen food company for an attractive ‘free’ bowl. According to the blurb on the packet all I had to do was go to website, click on the offer and enter two codes and the bowl would be on its’ way to me in 21 days. Three ‘easy steps’ I was told. Simple! Nope! First, when you get to the website, you have to find the offer, which was in this case (in)conveniently on page 2. Then once you click on the button, you are whisked off to another page where you have to ‘register’. Usual thing: first name; second name; email, phone number; mobile number; full address; password and confirm password. You are then told that your email needs ‘authenticating’ and you need to look for a confirmation email with a link. Of course, that ends up in your spam-box. You click on the link and hey presto you are taken to another welcome page telling you all the benefits of being a registered user. But no link to the offer. So it’s back to the Home page and of course, now you need to login. Once logged in and navigated to page 2, I enter the first of the codes and click the enter button. Tap tap tap ……..tap, enter! I get a message “Sorry, that code is invalid or has been used“. I double check the code and enter again and get the same message. Now the code cannot have been used before as the pack was still in the freezer until that morning.
A quick email to the website results in an automated response telling me that my complaint will be dealt with within 12 hours. Still waiting!
So, what does this mean? It means that the company, now have all my details, phone address and I have no ‘free’ bowl. Another email is going off today to demand that my details be removed from their database. Do you think that will happen? I’m not going to hold my breath!