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  Posted on Friday, May 15, 2009


Virus', worms and malware are nothing new to the Internet. However a new generation of malware is on the rise and has been dubbed "Recession Malware". This new malware tries to exploit people's financial and job woes and is attacking consumers and businesses alike.

We will list some of the newest, and some resurrected schemes, flying around the Internet and making its way into your Inboxes:

The Money Scam
With money being tight these days these types of emails are scheming innocent people out of their money. Let's look at the email with the Subject of, "RE YOUR INHERITANCE FUNDS". The email states:


I wish to notify you again that you were listed as a beneficiary to the total sum of GBP £11.2000,000.00 (Million pounds sterling ) in the codicil and last testament of the deceased (Name now withheld since this is my second letter to you).

Please follow this link to claim your inheritance."

The link may open up to a website form asking for personal information such as your Social Security number, bank account number and birth date. This scam is similar to the Nigerian 519 scams, where the email claimed to be from Nigerian officials and sent to recipients who would receive millions of dollars if they sent an "advance fee" to help them. The people would send the scammers money and sometimes even more money at a later date only to never receive a penny back.

The Job Scam
With unemployment rates on the rise people are more likely to open email messages offering job openings or online applications. Take the email with the Subject, "Shipping coordinator needed in U.S. for overseas company". The email reads: "Make US $40,000 a year managing our orders from your home. You must have an e-mail account."

What's so wrong with this email? Well, once replied to the scammers will ask for your bank account number and other personal information. If the information is given you may have just gotten involved in an illegal money laundering scheme from criminals from other countries.

The Brand Confusion Scam
Since bank mergers and buyouts have been happening more lately, scams that request you to re-setup your account are on the rise. An example would be the Merrill Lynch email with the subject, "Merrill Lynch account verification". It states:

"Dear Merrill Lynch customer,

Due to the recent acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America, your Merrill
Lynch account must be reestablished. Please click this link to reestablish your Merrill Lynch account."

Once you click on the link you are taken to a website that may ask for confidential personal information or you may download a virus, keylogger, Trojan, worm, etc without your knowledge.

The Stimulus Scam
The Federal Trade Commission is warning about a group of economic stimulus scams. These scams are emails promising stimulus money by entering in your bank or credit card numbers.

The Keeping You Safe "Scam"
For most of these scams to work you must click on the links referenced in the email. Thus the best way to avoid these scams is to not click the links. However, there will always be new victims who have not yet learned about these types of scams. So, here are some other ways of protecting yourself.

  1. If you receive an email from a company about a job you should contact the company's human resource department to follow up on your application or the email in question.
  2. Do not pay attention to the sender's email address. The "From" email addresses can easily be spoofed to be from anyone.
  3. Read the email messages carefully. If you see choppy English or too good to be true benefits, then that's your tip off that it is most likely a scam.
  4. Verify the person. If you are receiving an email asking for personal information from banks, government, credit card companies, etc. always call them to verify the message.
  5. Keep up-to-date on the latest news about virus and scams. If you want to protect yourself from the every changing technology world you will want to make sure you keep up with the latest technology threats. You can also always get a second opinion on a message's legitimacy. Other people may know if there is a scam going around.
  6. Make sure you run your computer, antivirus & antispam updates and that you have a firewall installed. This can never be stressed enough! Web browsers have more security tools built-in to help prevent phishing attempts, blocking keyloggers,

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