The email scams aren’t going to go away. Our only recourse is to stay ahead of the game by learning its rules. The way to do this is using the Emotional Intelligence competency of intuition. Intuition is not some “mystical” thing; it’s the result of experience and processing, and then getting mindful about what you’ve learned that you aren’t initially aware of. There is always something “odd” about these emails. Stay alert and follow your instincts. Intuition is knowing, rather than thinking.

One type of email scam is designed to get secure information from you – and who knows what else. I haven’t replied to any, so I don’t know what else is involved. I don’t want to know, and you don’t either. The least innocuous result would be getting your email address on some mailing list. The worst-case scenario? Viruses, hardware crashes, identity fraud, access to your account and money, and who knows what else.

If you have an Internet business, or spend a lot of time on the Internet, as I do, and receive hundreds of s*** emails per day, you learn to recognize the signs. (Intuition is really a matter of lots of experience and paying attention to the “signals” which alert you that something is amiss.)

If you do business on the Internet, as I do, likely you have a PayPal account. This latest scam sends you an email warning you that your PayPal account is about to expire, and requests information, or requests that you go to a site to update your information. (I have recently been receiving these allegedly from ebay as well.) As you know, PayPal says they will never ask you for this information via email, and they warn you not to give it.

Pay attention, because it’s very easy to copy someone’s logo, font size and color, etc. off the Internet, and at first glance it can look just like the site it’s imitating.

How do you recognize the scam email? I’m both sorry and delighted, as an English major, and champion of proper English, to say that one of the signs of a scam email is poor English.

SUBJECT LINE

First of all, the subject line is almost always peculiar. The latest one I received reads “YOUR PAYPAL.COM ACCOUNT EXPIRES.” No one would write this way. More likely it would say “Important information about your PayPal account,” or “Notice about account” or something like that. Who writes subject lines in all caps? It’s also in the wrong tense. Your account WILL expire, or IS GOING to expire, yes?

BAD ENGLISH

Within fake messages I have always – ALWAYS – found typos and grammatical errors, and I mean blatant ones. This particular email contained: “To avoid any interruption in PayPal services then you will need to run the application that we have sent with this email (see attachment) and follow the instructions.” “Then” doesn’t belong in this sentence.

Skim through the email and you will find bad English. I mean far worse than usual!

SIGNATURE LINE

The signature line doesn’t ring true either. Use your intuition. I have received some that said “Benjamin Smith, Director of Services, blah blah.” Nowhere on the PayPal site will you find anyone’s name of position within the company … will you? One of the feelings we all have about the Internet is that anonymity, and it holds true. Who “runs” amazon.com? I mean what person?

Another sure clue is those odd words or letters at the bottom. I’ve tried to find out what purpose they serve (to the perpetrator, I mean) and haven’t been able to, but if they’re there, there’s your clue.

In this case the email is signed:

“Thank you for using PayPal.
>
> zapzevoe”

At other times there are several lines of letters running across the bottom.

FAKE WEBSITE

Other emails will tell you to go to a URL to give information about your account. It will not be www.paypal.com or https://paypal.com but something else. Often it is a site with PayPal listed at the end, like www.xxxxxxxxxx.com/paypal.htm .

DON’T GET CURIOUS

Pay attention to when you feel something’s suspicious, but beyond that don’t get curious. What are these people after? I don’t know, and I caution you not to be investigate. Just delete the email or forward it on to PayPal (see instructions below). Don’t go to the spoof site they list, or open the attachment, or reply to the email.

If you are in doubt, call the business the email is allegedly from. In this case, if you go to the PayPal site, you will see ample information about fraud and protection of your account. Included is the advice that you go to paypal and log in: https://www.paypal.com . Also that you report any possible spoof email or fake websites by forwarding the email to spoof@paypal.com . You can go here https://www.paypal.com/ewf/f=sa_fake to report a fake as well. PayPal tells you how they will request information from you, for instance, using your first and last name, and that they will also request you go to https://www.paypal.com and login. If you use a service such as PayPal, be sure and check out their anti-fraud information.

 

 

Email Overload – data analyst intern

We’re here… the information age! Having fun yet? What’s that you say too much information, finding the spammers are getting the best of you, facing a bloated INBOX everyday, too many friends are sending you those silly jokes and greeting cards, dealing with a mountain of lists and ezines that you spend more time sorting & deleting than reading, can’t find that “important” email in the haystack, can’t meet those deadlines because you’re so preoccupied with sorting out your email?

THIS is the information age? What, pray tell, comes next Perhaps “The Information Organization Age” – Bingo!

You’ve all heard the statistics:
* Every day 8 billion emails are exchanged on the Internet.
* By 2005 this figure will increase to 36 billion.
* 81% of corps. that implemented email did so to improve efficiency
.
* The average email user in business spends at least 2 hours a day dealing with email.
* According to Internet researcher Jupiter Media Metrix, by 2006 consumers are expected to receive an average of 1,400 pieces of junk e-mail every day!
* Yada yada yada.

Resources:
Email organizing software does exist — check out: http://www.emailorganizer.com and http://www.amikanow.com as well as websites that provide information that help with email overload such as http://www.email911.com and http://www.OvercomeEmailOverload.com.

Coping tips:
For those of you brave individuals who want to take a stab at manual organizing here are some practical, tried and true strategies:

USE MULTIPLE EMAIL ADDRESSES

Although most of you have already figured this one out, it’s worth mentioning because it’s so fundamental to an anti email overload strategy. One way to think of your correspondence is Personal and Public. For instance, you can open webmail accounts (e.g. Hotmail & Yahoo!) for your public, not-so-critical correspondence.

This could include registering when you download software and utilities from the net, marketing promotions, chat rooms and message boards. Your Personal address is reserved for higher priority business contacts, friends, relatives and associates.

Although I now use email organizing software, hence my need for webmail accounts has
dimished dramatically, at my peak I had well over a dozen accounts going.

One caveat to this webmail strategy is that both Hotmail and Yahoo! are now applying strict minimum usage rules (they’ll close the account if it’s not checked in with frequently). Many people apply this strategy using POP accounts.

THE GOLDEN RULE

Help your friends and colleagues cope with their email overload by NOT contributing to it! You know how it goes: “do unto others…” It’s the old cause and effect thing. Unless they’ve expressed an interest, perhaps you can hold back on sending those jokes, greeting cards and CCing them on
every-little-bit-of-business. While we’re on CCing, it’s important for companies to develop a policy on what to CC and to whom. If your company doesn’t have a policy in place maybe it’s time for you to be the Corporate Hero

DEAL WITH A MESSAGE ONLY ONCE

How many times have you read a message, flagged it for follow-up, came back to it, read it again, perhaps left it until you have more time, came back to it, read it again… then replied. This is not a very efficient use of your valuable time, is it? A great discipline is to deal with the message once.

That is to say, once you’ve committed to reading it, reply right away before you go on to the next message.

DON’T REPLY TO ‘EVERY’ MESSAGE

That heading was hard for me to write because one of my pet peeves is when people don’t reply to me. (I’m getting over it.) The fact is that it’s NOT necessary to reply to every message. Especially with those one-word replies… like: Great, Cool, Thanks, Beauty etc. Remember the Golden Rule?

Those short, sometimes meaningless, replies are often only contributing to the recipient’s email overload.

CREATE FOLDERS
Most email clients allow you to set up folders. Although limited in scope, people, project and client specific folders can reduce a lot of stress, especially when it comes to finding a message. I know people who religiously go through their Inbox and drag and drop each and every message into a folder (including a trash folder). Time consuming and tedious yes, but in the overall scheme of things folders can make your email existence much easier.

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