Crime Watch

Crime Watch: Steer clear of these latest email scams

 

Special to The Miami Herald

Today I want to share with you some interesting scam emails shared by readers. We truly need to be super-careful and not open or respond to any of them.

I personally got the one from Kabul and had to laugh because this was a new one for me. I am not showing the email address, but trust me it looked very official especially when I do have friends that are stationed in Kabul. Here is the email I got:

Subj: Greetings from Kabul.. ... .

Hello,

I am CPT. Greg Hooper an officer of the U.S Army presently serving with the 395th CSSB peace keeping forces in Afghanistan. You may not know me but i really need your help as i have some very important packages to ship to you for safekeeping until i return back home to the USA.

I will explain in details only if you meet my conditions. Thanks for your prayers & support as we hope to return in one piece!!

CPT. Greg Hooper.

The second email I want to share came from a read who had some very good suggestions and its really worth sharing, since he had a personal experience with the email. Here is what he had to say:

Dear Carmen:

Thank you for your article in The Miami Herald on Jan. 6, 2013, titled "Two email scams you shouldn’t fall for." I haven’t seen the second one you mentioned yet, but I’ve received the first one several times over the last two or three years. It’s amazing how many of my friends and acquaintances have been robbed overseas in the last few years!

I’m writing because I thought there was one element to the scam that I thought important to be emphasized, and, if you ever decide to re-publicize the information, I’d suggest including it. Sometimes, when I’ve received those e-mails, they are not only from someone I know, but the email address in the "FROM" line is identical to the email address of the friend who is supposedly writing to me. This instantly leads a person to trust that the email is legitimate. And, since a quick "reply to" will allow the recipient to verify that it’s true, it’s easy to fall for it.

However, when you hit "reply to", the e-mail address to which the message will be sent is NOT the same as the one from which it appeared to have been sent. The address changes — very, very subtly.

For example, I could receive a message from a friend at "FRIEND101@gmail.com", but, when I hit "reply to", the message will be sent to "FRIEMD101@gmail.com" (the "N" was subtly changed to a "M") or "FRlEND101@gmail.com" (the capital "I" has been changed to a lower-case "L"). So if I sent an email to the person using "reply to", asking "is this true?!?", I would likely receive a message back from the scammer verifying it’s fictitious validity.

Thanks for listening and for aiming to protect the public!

Jeff Rothkopf

Folks, like I always say the Internet is a wonderful form of communication, but it brings its dangers, therefore we all must be vigilant and astute when using it.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to carmen@citizenscrimewatch.org, or call her at 305-470-1670.

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