Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and these days it’s very common to send Valentine wishes electronically. Electronic greetings can save time, paper, and postage and can contain go beyond the standard heart-shaped doily with music and animation. However, some e-greetings can spread malicious software or be used for identity theft.
Here are a few tips on how to send and receive e-greetings more safely.
- Recognize the sender of the e-greeting. If you don’t know the sender, do not trust the greeting. Legitimate companies have standard, obvious ways for you to recognize that an e-greeting is not a fraud.
For example, withMSN Greetings, the “from” area in the message header always shows “Ecard from MSN Greetings” as the display name and “firstname.lastname@example.org” as the e-mail address.
Make sure you check both the display name and e-mail address of the sender.
- When in doubt, use alternative viewing methods. Do not click any links when you are not sure of the sender or intent of an e-mail message.
For example, if you use MSN Greetings, you can view your greeting on the MSN Greetings Web site. Type “msn.americangreetings.com” into your Web browser and click the link in the upper right-hand corner that says “ecard pickup.”
- Never download or click anything from an unknown source.
- Use antivirus and antispyware software that updates automatically, like Microsoft Security Essentials.
For more information on how to send e-greetings more safely and how to avoid other e-mail scams, see Phishing scams that target interests, activities, and news events.