We here at Hair Balls have gotten pretty good at recognizing e-mail scams when we see 'em. For example, we don't give our checking account info to just any Olatunde, Abimbola or Harry who says he's a Nigerian prince -- we make sure they prove it to us by getting their phone number first.
But others aren't as shrewd as we are: According to cyber-crime-fighter FireEye, "e-mail based attacks increased 56 percent" for the first six months of 2012. The company issued a comprehensive report on how to deal with these thugs, and our friends at The Police News kindly posted FireEye's list of most commonly used words in e-mail scams. Surprisingly, the word "enlarge" or the phrase "add extra inches" were not included. (Not that we'd fall for such tricks...again.) See the list after the jump.
Keep an eye out for these red flags:
1) DHL 2) Notification 3) Delivery 4) Express 5) 2012 6) Label 7) Shipment 8) UPS 9) International 10) Parcel 11) Post 12) Confirmation 13) Alert 14) USPS
The Police News summary of the report states that "urgent terms such as 'notification' and 'alert' are included in about 10 percent of attacks." Cybercriminals also like to include "malicious attachments" like "UPS-Delivery-Confirmation-Alert_April-2012.zip."
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Of course, there's always the abstinence approach to safety, which guarantees you will never fall victim to one of these predators: Never, ever check e-mail. Don't even log on to your computer. The only drawback is that it will be difficult for those exiled Nigerian princes who really do need money to get the funds in an efficient manner. But hey, we can always wire the money to them.