Ask Andy: Unsolicited e-cards - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported By Andy Wise

Ask Andy: Unsolicited e-cards

Hopeless romantics, this is fair warning.

There's a valentine coming that's not showing the love, but showering you with a virus.

Beth Givens of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in San Diego (www.privacyrights.org) asked me to warn you about an unsolicited e-card popping up on some peoples' computers.

It's designed to bait your curiosity.  It says its from a family member (no name, though), a friend (again, no name) or even a "secret admirer."

If you click on it -- or its attachment -- you will launch a virus that will infect your computer and lock it up.

A few rules about unsolicited e-cards:

* Never respond to unsolicited e-mail when you cannot identify the sender.

* Never open an attachment from a sender you do not know. Most computer viruses ride on attachments.  That's their vehicle for launching, so only open attachments from senders you know.

* Instead of clicking on a web link inside an e-mail, log on directly to the web site itself to see if it's a bona fide web site.

* If it is a bona fide site, contact the actual business to verify that the e-mail is real.

My wife got a surprise e-card on her e-mail at work the other day. It LOOKED real, with snazzy graphics.  It was so charming.  She was dying to find out who sent it.

She clicked on the attachment.  Her office's IT department spent the rest of the day trying to inoculate the virus she launched that shut down her computer.

Always verify who's sending that e-card before you take the bait.

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