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by Ray Carlson

Q. I received an email message indicating that there was a question about an order I had placed and asking me to click on a link to verify the order The message does not indicate the company involved or the nature of the order, so I ignored it. Was I wrong?

A. Absolutely not. This message has been sent to a large number of people lately and is a form of phishing. If you clicked on the link, you would have gone to a site that asked for information about your order including name, address and credit card number. There is a similar variation where you go to a site that hides malware. When you click on the spot to open your account, you automatically download a virus to your computer. The people that created this message know that several people will have recently placed an order and will quickly respond fearing that something went wrong.

The best response when you get a message suggesting you go to a website to check on an order or an unpaid bill or a bank deposit, etc., is to go to the website that you know is valid for the store or bank or company. Enter your account information including username and password to insure you are looking at your account. Then check to see if anything is wrong. If the information is not clear, then telephone them. As a general rule, avoid clicking on an internet address in any unsolicited message.

Published: Courier 2/21/10 - Page 7C