Some Electronic Greeting Cards Contain More Than a Greeting

While many computer users have sent them in the past, the future of E-cards (or electronic greeting cards) may be dimmed because of the recent use of them in scams targeting consumers. Financial institutions need to educate their employees and customers more about the dangers of opening electronic greeting cards.

E-Cards grew to be a popular, easy and cheap, (sometimes free) way to send immediate messages to family, friends, family and co-workers. There are many companies out there offering this service, my Internet Service Provider even offers them as part of the service. You can add audio, video or animations to a message.

As E-Cards grew, users discovered something else being delivered with the cheery messages, spyware and internet scams. As with any email link, a legitimate looking e-card link, clicked on and/or downloaded may contain a computer virus, spam or spyware. You’ll know if you clicked on a bad one when you see displayed on your screen graphic images, pop-up ads, or even adult websites launching. You may even find out the scammer is using your email address to send e-cards to others. This is called “spoofing” and making them appear as if they came from you.

Some fake E-Card “tell-tale” signs

  • Misspelling name of recipient
  • Poor grammar, punctuation, or other errors in the card
  • Comes from a weird looking URL
  • You don’t recognize the card’s sender (although the scammers are trying to be coy sometimes and will say “A greeting from your sister” or other family member.)
  • Sender’s name looks hinky / suspicious: “Crazy Fool” or “Your Secret Friend”

    Tips to dodge fake E-Cards

    • Looks suspicious or any question, do NOT OPEN!
    • Never ever click on any links embedded in an email
    • Don’t open attachments from an unknown sender or source
    • Lower your profile while online by using alternative browsers like Firefox.
    • Read the fine print before clicking “I accept” on any End User License Agreement
    • Install and use (and update regularly) antivirus software, antispyware software
    • Keep your computer’s software up-to-date by regularly downloading all security updates.
    • When you receive a card, don’t open it if it has attachments.
    • Only accept E-Cards from legitimate E-Card companies (Blue Mountain, American Greetings, Hallmark, Egreeting)

  • About the Author

    Linda McGlasson

    Linda McGlasson

    Managing Editor

    Linda McGlasson is a seasoned writer and editor with 20 years of experience in writing for corporations, business publications and newspapers. She has worked in the Financial Services industry for more than 12 years. Most recently Linda headed information security awareness and training and the Computer Incident Response Team for Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC), a subsidiary of the NYSE Group (NYX). As part of her role she developed infosec policy, developed new awareness testing and led the company's incident response team. In the last two years she's been involved with the Financial Services Information Sharing Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), editing its quarterly member newsletter and identifying speakers for member meetings.




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