For 15 years, before I opened
the doors of LLX Press and began publishing nonfiction books, I made my living
as a technical business consultant and fraud investigator for companies looking
to automate their office processes and secure their operations.
Mail forging is a longtime trick
of phishers and phrauds. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security because
Amazon.com says that mail from it will always have an email address of “<span
This does you no good as far as verification is concerned.
There is no way to tell whether
mail is coming from Amazon.com (or anyone else) just by looking at the sender’s
address or the “Reply to:” address. A better way to trace where mail really
came from is to turn on the mail transport headers (ways to do that differ with
email software). Look for “Turn on full headers” in your help screens.
When you see an email link
pointing you to a particular Web site, you can’t just look at where it says it
will take you; you have to look at the underlying code to see where it actually
will take you. Only the code behind the link will tell you.
In short, it’s a technical world
out there, and there are thousands or maybe even millions of ways to bilk you
out of your hard-earned cash. If you do business online, you need someone on
your staff or available as a consultant to help protect you from scammers,
spammers, and phishers.
I receive fraudulent mails from
Amazon.com and eBay.com almost every week. There’s a real threat to folks who
don’t know what’s up. The safest things to do are (1) forward suspect mail to
the alleged sender (addresses are <span
and the like), and (2) keep your eyes open and your skepticism level high.