When it comes to e-mail scams, be careful or the hoax is on you

FI-Log-On-With-Larry-SchneiderDear Readers,

We’re not running a letter from a reader this week because I feel the need to alert you to a very serious situation that is unfortunately all too common and can have a very damaging impact.

A new computer virus has been uncovered that is circulating via e-mail. The subject of the e-mail is usually something like “Read me” or “Terrific Joke.” But the problem is that when you read this e-mail, the virus secretly imbedded within it causes your computer to immediately begin to melt.

First, the plastic circuit boards begin to dissolve leaving behind a viscous acidic solution that then causes your hard drive and all the material stored on it to instantly vaporize. While all this is happening, you hear a voice emanating from your computer speakers saying, “I’m melting. I’m melting.” This is not a joke and has been verified on Snopes and other websites of this ilk. I urge you to e-mail this important information to all your friends, relatives, and colleagues.

Now, before you race off to your computer, tell me did I convince you that story was true? I sure hope not. Because I made it up.

Let me ask you this: If a friend of yours forwarded an e-mail to you (that was forwarded to him, that was forwarded to…) warning of impending computer doom or instructing you to locate and delete a file on your computer in order to rid yourself of some deadly virus, would you do it? Are you one of “those” people who have already done it?

Trust me. What you should be deleting is any e-mail you receive that warns you of the “latest virus” or some other form of impending doom. They’re nothing more than chain-letter hoaxes. Don’t delete files from your computer just because somebody said you should.

In fact, you should simply ignore any warning like this unless it is being issued to you by a qualified and knowledgeable computer professional.

Beware e-mail messages of this nature, and please, do not forward them to anyone. Watch out for messages that use hyperbole to scare you like, “This e-mail virus will overwrite your boot sector and destroy everything on your computer in an instant.” Ignore such messages that claim they come from big name companies like Microsoft, Intel, or IBM. And scoff at messages that use exclamation points and uppercase letters to scare you into action.

In my 30 years in the computer business, no such e-mail has ever spouted anything remotely true.

If you really want to forward anything to all of your friends, send them this column. Then maybe with a little luck, we’ll rid ourselves of this chain letter scourge once and for all.

This is Larry Schneider, logging off.

 

Larry Schneider is the owner of Accent on Computers, a Greenwich-based consulting firm — now in its 15th year of business — catering to individuals, businesses and professional offices. PC and Mac services include computer setup, training, troubleshooting, virus resolution, networking, Internet, database, and programming. Call 203-625-7575, visit Accentoncomputers.com or send email to [email protected]

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