SCAMwatch is warning consumers to be on the look out for spam email scams that secretly install viruses and spyware onto your computer and removable drives such as USB sticks. The spyware and viruses are hidden in song, video and picture files of celebrities that often come as attachments or via links in the email.
SCAMwatch has received reports of a wave of emails disguised as tributes to Michael Jackson that contain viruses and worms.
One such email has the misspelled subject line ‘Remembering Michael Jackson’. This bogus email has a .zip file attached that contains Michael Jackson images and songs, but also secretly downloads malicious software onto your computer.
Be wary—viruses and worms can slow down or damage your computer drives or files. They can also harvest personal information from your computer or track your keystrokes and be used to steal your passwords and credit card details. They can also set up your computer to relay spam or malware.
SCAMwatch advises that you delete unsolicited emails without opening them and DO NOT click on links or open attachments to emails if you do not know the sender. If you are seeking photos, videos, songs or updates about Michael Jackson or any other celebrity, use websites that you know and trust.
Read the warning signs listed below to help you identify spam and suspect emails.
- The email is designed to get a quick response by using a famous name or an enticing special offer that can only be accessed via a link or an attachment.
- The email has spelling mistakes and uses poor grammar.
- The email is not addressed to you; instead it is addressed to the 'account holder' or uses another generic title.
- If your computer has been infected, it may be slow to respond. Other signs that your computer has been infected include new desktop icons, new wallpaper, unfamiliar pop-ups or your internet browser default homepage is redirected to another site.
- If people you do not know begin sending you angry emails demanding that you stop emailing them, your computer may be forwarding spam from your email account without you knowing.
- NEVER open email attachments unless you can verify the sender and you trust them.
- NEVER click on the links in unsolicited email.
- Keep your computer protected with the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware software and use a good firewall.
- Avoid questionable websites. Some sites may automatically download malicious software on to your computer.
- If you think your computer has been infected, you may need to have the computer checked.
You can report this matter though the report a scam page on the SCAMwatch website.