I’ve been the unlucky recipient of quite a lot of junk mail recently.
Today I was nearly fooled into clicking a link in an alleged "Yahoo! Greetings" email, which likely would have launched a virus. In a quick glance, it occured to me the message must be from a friend in Italy.
Luckily I caught myself. The attached screenshot shows you the detective work I went through to determine this was a harmful email.
What a waste of time to have to do this eh? Hopefully this tale of the steps I went through will save you time and heartache:
1. I thought "Would my Italian friend have a friend named Kevin?"
That’s what first made me question the email.
I looked at the email address which was "from" a yahoo.com address, that sounded like it could be Italian. But I noticed it wasn’t my friend’s normal email address.
The fact that the "from" was a personal address was not suspicious to me. This is because services like this, and "tell a friend forms," usually do come "from" a personal email address rather than a company email address.
2. I wondered "Where does the link actually go to?"
By rolling my mouse pointer over the link, I was able to see that the link went to a non-Yahoo! address and that the path of the link ended with .EXE. Red flag, red flag!!!!!! Never click an .exe file in an email, unless you specifically have discussed with someone that they are sending you an application file.
3. I noticed the terrible typo in the subject line.
Unlike the "from" address being from a person, greeting card services usually have a generic subject line determined by the service. So the fact that it was a generic subject line was not strange. However someone at Yahoo! would get fired pretty quickly if their mails went out with a typo like "recived" in the subject.
I reported the email to Yahoo! and the FTC. Then I emailed my family to warn them not to click on the messages if they got the same ones!
Here is the info page on Yahoo!’s site for reporting phishing email.