So, just as I was expecting a parcel to arrive in my New York “Shop & Ship” account, I receive this email (in real life, it had the FedEx logo on it).
|Tracking ID: 9278-66752833|
|Date: Monday, 25 February 2013, 10:22 AM|
Your parcel has arrived at March 4.Courier was unable to deliver the parcel to you at 4 March 06:33 PM.
To receive your parcel, please, print this receipt and go to the nearest office.
Of course I don’t think twice about it. I write back asking if they can deliver it during office hours. The email pings back. Oh well, maybe it’s one of those automated emails you can’t reply to, I think.
So I go onto the FedEx website and I fill out a “contact us” form. When I get to Tracking ID, it says that the number, which I’ve copied and pasted from the above message, is not valid.
I must have done it wrong, I think. So I click on the “print receipt” button to get the real details.
And my world falls apart.
As the window opens, I realise, in that heart-stopping moment, that I’ve fallen victim to email hackers. Me! I’m the one who’s always telling off my mum for falling for these email scams.
I quickly change my email password, log out and shut everything down. I log back in and then receive 100 quick-fire “email error” messages from my anti-virus software. I look up the meaning of this on the internet and find that I can suppress the messages but that it won’t solve the root of the problem. It’s evidence, apparently, that my email account has been “spoofed”. In itself, it’s harmless, if irritating. But has anything more sinister happened as well?
I have banking to do online; I want to buy DD tickets for Joseph. I can’t do anything without being sure my computer is secure; that there’s no Malware lurking. So I run a complete system scan. It recommends I use “Norton Erase” to do a deep-clean of the system, even though it might inadvertently erase things I do need (antibiotics for the computer, if you like).
But I decide to run the Norton Erase. It finds a malicious file lurking deep in my system and we erase it together with a “huzzah!” The email error messages stop. I think I’m fine.
But lesson learned. Be wary friends, be wary. (And yes I got the Joseph tickets.)