Applebee's gift certificate hoax and cyber-security: Internet ScamBusters #260
Today we have two interesting Snippets for you:
- Chain of Shame: Applebee's Gift Certificate Email is a Hoax
- Survey: Many Americans Suffer Delusions of Cyber-Security
Let's check out today's Snippets...
Chain of Shame: Applebee's Gift Certificate Email is a Hoax
Recently, one of our friends "fell" for this Applebee's email hoax that's been appearing in people's in-boxes since 2002.
To our knowledge, the recipients of this email are in no danger of having their identities stolen or their computers corrupted, but they ARE wasting their time -- and the time of the other people to whom they forward the email.
So be on the lookout for the following:
--- Begin Hoax Email ---
Subject: Applebee's - don't delete
My name is Bill Palmer, founder of Applebee's. In an attempt to get our name out to more people in the rural communities where we are not currently located, we are offering a $50 gift certificate to anyone who forwards this email to 9 of their friends. Just send this email to them and you will receive an email back with a confirmation number to claim your gift certificate. Sincerely Bill Palmer Founder of Applebee's Visit us at: www.applebees.com
Hey guys, DON'T DELETE THIS EMAIL It really works, I tried it and got my Gift certificate confirmation number in 3 minutes.
--- End Hoax Email Text ---
There are many reasons why this email is an obvious fake. Perhaps most important is that the message implies that Applebee's can track the recipient's email to determine if he/she has forwarded the message. They can't.
Further, why would a company give away $50 in goods and services for so little effort?
Don't be fooled by these emails just because they're forwarded by a friend or relative. Instead, visit the ACTUAL website of the company that's supposedly offering the "freebies."
Important: Do NOT click the website link contained in the email.
If you do visit the company's actual site, you'll probably find a message like this:
"A fraudulent email chain message promising Applebee's(R) gift certificates for forwarding the message is currently making its way around the Internet. The message promises a gift certificate and a confirmation number after forwarding the message to a specific number of email addresses. Applebee's International, Inc. does not sponsor or endorse this activity and is unable to fulfill these requests."
Action: Delete this Applebee's email -- or any other that promises free gifts or money for doing practically nothing. You'll be glad you did.
Survey: Many Americans Suffer Delusions of Cyber-Security
A new survey reveals a significant gap between how safe Americans THINK their home computers are, and how safe those computers REALLY are.
Released in October, the McAfee/NCSA Cyber Security Survey indicates that while 98% of Americans believe "it is important to keep security software up to date, and 93% believe their home computers are safe from viruses," many respondents are suffering from a false sense of security.
Among the report's findings:
- Although just 51% of respondents have up-to-date anti-virus software, 92% think the software is completely current.
- Most Americans (73%) have installed a firewall, but only 64% have enabled that firewall.
- 70% of respondents say they've installed anti-spyware software. In reality, just 60% have done so.
- 12% of Americans actually have anti-phishing software on their computers, but 27% say they've installed it.
- Just 24% of respondents are fully protected against viruses AND malware. Surprisingly, "Americans ages 45 and older show more savvy than their younger counterparts when it comes to cyber security."Some of the most disturbing findings concern the degree to which many home computers may already be infected.Most Americans say they've had a virus on their computer at one time (54%). Unfortunately, 15% aren't sure, suggesting that they don't know how to recognize symptoms of an infection (or don't know what a virus is).
- 44% believe their home computers are infected with spyware or adware!
Despite these acknowledged security shortcomings, the vast majority of respondents continue to store important personal and financial information on their home computers, and to conduct a variety of sensitive online transactions.
We recommend that you treat computer security as you would your personal security. Never make assumptions, and don't take foolish risks.
If you're not sure that your computer is fully protected, then it probably isn't.
Download the full McAfee/NCSA Cyber Security Survey in PDF format for more information.
That's all for today -- we'll see you next week.