Can email be trick or treat?

The Catoosa County News - - EDITORIALS & OPINION -

Of­ten times now when we go in our email it is a con­stant ques­tion of whether it is a trick or a treat? Last week was Hal­loween and look­ing at email as trick or treat looks like a good way to con­sider it.

All of us know and can give ex­am­ples of what won­der­ful treats email and so­cial me­dia have been for us: op­por­tu­ni­ties to eas­ily stay in touch with fam­ily and friends, con­tact a lot more peo­ple to make them aware of job op­por­tu­ni­ties in our or­ga­ni­za­tions, spread lots of good news and more.

For some peo­ple, us­ing these means and tex­ting ap­pears to be their only com­mu­ni­ca­tion means; how­ever the phone and the postal ser­vice still ex­ist. I like to send post cards on trips al­though many will look at my pic­tures on the web when I get back. Many I send cards to, tell me how much they like get­ting them and they range from teenagers to peo­ple in their 90s.

How­ever, we must re­mem­ber that email and so­cial me­dia also comes with tricks. Some are more vis­i­ble like when your house was toi­let pa­per rolled on Hal­loween and some are hid­den like peo­ple putting nee­dles in ap­ples and such and giv­ing kids. In email and on so­cial me­dia if we are not care­ful on links we click and where we put per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, we may find our iden­ti­ties stolen and peo­ple run­ning up our credit cards or drain­ing down our bank ac­counts.

Re­mem­ber if you have the least sus­pi­cion on a link, the best bet is to not click it. If you feel more ad­vanced and on a PC or lap­top, hover over the link and see where it goes to and if at the start of it is the place you thought it would go. (They can fake on the end, so watch the left).

They are get­ting bet­ter on mak­ing real Linkedin look-a-likes. Linkedin likes to send no­tices each week on who searched for you. Last week I got one that was le­git­i­mate, but then the next day I got an­other and it looked just like the pre­vi­ous, ex­cept I paused why two mes­sages with two counts in two days? I hov­ered over the sub­mit or search but­ton and dis­cov­ered it was go­ing to a strange link. I did not click the but­ton and for­warded it to abuse@linkedin.com. Most or­ga­ni­za­tions seem to be us­ing “abuse” as an email ad­dress to re­port scams, phish­ing, mal-emails, etc. (I may have cre­ated a new word there, mal-emails).

Have a happy Hal­loween and don’t fall for any tricks, but en­joy the treats.

Send your ques­tions about com­put­ers to me at the pa­per or to my email dwight@dwight­watt.com and tell me you read this in this pa­per.

Dwight Watt does com­puter work for busi­nesses, in­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions and teaches about com­put­ers at a col­lege in NW Ge­or­gia. His web­page is www.dwight­watt.com

Dwight Watt

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