Validating Email Hoaxes and Scams

Question: What practices do you recommend for teachers and students so they do not fall prey to common Email hoaxes and scams?

The IT Guy says:
Users should never open an attachment unless the person knows what the attachment actually is, and is expecting it. This is true for Emails from both people you know and those you do not know, because Email scams can be sent out from even a friend’s address book if it is infected with a virus or other types of malware.

Along the same line, users should never unzip (uncompress) an attached file if it is not one you are expecting to receive. Some Email scams include a password for zipped files, and after double clicking the zip file the user is presented with a dialog box asking for a password. The reason this method is used is because it allows certain file types to bypass district mail filters, but once the correct password is entered the malware is released on the host computer system.

Lastly, users should not forward chain letters and hoaxes on to others. If a person is not sure about the validity of an Email message, consult one of several excellent resources available for identifying hoaxes.

Next Tip: Web resources for identifying hoaxes