The Norman Transcript

Local news

July 28, 2013

Clues help us detect and avoid email scams

NORMAN — Email anti-spam filters are often pretty bad at protecting email users. They let bad email through and block good messages with such regularity that I don’t really include them as part of my overall Internet safety strategy.

The spam filters that come along with having a Gmail email account are usually pretty good, though, but they still make mistakes. Today, another bad email sneaked past the Gmail filters, this time allegedly sent from Mrs. Susan Goedde.

The email’s subject line, which read “From Mrs Susan,” got my attention right off, as it lacked proper English punctuation. There should have been a period after “Mrs,” but the period was missing.

Astute Internet safety practitioners know that, because many dangerous spam emails originate from foreign-based criminals who do not have a good grasp of the English language, their emails are often filled with bad grammar and punctuation. That was dangerous email Clue No. 1.

Clue No. 2 appeared as soon as I looked at the sender’s email address, which was wabaf@email.

cz.

Overseas email addresses often include the country of origins “country code” at the end of the address, rather than the traditional “.com” or “.net” that many folks are used to seeing. This particular country code, “.cz,” is the code for the Czech Republic, part of what used to be known as Czechoslovakia. Why, I wondered, was “Mrs Susan” of the Czech Republic trying to contact me?

Clue No. 3 appeared as soon as I viewed the email, which Gmail had deemed to be safe: there was a “.pdf” file attached to the message, with the filename “from mrs susan goedde.pdf.”

I never open email attachments from strangers. The best email safety rules dictate that you should never open email attachments, even if they come from your best friend; exceptions would be if the sender tells you in the text of the message exactly what the attachment is, along with the filename.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • N7 Sooners come together to serve Native American youth

    Whitney Wofford has faced some tough competition as a part of the Oklahoma tennis team. However, on Wednesday, Wofford may have taken on her biggest and most rewarding competition yet at the Sooners For N7 event at the Oklahoma football ...

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Earth Day activities continue this week

    Oklahoma is no stranger to extreme weather, but many say those extremes are even greater than before. Norman resident and biologist Kathy Rand is convinced those climate irregularities are a result of climate change caused by pollution, ...

    April 24, 2014

  • Moore schools receive $500K

    As Mickey Davis addressed the auditorium, the picture of a bright-eyed, happy 8-year-old on the podium in front of her could not be ignored. Davis’ son, Kyle Davis, was one of seven who lost their lives in the May 2013 tornadoes at Plaza ...

    April 24, 2014

  • Man arraigned after wife’s death

    A judge on Wednesday denied bond for a 37-year-old Norman man formally charged with stabbing his wife to death with a kitchen knife early Saturday morning in their southeast Norman apartment. Abid Sandhu, 37, was arraigned before Special ...

    April 24, 2014

  • Tornado Repair Oklahoma officials account for $9.4M in disaster spending

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Nearly a year after deadly tornadoes hit central Oklahoma, officials announced that they have spent close to $9.4 million in private donations on relief efforts....

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • School to present ‘Hamlet’

    To be or not to be? That is the question Norman North High School students are answering during their production of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” this week....

    April 24, 2014

  • Historic house celebrates centennial

    When Fredrick Holmberg arrived in Norman more than 100 years ago, he tucked his violin beneath his arm and headed for the University of Oklahoma campus.  A century later, another violinist, Cindy Zhang, will perform at the home Holmberg ...

    April 24, 2014

  • Dorman wants bipartisan appeal

    Rep. Joe Dorman said he’s proud to be a Democrat running for governor, but he hopes to garner bipartisan support. In a visit Wednesday to the Transcript, Dorman said, if elected, he wants to work across party lines like former Gove. Henry ...

    April 24, 2014

  • ‘Frozen’ to air Friday

    Movies on Main in Blanchard will host a showing of “Frozen” at 8 p.m. Friday. The evening will include hot dogs, chips, drinks, popcorn and free movie merchandise....

    April 24, 2014

  • Safety Town registration begins Saturday

    Saturday marks the beginning of registration for Safety Town classes at Sooner Mall. Safety Town, a 37-year Norman tradition, teaches children, ages 5 and 6, the importance of bicycle, fire and personal safety. Classes are 50 minutes long ...

    April 24, 2014