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These are samples of ways in which spammers try to fool you to get you to open a virus-infected file or web link. All of these came to my inbox recently. Between my virus scanning software and my Spam filter, and my junk mail filter and some common sense, I avoided them all. You can too!

Notice the poor English, the fact that some of the spacing between words is two or three spaces (not a very professional look but designed to get through Spam filters), and there was an attached .zip file. Zip files are a normal way of sending attachments, but I bet that inside this one there is an .exe or some other executable file that would infect my computer. Yahoo would never send me an e-mail with an attachment, nor would any other reputable company.

Email account disabling warning

Dear user of Yahoo.com gateway e-mail server,

We warn you about  some attacks  on your e-mail account.  Your computer  may
contain viruses, in  order to keep your  computer and e-mail account  safe,
please, follow the instructions.

Pay attention  on attached file.

Attached file protected  with the  password for  security reasons. Password is 73707.

Have  a good  day,
    The  Yahoo.com team                           http://www.yahoo.com


Another method is to try to get you to open a document such as a Word or Excel file. But the file does not have the proper ending, such as .doc or .xls. Instead it may be something else like .scr, .pif or .exe. The body of the message may read like one of these:

Your document is attached.


Please have a look at the attached file.

This message came as a purported “delivery failure.” It is only a scam and I'm sure that the link will give me something that I don't want. Again, notice the extremely poor English in the first sentence.

If the message will not displayed automatically,
follow the link to read the delivered message.

Received message is available at:

This e-mail had two attachments, one was a picture (a .jpg file) and the other was a screen saver (readme.scr). The spammer tried to fool me into opening the readme.scr file. But a .scr file is NOT anything that can be read. It is only an .exe file that has been renamed to an .scr file. Opening it would have infected my computer. Notice the very poor English. It sounds to me as if the person wants me to think she is a young, college student, but doesn't know how to word it in English.

I have recently got demobilize from army and also I am going to act in a higher educational institution

Attached file tells everything.

Best wishes, Jessie

This was another “Delivery Status Notification (failure)” that tried to trick me into opening one of three attached files. I immediately recognized that I did not know the e-mail address. This is a fairly elaborate trick because they have attempted to emulate a server's failed status message, its routing, and the “sender” information, with my e-mail address, which I supposedly sent.

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

Delivery to the following recipients failed.


Reporting-MTA: dns;ex1.isitraining.com
Received-From-MTA: dns;howtomaster.com
Arrival-Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 19:20:10 -0400

Final-Recipient: rfc822;dm@howtomaster.com
Action: failed
Status: 5.1.1


Re: Your text




Wed, 30 Jun 2004 18:20:09 -0500



Here is the file.

Your_text.pif your_text.eml

Spammers sending viruses also try to play upon religious motifs. One email came to me from “webmaster@messianicsingles.comand it had an attached file document.txt.pif. The .txt file would have been okay to open, but it was a rouse since it was really a .pif file. The subject line read as if it was replying to me: Re: Is this your document?and the body simply said I have attached it to this mail.

In this e-mail the subject was Re: Setup, again trying to make we think I've had correspondence with the person, or perhaps, that I've gotten an e-mail meant for someone else who is getting a great deal on a home loan. Also note the spelling irregularities of r\ate, l o an, and r a te s. These are examples of how the spammer is trying to fool the Spam filters. The link is actually to a website. I have never known anyone named Dewitt.

Sorry for taking so long. I finally found that site you were
asking me about.
Remember, the one that I used to get a great r\ate on my home
l o an? I was just looking around the other day and they offer
r a te s   at only 2.5 %. I am sure they can help you out.
this link

Please let me know how it goes.

Talk to you soon,

There are even more elaborate “fakes” out there, which purportedly come from places like E-Bay and PayPal and ask you get give away your personal financial information. Never do so.

The screen shot below is from my Junk mail folder. Everything you see listed is Spam. One, however, came from a legitimate e-mail address. I contacted the person at that address because I knew him and am on his e-mail list. I was afraid that his computer had a virus. He told me it was just someone using his legitimate e-mail address to try and fool people. Fortunately, between my two Spam filters it was caught and I only accidentally discovered it later.

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