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Updated 05/21/2017

     An Online scam can be an attempt to do any of the following:
       1.  Infect or damage your computer, potential loss of all data
       2.  Capture your data for sale or criminal use
       3.  Bogus solicitation for your information with criminal intent
       4.  Monitor you through your computer's camera
       5.  Monitor you through your computer's build-in microphone
       6.  Any other sick twisted new idea they can envision

     Defensive Tactics you can and should be using:
       a.  Always run a licensed firewall and anti-virus software package that is still in effect.
            Most licenses run for 12 months then require a renewal or purchase of a new license.
            The process to install or renew is easy to do without any help.
            Buying from the manufacturer is often more expensive than through Internet based stores.

       b.  Check the e-mail address.
            1.  Some are inserting brackers "[" or "]" or other special illegal chargers into their e-mail address.
                 This makes it impossible to "Block" because the e-mail address is illegal.  Do not even open
                 these, simply delete them for your safety.

            2.  Visit their web site using the Domain Name Only, especially for product offers.
                 The "Bad Guys" are using websites from existing companies or websites that are starting to be
                 established as these do not always have strong security. They build a bogus website behind
                 the real website and lure you into their trap through deception and trust of a legitimate name.

            3.  Think about what you are reading?  Microsoft is e-mailing me from a private e-mail and not
                 using Microsoft.com?  Or is it a generic e-mail from a foreign country which is more alarming.
                 Large companies will not pay third parties to use third party e-mail addresses to send you any
                 information. The company wants their name before your eyes.

            4.  Is the company logo display and is it the right size, shape, colors and spelled correctly?
                 Companies go to great expense to establish their logo in the minds of consumer to build
                 loyality and name recognition. Documents that go into the public are reviewed by many people
                 for approval before distribution. NO ONE will allow the company name to be misspelled, be a
                 low quality copy of their logo or try to fake it or just as bad, not include it in the e-mail.

            5.  Does this make sense? Why would a company simply give me a $50.00 Gift Card with no
                 requirement or condition? Call the local store to see if it is legitimate BEFORE you request or
                 accept it via e-mail or a website. Large companies will often be targets as the "Bad Guys" trade
                 on their good name and reputation to "sucker" you into their trap.

            6.  Hover your mouse over all pictures, text and links. The "Bad Guys" are placing dangerous links
                 into pictures, text, other messaging, into links that show a totally different safe link.  To
                 protect yourself, as you move your mouse over their e-mail or web page, KEEP YOUR FINGERS
                 OFF THE MOUSE BUTTONS!  Look for a small pop-up display as you move your mouse around
                 the e-mail or web page. When one is displayed, examine what is revealed safely in this display.
                 If the link displayed is questionable, delete the e-mail or leave the webpage.


                 Be very cautious as nearly all sites require your Credit Card before you receive any benefit or
                 confirming proof that they are legitimate.


            3.  CONTEST