How do I detect an email shipping scam?

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, another emailed scam arrives to remind me that it’s nearly impossible to stay ahead of the curve.

Most recently I’ve been picking up emails claiming to be from Amazon, providing me with information on my order. Like, on my order I never made.

Understand, I do a lot of business with Amazon. I get most of my books through there, plus many office supplies. Anything I can’t get locally I’ll get through Amazon.

Shoot, I can order food items from there too. For those who follow this space y’all might have heard I recently moved to CA from South Carolina, and Southern delicacies are now considered foreign food. I’ll probably end up getting my yellow mustard-based barbecue sauce and Luzinanne sweet tea through them before too long.

So I know a little something about Amazon’s shipping process. This knowledge helps me to sniff out the frequent BS that filters into my inbox.

Here’s the email, as seen by my Thunderbird email reader:

Receive any email like this lately?
Receive any email like this lately?


Keep in mind, I didn’t order anything.

And they’re not Amazon. Check it; I have the sender’s email address circled.

So who’s

According to my web search, nobody. A couple of sites indicate the domain name is up for sale. So forget uexclusive for a moment; they’re not important.

But they’re not Amazon. Or any other big shipper. That’s important.

Oh, yeah. There’s an attachment to this email, and I’m supposed to click it and download it. Yeah, right. If you get this email, don’t do it.

* * *

Here’s some info I got from Scam Detectors:

Fake Amazon/DHL Shipment

amazon shipping scam

How the scam works:

Amazon is one of the most widely used online retailers, with close to 300 million visitors each month. The main reason for Amazon’s overwhelming popularity is its ease of use for consumers. However, with this popularity comes a down side; scams aimed at bilking customers of the online retail giant.

The latest in phishing scams is centered on Amazon shipping notifications, involving scammers sending you an email verification of your processed Amazon order but the email contains an incorrect shipping address.

The victim is then required to click a link in the email to correct the information; when the link is clicked malware is released onto the computer or device that captures passwords or private information.

In a different variation of the scam, criminals claim to be from well-known shipment services such as DHL, UPS, or FedEx, in which they include terms such as ‘tracking notification’, tracking number’, ‘pickup date’ or ‘Processing completed successfully’. Just as in the above Amazon example, the zip file attached to the message contains malware.

DHL scam


Check the email domain name that came with your email. If it’s (or whoever the legit shipper is), that’s one thing. But if it’s something else, it’s probably a scam or an effort to harvest your information or identity.

Which email address did it go to? Another dead giveaway. Email addresses are cheap; everyone’s got a bunch of ’em. I have close to a dozen myself. But only two of these addresses are associated with an Amazon account. Surprise — it’s not one of them.

For the gazillionth time, enjoy your computer. Have fun online. But watch out for those sharks in the phishing hole. Again.


Unnatural selection: The back seat was fine, the garage was fine, but …

… somehow you knew this was going to end badly.

It’s early February and The Column already has its first nominee for the 2014 Darwin Award. Keep ’em coming, folks (or not).

Daily Caller life tip: Don’t have sex in a garage with the car running

Taking time off for Christmas … are you?

From Thursday, Dec. 19 through Wednesday, Jan. 1 I’m taking a break.

Well, sort of a break.

This blog, along with my others, will go dark for two weeks.


• Because it’s Christmas. (No, I don’t use that gutless “holidays” designation. Call it what it is.)

• Because I need a little time to pursue some other projects.

• Because I can.

• Because no one’s gonna read it anyway. Christmas is a bad time to scratch up any real readership.

• Because I need to fine-tune the infrastructure on this blog, and maybe scribble out notes for future posts.

• The only blog that will see any new posting is the one for B.I.C. Cartel, which is being used to launch my upcoming fiction work. Some of those posts may find a lead-in to this blog, which will be the only real activity you’ll see around here. Unless something really hot & hairy demands I write about it, that is.

Anyway, here’s to a Merry Christmas for you and your loved ones.

In the interim, shut off the computer and spend some face time with those who are important to you, okay? Nothing to see here. But you are allowed to Skype your loved ones if y’all can’t get together in person. That’s the only special dispensation you get.

Shut off Facepalm and YouTube and all the rest and talk to some real people.

See you next year.


# # #

(This was posted simultaneously in The Column, creative&dangerous and Good Morning Manic Depression)

From Kim Komando: Watch out for ‘Microsoft’ email, because it’s not them and the sender wants information

If you’re still using Microsoft Windows and get an email from their Digital Crimes Unit, don’t open it. It’s not legit, and it’s not from Microsoft.

Doesn’t matter how good it looks, it’s still not them. Even thoug Miccrosoft really has a Digital Crimes Unit, it’s still not them.

In fact, not only is it someone else, but that someone else wants information. Your information. Nothing major; just things like your name, address, social security number, your credit card numbers. Oh, yeah, all your passwords won’t hurt either. That information.

This comes directly from Kim Komando, who knows a little something about Microsoft products. She certainly knows a lot more about Windows than I do.

Here’s the deal. If Microsoft wants to get in touch with you so badly about security fixes, they’ll do it via Microsoft Update. I understand it’s automatic now.

Here’s the story:

Standard email safety rules apply. Don’t open attachments from strangers. Don’t click links from strangers. Don’t accept candy from strangers. Shoot, be leery of links and/or attachments from friends unless they’re at least halfway computer literate.

I’ve yet to see these Microsoft emails in the flesh. Considering I’m a full-time Linux user (my main laptop has Windows 7 that I’ve maybe used once or twice), if I get email purporting to be from Microsoft I’d definitely be suspicious. Have fun and safe surfing. It’s a jungle out there.

(Special thanks to my brother Rick, who sent me the article.)

# # #

Elsewhere: Getting all creative, dangerous and geeky

Here’s kind of a run-down of where my work is showing up these days:


creative & dangerous

No fair counting that, really, as it’s my own site. Still …

Ideas are cheap (this one won’t even go live until Friday, but here’s a sneak preview).

3 graffs: Thoughts on accountability, writing groups, and the right to produce garbage.


No Brainer App Reviews

Is Flipboard’s Android app worth the hype?

Flipboard, long a popular news reader with other portable platforms, now brings a “wow” factor to Android users wishing to check the news. Flipboard has a lot of love in the app world….

At the wheel? OTTER promotes safety by auto-responding to texts

Do you like to text and drive? Do you like to live dangerously? By now you have heard that such a practice is illegal in some places, and highly inadvisable everywhere else. But…



Learning about amnesia from Mariano Rivera

From Hubpages:

A short memory is essential for staying sane. That’s what also helps Mariano Rivera (although his leg injury has him out of action for the year) keep mowing ’em down in his 40s.

“If you’ve got depression, your brain will continually yak yak yak at you, mixing part truth and full lie to remind you of what a complete ne’er-do-well you really are. Kind of like a nagging spouse, except you can’t divorce your brain.”

Check it out.



Leftover computer files, programs: Are they a problem?

A look at your hard drive may be a real blast from the past. Not just all your old files, but programs you’ve downloaded, tried and forgotten. It’s easy to clutter up a hard drive.

But is it a problem? TrendLabs seems to think so. Check out the story in Baling Wire and Duct Tape:

I have programs I haven’t used in ages, .iso files to old operating systems I’ve experimented with, notes for projects that (thankfully) died early, and aborted drafts to old blog posts. If you wish to see a profoundly disturbed mind in action, just take a look at my hard drive … “The best way to get rid of clutter is to throw it out,” TrendLabs advises. This means programs that are no longer used … good reason for that, according to Trends: “Unused programs are often left unpatched, retaining vulnerabilities that bad guys can exploit. It’s important to always patch and update programs that you decide to keep. The same applies to your OS.”

It might be a good time for spring cleaning. Unload your old programs or update them. While you’re about it, check out your social media sites for any clutter there … and please, PLEASE, delete any photos of you with Nancy Pelosi if they’re from a frat party.


Outside work: Getting some ‘droid time in, and some Dizzy-ness to go

You callin' me?

Doing more writing on the outside, and going geeky with it:

Using your Android phone as a USB drive – a very useful/cool trick:

Android’s built by Google, right? So what if you want to use Bing, Yahoo! or DuckDuckGo for searches?

Both articles appear in No Brainer App Reviews.


I found this while hunting up graphics for something else. Dizzy Gillespie finds his way to Google fame.