Beware of reemerging e-mail scam

Beware of reemerging e-mail scam »Play Video
An old computer scam is rearing its ugly head again. And this one hides in plain sight when you check your e-mail. It's a form of online identity theft that appears to want your name more than your money.

In Ron Crider's line of work, contacts and reputation are everything. Crider's a local real estate broker with clients all over the city. But someone is using his name to spam his contact list-

"I didn't know how to respond to it originally," said Crider.

Crider discovered hundreds of e-mails a day were being sent to people on his contact list. The email is coming from from international spammers trying to sell prescription drugs. Internet security experts say it's likely a virus that forges your e-mail address so spammers can conceal their true identity.

"From what I'm told, you have to get yourself a new e-mail address." said Crider.

But KOMO IT technician Andrew Baker says a new e-mail address may not be enough "because his old e-mail account is still active and he's still using his same machine."

"He needs to download a spyware or anti-virus program and install that on his machine," said Baker.

Our technicians also recommend Crider get a new password.

"And then he's going to need to disconnect his computer from the Internet and then run that anti-virus software," said Baker.

Crider is also faced with the inconvenient task of warning all of his contacts about the virus- and ordering new business material to protect his good name. But Crider says that's not as convenient as dealing with calls and email from upset business contacts demanding to be taken off his spam lists.

To avoid the forgery viruses, check the subject line. Before you open e-mail, make sure it shows the name of someone you know. If it doesn't make sense, don't open it. And definitely don't click on any links. Call the person to confirm.

And be sure to have good, updated anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-malware on your computer. Two good software programs recommended by our IT techs are available free of charge. The free programs will provide basic protection. Upgraded versions with increased security functions come with a price tag.

For more information:

AVG Anti-Virus

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

McAfee's Virus Info