If you send or receive e-cards, as many people do, you probably don’t think too much about whether or not they are safe. Thousands of e-cards, or electronic greeting cards, are sent every day to people all across the world. They are free and fast, making them a popular and convenient alternative to traditional greeting cards.
With an e-card, you simply go to an e-card site, such as Hallmark or Blue Mountain, choose a card from a number of different categories, and then send it off to your recipient with a personalized greeting.
Receiving an e-card is fun too. Often, these cards come equipped with little videos or music clips.
However, not all e-cards are actually e-cards. Sometimes, viruses are attached to e-cards and can infect your computer with harmful spyware, adware, and viruses. At best, this is annoying and can involve pop-ups, lots of unwanted junkmail, or other minor disturbances. At worst, these viruses can crash your system or hack into your email contacts.
There are a number of ways you can protect your computer from unwanted viruses that come in the form of e-cards. The following are some tips for online safety for e-cards.
Know what to look for.
The best way to be safe from online viruses is to keep your eyes out for anything suspicious. A good indication an e-card is not legitimate includes:
•There are misspelled words or names. If your name is misspelled, or words are spelled like, “Congrdulations” or are misspelled in other ways, there is a good chance it is spam or a virus.
•You don’t know the return name. Since people don’t normally send strangers e-cards, you should probably avoid opening e-cards from people who you don’t know.
•The e-card has an attachment. Most e-card companies that are legitimate don’t put their e-cards as attachments. Rather, they have a link you follow to the company’s website that takes you directly to the card. By downloading attachments, you can unknowingly be downloading a virus or other type of unwanted intrusion onto your computer.
Keep your anti-virus up to date.
You should always have anti virus software installed on your computer. This can help to detect threats and protect your computer and information from viruses. In addition, you should also consider getting anti-spyware and anti-adware protection software as well. Spyware and adware could compromise your computer’s security as well as slow it down.
Read fine print and terms of service.
In some cases, you will get an e-card that has you check a box saying you agree to their terms of service. If you are like most people, you simply check the I Agree box without even looking at the print. This is a mistake, because with spam e-cards, you might be agreeing to have them download spyware or adware or even to have access to your computer’s address books. So be sure to read the fine print.
When in doubt, delete.
If something looks off, such as the name of the sender or vague subject lines, just delete the card. It’s better to do that than take the risk of viruses or other types of spam being downloaded onto your computer.
E-cards are fun to receive and send, but it’s also important to be careful when doing so. The above tips will help you be safe online with e-cards.