E-Card Fraud

A fraudulent e-card could be in your e-mail inbox right now.

It's disguised as a Hallmark e-card from a friend and looks okay Hallmark is warning customers that it will launch a type of Trojan virus. The attackers can then gain access to your computer. Experts recommend keeping a virus scanning program updated because there are new threats every day.

"Now they have things they call a blended threat, where you're looking at spyware and I've seen reports of spyware, 1in 6 is attempting to steal confidential information," says David Pickens with Computerland Network Technologies.

Hallmark says legitimate e-mails will say the name of the sender and not just a generic "friend." Also, real ones will send you an e-mail notification from that sender's address and not Hallmark.com.

How to tell if a Hallmark e-card notification is real:

1. The subject line of legitimate e-card notifications from Hallmark will say, "a Hallmark e-card from (name of the sender)" not a generic term like "friend," "neighbor" or "family member.

2. The e-mail notification will come from the sender's e-mail address, not Hallmark.com.

3. The notification will include a link to the e-card on Hallmark.com as well as a url that can be pasted into a browser.

4. The url will begin with http://hallmark.com/ followed by characters that identify the individual e-card. Hover your mouse over the words "click here" in your e-mail. If you do not see the url above, it is not a legitimate Hallmark e-card.

5. Hallmark e-cards are not downloaded and they are not .exe files.

6. In addition, Hallmark.com will never require an e-card recipient to enter a user name or password nor any other personal information to retrieve an e-card.

E-mail safety tips:

Do not open e-mails from unknown senders. Don't open an e-mail you know to be spam. A code embedded in spam advertises that you opened the e-mail and confirms your address is valid, which in turn can generate more spam. If you receive an attachment that you are not expecting, don't open it, even if it's from someone you know. First read the e-mail, and make sure the attachment is most likely legitimate. If you're still not sure, call or e-mail the sender to confirm, but do not reply to the original e-mail. Some fraudulent e-mails that appear to be from financial companies (paypal, banks, credit card companies, etc.) direct the reader to click on a link to verify or confirm account details. Never click these links. Instead, call the company if you are concerned about your account.