Craig Murphy: author, blogger, community evangelist, developer, speaker

The Social Programmer

December 12th, 2006 at 12:17 am

It’s a scam, it’s a hoax, but how do you know?

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My other half (“who should know better” I hear you cry) forwarded on the message below.

FREE £60 SAINSBURY’S VOUCHER!
Hi Guys
This does work, just had a reply back from my cousin who sent it, saying he has just received his voucher, Nice eh? Send this email on to 10 people and copy in J.sainsburys@customerservices.com, Then Sainsbury’s will forward you a £60 voucher via email Fab – Just in time for Christmas

Of course, it is a hoax. It’s obvious, surely everybody can see that? Well, the truth is, it’s not that obvious and this particular hoax is still catching folks out! So what makes this so obviously a hoax?

Well, there are a few tell-tale signs.

The e-mail alias is playing on your impression of the big name that is behind the supermarket in question, you’d like to think that J.sainsburys is a reliable alias. Wrong on two counts. Firstly, the small ‘s’ is a clue, it should be uppercase. Secondly, it’s “J Sainsbury”, there’s no need for the trailing ‘s’. Don’t believe me? Check it here.

Then there’s the capital ‘T’ just after the ‘,’ – that’s just wrong. And no ‘.’ before ‘Fab’. And the capital ‘J’ in ‘Just’. And the capital ‘N’ in ‘Nice’. Always check grammar, spelling, etc. if you have even the slightest suspicion that something isn’t what it seems. Oh, and no ‘.’ closing the sentence.

The domain name, customerservices.com, has nothing to do with the supermarket. If this domain is still alive, it only serves to collect e-mail addresses from unsuspecting individuals who’ll be spammed later.

How easy is it to check for these hoaxes? Well, your favourite search engine is usually a good place to start. Check out J.sainsburys hoax to see what I mean.

So remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

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