Don't fall for poisoned e-Valentines this holiday

With Valentine's Day around the corner, we can expect a virtual deluge of electronic valentines, the modern equivalent of "I love you enough to send you stuff that doesn't cost me time or money." Hopefully, you're aware of just how frequently such cards contain viruses or other malware. My usual suggestion is to never open an electronic greeting card.

Now, however, a program by the anti-virus program developer AVG, Slam the Online Holiday Scam, offers a convenient way to check those cards for poison before opening them. You can copy the link to the card that is contained within in the email announcing the card and paste it into AVG's LinkScanner Drop Zone. The LinkScanner will put the link under the microscope and tell you if it leads to evil.In addition to using this scanner, AVG has five common-sense tips for dodging such poisoned mail-
  1. Don't open attachments- cards are usually reached via links in the email. Attachments can break your heart.
  2. When in doubt, delete- you can always blame your spam filter, or me.
  3. Know where you're going online- just because a link says 'Pictures of our new puppy' doesn't mean it's so.
  4. Know what to look for- Vague expressions, unspecific references, pet names that could be anyone's, and misspellings are all tip-offs.
  5. Always read the fine print- the Devil is in the details.

You can trust me, though, when I say that I really love you all. So much so that I've included a Valentine card for you here; just click on it.

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