Number 5 of the Scams of Christmas: Grumpy Greeting Cards

Think about it, is this really your Aunt Phoebe’s style?
Remember the good old days when the holidays were approaching, we went to our mailboxes everyday, checked for greeting cards, then rushed inside to see what our friends had written to us in the card? Maybe you even snuck a peek at the back of the card to see which brand your friends had chosen. The days of the paper greeting card might be waning, but the e-card is going strong. E-cards are cheaper, faster, and as we’ll see, more dangerous than paper.

Greeting cards make excellent vehicles to transmit malware. Malware is a computer program that can allow someone else to control your computer. One of the most famous cases involving malware is that of Jared James Abrahams, who was able in 2013 to infect the computers of twenty young women and use their own webcams to take compromising photos of them without their knowledge. Among the victims was a Miss Teen USA. In Abrahams’ case, the software he used could be purchased on the internet for $40.

No one wants malware for Christmas, so if you receive an e-card, be sure to ask yourself a few questions before you click any links. Do you know the person? Is it the real email address of a friend? Is the card personalized? Is it from a reputable e-card dealer or someone you’ve never heard of? If an email has a link, hover over it comparing the text shown to the corresponding link. Make sure they're the same and for legit sites. If there’s any doubt whatsoever, don’t click anything and delete the message.

Your online besties might complain because you didn’t open their oh-so-personal e-card they sent to everyone, but better to let them carp than have to deal with a malware-infected computer.

Next up in the 12 Scams of Christmas is another candy-cane twist on this theme, No. 4, Sly Shipping Notifications.

Terry Ambrose writes the McKenna mystery series set in Hawaii. They're filled with snark, scams, and trouble in paradise.


  1. Celeste Gaydos

    These scams are great reading. I think I’ve had my share of some of them in some way or another. My favorites are the emails telling me I’ve inherited money from my royal Nigerian prince, or lotteries for which I never participate in. Like the article says –nothing is free, esp. If you never asked for it!! So many scams out there its surprising we are not all broke or have computer problems

  2. Tutuapp

    Check the soil for dampness: if it is very wet, but the plant looks wilted, this could be an indication of root rot. Then have a look at the underside of the leaves to check for insects such as aphids and whiteflies.

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