Mouse-Over: The Most Important Internet Skill!
A great many of the scams that pour into our email in-boxes can be exposed by the simplest of techniques… A “mouse-over”
A mouse-over is the practice of placing your mouse over any link WITHOUT clicking it. Every web browser, and nearly all email, instant message programs and other applications, will reveal where the link really leads to by showing the address (called a URL) in the lower left corner of the window. Look at these examples. In each case, the link in the email said one thing but a mouse-over revealed something entirely different. You’ll see that the link displayed in the lower left corner doesn’t point to CitiBank, AmericanExpress, or Facebook.
It is so easy to disguise links that appear in our emails, web browsers, and instant messages. It is also remarkably easy to disguise links that appear within applications like Skype and Instagram, or within chat windows on social networking sites.
Try this test of your mouse-over skills. Which of the following four links, actually points to the location suggested by the link text?
Hopefully you now see how easy it is to mouse-over and look at the destination of a link BEFORE you click it. Make it a habit to always mouse-over before clicking.
Sometimes, deciphering links gets a bit trickier but some common sense can help you figure out what is likely to be safe and what is very risky! Try mousing-over these choices and figure out which lead to the legitimate website and which do not:
Link #1 points to www.paypai.com, not paypal.com. Scam!
Link #2 points to wwwapps.ups.com/Tracking. “wwwapps” is actually a legitimate sub-domain used by UPS for tracking packages. This link is legit (though it doesn’t point to any particular package being tracked).
Link #3 points to bounce.linkedin.com. “bounce” is a also a legitimate sub-domain used by LinkedIn.
Link #4 points to www.linkedln.com, not linkedin.com (l was substituted for i). Scam!
Although it takes a bit of practice to recognize legitimate links from scams, it really isn’t that hard! You can do it! Just remember that many websites use sub-domains and that’s OK. The sub-domain is the name that appears just in front of the name of the business (domain) name. For example “deals.amazon.com” or “fares.aa.com” (aa = American Airlines) are both legitimate links. However, for each pair below the first address is a scam and the second is legit, so look carefully!
- www.credit-card-support.info/americanexpress.html vs. www304.americanexpress.com
- www.Chase-Bank-Online.com/chasebank.php vs. chaseonline.chase.com
- www.irsgov.info vs. www.eftps.gov
- Visa_Online.es/visa.html vs. usa.visa.com
Now remember to mouse-over links BEFORE you click them!
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