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How to Safely Report Suspicous eMail


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#1 Anonix

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 10:13 PM

I've been getting four or five phishing eMails (gMail) per week for a couple of months now. After reading up on how dangerous it can be to even open them, I have been deleting them instantly. However, I would much prefer to report them to gMail. Can someone tell me now to do so safely? I know if I open the eMail, I can then click in the upper right corner and select 'report phishing' (or something similar). The problem is, I don't want to open the eMail, because, at the very least the thieves-in-waiting will know that I've opened it, and I would rather not give them the satisfaction (plus it will just encourage them). Or, maybe something worse would happen.

Btw, these eMails are unnerving, for the simple reason that they sure seem to know a lot about me. Sites I visit, my age range, and that I have surfed looking for specific information. They reference these personal details to try to draw me in to opening the eMail (I have snippets enabled so can see the first line). Clever.

I am running quick scans daily and a running a deep scan every week with MSFT Security Essentials (MSE) and everything is coming up clean, so I think I'm OK for now. I ramped up the scans after MSE gave me two 'severe' alerts (for Trojans) during a two week period. That put the fear in to me. My theory is they were observing my activity through one of the Trojans for a period of time BEFORE I got around to running MSE and deleting it. Either that, or they may have bought ISP logs and somehow connected surfing activity to me. Anyway...they know a lot, and are very persistent.

Question: Is forwarding these to gMail any safer than opening them? I was going to cut and paste the message and link (yes, there is a link), then I read something about how even that might be unsafe.

After everything I've read, I just don't want to open them. It's not worth the hours/days it would take me to reverse any damage that could be done.

Suggestions? Thanks in advance for your help! Oh, WindowsXP, Service Pak 3...Microsoft Security Essentials, CNET scans my software -- all is up-to-date...

Edited by Budapest, 10 July 2011 - 10:32 PM.
Moved from Virus, Trojan, Spyware, and Malware Removal Logs ~Budapest


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#2 Andrew

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 11:10 PM

You can prevent a sender from knowing you received/opened a piece of mail by telling GMail (or your e-mail application) to NOT load remote content.

For GMail, you can change the setting to "Always Ask" so that if you need to see the remote content you can turn it on for a message:
Posted Image

This will allow you to open and report such messages without fear that the sender will know it has been opened.


Disabling remote content is a good idea for every e-mail account and e-mail program you use. Remote content is an easy way for someone to infect your computer or track when (and how many times) you have read a particular message.

#3 Anonix

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 07:40 AM

Great! Thank you for this. I am going to adjust the gMail settings now.

You can prevent a sender from knowing you received/opened a piece of mail by telling GMail (or your e-mail application) to NOT load remote content.

For GMail, you can change the setting to "Always Ask" so that if you need to see the remote content you can turn it on for a message:
Posted Image

This will allow you to open and report such messages without fear that the sender will know it has been opened.


Disabling remote content is a good idea for every e-mail account and e-mail program you use. Remote content is an easy way for someone to infect your computer or track when (and how many times) you have read a particular message.



#4 Anonix

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 11:38 PM

A quick followup, which is that I opened one of the suspicious emails, and gMail had a big red warning banner at the top saying that the email might not be safe, etc. I then opened the drop down menu in the upper right corner, and for whatever reason, did not find the 'report phishing' option. I did see a 'report not phishing' option. I selected 'delete' instead. The second email, which was clearly from the same group of scammers, there was no warning banner from gMail, but the drop down menu DID have a 'report phishing' option, which I selected. Interestingly, the 'WOT' (web of trust) lifesaver icon showed the link in this second email as 'safe'. Ha! I guess don't follow WOT's recommendations blindly either.

#5 Andrew

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 03:16 AM

:thumbup2:

#6 Anonix

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 03:26 PM

So the way it works is ... if gMail has already identified the eMail as a phishing attempt, you will see the red banner when you open it, and the drop down menu will only give you the option to report it as 'not phishing'. If, however, there is no red gMail warning banner, the drop down menu WILL display the 'report phishing' option. Anyway, it gives me great satisfaction to report the scammers who are attempting to get my account numbers. Thanks again, all...

#7 Andrew

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 04:25 PM

So the way it works is ... if gMail has already identified the eMail as a phishing attempt, you will see the red banner when you open it, and the drop down menu will only give you the option to report it as 'not phishing'. If, however, there is no red gMail warning banner, the drop down menu WILL display the 'report phishing' option.

Correct. The red banner means it's already flagged and you can report it as mistakenly marked as a phishing email if needed, but not flag it again since it's already flagged.




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