Suspicious emails

  1. Over the last couple of weeks I have been receiving emails in my Yahoo bulk mail box with subject lines that refer to various medications, such as Alazopram, Percocet, Ativan etc. I normally just empty the bulk box because the mail there is usually junk. But a couple of days ago out of curiosity I opened one of the emails entitled "Ativan, Please Help". It was written in very poor English and really didn't make alot of sense. What I am wondering is if these emails are from foreign addresses that are trying to obtain medications illegally from RN's here in the U.S.

    Has anyone else out there ever received emails like this? If so, what have you done about it? Is there anyone I should or can report this to?
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   suzy253
    do you have a spam blocker option or junk email option ?
  4. by   TazziRN
    Open the email, right click and choose properties. Choose details. This will tell you where the email came from, back to the beginning. Find that server. Highlight the entire properties content and right click, choose copy. Close that window and go back to the email. Forward it to spam@(original server). Before you send it, paste the copied into in to the body of the forward and send it.
  5. by   Justhere
    Here recently with my Yahoo, I have had returned emails from the server because they couldn't be served, that I never sent, spammers have gotten my email address and are sending out spam to other people. I about fell out when I was getting all these returned emails and couldn't figure out where they were coming from then realized that it was spam mail sent from my email address.
  6. by   Larry77
    I never even open anything from someone I don't know. I heard years ago that if you open the spam mail somehow "they" find out it's an active email and you get more and more spam. Don't know if this is true maybe one of the IT pros on here can tell us. Is it bad to open them (besides the virus factor that is)?
  7. by   Retired R.N.
    Quote from Larry77
    I never even open anything from someone I don't know. I heard years ago that if you open the spam mail somehow "they" find out it's an active email and you get more and more spam. Don't know if this is true maybe one of the IT pros on here can tell us. Is it bad to open them (besides the virus factor that is)?
    You always take a chance whenever you open e-mail, no matter who APPEARS to have sent it. Spammers buy and sell lists of "live addresses" and have various ways of collecting those addresses. There are programs known as robo-scanners that can search hard drives on a vulnerable computer, and there are other software programs that create jillions of possibilities that the spammers can use for test mailing. If any mail comes to your address and is not bounced by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), the spammer knows that your address is a live one. (S)he has a software program that automatically removes the bad addresses from his list.

    Do NOT try to return spam to the sender. If it goes through, it just confirms that you are a real, live person. There are some spammers who own their own domains - just long enough to send out as many dirty payloads as they can get away with before they are in danger of being arrested. Many spammers operate offshore and from countries where spammers are frequently not prosecuted.

    Yes, you should definitely try to protect your computer by using anti-virus programs and firewalls, but don't forget that there is always the brand-new virus that slides right through the barriers. Your keen eyesight along with a little bit of paranoia is your best defense because they ARE out to get you!

    One of the worst offenses that ordinary users commit is to forward a message and not remove all the previous names on that message. Any time you send a message to someone, there should be only one recipient's name showing. All carbon copies should be blind ones. (BCC)

    The next piece of advice on avoiding spammers it to CAREFULLY read the "Privacy Policy" before you download any program - especially if it's free, or gives you a free trial period before you have to pay for it. Once a piece of really nasty spyware has been installed on your computer by one of these so-called "free" programs, it can be a royal pain in the anatomy to try to remove it.
  8. by   PamUK
    Quote from Retired R.N.

    Do NOT try to return spam to the sender. If it goes through, it just confirms that you are a real, live person. There are some spammers who own their own domains - just long enough to send out as many dirty payloads as they can get away with before they are in danger of being arrested. Many spammers operate offshore and from countries where spammers are frequently not prosecuted.
    All excellent advice Retired RN but I would just like to add that not replying to this kind of email also includes "unsubscribing". NEVER unsubscribe unless you know and trust the company. In doing this, you validate your email as "live"... I've made that mistake!
  9. by   neetnik461
    Thanks for all the replies so far! I am very well aware of email safety and virus issues. My husband is a software engineer and we have every form of virus protection, firewalls etc., known to mankind on my computer!

    What I would really like to know is:

    Is anyone else out there getting emails like the one I described? What's alarming me is that it seems that there are people out there phishing around for nurses who would be willing to sell them drugs illegally to be sold on a foreign market, or black market (more cheaply). Actually the email contained an add for a website (can't remember the address now), that included cheap prices for vicodin and other medications in the add. The add pictured a nurse holding up a stethoscope and smiling.

    I wonder if forums like this could be a field day for such people? All you have to do is click on any of our screen names, look at our public profiles and send emails through this forum to a zillion nurses in search of some who might be able and willing to get and sell drugs illegally.
  10. by   PBAJS
    Quote from neetnik461
    over the last couple of weeks i have been receiving emails in my yahoo bulk mail box with subject lines that refer to various medications, such as alazopram, percocet, ativan etc. i normally just empty the bulk box because the mail there is usually junk. but a couple of days ago out of curiosity i opened one of the emails entitled "ativan, please help". it was written in very poor english and really didn't make alot of sense. what i am wondering is if these emails are from foreign addresses that are trying to obtain medications illegally from rn's here in the u.s.

    has anyone else out there ever received emails like this? if so, what have you done about it? is there anyone i should or can report this to?
    spam emails are generally considered email advertising for some product, although some define spam as any unsolicited email.

    yes, i had and still at times receive the type of emails that you describe. have you visited websites about those medications? many months ago i did a search for medication prices in the usa and canada. i think, someone, somehow, had tracked my viewing as i started receiving (spam) emails about medications, prices, where to purchase, etc.

    the emails can be sent from anyone, from anywhere.

    if i receive an email with a recognizable isp address, examples: john @ aol.com, or john @ yahoo.com (i added spaces so the examples might not become a link) i do sometimes report it to the isp. if the emails look like john @ thisaddress.com or john @ thataddress.com - i don't report it. john00 may have created the domain names thisaddress and thataddress which would mean that i might be reporting the spam email to john. makes no sense to report a spam email to the person who sent it.
  11. by   PBAJS
    Phishing emails attempt to scam the receiver by instructing the receiver to visit a bogus website where the receiver is asked to update personal information (passwords, credit cards, etc.).

    I have several times received phishing emails that really do look like they were sent from paypal stating that my account will be suspended unless I click on the link to a website and update my information.

    Being concerned for other paypal account users that may not realize that the website is bogus, I forwarded the email to spoof @ paypal.com. Paypal sent a thank you. AND the bogus website disappeared.
  12. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I set up my email accounts so that the person sending me mail HAS to be in my address book, otherwise i don't receive it. No junk stuff.

    Also, make one account just FOR junk, in case you have to register at some website with an email address.
  13. by   Kyrshamarks
    These emails use bad english and spelling as a way of getting around the spam filters on email servers. They use misspelled words or poorly constructed sentences like real people would do to fool the computers that search for certain keywords such as viagra, vicodin or cialis or levitra. they are not trying to get you to sell them the meds...they want you to buy the meds from them They are from Chinese manufacturers or indian manufacturers and often as not they are so poorly made as not to be working or even worse made from poisonous materials. The fact you are a nurse and got one of these emails is purely coincidental. I get about 10-20 a day at my spam email address Just delete them.
  14. by   BabyRN2Be
    Quote from Larry77
    I never even open anything from someone I don't know. I heard years ago that if you open the spam mail somehow "they" find out it's an active email and you get more and more spam. Don't know if this is true maybe one of the IT pros on here can tell us. Is it bad to open them (besides the virus factor that is)?
    To answer your question Larry, my husband is a software engineer and all-around computer guru in the family. He says exactly what you are saying is TRUE. Don't open them or worse, go to a website that the email directs you to. I've asked him this a few times and he always says the same thing. Hope that helps you.

    I get these all the time and there's really no way that a spam filter can get it all. They mispell words, put in characters in the middle of a word. I can now readily tell what it is at the subject line and just delete it. Unfortunately, there's no real way to stop it.
    Last edit by BabyRN2Be on Oct 25, '06

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