Hoax & Scam Watch
Hoaxes and Scams -- It Pays to be Vigilant
For all the good that is available on the Internet, there is also a Dark Side that needs to be acknowledged. This page will help HKC members and guests to be aware of some of the things being directed at the dog-owning and dog-showing community.
If you know of something that should be included here, please direct it to the Webmaster.
Look before you leap!
Each new day brings its delivery of Email messages. Many people are experiencing an increase of messages that contain content that seems to be
Before you take drastic actions with your computer to delete files or alter configurations, AND before you copy an Email message to 37 of your closest friends, it is often wise to check some of the resources available to try to determine "the facts". [That is to say, don't become part of the PROBLEM by passing on a virus, or creating mass hysteria, without doing some investigation -- which could take as little as 2 minutes.]
Scams are fraudulent business practices that masquerade as legitimate businesses but exist primarily to bilk unwary small businesses who are the most vulnerable. The most susceptible are the ones with little experience in dealing with scams, have no full-time legal staff, and usually are in need of financial backing.
Some of the most common scams are Funding/"Free Money" scams, Pyramid Schemes, Stock Manipulation and Internet Auction fraud. For more detail, check out the Symantec article on How to Steer Clear of Internet Scams.
The following resources are also available:
Remember RULE #1 -- "If it seems too good to be true ... it probably IS!"
Additional Virus, Hoax, and Urban Legend Resources
Listed below are just a few of the sites you can check regarding Hoaxes, Viruses and Urban Legends. If you know of others that work for you, we'd like to know so we can expand the list.
What To Do If YOUR Computer Gets Hacked
The following link goes to a very sobering web page that explains what you need to do if your computer gets zapped by a virus, worm or other nasty thing:
If you hate reading lengthy technical stuff, the most important thing is the next-to-last paragraph, followed by [!?!?] the paragraph immediately preceding it.
Bottom Line: if you're one of those folks who are in denial about the need for computer security, don't update your anti-virus/firewall programs, think YOUR operating system is immune, and refuse to have anything to do with security patches (Operating System Updates), ignore this article at your peril.
Spyware and Adware are programs installed on your computer to either track your website usage (and report it to someone) or simply to run ads on certain websites based on what is known about what kinds of preferences appeal to you.
These things can be installed with some software, with various music and video downloads, and by many hidden and invisible processes. At the least they can slow down or interfere with your online experience. At their worst they can extract information from your system for questionable uses.
Most anti-virus software producers also have ways to protect you from these programs, or to purge your system of them.
A good resource for more information is the Spyware Protection and Removal page, which includes numerous articles and removal tools.
There is also a good article on protecting your computer from spyware and adware on the Microsoft Windows support site.
Symantec AntiVirus research Center
Current Internet Hoaxes, urban legends, and other digital
lies - Urban Legends and Folklore
"Phishing" is an attempt to steal your identity. Using an Email, a pop-up window, or even a phone call that LOOKS or SOUNDS legitimate, you are asked to disclose some personal data (credit card numbers, login names, passwords, account data, etc.). The whole thing LOOKS legitimate, so it is important to know how they work.
An Email may seem to come from a popular web site or business that you trust. They APPEAR official enough that people believe they are legitimate. They may have all the logos and links that you expect to see, unless you know how to examine them closely.
Phishing Warning Signs to Look For:
An Email message that requests personal information. Legitimate businesses will not ask for personal information in an Email.
Alarmist message. The sense of urgency ("your account may be closed", or "We need to update your account information") encourages you to respond without thinking.
Misspellings or grammatical errors
A slightly altered web address. This one is tricky. It could either be a slightly misspelled address (www.micorsoft.com) or the address you see in the Email may not actually be the page to which you are directed. If you are suspicious, be sure to look at the URL of the page you are sent to to see if it is REALLY on the "official" site!
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Easy money and get-rich-quick offers are red flags.
For additional information on Phishing and Identity Theft (including detailed hints), go to
Please report any broken links or additional sites to