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Scam Alert: E-cards' gift: Computer virus

THE SCAM: E-card greetings

HOW IT WORKS: E-mail victims get a virtual card that claims to be from a neighbor or friend, no name given. The recipient has to click on a link in the e-mail to see the card. But clicking on the link downloads viruses. In some cases, the e-card may ask the unwitting victim for "permission" to download the software. Such viruses can wreck a computer's hard drive, or infiltrate the computer and steal personal information, such as Social Security numbers or credit card data.

WHAT'S AT STAKE: Your computer and maybe your personal information

HOW TO BEAT IT: If you receive a suspicious e-card, proceed with caution. If you think you know who may have sent it, contact them directly and ask. Beware of any e-card with an attachment, or from an unknown party. Delete it instead; a virtual message of warm wishes isn't worth a potential virus-induced headache.

Contact Bee staff writerBen van der Meer at bvandermeer@modbee.com or 578-2331.

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