What to do with all those e-mails that come in looking like they're about something important -- like your bank account or e-mail account? These days we're all busy and I know it's difficult to take the time to check on things first. But it pays to pay attention! Ask yourself some questions, like "Is it real? How do I know?"

1. If it's not your bank, that's obvious. Delete!

2. Otherwise, is there an address and phone number?

2. If there is, can you check them out by doing an internet search? Do they match what you know?

3. If those are real, are the links in the e-mail real? Hover over one with your mouse and see if the tooltip message that pops up matches the text in the e-mail. For example, if it says "yourbank.com," does the web address that pops up say something more like "yourbank.someplace-else.com"?

4. Call your bank or service provider. Odds are that they either know about it or will appreciate knowing there is a scam circulating with their name on it. Sometimes giving them a heads-up them will help them alert others.

5. If it's a deal, and it's too good (or too weird) to believe, it probably is. Delete!

6. Read all the words!

Here's the FBI's electronic scam blog: http://www.fbi.gov/cyberinvest/escams.htm

Peace,

gretchen-sig2