Congratulations! You’ve been scammed.

Curiosity can sometimes be a good thing. It can prompt someone to take a college course on ancient civilizations, explore the great outdoors, or ask that special someone out on a date. It can also lead someone down a path of misfortune by clicking on the wrong email message.

With the incredible number of email scams floating around cyberspace, one might think there are more damaging messages in an inbox than there are stars in the universe. While that might not be entirely true, yet, there is vast collection of spam, cheats, and convincing ploys that will do whatever it takes to get you to click on an email link. In the email message below, a scammer attempts to convince recipients that they received a free upgrade.

“Congratulations you’ve been upgraded!

Go Here Now To Claim Your Ticket To Wealth

See it yourself

Go before your upgrade expires.

Speak soon,”

The “See it yourself” contained a link to a website that would inject content with ill-intent into a victims computer. Don’t worry. That dastardly link has been removed for display here, but that won’t be the case in your inbox. If someone actually clicked on the link out of curiosity, that person’s computer would have received a nasty case of something similar to the plague centuries ago.

The importance of resisting the urge to click a link cannot be underemphasized. Links are like landmines with a “press here” message pointing directly toward it. Once a person is lured into following the instruction of the message, bad things will happen. Your computer can be corrupted, personal data on it compromised, and any website you go to can be logged and tracked.

The best case scenario when someone clicks on a malicious link is that the person’s computer will be corrupted and data lost. It may not seem like a positive result when that happens, but compared to losing one’s identity to a thief who will use data obtained from a victim’s computer to wreak financial havoc, it’s a far lighter burden to bear.

Unlike what’s suggested in the email above, nobody is going to give you anything for free in a random email. Don’t let curiosity get the best of you. Avoid clicking any link that promises something for free or it might cost you dearly.

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