E-card viruses are nothing new, but we still like to post a reminder this time of year when you’re more likely to expect e-greetings.

Messages that look like electronic greeting cards might hide viruses, spyware, and other malware. You should also be aware that some virus warnings are greatly exaggerated and may even include elements of scams themselves. For more information, see Mixture of real virus warning and hoax.

How to avoid fake e-cards

  • Recognize the sender of the e-card. If you don't know the sender, do not trust the card. Legitimate companies have standard, obvious ways for you to recognize that the e-mail is not a fraud.

    For example, with 
    MSN Greetings, the "from" always shows "Ecard from MSN Greetings" as the display name and "ecards@msn.americangreetings.com" as the e-mail address.

    Make sure you check both the display name and e-mail address of the sender.
  • When in doubt, use alternative viewing methods. Do not click any links when you are not sure of the sender or intent of the e-mail message. 

    For example, if you use MSN Greetings, you can view your greeting on the MSN Greetings Web site. Type "msn.americangreetings.com" into your Web browser and click the link in the upper right-hand corner that says, “ecard pickup.”

For more information about e-card scams and other fraud, see Phishing scams that target activities, interests, or news events.