Online security: ecards
Some say that nothing can replace a handwritten card arriving at your door bringing wishes for a happy holiday, but there are many reasons why ecards—electronic greeting cards sent through the Internet—can be a good alternative to sending cards through regular mail:
- There are many sites, like 123Greetings and E-greeting that allow you to select and send ecards completely free of charge.
- If you have a number of people to whom you need or want to send cards, it can be much faster and more cost effective to send ecards, as long as you have an email address for all your intended recipients.
- You can support a charity you care about by sending ecards directly from their website and making a donation at the same time. The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, for example, has a huge variety of ecards to choose from, including Christmas and Hanukkah cards.
- Ecards are an environmentally friendly way to send holiday good wishes.
- Some ecards have sound and animation, making them really fun, exciting greetings to receive!
How do ecards work? Your intended recipient will receive an email containing a link to the ecard you have selected for them with instructions for how to view it. Once they’ve viewed your card, which can be personalized with a special message from you, they have the option to send a thank you card back to you. Simple as that!
As with any online activity, you do need to make sure you’re choosing a reputable website. Consider companies that you know and trust, like Hallmark or American Greetings, or the other ecard sites mentioned in this article.
If you find an ecard in your email inbox, there are a few safety tips you should keep in mind before diving in and clicking on any links. According to SurfNetKids.com the following tips can help keep you safe from viruses and other computer threats:
- Use an anti-virus program to protect you from computer threats, and make sure it’s always up to date. Consider using anti adware and spyware software too, since many ecard scams will download adware or spyware onto your computer.
- Don’t open anything from someone you don’t know. If an ecard is from a name you don’t recognize, or simply labeled, “from a friend” or “your secret admirer”, delete that email post haste!
- Always read the terms of service before agreeing to them. You don’t want to inadvertently agree to have spyware downloaded onto your computer.
- Don’t open any attachments on ecards. You should see a link to your ecard, not a document that you have to click on and download. If you see something like that, it is most likely a virus.
A little common sense and vigilance can make your ecard sending—and receiving—a fun part of the holidays!
For more tips on ecard safety visit Scambusters.
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