I’ve just recently signed up for orkut and am wondering if the “friend requests” from people I have never bumped into before are legit or not. I’ve sent you the invite: can you tell me how to know whether it’s a phishing attempt before I actually click on a link?
I’m really glad to hear that you are skeptical about the email that comes into your mailbox and requests that you click on a given URL link and/or take any other specific action. Generally these messages are phishing or other attempts to separate you from your account credentials and thereby hijack your account entirely.
One way to deal with this is to simply never click on URL links in email messages, which would work in this situation too because if you have a friend request on orkut it shows up when you next log in any way, as I show here:
But let’s go back to the email, because here’s the message I received from orkut when my friend Mark asked to connect to me in the orkut world:
I can see your being suspicious about this message! Even checking the return email address or looking at the email headers to see if it really came from the orkut team at Google isn’t going to really prove that it’s a legitimate message.
The best way is to look at individual email links, if you insist on clicking on URL links in messages. I’m viewing this particular invitation in Google’s Gmail, and notice what happens on the lower left edge of the “status bar” of my Web browser when I move the cursor over the confirmation of friend link:
That shows me it’s a link that is going to take me to the “www.orkut.com” site, so it’s legit and safe to click upon.
However, as a general rule of thumb, I still encourage you to just type in the base URL of the site in question when you get these sort of notifications: if they also show up in the actual account then the notifications were legitimate and not a phishing or hacking attempt. If they don’t show up, well, then your caution has saved you!
In my experience, by the way, phishers seem to be more interested in stealing your identity from MySpace, LinkedIn, FaceBook, Paypal or eBay rather than Orkut. But your experience may vary!