Immediate freakout, right? ‘What in the world did I order that cost that much?! I have to stop this right now!’ That was my first reaction to this email. Thank goodness AVG Free stopped me because as soon as I clicked on the “Order Details” button, up popped a THREAT DETECTED message. I had made the fatal mistake of not looking at the actual email address from which this email originated…and it certainly was not Amazon! I immediately thought of the City of Galveston purchasing department individuals that had made the very same mistake. The only difference was they had no button in their email to click on that would have warned them. that and their mistake was millions of dollars not just $187. Most sophisticated scams are designed to either elicit an emotional response; like my response; or they are designed to be so close in appearance to what the recipient is used to seeing that any differences go unnoticed – like in the case of the purchasing kerfuffle – in order to get the recipient (victim) to respond without thinking. And that observation got me thinking about the kinds of crazy stories that get passed around on social media. They too are designed to scam their victims by eliciting an emotional response or looking very official, in order to get the reader (yes, victim) to forward or share the story. The outcome is the same. The victim had been duped into doing something that under normal circumstance he or she would not do. That is why they call it hijacking. Whether it is your computer or your brain – the result is the same. You are being used. The moral to this story is; don’t let random emails/ posts/tweets hijack your computer or your mind. Slow down; consider the source, and think about whether your actions are just playing into the hands of some unidentified entity only wanting to do you and others, harm. There are many fact-checking sites you can go to that will verify or dismiss a fraudulent, any surprising stories you might pick up on social media. Take just a minute to check before you repost or share. And always look at who is sending you emails before you click on anything.