There are many email scams out there to watch out for. Most of us now know that there isn’t a Nigerian prince out there wanting to send us a boat load of money if we just give them access to our bank account. Do you know about some of the new scams out there? Certainly, phishing scams have come a long way, and with COVID-19, the scams are designed to play on our fears around the disease. So, do you think you know how to spot a phishing scam? Below are 4 different types of phishing scams and how you can spot them.
Like the Nigerian prince scheme, this type of email promises you something too good to be true. Maybe it’s the promise of riches? Maybe it’s just a free Wal-Mart gift card? In light of the pandemic, maybe you are being promised a chance to skip the queue and get your COVID-19 vaccine ahead of schedule. All you have to do is send banking details, money, or give up some PII (personal identifiable information) to get it. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Spear phishing is a little more targeted than traditional spam. In most cases, the email will provide you with a link to what appears to be a legitimate site you normally visit, and they ask you to log in or to update your password. The goal of the spear phisher is to collect your personal information once you’ve entered it into the fake website. Many of the spoofed sites include Netflix, PayPal, traditional banks and even the government. In some cases, you may not have an account with the particular service provider, which should be the first clue that the email is fake. Other clues could be spelling/grammar and email headers.
Tabloid-like subject headings and topics are often used by scammers to get your attention and click on their emails. These emails may contain funny pictures, a link to pictures of a nude model, or some must-have technology. These links or attachments almost always have malware that could be downloaded to your phone or computer. Always beware of any unsolicited emails containing this type of content. It also falls into the “too good to be true” rule.
Other Financial Scams
There is a class of emails that promises business success, really most are nothing but money laundering or pyramid schemes. The money laundering schemes will disguise themselves as requiring the service of a financial person to transfer money for them. They will offer you a job, but really, you will be laundering money for a criminal organization. Pyramid schemes ask you to make an investment in them, and then recruit others under you to do the same. The reality is that the only people who make money out of the deal are those who first started, the ones at the top. When it is time for you to get paid, there is nothing left. Don’t fall for these scams, as they are illegal. Not only could you lose your money, but you could also go to jail.
So, what things can you do to stay clear of phishing? Always be skeptical of links in emails and go to the website directly. Remember that banks and governments will not ask for your personal information over email or text message. If you believe you have a legitimate concern with your banking or government services, phone them directly, or if possible, go to the branch in person. Installing anti-spam software from a reputable source can help lessen your chances of an attack. In the event that you think you might have been phished, change your password and security questions. Even better, enable multi-factor authentication. Don’t forget to check your banking information for any unusual activity.
Could your employees spot these types of emails? Could their lack of cyber awareness put your business at risk? Contact Uzado to help you develop your cyber awareness program.