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Scams – Too Close to Home

So you think you will never fall for an email scam? Think again.

You would had to have been living on another planet for the past decade or two not to be aware of email scams of one sort or another.

Many of these scams are some sort of Phishing attempt, looking to gain access to anything from your email address to your bank account and potentially engage in full scale identity theft.

Ransomware attacks, possible if you follow a malicious link, can result in all the files on your own computer (and entire network)  being encrypted and thus not available to you until you pay a ransom – and even then there is no guarantee you will get your files back.

The potential consequences are devastating.

We all know the risks and we all like to think we recognise the scammers, but think again.

It's a numbers game.

We have all received emails supposedly from a bank or whoever asking us to log on to update security settings – despite the fact that we don’t even have an account with them. It can only be a scam.

Now imagine that you do have an account with that bank or whoever it is. There is in increased chance of falling for it, particularly if the email looks convincing.  

Now further imagine that not only do you have an account with the supposed sender, but you have been in touch with them that day and are EXPECTING some contact from them?  The risks are getting higher now, aren’t they?

So, it’s a numbers game. Millions of emails are sent in the knowledge that most will be irrelevant to the recipients and somewhat unlikely to trick them. A smaller percentage stand an increased chance of fooling recipients and only a very small proportion will stand a substantially increased chance of hitting the jackpot. Send enough and you will hit jackpots.

Closer to home than you think.

Say you are a relatively small business and you receive an email making out to be from another similar size business – one that you regularly deal with.

It may attach what makes out to be an invoice or a statement but in fact is a dangerous file, it may request payment to a bank account held by fraudsters or have other motives.

Your defences will be lowered when dealing with an ‘ordinary’ smaller business that you have dealings with.

pinkdylan clients regularly forward us emails they have received claiming that their mailbox is full or has some other issue and they need to log on following a link to resolve the problem.

Is this fake? they ask. It is.

The problem is the clients that follow the link and ‘log on’ without contacting us first.

They have unwittingly provided the user name and password to their email account and that enables someone to access their email, potentially find ‘valuable’ business information and access contact lists.

This also allows fraudsters to send emails out to your contacts that make out to be from you and which will pass the usual domain checking rules at the receiving end.

You may also receive emails making out to be from one of your contacts. In sophisticated cases these emails may demonstrate some knowledge of specific contracts – because the fraudsters have been able to read your emails.

The bottom line

Internet fraud of one sort or another is massive.

It is NOT just emails making out to be from banks and the like that you need to be wary of, email that makes out to be from a customer or supplier may also not be all that it makes out to be. Even from a family member.

Always be on the lookout for anything remotely unusual, an odd request, not written how the sender would normally write, some excuse why someone cant call you or their number or bank details have changed.

Never provide sensitive information or any payment based on nothing more than the contents of an email conversation. 

Never believe someone else’s bank details or other potentially vulnerable information has changed simply based on an email notification.