Emails are frequently used by fraudsters. They have developed sophisticated ways of duping their victims in order to steal their personal information. The technique most commonly used by these criminals is phishing. As part of its information security awareness campaign, Professionals’ Financial offers you tips to better detect con artists.
Phishing attacks target individuals, companies or people who have particular organizational roles. To make their attacks credible and increase their chances of success, cybercriminals put a lot of effort into obtaining specific information in order to scam their victims.
Targeted email attacks
It’s easy! The emails seem to come from reliable sources, from an individual or from well-known companies: social media, banks, service providers. Phishing messages often play on feelings of insecurity and try to provoke an emergency response from you, or they threaten you with the loss of something (email access, bank account, or a service) if certain action is not taken. They encourage you to click on links that redirect you to fake websites that look exactly like the real sites.
Keep your eyes open!
When you receive such messages, certain signs should set off alarm bells. For example, the email:
- Is poorly written and contains many spelling or syntax errors
- Asks you take urgent, immediate action, or includes threats
- Asks for personal information
- Tells you that you have won a prize or mentions a contest that you never entered
- Includes suspicious attachments
- Contains links to websites whose URLs are different from those shown: by placing your cursor over the link shown, without clicking, you can discover the real link hidden behind it
Before taking the bait …
Whether you are at home or at work, some basic precautions should be taken to avoid getting scammed. The instructions are very simple. If you receive suspicious emails:
An incident to report?
If you have been targeted, or scammed, be sure to report the incident to the various authorities concerned. Also notify your friends and your family if you are in this situation or if you have witnessed an incident.
Depending on the circumstances, you can contact: