Attempted scam emails occur by the billions each day. The average American will get dozens daily. There are hundreds of software ‘remedies’ and ‘protection’ products out there, rendering their authors billions of dollars each year. With all that emphasis on email scams, you would think that we are too smart to fall for it now. Unfortunately, that is not the case. As we get smarter, and protection software gets more sophisticated, so do the scammers. They change tactics like underwear. And people keep falling for it year after year.
You may think naive kids or low-tech savvy adults are the only ones who need to worry. But that is not true, especially when a lot of scams are triggered when the recipient is on a mobile device. We do like to swipe and click, don’t we? How many oops swipes have you had? Here are some notable scam victims to consider.
Victim 1: The aerospace CEO
This fellow, Mr. Stephan, lost over $40 million dollars in an email scam. The scammers emailed an accounting employee in the firm while spoofing the CEO’s email address. The email instructed him to transfer funds to an account and the employee complied. What is scary about this is that sometimes a person can be victimized without even being involved in the scam.
PARKERTECHGROUP has had customers get similar emails from a boss. They were sharp enough to question the email, either speaking to the boss or to us, to verify the email. Comforting but still scary. It is easy for scammers to harvest email addresses. Be aware!
Victims 2 through 99,999,999 and counting: Your Friend, the Nigerian Prince
We have all got this one in the email. A Nigerian prince has millions to give you for a favor. He just needs your bank account information and some of your funds to cover his transfer costs. Oh yeah, this one is a beauty. Obviously, a scam, right?
Evidently not. Last year, those scams garnered almost $750,000. Not bad for a very old scam that, like a good watch, just keeps on ticking.
Victims (two many to count): The Famous Fake Confirmation Email
Each year, Americans buy more goods and services online. Ever heard of Amazon? All major retailers like Target, Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, etc. have their own e-commerce platforms. A consistent feature of this software is a confirmation of your order. We like them, we crave them, we freak if we do not get them after an order. They are necessary and expected. The confirmation looks real, nice logo and colors and all. And you did just buy something from them….
These emails will have embedded malware and a link, that if clicked, sets off the bomb. You may not get financially hit, but your computer may become the latest ‘zombie’ in their arsenal, and you can unknowingly begin launching spam emails to people everywhere. Ugly.
You may say, this won’t happen to me. You know exactly who you buy from and how much it costs. Good for you, you are probably going to be okay. But consider the business who buys exclusively online, hundreds of purchases per month, purchased by multiple employees. Or the kid that gets the tablet and accesses the site on line with your session open and your payment method stored on it. Tip: take your tablet with you when you go to the bathroom or kitchen. Just saying. I know a few folks that had this happen to them.
Email scams are with us to stay. Better and brighter, they continually evolve. You need to protect yourself as best you can. Work with your IT provider to use a competent email software package that can help reduce your exposure. But above all, exercise common sense. If it smells 1% fishy, stop and investigate. Happy emailing out there.