Dangerous emails are omnipresent and come under a variety of facades: A portal to prosperity, an instrument to help those in need, an imitation of an authoritative figure, you name it – it’s probably out there. A recent article in Yahoo! Finance details 14 Dangerous Emails That Could Be In Your Inbox, also providing findings from the FBI that report an 8.3 percent rise in cybercrime last year. This astronomic influx breaks down to 290,000 incidents worth $525 million in financial losses to victims – with an average take of $4,573.
A few of the dangerous emails mentioned are recapped below.
The Stranded Traveler Scam
The summer travel season marks the arrival of emails impersonating friends and claiming to be robbed in Europe or Asia and, of course, need money from you. According to the article, the FBI says this type of lure routinely costs victims thousands of dollars apiece.
Travel Deals Too Good to be True
On the note of travel, another type of scam quickly catching fire advertises unparalleled travel deals. Some of these scams will reference free tickets from “United Airways” which doesn’t exist.
An Urgent Message from a Bank or Government Agency
An example of a recent phishing attack is given, where scammers pretend to uphold the “strict security standards” of HSBC bank, asking recipients to report scam mails to the bank’s website. After all… if the message references a scam it can’t be a scam itself, right? This type of logic lures the victim into believing it’s valid but once the link is clicked, malware attacks your computer. Similar scams imitate top FBI officials or claim to be the IRS proclaiming that you owe them money and the amount due needs to be paid in full as soon as possible. The Yahoo article reminds us that Financial Institutions and Government Agencies will never communicate sensitive information by email.
Missed Delivery Scam
An interesting fact here – among the top 20 keywords used in phishing, 14 have to do with shipping according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Malicious scammers know how much people hate to miss packages and will send phishing messages appearing to be from UPS or FedEx to exploit the victim, notifying them that their package could not be delivered.
Cellular Carrier Email Scam
In this situation, the scammer send emails which direct the victim to a website built to look just like their cellular carrier’s website. Upon arrival they are asked to enter their passwords and the last four digits of their Social Security number, then click for discounts, credits or prizes worth up to $500. The attackers will then use this information to hijack the victim’s account.
Bank Employee Phishing Scam
Bank employees are targeted using “insider bank lingo” and stolen employee login credentials to persuade them to initiate wire transfers overseas, sometimes worth up to $900,000 according to the FBI.
The Nigerian Princes are Back and Better than Ever Scams
Nigerian scammers have some new tricks these days. In addition to the old lures like international lotteries and other get-rich quick schemes, they are now “buying” items on eBay and sending fake PayPal emails to confirm the purchase.
Moral of the story? Phishers are as clever as ever. It’s critically important that you carefully review the contents of your inbox to be certain everything is legitimate before the phishers have you hooked.