Phishing scams have come a long way from Nigerian princes proposing unbelievable investment opportunities. Today’s cybercriminals are far more proficient at tricking people into giving up their personal information or clicking on a malware-infected attachment. Email is still the preferred channel for phishing scams, and emails only get opened if they have irresistible subject lines. Here are the ones that usually mean you harm and should be left untouched.
1. “Your bank account has been temporarily suspended”
People tend to make hasty, ill-advised decisions when their money is in jeopardy. If this particular subject line hits your inbox, we won’t blame you if you start to panic. But keep in mind that the idea behind these scams is to draw your attention away from the sender of the email and the authenticity of the links provided.
Links within these emails usually lead to fraudulent websites that steal your bank details, so be extremely cautious of emails claiming to be from your bank. If you want to verify the status of your account, go to your bank’s official website and contact them directly.
2. UPS Notifications
Another common scam involves fake messages from UPS that offer links to track your parcel, download your invoice, or resolve delivery issues. What makes them so scary is that they look like the genuine article. Everything from the color scheme to the logo to the composition of the email looks professional and designed to win your trust.
If UPS sends you messages about a delivery or invoice, don’t click on the link. Instead, hover your mouse over them to see the actual URL and do a quick Google search to make sure the link is safe. Also, avoid any attachments from UPS, especially Microsoft Word documents, since these often contain ransomware and other malicious programs.
3. Congratulations, you won a free iPhone!
Whether it's a free iPhone, an all-expenses paid trip, or a cool $10,000, don’t get too excited when you see these types of messages in your inbox. Their goal is to get you to click on a link and enter your personal information, which helps hackers commit identity theft.
4. Change your password now
Although regularly updating passwords is a great way to stay safe, don’t be fooled by unexpected emails urging you to change your login credentials. The links they provide almost always redirect you to sites that steal your login credentials and sell them on the black market.
If you’re going to change your password, do it directly on the account provider’s official site. You should also implement multi-factor authentication — a solution that adds more than one method of identity verification like temporary SMS codes and fingerprint scans — to keep your accounts secure even if hackers get a hold of your passwords.
5. Remember me? I need your help
Cybercriminals do a fair bit of research before trying to scam you. They search your social media accounts to find and impersonate people you know so they can send persuasive phishing emails that trick you into making fraudulent wire transfers. This is why you should scrutinize the sender’s address and contact them in a different channel to verify the authenticity of the email.
Remember that hackers only have to hit the right psychological triggers to con you. If you’re pressured to wire money or download an attachment within a certain timeframe, take a step back and assess the situation. You should also enable an email spam filter and stay up to date on the latest phishing tactics making the rounds so you know the best way to avoid them.
Red Key Solutions protects New York businesses from all sorts of online scams. We provide cutting-edge email security, threat detection solutions, and security tips. Call us now!