We think this is a really great article from Conor Pope in this morning's Irish Times - it's worth taking time out to look at his synopsis of the most common scams listed below, but in addition we advise you take on board the following advice:
- Always read your emails carefully (watching you for tell tell tale grammatical errors, spelling mistakes)
- Make a habit of hovering (never click) over the sender's details as it can reveal bogus email addresses when you take a closer look
- Never give details to unsolicited calls from Microsoft, your bank or any company who proclaims that your financial or email accounts are in danger
- We strongly advise that organisations don't put details of their financial or accounts staff on their company website as were have seen a huge increase in personalised targeting of such staff.
- And finally, watch out for fake Office 365 notification emails, especially links to fake 365 websites or log on screens that just that pop up on your computer
Thank you Conor for spreading the word - it's difficult being the IT Guys (& Gals) but when such a great piece of practical advice comes from such a Leg' - you are God in our eyes!
Activities of criminals targeting vulnerable people are becoming wearyingly familiar
While the name might be new, the ‘Dubai broadband scam’ comes with wearyingly familiar echoes the activities of international criminals who have been targeting vulnerable people in similar operations for many years.
In the latest account of a person falling foul of fraudsters, a Limerick man in his 70s was telephoned by man claiming to be from a broadband provider.
The man said the victim’s bank account had been hacked and he would have to be transferred to the company’s cybercrime section. The pensioner then gave permission for €10,000 to be moved from his bank account to the alleged safety of an account in Dubai. He is highly unlikely to ever see the money again.
Seven scams to watch out for
1. The bitcoin blackmail email:
In recent months scammers have been contacting millions of people worldwide with emails containing details of passwords belonging to the targets. The criminals use the fact that they know a “secret” password to give their correspondence credibility.They claim they have infected the victim’s computer with a virus allowing them to record what the person watches online. The email suggests that a tape of the victim watching pornography exists and will be widely distributed unless bitcoin is transferred immediately.
2. The invoice scam:
Criminals sending apparently innocuous mail to a company or individual in a business which looks like it comes from a supplier they deal with. The email asks for no money and is just an administrative alert to let the recipient know that the bank details for the supplier have changed. Payment systems are updated. Weeks or months pass before a legitimate invoice from the supplier arrives and is paid, but to the wrong bank account.
3. The chief executive scam:
Scammers use the likes of LinkedIn to find out who the chief executives and senior financial staff are in companies. Then they send bogus emails purporting to be from senior executives to financial staff instructing them to transfer money into numbered bank accounts. The mails say urgency and secrecy are important and are addressed to a named individual and are from a named employer. The FBI’s internet crime centre has been investigating these scams for years and has estimated that losses of as much as €1 billion have been recorded in the US alone.
4. The Wangiri fraud:
This sees scammers leaving missed calls from mysterious numbers on mobile phones. When calls are returned they are diverted to premium rate numbers overseas to the victim’s cost.
5. The department store scam:
This is like the ‘Dubai broadband scam’ but more clever. It sees the “security manager” of a well-known shop call the target to say someone has tried to use their credit card in-store. They ask for financial details and if they do not get them they urge the target to call their bank. The victim hangs up and picks up the receiver immediately and calls their bank. What they don’t know is that the fraudster is still on the line because when a call is made to a landline only the caller and not the person receiving the call can disconnect so the line remains active for 60 seconds. The fraudster then pretends to be a bank official and the crime is completed.
6. Phishing scams:
Any email from a bank, the National Lottery, Netflix, Revenue or Ebay or whoever asking for key details, such as passwords or bank account numbers, so they can update accounts with enhanced security features or send money are to be treated with extreme caution. No reputable organisation will ever contact anyone in such a way.
7. The Microsoft scam:
Calls come from people claiming to be from Microsoft offering to fix a deadly virus on the target’s computer for a small sum of money. Sometime the scammers look to take control of computers remotely, sometimes they look for sensitive financial details. They are always bogus calls.