Common Email Phishing Scams to Warn Your Employees About

Phishing scams continue to be a widespread and growing threat in the digital world. It’s more important than ever to educate your employees about common email phishing scams to help protect your organization from potential security breaches and data loss. 

Here are some common email phishing scams to be aware of:

Generic Phishing Emails: These unsolicited emails attempt to trick recipients into revealing personal information, such as login credentials, by impersonating a trusted entity like a bank, government agency, or popular online service. 

Spear Phishing: Attackers target specific individuals or organizations, often using personalized information to make the email appear legitimate. This can involve researching the target’s interests, job roles, or relationships to craft convincing messages.

Invoice and Payment Scams: Attackers send fake invoices or payment requests, often with altered bank details, to trick employees into transferring money to fraudulent accounts.

Malware-Laden Emails: Phishing emails may contain attachments or links that, when opened, download malware onto the recipient’s device. Employees should always avoid opening attachments or clicking on links from unknown or questionable sources.

Pharming: Attackers manipulate DNS records to redirect users to fraudulent websites that appear legitimate. Employees should be cautious about clicking on links in emails and verify website URLs using a tool like Google Transparency Report.

Smishing: Smishing uses text messages to trick recipients into clicking malicious links or revealing sensitive information. Employees should be cautious of unsolicited text messages.

Vishing: Vishing involves phone calls where attackers impersonate trusted entities and attempt to extract sensitive information over the phone.

CEO Fraud/Business Email Compromise (BEC): Attackers impersonate high-ranking executives within an organization to request financial transactions or confidential information from employees. These emails often appear urgent and convincing.

COVID-19 Scams: Scammers have exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to send phishing emails related to vaccines, health advice, relief funds, and more. 

Job Offer Scams: Phishers may impersonate reputable companies and offer fake job opportunities via email. These scams can lead to identity theft or financial loss.

Taylor Swift Scams: Yes, really. As shared by WRTV, it looks as if someone you know, or just someone in your city, makes a Facebook post selling their Taylor Swift tickets. When you message the seller, they offer you a good deal and ask you to pay using Zelle, Venmo or a similar method. They promise that they’ll give you a full refund if anything happens. However, you never hear back from the seller after you send the money. (So far in 2023, BBB Scam Tracker has gotten about 30 reports involving fake Taylor Swift tickets, so we thought you should know.)

To help your employees recognize and avoid these phishing scams, consider implementing the following security practices:

Regular Training: Share this post! And, conduct regular cybersecurity training sessions to educate employees about the latest phishing threats and best practices for identifying them.

Email Filtering: Use advanced email filtering solutions to detect and block phishing emails before they reach employees’ inboxes.

Two-Factor Authentication: Encourage the use of two-factor authentication for all corporate accounts to provide an additional layer of security.

Verification: Encourage employees to independently verify the authenticity of requests for sensitive information or financial transactions, especially if the request appears unusual or urgent.

Security Updates: Ensure that employees keep their software, operating systems, and antivirus tools up to date to protect against malware.

Reporting Mechanisms: Establish clear procedures for employees to report suspicious emails or incidents promptly.

By raising awareness and implementing these security measures, you can help protect your organization.

To further protect your company, we strongly suggest that you consider cyber liability insurance which is intended to help the insured recoup losses related to both first- and third-party risks associated with supplying and collecting information on the Internet. Click to learn more about what cyber liability insurance can cover and how it can be customized for your organization, or schedule time with our cyber team.

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