Although the recent pandemic has led to an awful lot of scams related in some way to COVID-19 (as we mentioned last week), scams are all around us, no matter what’s going on in the wider world.
As technology becomes cheaper and more accessible, and with businesses and banks increasingly pushing their online services, more and more people will have an email account, and so be susceptible to email scams.
The kinds of scams we see everyday rely on people trusting a logo or a “from” address, or an official-looking email – such as from the government, from banks, or reputable online shopping sources like Amazon or eBay.
Email tells of a supposed “security issue” and informs the person they must log in via a link to “confirm [their] details”. The link in the email leads to a fake site that is designed to look official (perhaps even a similar-looking web address), but instead captures the details entered and sends them to the scammers, potentially giving them access to the victim’s online banking or other services.
This one can take a couple of different forms – in the first, the email suggests that the recipient should expect a parcel or a letter, telling them that the details are in an attached document. The document, when opened, will appear blank – but it will carry malware such as a keylogger or trojan. In the second type, the recipient is told that they owe customs or delivery charges for a parcel; they’re directed to a fake site via a link in order to pay or enter details – but in reality, the parcel doesn’t exist.
Usually a fake “order confirmation” for a very high-priced item, designed to send the recipient into a bit of a panic, as they think “I didn’t order this!” – and make them click the link in the email, which again redirects them to a fake site that steals their login information. This type of scam doesn’t exclusively use the names of Amazon or eBay, these two are just the most common because of their popularity. Other online retailers can also be spoofed.
Alarmist strategy is actually quite common in scam emails – if something makes you panic, the first thing you should do is stop and assess the situation – then, if needed, visit the site in question by typing the address into your web browser manually, and either log in or contact their customer support.
Share this information with friends or relatives who you think might need it – you might save someone from being scammed!