Email scams and online fraudsters

Email scams are out there so watch out.

email scams

You need to know about these email scams that fraudsters use to infect victims’ computers. with malicious software 

Take care when clicking links in emails or opening attachments.

This can happen if you click on a link in an email or open an attachment from someone who you don’t know. The click may initiate the downloading and installing of malicious software and you wont know that it’s happened.

Fraudsters can use malicious software that allows the monitoring of emails as well as being able to take over your account entirely with the intention of sending out emails from the victim’s account.

When they identify any communications involving bank details the fraudster will intervene and masquerade as you.

Case study: The refund scam.

A typical case where this has happened is when a refundable deposit against damages is reimbursed to (you) the customer at the end of a holiday period. The customer (you) is contacted by the accommodation owner asking for your bank account details to be able to repay the money. The fraudsters intercept this email and prevent it from reaching you. They can then send an email to the accommodation provider from your email account giving bank account details that are favourable to themselves.

The accommodation owner assumes that the email is genuine, doesn’t realize that it’s an email scam and pays the money to the fraudster’s account. The victim (you) knows nothing until they contact the accommodation owners informing them that they wish to claim the deposit. By this time it’s too late as the money has already moved.

The same email scams are being used to trick victims into buying fake airline tickets and time-shares.

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Case study: ‘The bank details have changed’ scam.

Another incident involved fraudsters taking over a victim’s email account and successfully posing as a solicitor informing the client that their bank details had changed. The client was asked in an email to pay deposit money to the new account placing funds straight into the hands of the fraudsters.

What you need to know here is that the solicitor’s computer was infected and not the client. This case demonstrates how anyone can be fooled regardless of how well educated and qualified we may be. Professional people tend to expect others to perform in a correct and proper manor.  

Such a move would have catastrophic consequences on anyone wanting to proceed with a house purchase transaction.

The Banks cannot be held accountable. They are carrying out specific instructions of the account holder and cannot be held responsible if the payee details are incorrect.

What can we do to avoid this?

The current best advise is to only send bank account payment details by post or phone a known person at the relevant office and present the details. Ideally this should be arranged by both parties if any transactions are likely at the very beginning of any communications.

Email scams are an unfortunate downside of the internet but if we all stay vigilant and stick to a rigidly safe routine, there are ways to protect ourselves.

Always look and always think!  

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