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 allowing 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.

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. (You) the customer 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 realise that it’s an email scam and pays the money to this 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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Another incident involved fraudsters taking over a victim’s email account and successfully posing as the victim’s solicitor informing the victim that their bank details had changed. The victim was asked in an email to pay deposit money to the new account placing funds straight into the hands of the fraudsters. Such a move would have catastrophic consequences on anyone wanting to proceed with a house purchase transaction.

The Banks cannot be held accountable for the problem. 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. Ideally this should be completed by both parties ,if any transactions are likely, at the very beginning of any communications. Email scams are an unfortunate downside of all that the internet has to offer 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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