It’s not everyday you are contacted by a Nigerian Prince. These days, it’s more like a couple of times a week…
With the internet has come the ability to contact almost anyone in the world, wherever there may be. This is an opportunity prospective fraudsters have been quick to exploit, with a range of devious phishing scams designed to deceive and defraud their victims.
What is a phishing scam?
Phishing scam is the collective term for a tremendously diverse range of tactics and techniques used online to try and acquire sensitive information, usernames and credit card details from unsuspecting internet users.
Phishing scams are constantly changing and evolving. Just when we think we have a good idea what to look out for, along comes a new scam that dupes hundreds and even thousands of innocent people. It’s essential we keep up to date with the latest scams doing the rounds, so here is our look at some of the latest phishing scams coming to a screen near you.
There’s a Nigerian Astronaut stuck in space. No really. He’s been in space for the last 25 years and all he needs is $3million to get back to earth. Touching isn’t it, and absolutely ridiculous, but this is an actual email that dropped into the inbox of a British magazine this week. Clearly some phishing scams are easier to spot than others.
The bogus boss
Another scam doing the rounds is the ‘bogus boss’ fraud. Unfortunately, this scam is a lot more convincing than our Nigerian astronaut, and has been used to devastating effect recently to defraud a business of more than £100,000. It works like this…
The accountant of a small or medium-sized business receives a call early in the morning explaining that he or she should make a substantial money transfer on behalf of the company owner as part of a confidential transfer. The accountant then receives an email, allegedly from the CEO of the company, confirming the details of the transaction.
At this stage of the scam, the accountant is told that the transaction is to fund the purchase of a foreign business, and the transfer must be completed before the purchase can go through. Unfortunately, the money goes straight into the account of a fraudster who is never heard from again.
Emails from recognisable businesses
Over the past couple of years, there has been a huge rise in the number of emails purportedly from companies we deal with in our everyday lives. Although many of these messages find their way into our junk folders, a number slip through into our inboxes where they can look authenticate and believable. Customers of the payday loans company Wonga South Africa recently fell foul of such a scam, with a number of customers duped into sending the fraudsters bank details and other sensitive information. The company was subsequently commended for their actions in helping ensure awareness was spread and gave victims a clear voice.
While many companies post messages on their internet platforms and take out adverts to warn customers of the potential threat from phishing scams, there are still countless victims of this type of scam. The only way to stay safe is to never click through to a website from a link contained in an email, or send sensitive personal information via email.