October 19, 2016

Cyber Tip: How to Spot a Phishing Scam

According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) 2015 Phishing Activity Trends Report, BEC, or Business Email Compromise scams, increased in 2015. The FBI reported a 270% increase in global losses from January to August 2015 due to BEC scams.

Here’s an email you received at work:

Subj: New Message from IT
Date: October 18, 2016

We received a request to shutdown your mailbox. Kindly cancel request by click here to continue using our services:


PS: IT will give you 24 hours to attend to, or Your account will be disabled..

IT Department

So what’s wrong with this email?

  1. You were not aware of your IT department doing any kind of maintenance. It would be even more questionable if your company didn’t have an IT department.
  2. There are quite a few grammatical errors in the email. Many phishing scams originate in other parts of the world, making translation difficult for these would-be scammers.
  3. Sense of urgency. They gave a timeline to encourage the reader to act quickly, without thinking.
  4. Generic greeting. If your action was truly important, they would use your name or reach out to you in a more personal way.

The type of scam in the email above is trying hard to mimic your company’s IT department in order to retrieve your email login information. With that information, they can read your emails, potentially seeing and stealing customer information.

If you are ever unsure about an email, talk to your IT department. Whatever you do, don’t click through the email.

Avalon can help you protect your company from cyber thieves. Learn more about our Cyber Liability Program and Shield Network Scan. Don’t risk business interruption or a data breach, learn more here or contact your local Avalon representative.

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