BBB: Beware of new tactics from email scammers

Posted at 9:26 AM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-24 11:26:18-04

Since the first of the year, the Better Business Bureau says it's received more than 660 scam reports from Idaho residents, and many of those scams came in the form of an email. According to BBB's Veronica Craker, these email scammers are using to tactics to target victims.

"Well, we know they are no longer profiting from the Nigerian Prince scam. That one has been so widely publicized, that consumers are better equipped at spotting those red flags. But that hasn’t stopped or even slowed down scammers. In fact, just this year Idaho victims reported losing more than $96,000 to scams. As the times change, so do scammers tactics. We’ve seen scammers posing as social media advertisers, running student loan debt forgiveness cons, and now they have new strategies for email phishing scams," Craker said.

Craker says misspelled words, grammar errors, attachments, and hyperlinks used to be signs of email scams. However, now scammers are getting better at appearing legitimate.

"Often a scammer's email request is being sent to someone who would actually perform that duty. For example, I just heard about an employee who received an email from the head of their department requesting they purchase gift cards for board members of the organization. The employee was new, but they knew they might receive these types of requests from time to time, so they did it with very little vetting. They ended up sending the scammer $600 in gift cards," Craker said.

To protect yourself, Craker says first, read the email carefully.

"Even if the grammar is impeccable, there should be signs that the sender isn’t who they say they are. Maybe it’s how they refer to a certain department or the business," Craker explained.

Also, be cautious if the email is asking you to move quickly. If the email is worded in a way that asks you to act swiftly, it may be a scammer hoping to profit from a sense of urgency. If by chance you do click on any links in the email, change your email and network passwords immediately and notify your local IT provider. Avoid forwarding the email to anyone else, even if you are just asking them if the email is authentic. You could inadvertently help the scammer find more victims.

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