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The biggest risk with email scams

10 mins read
written by
Dhoof Mohamed

Email filters and security software (formerly known as anti-virus) do their best to protect computer users from scams, viruses and malware. However, they can not stop every dangerous email. That is why the biggest risk with email scams is the end user.

Some email scams are bound to get through the filters. It is even possible that hackers can get control of legitimate email addresses and use those for scams. So, you need to ensure that your users are on guard for scams.

Here are three steps you can take to minimize your risks.

1) Start with a healthy dose of skepticism

If you get an email from an address you do not recognize, do not open any attachments or follow any links. These are both ways that hackers can infect your computer. If you get a link or file from a known email address, you should still be skeptical if you were not expecting it. Hackers can get control of legitimate email addresses.

2) Be wary of changes via email that have financial implications

This is particularly true if it involves international vendors or clients. If anything seems out of the ordinary, the safest thing to do is to call and get a verbal confirmation of any changes. One of our clients has a vendor overseas and received an email that said the vendor’s bank account had changed and they should wire their next payment to the new account. The problem was that the vendor’s email had been hacked and while the email was actually from the vendor’s account, it was sent by a hacker.

3) Don’t send any sensitive information via email

Most legitimate companies will not ask for any sensitive information (password, account number, etc.) via email. It is much safer to do it via phone or going directly to the company website. When going to the website to enter sensitive information, don’t use the links in an email. Hackers can create a fake website to collect information. You are much better off typing the URL into your web browser.

Taking a little time to educate users on these few simple steps can greatly reduce your organization’s risk from email scams.

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