Phishing is an old subject, but people are still falling for it. In the last week I have had three intelligent friends who own businesses call me after they fell for the scam.
Why are we seeing so many phishing scams? Because they work. Con artists use them to get your personal information and steal your identification. Then, because they can, hackers set it up so when you click on their attachment, it destroys much or all that you have stored on your computer or installs a Trojan to control your machine without your knowledge to use for nefarious purposes.
Do you know how much a credit card number sells for? I’ve been told it is 55 cents for each number. If the hacker gets 100,000 numbers from a large retail company, that makes him $50,000. Not bad for a few weeks work.
Other hackers who have hacked into huge corporations’ database have been known to receive the choice of going to jail or working for the corporation’s data security department for a decent salary. Do you think it was a ploy to get a job interview? Who knows?
What should you do personally? Keep your guard up. Ask yourself, “Would the company or agency communicate using this format in an email? Would your local BBB send a plain email from another BBB, such as New York, stating you have a complaint numbered such and such and then ask you to click on a link?”
I received an email today saying my tax transaction was rejected by the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. In the text of the email was a box with the return reason which said, “See details in the report below.” I was supposed to click on the tax report in the box below.
I know we’ve all heard it before --- be on the alert for phishing. It will continue to be a challenge in the landscape of our high tech environment.
When in doubt, check with your BBB.