Emerging Phone Scams Capable of Evading Email Security
- by Justice Levine
The last decade has seen the fastest evolution of the mobile phone. From calling, texting, video calls, and 4k photo capture, a smartphone has endless uses. This versatility is why a device is found in nearly everyone's pocket in the modern world. With this prevalence, the phone has become a mobile desktop, allowing access to the internet, banking, emailing, and more. As a result, mobile phones are no less prone to being taken advantage of by cybercriminals in order to collect private information or make money.
You have most likely seen a warning about connecting to public wifi in the past, and that’s because cyberattackers like to use these SMS cellular networks to target mobile phones. Scams do not discriminate; they are delivered to organizations and personal email accounts in an attempt to steal information or money, and the mechanics of attacking a mobile phone are simple due to the ever-changing evolution of devices. This article will discuss the newest mobile email threats, how to recognize these scams, and a real-life example of an attack in action.
What Are the Mechanics of an Attack?
As with over 90% of all modern cyberattacks, phone scams begin with an email. Scammers will pretend to be a legitimate company, using a name and logo to make their phishing email attack appear more believable. Afterward, they send the target a receipt, allowing attackers to place a phone number in the attachment that they want the target to call. Making the message as realistic as possible will systematically increase the chances of someone falling for the phishing email attack, hence why cybercriminals aim to seem real and trustworthy to recipients.
For example, scammers will provide information about a fake order and an order confirmation number. They will also set up emails with privacy policies and unsubscribe buttons to make the spear-phishing emails seem more real. Like a traditional scam call, the scammer will pose as a professional offering assistance but will seek to persuade you to give up personal information, including date of birth, home address, social security number, or anything of private importance, which should never be given out. In extreme cases, if the scammer is convincing enough, they could get access to the victim's computer, which can be even more detrimental to the target than the original email threat. By taking a step back, we can analyze how scammers get through email filters and phishing protection services in the first place.
With the modern age and technology-dependent operations in every business, it is surprising to see simple tactics make their way through advanced threat protection systems, but possible given the ever-changing landscape. Scammers can use PDF files to get past email filters. They are sent without much substance in the body, so when users see it, they feel more prompted to open it up. Cybercriminals may also utilize PNGs or JPEGs through embedding since no written information can be taken from an image. Innovative email security technologies are advancing to catch these stealthy techniques, but we should all learn how to notice a scam through proper inspection.
How Can I Recognize Phone Scams?
Inspecting and dissecting every email or phone call that comes through every day would be unreasonable, but as a result, scams do not waste a second in taking advantage of the chance you might overlook their attacks. In the last two years, there has been a 22% increase in lost funds via phone scams, and 60% of those calls were made from automated dialing or robocalls. With this in mind, here are a few tips for helping to recognize phone scammers without giving up valuable resources.
The first would be not responding to calls from unknown numbers. If you are expecting to hear back from an interviewer, try to save their number prior to avoid picking up the phone for robocalls. Scammers can also spoof phone numbers to look like they are from your area code, even when they are fraudulent. If the phone is answered, the scammer may try to apply urgency, making the victim feel they must comply quickly. If the caller claims they are a representative or aid at a well-known organization like AT&T or the IRS, they are most likely scammers, especially if they demand payment methods.
Be aware of these common tactics and report anything suspicious, do not share any financial or login information over the phone, and do not grant access to any devices. By engaging in these best practices for email security and mobile threat protection, any user can significantly lower their chances of being the next victim. Scam emails with a phone number listed are most likely asking the user to call the number and then activate the previously mentioned effects.
The Victim of a Phishing Scam That Posed as Tech Support
Only some people are caught up on the current methods and trends which are used to scam. Just before Black Friday in 2022, a New York woman in Spring Valley fell for this scheme. This scam appeared to be an email from Best Buy’s computer repair service Geek Squad. There were fake invoice numbers, product codes, customer IDs, and a complete package of false information. When the phony number was called from the fraudulent email, the scammer portrayed themselves as a team member offering assistance.
The scammer told the woman that $40,000 had been put into her account by accident, sending her to her actual bank to “refund” the accidental funds, and she transferred the money thinking little of it. The Spring Valley Police Department claims it is almost impossible to catch any scammers after a payment. This should highlight the importance of avoiding these potential threats, as there is no time after to recover any losses or give justice to cybercriminals.
Keep Learning About Protecting Against Phone Scams
It is more important than ever to keep up with malicious trends and scams in the modern world. Entire databases worldwide risk being swept from under a company, and the negative tactics used constantly evolve. Once a scammer possesses a database, the tactics are put into play, so email security must be taken seriously.
- Email security must be at its strongest, so add a go-between with outsourcing.
- There are multiple ways of preparing your business for cyberattacks by keeping employees safe and up-to-date on best practices for email security.
- Email protection can be improved with cloud-based spam filtering and anti-spam services.
- There is more to learn with our Phishing eBook. Cybercrime is growing, but defenses are evolving to meet this challenge.
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