A study by Santander has found that 74% of 2000 people surveyed had been targeted by scammers with phishing emails, cold calls or texts (Shaw, 2017).

For small, medium & enterprise businesses the threat of phishing is extremely common, the goal is to trick the user into providing the scammer with personal information from login details to credit card information.

Scammers send millions of emails pretending to be a legitimate source requesting information. This can be as simple as asking the user to verify log-in details, requesting the user downloads a malicious file or clicks a link which directs them to a dangerous website.

Another form of phishing is spear phishing, this type has the same goal but personalises the emails to make them seem more legitimate. Often spear phishing can refer to the recipient by name and appear to come from a real company/employee of that company.

If you have any doubt over an email we suggest could complete the following checks

Check the emails content. If the email contains a phone number, google it! This will highlight whether the number is used for the said company. Also, check the spelling, grammar and images used throughout the email, if these are poor quality it is likely a scam.

Check the sender’s domain. This will instantly show whether or not it is a legitimate source. For example, if you receive an email from Amazon and the domain used is not @amazon.com it would be best to delete this.

Do not open links/download .zip files. If you’re not expecting to receive a link/file then do not access or download these. These links and files can be used to get viruses onto your PC.

Call the sender. If you’re unsure whether an email is a scam or not it is worth contacting the company directly. Often companies emails can be compromised without them being aware. Contacting them will confirm whether it is a scam or not, and if not, make the company involved aware of the issue.

If you’re concerned about your companies IT security we are here to help. Contact us on 0845 0777 071 and a member of our team will be happy to discuss this further.

References 

Shaw, V. (2017, 10 5). Nearly three quarters of people ‘have been targeted by scam messages’. Retrieved from Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/scam-messages-three-quarters-targeted-uk-identity-money-identity-fraud-a7983356.html