Email Scammers' Latest Tricks: How to Protect Yourself from Attack

August 11th · 6 min read

Guardio Research Team
Guardio Research Team

Email scams are a billion-dollar business that only gets more sophisticated. Attackers use various methods to fool users into opening malicious attachments or visiting attacker-controlled websites. Sometimes these attacks are successful, resulting in the theft of sensitive data or the installation of malware on unsuspecting users' devices. This blog post will discuss some of the latest tricks email scammers use and how you can protect yourself from attacks.

What is an email scam?

An email scam is a phishing attack where the attacker tries trick the victim into clicking on a malicious link or opening a malicious attachment. Scammers often use spoofed emails that appear to come from legitimate companies or individuals, making it difficult for users to tell which emails are real and which ones are fake.

What are some of the latest tricks email scammers use?

One of the latest tricks email scammers use is called "spear phishing." This type of attack targets specific individuals or organizations using personalized messages that appear to come from a trusted source. The goal of spear phishing attacks is to trick victims into giving up sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information. Attackers may also use spear phishing to install malware on victims' devices.

Another trick that email scammers use is called "email bombarding." This type of attack involves sending a large number of emails to a victim in a short period of time. The goal of email bombarding is to overwhelm the victim's inbox and make it difficult for them to spot other important emails, such as those from their bank or credit card company. Email bombarding can also lead to system crashes and data loss.

Other is a fake "job offer" email scam. In this type of attack, the attacker will send an email to a victim purporting to be from a legitimate company or organization. The email will typically contain a job offer and include a link to a malicious website or attachment. If the victim clicks on the link or opens the attachment, they may be taken to a fake website that looks identical to the real website. Once on the fake website, victims may be asked to enter sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information.

What is email fraud?

Email fraud is a type of online scam where attackers use email messages to trick victims into giving up sensitive information or money. Email fraud can take many different forms, but some common examples include phishing attacks, CEO fraud, and romance scams.

What is phishing?

Phishing is a type of email scam where attackers use spoofed emails that appear to come from legitimate companies or individuals in order to trick victims into giving up sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information. Attackers may also use spear phishing to install malware on victims' devices.

What is CEO fraud?

CEO fraud is an email scam where attackers impersonate a company’s CEO or another high-level executive to trick victims into giving up sensitive information or money. This type of attack is often targeted at businesses, as the attacker knows that employees are more likely to comply with requests from senior executives.

What are romance scams?

Romance scams are a type of email scam where attackers use fake profiles on dating websites and apps to trick victims into giving them money. These scammers typically create fake profiles using stolen photos and false information. They then contact their victims and build relationships with them before eventually asking for money. Romance scams can be very costly for victims, as some have lost tens of thousands of dollars to these types of attacks.

What are some tips for avoiding email scams?

There are several steps you can take to avoid falling victim to an email scam:

Be suspicious of unsolicited emails If you weren't expecting an email from the sender, be wary of clicking on any links or attachments included in the message. Be cautious of emails with typos or other red flags that may indicate it is a scam. Attackers often rush to send out mass emails, which can result in errors. If you're not sure whether an email is legitimate, contact the company directly using a phone number or website you know is real. Do not use the contact information included in the suspicious email.

Don't click on links or attachments from unknown senders Even if an email appears to come from a trusted source, don't click on any links or attachments unless you're sure they're safe. If you're not sure, err on the side of caution and contact the sender directly to verify that the message is legitimate.

Beware of fake warnings and alerts Scammers often create a sense of urgency by sending fake warnings or alerts about viruses, account closures, or system problems. They hope that users will panic and click on a link or attachment without thinking twice. Don't let scammers rush you into taking action. Take a moment to stop and think about whether the message is real before taking any further action.

Never give out personal information If an email asks for personal information, such as your Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card number, it's a scam. Legitimate companies will never ask for this type of information via email. If you're not sure whether an email is legitimate, do not reply to it and do not click on any links or attachments it contains.

Report suspicious emails If you receive a suspicious email, forward it to the company or service it claims to be from (for example, [email protected]). You can also report phishing emails to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

Use security browser extensions Security browser extensions, like Guardio. Guardio is a browser extension that helps you browse the web safely. It protects your devices from malware, phishing sites and other cyber threats by blocking them before they can compromise our safety online while we're browsing with Guardio installed on your computer system or mobile device of choice.

Keep your software and security tools up to date Make sure you have the latest version of your web browser installed, as well as any plugins or add-ons. Be sure to keep your security software, such as antivirus and antispyware programs, up to date with the latest definitions. Attackers are constantly evolving their methods, so it's important to have the most recent protections in place.

What are some red flags to look out for in an email?

There are several things to look out for that may indicate an email is a scam:

The sender's address doesn't match the company or individual it claims to be from For example, the email may say it's from your bank, but the sender's address is something like [email protected]

The message includes typos or grammatical errors: Attackers often rush to send out mass emails, which can result in errors.

You weren't expecting an email from the sender: If you weren't expecting an email from the person or company listed, be wary of clicking on any links or attachments included in the message.

The message creates a sense of urgency: Scammers often try to create a sense of urgency by sending fake warnings or alerts about things like viruses, account closures, or system problems. They hope that users will panic and click on a link or attachment without thinking twice. Don't let scammers rush you into taking action. Take a moment to stop and think about whether the message is real before taking any further action.

The email includes a link or attachment: Don't click on links or attachments from unknown senders, even if an email appears to come from a trusted source. If you're not sure, err on the side of caution and contact the sender directly to verify that the message is legitimate.

Never give out personal information: If an email asks for personal information, such as your Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card number, it's a scam. Legitimate companies will never ask for this type of information via email. If you're not sure whether an email is legitimate, do not reply to it and do not click on any links or attachments it contains.

Email scams are becoming more and more common as attackers find new ways to trick victims into giving up sensitive information or money. It's important to be aware of the different types of email scams so that you can protect yourself and your loved ones from becoming victims. If you think you may have been the victim of an email scam, be sure to report it to the proper authorities. By keeping these tips in mind, you can help protect yourself from falling victim to an email scam. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and contact the company or individual directly to verify the legitimacy of the message.

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