We’ve seen a recent increase in the frequency of two scams involving emails.
The first one has the following indicators:
- The email is sent from someone you almost certainly have never heard of but with a plausible sounding name.
- The subject can be quite random but often has the words “Transaction”, “Payment” or “Invoice” included.
- The subject is sometimes prefaced with “Fwd:” or “Fw:”.
- For the eagle eyed among you, a good way of spotting these suspicious emails is that, unlike a genuine forwarded email, there is no space between the “Fwd:” or “Fw:” and the rest of the subject eg “Fwd:Sales Invoice”.
- The email always has an attachment with a .doc or .rtf suffix.
- The name of the attachment is normally a random jumble of upper case letters and numbers.
If you receive an email with one or more of these indicators under no circumstances open the attachment. If you are at all concerned please contact us by clicking on the little red lady in your System Tray.
The second scam involves tricking you into making a fraudulent payment:
- The email appears to be sent from a person and/or an email address you recognize within your company but, and here’s the clever part, the reply to address has been invisibly (to you) replaced with the fraudster’s own.
- The email will ask you to make a payment or bank transfer on behalf of your colleague.
- The examples we have seen all have “Sent from my iPhone” at the bottom of the email.
Again, if you receive a similar email then please contact us. If you have inadvertently replied to a similar email we would encourage you to report it to the police.
Some general advice regarding email security
I know we harp on about it, but a large proportion of malware starts when someone clicks on something in an email.
- Learn to hover your cursor over links in emails to make sure the address shown looks something like you’d expect – try this on the little red lady link above.
- Be very wary of clicking on links that arrive in email – be sure you trust the sender.
- Remember that the sender’s email account may have been compromised, so even if you trust the sender be wary.
- Don’t click on links in forwarded emails.
- Don’t click on shortened links – you can’t tell where they’re taking you.
- If at all in doubt, open your browser and type in the link.
A large proportion of malware (some might say almost all) starts from a link to a compromised website.