Recently there has been a lot of talk about phishing scams. But what are they really? A phishing scam is when someone contacts you for sensitive information supposedly on behalf of a reputable company. For instance, you may receive a phone call or an email from someone claiming to be from a company such as Paypal requesting information about yourself as well as your account in order to continue using their services. The scammers may do this by providing you with a link to a fake website where you are asked to enter the information. They may simply have a form embedded in an email for you to fill out. They may even directly ask for the information via phone or email.
You may be asking yourself, “Why do I care about these phishing scams?” You definitely should not brush them aside. Scammers who successfully receive this information can do a lot of harm to yourself as well as your business. When scammers get a hold of login information to an account (i.e. your online banking account) they will likely first change the password so that you cannot login and change it yourself. They will then take advantage of the access by transferring funds to their own accounts or even making purchases on your behalf using your money. These scammers can even go as far as stealing your identity which gives them endless possibilities. Once a scammer has enough information to steal your identity, they can open bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages, car loans, and many other forms of financing and they will not pay the bills. This means that all of this debt that this scammer is building up in your name, you will have to pay off whether it be monetarily or with jail time.
But how does one tell the difference between a legitimate request for information and a scammer trying to steal your identity? Phishing scams either by phone or email will almost always request sensitive information of some type in some form. These emails will all likely be addressed universally since they are sent to so many people at a time. Most companies, banks, and other financial institutions will not request such information in this manner. An easy way to avoid having this information stolen would be to simply not enter the information. The likelihood of a reputable company requesting information using a mass email blast is highly unlikely. If the company needed to contact you about your account they would address you directly.
If you think you have received a scam email, DO NOT click the links within it, do not supply any of the requested information, do not attempt to contact the sender of the email, do not open any attachments supplied with the email. Give us a call or send the email in a ticket to the Machado Consulting help desk. We can review the email and let you know whether if it is legitimate or a scam. If you think that you may have already supplied information to a scammer please let us know and we can assist you with the necessary steps to protect your account from being compromised.