Phishing Scams: What to look out for in 2016

Jane Gibbons By Jane Gibbons, 25th Jan 2016 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>News>Crime

This is an updated guide for 2016 that shines some light on the increasing popularity of 'phishing scams'.

Introduction to Phishing

Phishing scams are attempts to commit fraud by acquiring sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details from unsuspecting members of the public.

Phishing scams have been around since internet use became widespread, but have developed in their level of sophistication exponentially. While many of the old phishing scams still do the rounds, the fraudsters are becoming increasingly intelligent and devising more subtle and convincing ways to dupe the online public.

While some of the older scams, such as the ‘you have inherited $7million dollar from a distant relative you never knew you had’ are incredibly easy to spot, there are now much more professional looking messages. These are often sent under the guise of a major company that you already do business with, so have little reason to doubt.

But how are phishing scams predicted to evolve in 2016? Let’s take a look at a few recent developments to help you stay safe online.

The ‘bogus boss’ scam

A new scam that has come to light in recent weeks, dubbed the CEO fraud, involves an early morning call to the accountant of a small or medium-sized business. The caller explains to the accountant that he or she is going to receive a call from the company owner asking them to transfer a substantial amount of money as part of a confidential transaction. The caller then hangs up before receiving an email telling them to do just that.

The email explains that the money transfer is to fund the purchase of a foreign business, and explains that the transfer must be completed for the purchase to go through. Of course, in reality the transaction is not to fund the purchase of an overseas business. Instead, the money goes straight into the bank account of a fraudster, and as happened in a recent case, the business can find itself €100,000 out of pocket.

Contact from well-known businesses

One phishing scam that looks set to continue into 2016 are the increasingly elaborate and convincing emails from fraudsters posing as well-known and recognisable businesses. The online loan giants Wonga S.A. recently fell foul of their image being used in such a scam that left a number of customers out of pocket. And they’re only one of many high profile brands that are being targeted because of their secure reputation.

The SMS and email messages the customers received were so convincing that many responded by sending sensitive personal information in the belief they were dealing with the payday lender. Unfortunately, this information fell straight into the hands of the rouges.

The tax scam

Tax phishing scams are particularly prevalent at this time of year when tax returns are being completed. Probably the worst scam around at the moment is the filing of fake tax returns by scammers using the details of genuine tax payers. The scammers give fake income details and bogus expenditure claims to get hefty tax rebates.

To avoid falling foul of this type of scam, never click through to a website from a link contained in an email. Instead, always search for the site yourself independently and check the accuracy of the web address. You can also call the company in question to check the authenticity of an email or SMS you have received.


Internet Safety, Phishing, Scams

Meet the author

author avatar Jane Gibbons
Digital marketing executive, I like to write in the financial technology niche, I also run my own personal finance blog.

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