Phishing in a Recession

It started off as a typical day. I came into work, logged into my computer and checked my e-mail. I had a lot more messages than usual, but that didn’t seem too extraordinary. Then it hit me: There were only a handful of legitimate e-mails in the bunch. The rest were spam. And they weren’t just any spam, either — they were phishing attacks.

How did I know? Well, it’s certainly not uncommon for me to receive e-mails from my bank. But when the messages are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon — or, in this case, an IT expert — to figure out that cybercriminals are at work.

One particular e-mail, however, looked like the real thing: It contained my bank’s logo and was very professionally written — brief and to the point. It asked me to follow a few steps in order to keep my online banking account alive and active.

Even though the premise sounded somewhat plausible, a red flag went up in my head when the e-mail prompted me to enter all kinds of confidential information. One quick call to my bank confirmed my suspicion that some type of illegal activity was taking place.

On that particular day, I considered myself lucky not to have fallen for what seemed like a fiendish — albeit well-executed — scam. After all, there are scores of people around the world who succumb to such fraudulent claims, and oftentimes it’s hard to blame…

Deanna Hartley


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