The Federal Trade Commission estimates 10 million people fell victim last year. That's one in 30 Americans! Identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in the U.S., affecting individuals and businesses alike. No person or business is immune to fraud and identity theft, but you can make it a lot tougher on the bad guys by taking the right proactive measures.
Compromised E-Mail Fraud
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a warning recently about a dramatic increase in what is known as the “CEO e-mail scam”. The schemers spoof company e-mail or use social engineering to assume the identity of the CEO in order to trick someone at the organization into wiring funds to the fraudsters. The FBI estimates that these types of scams have cost businesses more than $2.3 billion in losses over the past three years.
Proper steps can be initiated to avoid this type of scam from happening to you. Businesses can adopt a two-step or two-factor authentication for e-mail to verify transactions. This means that any request made through e-mail should be verified by calling and verifying that the employee really did send the e-mail making the request. Employee education and awareness also play an important role in identifying e-mail threats.
The Three Main E-Mail Security Risks: Spam, Phishing and Spoofing
Cyber criminals and scammers are becoming more creative with how to access your personal information through e-mail. It is important that you know and are aware of these common e-mail nuisances.
Spam is one of the biggest irritants when it comes to having e-mail. Spam is also known as unsolicited bulk e-mail messages. The majority of these messages are some form of advertising for a product of suspicious quality and questionable legal services. There is intentional and unintentional spam. Intentional spam is from someone soliciting a product or attempting to commit fraud whereas unintentional spam originates from a computer infected with a virus or worm and sends out e-mails without the computer owner’s knowledge.
Phishing is a type of scam that uses spam or pop-up messages to trick you into entering your personal information. Typically this occurs when you receive a false e-mail that appears to be from a legitimate company. There may be parts of the e-mail that look legitimate like a company’s logo and it seems like the e-mail was sent from their e-mail address. Usually the message will ask you to click on a link to update information or to upgrade your software. Although everything may look normal, but that is how the fraudsters are able to get away with you giving them your personal information. Always be wary of clicking on an attachment or link of an e-mail that you were not expecting or a message that is asking for information like your bank account number or Social Security number.
Spoofing is when a scammer creates a false or shadow copy of a real website or e-mail to mislead the recipient. These e-mails may occur in different forms, but they all have the same purpose of a user receiving an e-mail that appears to have originated from one source when it was actually sent from another source. By doing this they hope a user will open and possibly respond to the e-mail with sensitive information. There are measures in place to address spoofing, but not all email boxes are protected and scammers are still able to find ways to obtain the information they want.
Always be aware of any e-mail you open or respond to and make sure you are taking the proper precautions to safeguard your personal information.
If you think you've been a victim of identity theft, immediately call the FTC hotline at 877-IDTHEFT or visit their interactive online checklist.
Wondering if something you've received is a legitimate Honor Bank communication?
Honor Bank will never call you to ask for your PIN, account numbers or confidential information. We will only request confidential information to verify your identity when you initiate contact with us. If you receive a suspicious call purporting to be from Honor, hang up and call us at 877‐325‐8031 or email us at [email protected].
For your protection, please do not send any personal or confidential information (i.e. Social Security Number, Account Number, Date of Birth, etc.) in your message. If you send email to us, we may retain the contents of your email message, your email address, and our response.