Phishing, the sport of tricking Internet users into clicking through to what looks like a legitimate link, is becoming more personalized and harder to detect. Instead of sending mass emails, fraudsters are posing as companies of which you are actually a customer. This can make it much harder to distinguish phishing emails from legitimate emails. For example, they may see that you “checked in” on a social platform at a certain bank. The fraudster then knows they should send a phishing email from that institution.
As more and more interaction moves to social platforms, fraudsters are abandoning email phishing in favor of posing as familiar faces on social networks. This move into the social networking and mobile arena has changed fraudster tactics. Instead of sending emails, fraudsters are posting updates and sharing links as legitimate users or friends. This is dangerous because users are much more likely to trust a link on a social network that came from one of their friends than some unknown email address.
One of the most common scams is the “Stranded Traveler” scam. If a friend posts online that they're traveling, a fraudster can hack into that persons social media profile or email and send messages to friends saying they have lost their wallet and are stranded and in desperate need of cash. The goal is to get a money transfer from a friend and after they have all of the bank details, the fraudster can collect the funds. Status updates and information sharing on social networks give fraudsters the opportunity to take advantage of schemes like these, that prey on friends who think they're legitimately helping.
Here are some tips to protect yourself:
Learn more about the benefits of two-factor authentication.