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How to Identify Phishing and Email Scam

How to Identify Phishing and Email Scam

What Phishing and Email Scam Are

Cybercrime is prospering, and more and more internet users are afflicted daily. The best example of an online scam is the phishing approach – tricking unsuspecting receivers into following maliciously infected links or downloading infected files, stealing users’ personal information. They can also use trustworthy brands, household-name companies, or even familiar people’s names, like friends or colleagues, to fool users and wring their private or sensitive data.

As it’s called cybercrime, criminals operate via such means of communication as emails, social media, chatting, SMS, or simply calling on the phone. They have been scamming people for years, and criminals don’t fall behind every time safety systems are refined. Only in 2020, over two million complaints from Americans were reported by the Federal Trade Commission, whose losses stood at $3.3 billion. As revealed later, 74% of American companies were affected by phishing.

How Exactly Phishing Works

It’s usually an offer that is really difficult to resist. Moreover, you should act immediately, or the chance will fade away. Everybody wants to believe in miracles, so people tend to make reckless decisions in a momentary lapse of sanity. It usually takes just one click to learn more about the chance or collect the reward. This click gives the criminal access to personal data such as bank accounts or social insurance details.

Besides financial interest, some criminals use scam letters just want to invade somebody’s privacy. Therefore, phishing scams tend to pose a threat not only to finances but also to reputation.

Phishing and Email Scams: Red Flags

Rule number one is to be aware of the fact that phishing exists. Once you know, you are vigilant and check every email carefully. The thing is that scam letters oftentimes look like average ones, and a person can click on the malicious link just automatically or accidentally. However, it might lead to damaging consequences in different spheres of our life.

Thanks to The Federal Trade Commission, there is data on their website about recent scams people have faced when searching for jobs. Furthermore, they provide information regarding typical schemes cybercriminals use for scamming people in such issues as loans for students, family emergencies, etc. Other helpful resources include Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and USA.gov.
If you feel something is wrong with an email, just check the sender.

People may forget, but Google always remembers. If incidents of scams have already been detected, you will come across them while searching. Another option may be reaching out to the sender or caller’s HR department to find out if they are real company representatives and if their message is legitimate.

We’ve come up with fourteen warning signs to pay attention to, as they may well indicate that somebody wants to scam you:

  1. Receiving a job offer straight away. Whether or not you applied to the company, sending a job offer to a candidate without any interview stages is out of the ordinary. Legitimate businesses are conscientious when hiring people; that’s why they will never give you an offer without checking if you’re a good match for their team.
  2. A letter contains too many details about the role; however, no skills or experience requirements are mentioned. Most likely, their aim is just to attract as many candidates as possible, but the casting itself is scammy.
  3. It’s cool when the employer covers all the expenses. However, if they send you a check with a more significant amount than fixed before, it’s high time to get it together. The scheme works this way: you’re asked to deposit money in your bank account and send back the difference. It may be money laundering, and you don’t need to be involved.
  4. You’re asked to share or confirm your banking account credentials – a firm no.
  5. You’ve noticed any literacy issues – grammar, punctuation, spelling, words or sentences in capital letters or numerous exclamation marks – a hard no.
  6. They offer you a more senior role than you applied for, and the salary is much higher than the average job market rates.
  7. Check the email address appropriateness. Phishing email letters may look almost like the original ones, usually of well-known legit companies, but with a slight difference, such as support.u@rocketreach.com instead of support@rocketreach.co. Keep an eye on it.
  8. Have a look at their domain – if it is free (@gmail.com, @yahoo.com, @outlook.com), it might be a warning sign. The majority of reliable employers use the domain on their branded websites.
  9. Be careful with attachments – it’s the root of evil. By opening a malicious file, you literally open Pandora’s box and let all the malware in your computer. If you are sure the file is safe, quickly scan it with an antivirus program – it may be a common scam.
  10. Hover over the link in the email and check if it displaces the same URL. If there are even slight differences, you’d better not follow it.
  11. The email imposes panic or an emergency situation. For instance, it says that your bank (or any other) account has been attacked. You need to verify your identity by providing your credentials right now to protect it from hacking.
  12. If you have noticed some unusual peculiarities in your computer – page load time, strange pop-ups, new icons, it might be the influence of malware from a scam email letter.
  13. Scam employers may ask you to download Telegram, Google Hangouts, Wire, or Skype just to have a video interview. Unfortunately, these apps are vulnerable and well suited for scam schemes. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet are more resilient and reliable.
  14. Be careful with site encryption. The URL has to be “https” rather than “http”, where the “s” indicates that the site is using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate.

In Case You’ve Faced Phishing and Email Scam

Luckily, scammers have fewer and fewer chances to get away with the crimes they commit. If you’ve been affected by a scam email letter or managed to detect one, there is no room for dawdling. Particular institutions deal with scammers that everybody has to be aware of. If there has already been an information leak, please contact your bank and request that you freeze your bank account or block your card. Furthermore, you may report the accident to a local police department.

If you’ve encountered a scam vacancy on Jooble, please contact us via the portal. You should attach the link to the vacancy and the proof of fraud. You can also report to Jooble customer service if you’ve faced:

  • employers asking for sensitive information;
  • a mistake in the vacancy;
  • response to the vacancy on a paid basis;
  • unavailable vacancy;
  • illegal activities.

Besides our support team, you may consider reaching out to such institutions:

Federal Trade Commission: fraud report or mail to SPAM@UCE.GOV;
United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (USCE): phishing-report@us-cert.gov;
FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center: your complaint;
econsumer.gov: your report;
State and Local Authorities: additional information here;
Other Places to Contact: Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook, Verizon, AOL, iCloud, Comcast;
The Anti-Phishing Working Group, their email: www.reportphishing@apwg.org);
Try checking your credit report for suspicious activity with TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian.

Please, do not keep silent in case something illegal happens to you. By reporting, you will help stop illegal activity and punish scammers and protect other people from getting scammed.

Date: 27 June 2022
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