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Are You Vulnerable to Email Scams? How to Protect Your Business and Yourself

Imagine receiving an email that tugs at your heartstrings, asking if your business can help accommodate a sick child. Would you click on the link to see how you could assist? 

Many of us would be inclined to do so.

Unfortunately, this scenario is one of the latest tactics being used by cybercriminals, preying on our empathy and trust to gain access to sensitive information.


Booking.com sign on outside of concrete building

In a recent incident involving Booking.com, an unsuspecting hotel employee fell victim to this sophisticated email scam. According to the Secureworks report, the cybercriminals crafted an email that appealed to the employee's emotions, leveraging “a better standard of English than average phishing emails” to create a convincing narrative about a sick child in need. 

Driven by compassion, the employee clicked on a seemingly innocent link, unwittingly providing hackers with a gateway to exploit confidential company data.

But here’s where it gets worse.

The hacker, armed with access to the company's sensitive information, then proceeded to target the business's customers. 

By impersonating the company, the cybercriminal sent out emails to customers, demanding full payment of their bills and threatening they would lose their reservation if they failed to comply. When they click on the link to make the payment, they unknowingly share their private information with the hacker.

This elaborate scheme exemplifies the malicious ways in which cybercriminals will prey on people's emotions to manipulate businesses and leverage stolen data to take advantage of their unsuspecting customers.


A person holding a credit card, about to enter payment details online

How to Safeguard Your Business Information

Inspect Emails Carefully

Train yourself and your staff to examine emails for red flags like unusual sender addresses, unexpected attachments, or urgent requests. When in doubt, you can verify the authenticity of the sender by requesting to speak on the phone or over video chat. You can also ask for the information to be included in the text or body of an email, instead of needing to click on a link or open an attachment that you’re unsure about.

Establish Payment Protocols

Establish a protocol with your customers for confirming payment requests, especially when you have large sums of money or multi-step processes involved. Your customers should know exactly how and when they will be contacted and charged, and what to do if they suspect something is out of the ordinary. Making your customers aware of what to expect, as well as common scams they need to avoid, will benefit everyone.

Report Suspicious Emails

Educate your employees, contractors, and anyone else working in your business about the importance of reporting any suspicious emails to both the spoofed company and the appropriate personnel, such as an internal IT or security department. A culture of vigilance and transparency can help your team and customers safe when dealing with potential threats.

How to Safeguard Your Personal Information

Question Suspicious Emails

Always take a moment to assess emails for spelling errors, urgent demands, or unusual requests before clicking on any links or attachments. When in doubt, you can always reach out to the company directly through verified contact information, like the phone number or contact form on their website, to confirm the legitimacy of the email.

Avoid Clicking Unverified Links

Refrain from clicking on links in emails, even if they seem innocent and don’t appear to request any personal information. For instance, you may be asked to open an attachment to verify your itinerary or click on a link to view the latest information before an upcoming appointment. 

If you click on the link, you could be accidentally providing a gateway for hackers to access your computer and personal information. Always make sure it’s a link or attachment you’re expecting and that it’s coming from a verified source before proceeding.

Stay Informed and Report

Stay informed about common email scams and phishing tactics so you can avoid becoming a victim. If you receive an email that seems fraudulent, delete it immediately and report it to the appropriate authorities and the impersonated company.

By following these tips and remaining vigilant against these ever-evolving cyber threats, you can thwart potential cyber-attacks and keep you and your business safe.

For more helpful tips and information, be sure to follow D3 Technologies on LinkedIn.


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