Creating a sense of urgency is a classic technique used by scammers to induce panic and to push recipients into hasty actions. If this story headline has caught your attention, please read on to educate yourself further on email phishing and take steps to carefully evaluate the authenticity of your emails before proceeding.
Email scammers have evolved over time, employing sophisticated methods to make it difficult to distinguish genuine emails from fraudulent ones. From impersonating banks, government agencies or renowned companies to crafting compelling narratives that lure victims into sharing personal information or clicking malicious links, scammers have honed their craft skilfully.
In 2022 alone, there were more than 31,700 scam cases in Singapore, with phishing scams being the most common type of scams reported. Even within the bank, compromised emails and impersonation scams have cost our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial losses.
Let us look at some case studies to better understand the common types of email scams.
Case study 1:
Company A received an email from “Company B”, requesting for payment to be made for work done.
Unknown to Company A, “Company B” is a fake company with the exact same name as one of Company A’s regular supplier.
Company A proceeds to make a SWIFT payment, only to realise much later that the emails are fake. The money had been transferred into the scammer’s account instead of Company B’s account.
Case study 2:
Company C’s outgoing emails were hijacked by scammers who posed as one of their suppliers, Company D1.
The scammers issued an invoice for payment to be made to “Company D2”.
Weeks later, Company D1 said that they have not received any funds. After some investigation, it was found that the email address was from a false source.
It was too late by then as the scammers had made off with the money transferred into their account.
Email phishing scams – and how to avoid falling prey to it
First of all, it is important to understand that phishing scams come in many different forms. The most common type is an email containing a link to a malicious website or software that can give the hacker access to the victim’s information. Other types of phishing scams include the use of fake social media accounts or through malicious ads on legitimate websites.
Email phishing is a tactic that cybercriminals often employ to trick unsuspecting individuals into revealing sensitive information. This fraudulent activity involves sending deceptive emails disguised as legitimate correspondence from reputable sources like banks or online service providers. The emails typically contain alarming or urgent messages, urging recipients to take immediate action. To convince the victims, phishers sometimes create replicas of login pages or request personal details like passwords or credit card numbers. Once individuals fall into the trap and provide their information, it is exploited for various fraudulent activities, such as identity theft or financial scams.
It is crucial to remain vigilant and lessen your risk of being scammed when dealing with email communications. Always double-check the legitimacy of emails, avoid clicking suspicious links and be wary of sharing personal information unless it is through secure, official channels.
What are impersonation scams?
Impersonation scams involve attackers attempting to impersonate a legitimate customer or employee, then gaining access to a business’ sensitive information or accounts. This type of attack can be incredibly costly, as attackers can siphon funds from the business, steal sensitive customer information or even intercept emails and commit other types of fraud.
What to do if you encounter a possible fraud
As you can see, there are many types of phishing scams used to con individuals and companies around the world. The aftermath of cyber-attacks can be a long and arduous battle to regain trust, protect oneself and recover from financial setbacks. As we embrace the convenience and efficiency of email communication, it is imperative to remain cautious and vigilant against the evolving tactics of scammers. By adopting preventive measures and staying informed, we strengthen our defences against these digital threats and safeguard our personal information.
If you suspect that you have been scammed, immediately file a police report and call our dedicated 24/7 Fraud Hotline at 6255 0160. Press '1' to report a case and to request for a temporary suspension to your business banking login until proper verifications have been conducted.
Enjoy convenience and confidence with UOB online banking, thanks to our multi-layered security approach. Learn more about how we keep your transactions safe.
IMPORTANT NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER
The information contained in this publication is based on certain assumptions and analysis of publicly available information and reflects prevailing conditions as of the date of the publication. Any opinions, projections and other forward-looking statements regarding future events or performance of, including but not limited to, countries, markets or companies are not necessarily indicative of, and may differ from actual events or results.
The views expressed within this publication are solely those of the author’s and are independent of the actual trading positions of United Overseas Bank Limited, its subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, and employees (“UOB Group”). Views expressed reflect the author’s judgment as at the date of this publication and are subject to change.
UOB Group may have positions or other interests in and may effect transactions in the securities/instruments mentioned in the publication. This publication is not an offer, recommendation, solicitation, or advice to buy or sell any product or enter into any transaction and nothing in this publication constitutes accounting, legal, regulatory, tax, financial or other advice. Please consult your own professional advisors about the suitability of any transaction/ investment product/ securities/ instruments for your investment objectives, financial situation, and particular needs.
UOB Group may have also issued other reports, publications or documents expressing views which are different from those stated in this publication. Although every reasonable care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and objectivity of the information contained in this publication, UOB Group makes no representation or warranty, whether express or implied, as to its accuracy, completeness and objectivity and accept no responsibility or liability relating to any losses or damages howsoever suffered by any person arising from any reliance on the views expressed or information in this publication.
This publication has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
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