A warning to business owners across the valley, Fresno detectives say they’ve seen an increase in the number of cases of crooks attempting to steal money with a simple email.
Phishing attacks are more rampant than ever before, rising by more than 162 percent from 2010 to 2014.
They cost organizations around the globe $4.5 billion every year and over half of internet users get at least one phishing email per day.
“We found there is no discrimination,” says Sgt. Martin Van Overbeek, with the Fresno Police Department Financial Crimes Unit. “These crooks are going after regular businesses, small and big businesses like, churches, non-profits.”
Officers say these crooks are impersonating bosses of local companies in emails, in an effort to gain information from employees or even have the worker transfer money into another account.
So far, a local real estate company, a doctor, and even a car dealership have been targeted.
Van Overbeek says, “In a few cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars, large corporations have been scammed out of money.”
CBS 47 Eyewitness News reached out to several businesses involved in the scam.
But they were too embarrassed to talk.
Police say as a rule, most companies will not send you an email asking for personal information.
Also legit companies know how to spell – the easiest way to recognize a fake email is bad grammar.
Plus a legit companies will never force you to their website, these emails are coded entirely as a hyperlink. clicking it will open a fake web page, or even download spam onto your computer.
Other ways to protect yourself:
– Know who you’re dealing with. If you’ve only ever met someone online or are unsure of the legitimacy of a business, take some time to do a bit more research. Do a Google image search on photos or search the internet for others who may have had dealings with them. If a message or email comes from a friend and it seems unusual or out of character for them, contact your friend directly to check that it was really them that sent it.
– Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in emails – delete them: If unsure, verify the identity of the contact through an independent source such as a phone book or online search. Don’t use the contact details provided in the message sent to you.
– Don’t respond to phone calls about your computer asking for remote access – hang up – even if they mention a well-known company such as Telstra. Scammers will often ask you to turn on your computer to fix a problem or install a free upgrade, which is actually a virus which will give them your passwords and personal details.
– Keep your personal details secure. Put a lock on your mailbox and shred your bills and other important documents before throwing them out. Keep your passwords and pin numbers in a safe place. Be very careful about how much personal information you share on social media sites. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam.