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Don't Be Fooled by These Common Cybercrime Tactics in Your Email

February 28, 2023

Don't Be Fooled by These Common Cybercrime Tactics in Your Email


Email phishing is big business for cybercriminals, so it's no surprise they'd use the name of big businesses to fool you. From national banks to major online retailers, identity thieves will utilize every tool they have to convince you their traps are legitimate messages. They'll ensure it takes a single curious click to harvest your name, your vital information, and access to your most sensitive accounts -- and they'll start with bait in the subject line.

Don't be fooled by the most common cybercrime tactics that appear in your mailbox. You may receive messages with subject lines indicating problems with important accounts, issues with online shopping transactions, or emails with subject lines that pique your curiosity. Knowing what urgent-sounding subjects can lead to a breach of digital security is the first step to protecting yourself against identity theft.

Important Account Notices

Your important accounts may encompass online banking institutions, credit card companies, and other sensitive, often financial holdings you want to protect. Cybercriminals will use your desire to protect your funds and security by sending irresistible messages that these accounts require attention. Examples can include:

   USAA: Account Suspension

   Wells Fargo: Transfer Complete

   Microsoft: Microsoft account security code

   Google: Password Expiration Notice

Never click on the links provided in these emails. They may lead you to false websites that ask you to input your credentials so criminals can harvest them or may download malware onto your computer. If you are concerned about the security of your accounts, go directly to the institution's official website or call their verified phone numbers.

Online Shopping Notices

Online shopping is a popular way to do business. Cybercriminals count on the ubiquity of online shopping to trick consumers into giving their account information or downloading harmful software. Examples of online shopping notice phishing attacks can include:

   Amazon: Amazon - delayed shipping

   Action required: Your payment was declined

   Costco: You left items in your cart

Many fake online shopping phishing attempts utilize the logo and email style of the business they are imitating. Look carefully at the sender's email address for clues that these emails are false. If you are still concerned, go to the business's official website to look up orders or find the customer service number.

Curiosity Trap Notices

Curiosity traps use your inquisitiveness as bait. They may tease waiting messages or official notices that require your attention. These traps want you to indulge your curiosity to click a link and see if the promised, unexpected messages are real and important. Examples may include:

   Mail Notification: You have 5 Encrypted Messages

   DocuSign: Please review and sign your document

   Zoom: Someone has sent you a message via Zoom Message Portal

Don't Swallow the Hook in Phishing Attempts

Identity theft tactics have become more sophisticated as cybercriminals learn better social engineering techniques. These attacks count on your concer and curiosity, as well as your desire to save a few minutes by clicking a provided link instead of looking up the correct one. Knowledge and vigilance are your most important tools to protect your online security!