The Better Business Bureau has issued an alert regarding a new email scam targeting professionals through their work email accounts.
According to the BBB alert, the emails appear to be from your company's human resources department regarding your benefits. The emails are designed to look official and use urgent language regarding the cancellation, reduction, or suspension of your benefits to convince you to open the email and click on the links or attachments included.
Unfortunately, following the emails instructions may download harmful malware to your computer or direct you to a phishing website that may trick you into divulging personal information.
How to Avoid Being Scammed
The list of red flags for this particular email scam is also applicable to most other email scams. Although the targets of the scam and the methods used by the scammers may change, there are several general tips that can help you avoid getting ripped off by email scammers. These include:
- Never opening unexpected, unfamiliar attachments. Even if the email appears to be from someone you recognize, you should always make sure the email is legitimate before opening any attachments that may be included with an unexpected email.
- Watching for fishy URLs. Look closely at the URLs in any link included in an email; scammers often use web site addresses that look legitimate but may be one or two letters off or may actually be subdomains or different, unfamiliar websites.
- Hovering over links. Scammers are often able to obscure the true destination of links included in emails. However, by hovering your mouse over the link without clicking it, you can usually see where a link will actually take you.
Social Security Email Scam
Scammers have found success targeting consumers with scams related to benefits. Earlier this year, the BBB warned about a different scam in using emails claiming that the recipient was eligible for new social security benefits. Those who clicked on an included link were directed to fill out a form in order to receive the new benefit. But the information was actually intended to allow scammers to redirect social security benefits into the scammer's own bank account.
Learn more about preventing identity theft and improving your online security at FindLaw's Learn About the Law section on Online Scams.
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