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Security & privacy

This tricky new email campaign cons YOU into calling scammers

Scammers sometimes use targeted emails to draw you into a malicious website, called phishing. This is just one way they target you.

By leaving voice messages on your mobile phone, scammers will also try to trick you into sending them your personal information. This type of scam is called vishing, and it has become more widespread in recent months.

But several new occurrences of these scams are taking a different approach. Cybercriminals are now so confident in their ability that they get you to call them. This is how it works and what to do to stay safe.

Here’s the backstory

The latest scam aims to play on your fear of a large purchase showing up on your credit card. Ranging from expensive headphones to Apple products, the scammer sends you an email about a supposed order you placed.

Criminals behind these schemes have been careful not to include any attachments or links. So, at first glance, the email might seem legitimate. But the sneaky part of the mail is the wording.

The email will communicate something regarding the order of expensive gadgets. For you to question what is going on, a handy phone number has been included.

WARNING! Do not call the number. It’s a vishing scam. Vishing means a “voice phishing” attack. In vishing attacks, cybercriminals impersonate trusted entities and trick people into sharing valuable data.

According to Kaspersky Lab, the scammers will try to convince you to reveal banking details or personal information. This is allegedly so they can track the order or cancel it.

What you can do about it

Vishing scams are happening more often these days. There are some things you can do to stay protected. Here are a few ideas:

Never call a number sent through unsolicited emails – Just like avoiding clicking links or opening attachments in unsolicited emails, don’t call phone numbers. If you have no recollection of making a purchase, it is probably a scam. The best course of action is to mark the email as spam and delete it.

Don’t feel rushed – Vishing emails will often try to convey a sense of urgency, requiring your immediate feedback. This is a powerful tactic, and the criminals are hoping that you will act fast and irrationally. Keep a calm head and ignore the emails.

Go directly to the source – If you did make a purchase online and think there could be a problem, don’t click on links or call phone numbers found in an email. Instead, go directly to the website you placed the order to check on it.

Keep an eye on your bank statements – Regularly check your bank and credit card statements for suspicious activity. If you see anything that seems off, report it to your bank ASAP.

Have trustworthy antivirus software on all your devices – This will help keep malware and any other security threats from infecting your device. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV.

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Keep reading

This clever fake UPS email takes phishing scams to a whole new level

Use a PC? This new Microsoft phishing scam is mighty convincing

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