The 4thof July is fast approaching, which means holiday greetings, fabulous sales, and a sense of urgency before taking half the week off. While we are always down for a good deal or vacation, we are not down for fraud. Just like you love national holidays, so do fraudsters. Except they’re less about sparklers, burgers, and family and more about fake emails, hacking and stealing. We are here to provide some tips to protect you and your valuable information from malware and scams. Happy Holidays & Special Deliveries: You’re email just dinged, it’s your agent, escrow officer, or friend wishing you a happy 4th of July with a cute E-Card! But is it really…? In their latest Wire Fraud Update, Title Resources warned about this very thing! Hackers are sending fraudulent emails that have malware in the hidden links. Here are some ways to make sure your e-card is the real deal:
- Check out the “from” email address. It is common for hackers to have a similar address but will add an extra letter or symbol. Also, be on the lookout for “.something” after .com. That usually indicates that the email came from another county.
- Hover over the “click here” spaces to preview the link before clicking. If the URL is suspicious, don’t click it.
Urgent Emails and Messages: If anyone who is a part of your transaction plans to leave for the holidays, there may be a sense of urgency to have your ducks in a row before someone is unavailable. During this time, it is essential to slow down and be aware of any social engineering and psychological manipulation. Fraudsters will play on the need for an urgent reply to trigger a heightened emotional state to “act now” and click on the bogus link. Some common red flags associated with compromised emails include:
- An unusual sense of urgency
- Misspelled words
- Poor grammar
- Emails sent outside of regular business hours
- Emails with changes in payment type
- Emails with changes in account information
- When following “sale” emails – some of those prices are too good to be true. Verify the link is not a phishing site that steals your payment information. Instead, independently search for and visit the online retailer to verify the sale.
- Beware of “deals” that require immediate actions.
- Don’t share your personal or payment information on a public wi-fi connection.
- When sharing personal or payment info, look for “https” in the URL.