Frequently Used Email Scams 2020-2021
About 8% of all emails in the world contain dangerous links.
Fraudsters send virus programs under the guise of attached documents or entice you to go to a third-party site where they take your money or steal your personal data. Security experts call such methods of deception “office phishing,” since office workers use email most actively.
The list of secure email services for use is here.
Some methods of deception have already become classic — scammers have been successfully using them for years.
However, sometimes they can come up with more sophisticated ways of deception. This article will talk about the top email scams 2020-2021 and ways to protect against them.
Find out which data should be deleted from email messages here.
Email scams and fraud schemes 2020-2021
There are a lot of fraud schemes through email, and every year something new appears. Therefore, to avoid becoming a victim of scammers, you should know about the main ways of cheating on the internet.
#1 Sending spam
Spam can be sent not only for intrusive advertising of a product or service. Often such emails contain links to sites containing viruses. Spam emails may also have attachments that users are asked to download to their computer. It can be either a text file or a photo.
Naturally, when downloading such a suspicious file, the computer becomes infected with a virus. Frequently these are ransomware viruses that block the computer. Typically, an image appears on the screen with a request to transfer a certain amount of money to unlock it. In such cases, you cannot do without reinstalling the computer’s system, which means that you will need the help of a programmer.
Learn more about the dangerous email spam scheme.
#2 Requesting your username and password
Suspicion should be aroused by any messages that contain requests or demands to send your username and password to your email account. Here the attackers act in different ways. As a rule, they are limited to:
- Intimidation of a person (for example, that your email will be blocked within 24 hours if you do not send your username and password to the specified address).
- The promise of easy money or prizes (for example, a message that you’ve won a contest, and in order to receive the prize, you need to go to the website and enter your username and password in the appropriate fields there).
*Note: No legitimate service will require its users to send a username and password.
If you doubt whether the email is fraudulent, contact the support service if you received an email from them.
Be aware of the passwords you’ve used. Make the strongest ones by reading our password tutorial here.
Attackers have learned how to create persuasive emails that persuade victims to share credentials or install malware. This year, the topic of coronavirus will be actively used in such messages.
Hackers often use cloud hosting services to host malicious code, which in combination with the use of subdomains in well-known domains (for example, windows.net or googleapis.com) leads to unpleasant consequences. The standard scheme is as follows: an attacker places an HTML file in the cloud that mimics the appearance and address of an authentication form of a well-known website (for example, a bank or a social network), and an unsuspecting user clicks on a link in a fake email, goes to the fake site, and fills in their credentials.
In addition to email, social networks, SMS and other messages, cybercriminals continue to develop new directions. For example, QR codes can be used to distribute links to download malware or go to a fake website.
In this article, you can learn more about phishing attacks and the ways of protecting yourself from them.
#4 Send “prize-winner” emails
Such an old method of email fraud is still used today. The text, as a rule, begins by informing the user that they have won a prize or gift, which they must act urgently to receive.
There may be several options here:
- Follow the link and enter your username and password from the mail account to confirm your identity.
- Send an SMS with a specific text to the specified short number.
- Call the sent number to find out the details.
Of course, you should not respond to any of the above suggestions. In the case of the login and password message, everything is clear: attackers just want to gain access to your email. If you are asked to send an SMS or call, then at best you will get into the database of scammers, and in the future you will be bothered with various offers (free medical examinations, brokerage services, etc.). In the worst case, after such a call or SMS, money will disappear from your phone account.
#5 Message about the death of distant relatives
The message informs you that your distant relative deposited money in the bank, after which they died suddenly. Their lawyer (or brother, uncle, etc.) writes asking you to transfer a small amount of money to make the deposit available. In return, a promise is given that you will receive a decent percentage of the deposited amount.
The scam in this case would seem obvious, but some unsuspecting people transfer the money. And in that case, the fraudster asks for more and more new amounts, coming up with different circumstances that prevent the victim from ever receiving the money. The deception continues as long as the victim believes.
The main thing that should tip you off in such messages is a request to transfer money. If you see it, the message can be immediately sent to spam.
#6 Requests for help
As a rule, this type of fraud is common in social networks. However, messages sometimes come to mailboxes with a request to help pay for treatment or surgery for a child. At the end of the message, as a rule, there is a link to a website where you can transfer money for treatment.
*Note: If a letter for help has come from a familiar email address, contact this person by phone and clarify whether they really sent you a letter.
#7 The usual mail hacking
Let’s not exclude the most ordinary email hacking by scammers. This is done by identifying a password using special services. It will not be difficult to figure it out if it is too simple. After hacking, if attackers fail to gain access to your other valuable data, they can use the mailbox to send spam or letters to others asking for financial help.
Know more about the email bomb that can be dangerous for you here.
How to protect yourself
It is much easier to avoid becoming a victim of fraudsters than to try to recover the money or the password later. By following these simple rules, you will significantly reduce your risks:
- Once every six months, be sure to change the password to your email box.
- Never download files that were sent from unknown addresses.
- Use Utopia P2P and forget about email frauds and scams for good.
Read more about Utopia P2P advantages here.
- Install an antivirus program that will also check email messages.
- Never send your username and password to anyone, even if they promise you a benefit in return or, conversely, threaten to block your mail.
- If you have received an email from the support service and you are asked to follow a link where you need to enter your username and password, then contact the sender, but only using the contact details provided on the main page of the site.
- If you have received a letter from a friend asking you to transfer money, before doing so, clarify whether they really sent you such a message.
- Do not react to messages about prizes or gifts, or any messages that contain a request to transfer a certain amount of money. It is better to send them to spam immediately.
- Try to use decentralized email services.
Learn more about decentralized email here.