A new employee, at an Augusta non-profit organization recently received an email from a regional executive. The email had a totally authentic-looking email signature, so there wasn’t really any reason to question the validity of it. In the email, there was a message that welcomed the new employee and asked him to reply. And being that it came from a regional executive, obviously, the employee answered as requested without hesitation. After replying, the employee was instructed to pick up $3,000 in gift cards to present to the winner of an event giveaway that was being held by the organization. After purchasing them, he was told to scan a picture of both the front and the back. And he was then instructed to send the information directly to the executive that the email had come from. Little did he know it was another phishing scam!

Scammed out of Thousands Without Recourse With one Phishing Scam

The employee, not wanting to question the executive’s directions, and really having no reason to, did as he was told. And he purchased Amazon gift cards out of his own pocket. Obviously, he assumed that he would be reimbursed. When the employee sent the pictures of the gift cards, the scammer who had sent the fraudulent email quickly went to work redeeming the cards. When the employee asked his boss, he found out that the executive had no idea what he was talking about. And by then, the balance of the cards were zero. The money was spent, and there was no recourse to recover what he lost.

I Hate Hearing of People Being Taken Advantage of

I am not just a business owner who keeps your computer safe. My business was created because I hate to see my neighbors being taken advantage of. It is hard for most of us to imagine having such despicable and callous morals that scamming people out of what belongs to them is so easy. But, unfortunately, for them, it is. And every time that we stop a hacker from unwittingly cheating someone like you, or even me, they move on to their next victim, scam, or deceptive plot.

Scammers don’t operate the way that the rest of us do. Any sense of right or wrong does not guide them. And they have no sense of obligation or morality. They see an opportunity, and they take it. What makes it even worse is that they prey on those who have the least knowledge of the internet. They target hose who aren’t tech-savvy, and those who are naive. The people they seek out most are those who don’t believe anyone behaves the way that hackers and scammers do.

The Pattern is the Same, but the Phishing Scam Continues to get More Elaborate

Although the pattern is the same, the scenario is different. And these phishing scams continue to evolve slightly, get more sophisticated, and cheat more and more people out of money. This is just the latest of many, many scams targeted to catch people off of their guard. The goal is to take advantage of those of us who operate on the up and up. I feel an obligation to inform everyone around me that in the world we live in today, unfortunately, you can trust, but only after you verify. And it is critical always to question and be on your guard when you are using the internet. 

Shut it Down!

Whether it is an email link, a website that you are purchasing from that doesn’t look quite right, or even a phone call that is asking for personal information…shut it down, go to the source, and stop it before you give anyone any part of your personal life. It might seem trivial, but one small insignificant piece of information is all a scammer needs to get into your accounts and take hold. Since we all need to stick together and watch out for one another, if you are reading this, pass it along to someone you care about. 

Because although we all like to think we are too smart to be taken advantage of, the statistics say that even a rocket scientist can be scammed. It isn’t about being “smart;” it is about being a good person and trusting that other people do the right thing and behave with the same moral compass. And although it is difficult to accept, many do not. If you have any questions about the validity of an email, a telephone call, or a website, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We want to help! At Cross Link we promise to keep on top of the latest phishing, and other internet scams to keep you, and your loved ones, safe from those who just don’t care who they hurt.