So, what is an impersonation scam? With so many different scams out there nowadays it can be difficult to keep a track of them but this is a particularly nasty one to watch out for as they often use a voice of authority to coerce their victims and leave them feeling pressured into acting quickly. Impersonation scams can come as a phishing email, smishing text or even a phone call and cyber criminals often choose to impersonate an authority figure like your manager, the HMRC or even the CEO of your company.
With so much data now shared online it can be easy for these criminals to find all the information they need to convince their victim that they’re someone else. They could know your name, workplace, phone number, email address and even who you work with, making their scams seem all the more convincing.
They might ask you to purchase something for them with your own money like gift cards, click a suspicious link with hidden malware or share some confidential and sensitive information. All of these actions could potentially lead to significant financial loss, business downtime, reputational damage and even business closure.
Fortunately, there are ways to identify an impersonation scam and protect yourself and your business from falling victim to one. Watch the video or read through our top tips below to learn how:
1. Look for spelling and grammar mistakes
If you notice any typos or sentences that don’t make sense, this is a red flag and could indicate the message is a scam. Equally, if the font and colours don’t match the brand this is also a strong sign you have received a scam text or email.
2. Check where the message has come from
Hackers can create email addresses and phone numbers that look very similar to legitimate ones. It could be as similar as ‘email@example.com’ instead of ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. It’s important to always take a close look and if you’re still not sure it’s legitimate, check it against your company address book or with the company the message has supposedly come from.
3. Don’t click suspicious links or attachments
If you are getting red flags from the message and have any doubts about its authenticity do not click on any of the links or attachments. You can always double check with someone else or search for the legitimate website online before trying to sign in.
4. Don’t rush
It can be easy to feel pressured to act quickly when you think you have received a message from an authority figure. Impersonation scams are designed to make the victim panic and if you panic, it’s easy to make mistakes. However, nothing is so urgent that you can’t take the steps to make sure the message is authentic so remember to stay calm and look out for any warning signs.
5. Keep your anti-virus and email security up to date
By keeping your anti-virus and security software up to date, your devices will be better protected from attacks. Some cyber security solutions like our Complete Email Security for Microsoft 365 use advanced technology to detect and protect users from some of the most sophisticated phishing attacks.