Did you know that besides sending fake e-mails with a forged sender address, it’s also possible to send false text messages? Criminals know all about this practice, called spoofing.
You have probably heard of so called CEO scams. Spoofing comes in many shapes and forms and it can be difficult to spot the difference between real messages/genuine websites and fake ones. That being said, there are things you should generally be suspicious of:
- In spoofing, the scammers forge for example the e-mail address. So basically you’ll get an e-mail from a fake sender who uses a forged address to pretend being someone they’re not. The e-mail urges you to click on a link or to take some other action.
- You receive an e-mail or text message from a known service provider that asks you to click on a link. The link leads to a forged website where you are asked to do something that the service provider normally wouldn't ask you. Such as using your digital identification to log into a website or enter sensitive information.
- The message promises you things that are too good to be true. An example: “Congrats! You've qualified for buying an iPhone for just one euro – click on the link!”
While we have already established that it may be difficult to spot a fake e-mail, text message or website, being aware and equipped with a healthy dose of scepticism will take you a long way. Some of the things you can do to avoid getting spoofed are:
- Check the sender’s e-mail by clicking the name or using an option in your e-mail which shows the whole e-mail of the sender. You may have received an e-mail from mr. John Doe, but by clicking the whole e-mail address, the sender might just turn out to be someone else, like firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Don’t click on links. If you want to visit a website, write the address in the address/URL field yourself. A fake website may look exactly like the real one, just have a slightly different URL – and try to sneak into your sensitive data.
- Don’t just call back to the same phone number, for example if you are calling back to double check the caller's identity. You don’t want to talk to the criminal, right? Check for the correct number on the company website and then punch in the digits yourself.
- Don’t use the reply button when responding/contacting the one who sent the e-mail or text message. Write the address/punch in the digits yourself. Don’t click on links!
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