A recent experience of an iTandCoffee client highlights an important security warning for all of us.
Don't rely on email / text for communicating bank account details, especially for large transfers
If you ever ask someone to transfer money to your bank account, or you are asked to transfer money to someone else - especially where the amount involved is large - be very careful about trusting the bank account details that you provide (or are provided) via email.
ALWAYS make some other form of contact with the person involved in the funds transfer - preferably by phone - to confirm the bank account details. If calling a business, never use the phone number provided in an email - just in case that might be bogus. Use a legitimate number you have for that business, or look them up on the internet.
Why this warning? What can happen?
Relying on emails to communicate important financial information can be dangerous, especially where you cannot be absolutely sure of the security of the email accounts at either end of these communications.
In a recent frightening example experienced by an iTandCoffee client, an email request sent to one of their own clients - requesting payment of a substantial amount of money into a particular bank account - was 'hijacked' by another party. This other party was a hacker who was obviously monitoring the emails coming into the 'payer's' email account.
The scammer quickly sent a fake followup email to the 'payer', one that 'spoofed' the original sender's email address (so that it looked like it came from the person who was requesting payment). That fake email advised the 'payer' that the bank account had changed, and that a different account now applied. On this advice, the payer transferred the money to this fake email account.
How did this happen?
We can't be absolutely sure how the scammer got access to the 'payer's' emails, but can 'hazard a guess'.
The payer may have earlier fallen victim to a phishing scam, or (something we think is more likely) may have inadvertently given away mail account details while using a public Wi-Fi to retrieve mail.
(If his mail account was not installed on his device with something called ssl, use of public networks could have resulted in the theft of his login credentials - especially if he was not using a VPN to protect his public Wi-Fi use.)
Needless to say, password changes were made the email accounts of all involved parties to secure future communications. Each party also needed to seek assistance to check their mail accounts, to ensure the hacker had not 'planted' any 'rules' or changed any other security details.
But this couldn't happen to me ...
If this thought occurs to you, think again. At iTandCoffee, we see this sort of attack on a regular basis.
It is a small extra step to consider before processing a bank transfer - to check with the person/business to whom the payment will go and to confirm the bank account details.
If you do transfer to a scam account, there is no telling whether you will have any recourse to retrieve the incorrectly transferred funds. Your best bet is to contact your bank immediately. The police will also need to be notified if your money is stolen.
A bit of caution can save an enormous amount of stress.
Watch videos of iTandCoffee classes about Online Safety
We have a recording of an iTandCoffee class on the topic of Staying Safe Online. It covers all sorts of tips about what to look out for in emails and on websites.
This video is available at no cost to all readers of this blog.
Members of the iTandCoffee Club also have access to a couple of other videos on similar topics, as shown below. These topics have been covered at iTandCoffee Club sessions, and are therefore available on video for no cost for Plus, Online and Premium members.
Interested in finding out more about The iTandCoffee Club?
There has never been a better time to join The iTandCoffee Club, as we will be giving away a NEW IPAD to a member who signs up for (or upgrades to) Plus, Online or Premium Membership before December 14.
Find out more about our levels of membership and how you could win this iPad by selecting the below image.
What's on at iTandCoffee ?
iTandCoffee is at 34 High Street Glen Iris 3146, Victoria Australia
Call 1300 885 420 or (03) 9886 0814
© 2012-2018 iTandCoffee Pty Ltd. All rights reserved ACN: 606 340 434