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Is That Really a Text from Your CEO or Is It a Scam

Suppose that you are going about your day when all of a sudden the CEO sends you an SMS. The company’s CEO is requesting your assistance. They are busy making customer visits while someone else botched the gift card delivery. You must purchase six $200 gift cards and text the information straight now, according to the CEO.

The sender of the message assures you that you will be paid back by the end of the day. Oh, and by the way, they’ll be in meetings for the next two hours and won’t be available on the phone. One more thing, this is really important. They urgently require the gift cards.

Would you think twice about such a request? Or would you immediately reach for your credit card to follow the message’s instructions?

Unexpectedly many workers fall into this gift card fraud. There are numerous varieties as well. For instance, your boss might be in a desperate scenario where there is no gas and you are the only one who can help.

This scam may arrive via email or text message. The unaware employee ends up purchasing the gift cards. The numbers are then returned by them. Later, they learn that the person who called them wasn’t the CEO of the actual business. A phishing scammer was responsible.

The worker now owes money.

Insufficient training leaves 32.4% of workers vulnerable to phishing scams.

Why Do Employees Fall for Phishing Scams?

Despite the peculiar circumstances, a lot of employees are duped by this gift card scam. Social engineering methods are used by hackers. To persuade the employee to comply with the request, they play on their emotions.

These social engineering techniques include some that cause the following:

  • The employee is afraid of not doing as asked by a superior
  • The employee jumps at the chance to save the day
  • The employee doesn’t want to let their company down
  • The employee may feel they can advance in their career by helping

The message of the scam is also written in such a way as to persuade the employee to act without hesitation or verification. There is a sense of urgency in it. The CEO urgently needs the gift card information. The message also mentions that the CEO won’t be available for a few hours. The employee is less likely to attempt to get in touch with the actual CEO to inquire about the accuracy of the content as a result.

Illinois Woman Scammed Out of More Than $6,000 from a Fake CEO Email

There are several variations of this fraud, and they can cause large financial losses. If an employee falls for a con and buys gift cards with their own money, the company is not liable.

In one case, a Palos Hills, Illinois, resident lost more than $6,000. After receiving an email from the person she believed to be the CEO of her business, she did this.

A message claiming to be from the CEO of the company and the woman’s boss was sent to her. It stated that her manager wished to reward some employees who had gone above and above by sending them gift cards.

“Can you assist me get some gift cards today,” the email said. The email did not appear out of character because the manager was known for being kind to workers.

The woman went to Target and Best Buy and purchased the needed gift cards. Later she received a further inquiry asking her to send a picture of the playing cards. Once more, the message’s wording was incredibly convincing and non-threatening. “Can you snap a picture, I’m putting this all on a spreadsheet,” was the only statement made.

She ultimately spent more than $6,500 on gift cards, which the con artist subsequently took. A short while later, she encountered her employer, who was unaware of the gift card request. The woman realised she had fallen for a con.

Tips for Avoiding Costly Phishing Scams

Always Double Check Unusual Requests

Even if a message indicates that you can’t be reached, you should still give us a call or stop by in person. Verify any strange requests, especially ones involving money. To confirm its validity, get in touch with the person via another channel.

Don’t React Emotionally

Scammers frequently attempt to get their victims to act without first thinking. Often, all it takes to recognise a communication is a scam is a few moments of distance and a critical eye. Instead of reacting emotionally, consider whether or not this seems real or unusual.

Get a Second Opinion

Get a coworker to go through the message, or even better, ask your company’s IT service provider. Obtaining a second viewpoint helps you avoid making a snap decision. It might save you from making an expensive mistake in judgement.

Need Help with Employee Phishing Awareness Training?

Phishing is constantly evolving and becoming more complex. Verify the currentness of your staff awareness training. To arrange a training session to strengthen your team’s defences, give us a call right away.

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