Atlanta-Based Aware Force Reports on the Most Dangerous Phishing E-mails and Texts Sent in Q2

The fake email cited most often in Q2 by readers of the Aware Force employee cybersecurity newsletter involves a fake subscription invoice for hundreds of dollars

Research by Atlanta-based cybersecurity employee engagement firm Aware Force shows one of the most prominent cyber schemes in Q2 involved scammers trying to take control of victims’ computers.

“The fake email we’ve seen most often in the past three months warns consumers that an expensive antivirus subscription to Norton or Geek Squad will renew automatically unless the recipient calls a toll-free number to cancel it,” reports Richard Warner, founder and CEO of Aware Force.

“But the email claims $300 or more in credit card charges is at stake unless a victim calls to cancel immediately.”

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“Of course, there is no subscription to cancel,” says Warner. “But the email claims $300 or more in credit card charges is at stake unless a victim calls to cancel immediately.”

Aware Force pursued one of these fake emails and found that scammers promised a refund if the victim agreed to install software giving the scammer control over their computer. When the software is launched, scammers can access information stored on the user’s machine, including passwords and emails.

“Users should ignore emails promising refunds for products they don’t recognize buying,” says Warner.

Other common phishing emails of the past three months reported by Aware Force readers include:

  • An employee’s company email will be shut down unless an update is installed; the update installs malware on the machine.
  • Facebook is about to shut a user’s account because a recent post violates copyright rules; following the link in the email gives scammers the user’s Facebook password.
  • A Netflix subscription payment has failed because of an issue with the user’s bank account; responding to the email gives scammers access to the account.

Aware Force produces a twice-monthly cybersecurity newsletter for employees about phishing, password management, cyber scams, best practices for protecting employees on the job and at home, and the latest cybersecurity news. Each edition features videos, quizzes, phishing exercises, cartoons, and reader Q&As, and is branded for each company.

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