A long time client of Sabat Age Consulting, that is fully protected and backed up by using our services, received an email that appeared to be from Best Buy. As we know, spam protection is not 100% effective and this one got through because of how real the email seemed. The email stated that our client’s protection license through them was ready for renewal soon. Instead of marking this email as spam or simply deleting it , he wrote back and engaged with the email. This is actually the worst thing you can do because now the spammers on the other end know they have a live one on the hook! This is where the term phishing comes from.
Our client stated in the email that he didn’t want the software they were offering but the smart witted scammers told him that it was already processed on his account and now they need to work with him to help get him a refund and the software removed from his computer. Because he thought this email was from Best Buy, our client gave them access to his computer remotely. They logged into his bank account and they sneakily changed the page behind the scenes so that it actually did look like he got charged for the protection software. The spammers then brought him to a website to get his refund back into his bank account. This is when our client was instructed to enter $129.00 but again behind the scenes these cybercriminals enter extra zeros to increase the amount then they hit submit. So now as the refund processes they made our client think that he just got a refund of $12,900.00 in his account. The spammers even showed him a modified version of his bank information to prove that the money is there. He now feels horrible that he made this mistake of typing in the incorrect amount and tells the phishers that he will wire or transfer the money back to them. Since this was occurring after hours all the banks were now closed. Quickly thinking the spammers convince our client to purchase multiple gift cards in the amount of $500 each and then read them the card numbers. This set him back over $3,000 before he got a feeling that something wasn’t right. He finally disconnected with them and reached out to me for help. I started by cleaning out his machine from all their software (which happened to be all off the shelf stuff) as well as a fake screensaver that made him think that his computer was locked.
This man is a grown adult who had a successful career and is now retired. He is intelligent, but he felt stupid for falling for this phishing scam. I explained to him that this can happen to anyone and they got him at a bad time. The fact of the matter is that this could happen to any of us, but we have to know what to look for and how to recognize when things just don’t seem right. We can all learn from this lesson, NEVER reply to emails that are unsolicited.
Make sure you have a cybersecurity system in place and if you need help setting one up please feel free to reach out to us at Sabat Age Consulting and we will be happy to secure your networks so you don’t fall victim to a phishing scam or any other cyberthreats.