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Secret Service warns: beware of rise in email scams

On Friday June 19th, we received a very concerning email alert from the Electronic Crimes Taskforce which operates as part of the United States Secret Service. It was a notification and warning that they are currently observing a “significant increase in the frequency, sophistication, and fraud losses associated with Business E-mail Compromise (BEC) scams”.

To those who read the Intermedia blog regularly, you may recognize this style of attack under a different name; one we have written on and warned about quite often over the last few weeks…phishing.  

Phishing, namely “spear-phishing” is one of the most common types of email scams.  And while some phishing scams can seem painfully obvious, others are much harder to detect. They’re making their way in businesses as well. So much in fact, that the Secret Service confirmed that losses associated with these attacks has totaled over $1 billion dollars since October 2013.  That includes some of the high-profile attacks we’ve been hearing about in recent months, such as the IRS, Sony, Target, and JP Morgan Chase hacks.

There’s a shark in the water: Is your business safe?

While receiving a direct warning form the Secret Service can come as a bit of a shock, we weren’t surprised by the warning as it corroborates our own observations over the pat few months.

We recently partnered with Intel Security on a new eBook, Harpooning Executives: How phishing evolved into the C-suite. The eBook explores the potential dangers that phishing attacks can present to your business.We spoke to industry leading experts, we told “phishing tales of terror”, and discussed strategies and best practices to keep you and your business protected from this evolving and intensifying threat.  

Worried about the safety of your business? Here are a few best practices you can employ:

  1. Be aware of email requests with high urgency that ask you to take quick action  
  2. Never give sensitive personal or financial information over email
  3. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is
  4. Think about whether you initiated the action

Phishing is a major problem and unless you know what to look for your business could be next. Watch our three-part webinar series or read our interview with Intermedia CTO, Jonathan Levine in to learn how you can mitigate an attack.




About Michelle Couture

Michelle is Director of Product Marketing for UCaaS and collaboration products at Intermedia.