Predators Target Complacency by Way of Phishing Scams

The increase in the use of the Internet has risen from just over one billion users in 2005 to more than three billion by the end of last year. And that number will only grow with the improvements to desktop computers and the heightened popularity of personal tablets, smart phones and other new devices that link to the Web.

Most people who use the Internet have at least one email account and it's estimated that through the end of last year over 4 billion were active. This figure is projected to rise by an additional seven percent over the next four years.

These statistics represent a large pool for those who may attempt to lure in victims by attacking them through Internet crimes. And most of us are susceptible; with an offender's end game being to open fraudulent accounts in their victim's name, and deceptively use that identity for their own financial gain.

As tax season approaches, identity theft becomes a weighty concern for people who use the Internet occasionally or on a daily basis. Scammers are constantly searching for ways to access your personal data using ingenious schemes; the foremost of them known as Phishing. To learn more about this illicit technique, and understand ways to protect yourself, visit this page on this Website

Even the most experienced Internet user can fall victim to a phishing scam. Clicking a link that leads to a Web page infected with a virus can cause it to be downloaded to your computer where it can search your files for personal information. Never be complacent about security; always be alert.

A few actions that can protect you against phishing scams are taking the following elements into consideration:
If the email appears to be from someone or a company you know: hover your mouse pointer over the sender's email address to determine the email sender's true identity.
Be wary if the email expresses a sentiment of immediate action or a sense of urgency.
Be suspicious if the body of the email only contains a link or a single picture that when clicked takes you to a Website (Do not click it; hover mouse pointer above).
And always investigate by using personal contact to who you believe to be the sender if you have any misgivings.

In addition to the public, identity thieves use phishing scams to gather information by tricking employees of major companies and corporations.
   
Although phishing scams have been perpetrated for many years, lately a rash of them has touched large companies, many in the Health Care Industry.

In early February, Magnolia Health Corp. which has offices in Tulare & Porterville California was hit by what was called a forged email request from the company's CEO Kenny Moyle. The email appeared to be genuine and requested personal data for all active employees of the company and its subsidiaries Porterville Convalescent, Inc., Twin Oaks Assisted Living, Inc., Kaweah Manor, Inc., Twin Oaks Rehabilitation And Nursing Center, Inc. and Merritt Manor, Inc. An employee of Magnolia was fooled by the phishing scam and replied to the sender, issuing the information to an unidentified third party by return email. It wasn't until a week later that it was realized that the email was bogus. The compromised data included employee names, addresses, date of birth, gender, Social Security number, as well as salary information among other data. At this time, law enforcement continues to investigate the breach, attempting to identify the perpetrator.

That same week, Polycom communications and Bright View Landscaping, two other California companies were hit with successful phishing attacks.

All three of the attacks requested data that would be needed to fill out W2 forms making it simpler to attempt identity thefts.

Two weeks later Central Concrete Supply Company, also a California corporation as well as Mercy Housing Inc. of Denver, Colorado were targeted in successful phishing attacks and near the end of the month, Snapchat an online video messaging application service was tricked in a similar attack which conned an employee into giving up vital information which exposed more than seven hundred of their fellow employees personal information.

The most recent successful phishing attack against a major company took place just last week when data storage powerhouse Seagate Technologies fell-victim to a massive phishing scam that breached all of their employees W2 data. Seagate is a public company that employs more than 50,000 workers.

A few years back a South Florida couple was caught in a phishing scam that netted them more than $500,000.

To read an article detailing the above local story; highlighted on the March 2016 issue of my legal blog, click here.

Michael Cohen is a federal identity theft attorney with offices in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, North Fort Lauderdale, as well as West Palm Beach. His combined experience working for the State of Florida, the federal government and now as a private practice criminal defense attorney totals almost forty years.

If you, a friend or loved one is accused of a phishing scam or any type of identity theft, or any other federal crimes contact Mr. Cohen at the earliest point of an investigation as well as before or after charges are filed for the best possible outcome of your individual case.

Call any of the phone numbers listed on this Website 24/7, or use the contact form to get in touch with Mr. Cohen directly for a free case evaluation.