It has been brought to our attention that a larger than average number of consumers have experienced email account takeovers, with victims associated with the real estate industry in the southeast Wisconsin area.
These issues usually begin with a “phishing” email that may appear to be from a familiar institution, in this case a local property service, and have a link directing you to log in to the service using your email account. These phishing emails are fraudulent, and are engineered to allow an attacker to “take over” the victim’s email account. Once the account is taken over, the attacker may do the following:
- Read and collect any personal information (SSN, account numbers, dealings with financial institutions).
- Install elaborate email settings and filters to “hide” or send sensitive email to another system.
- Compose messages to financial institutions requesting significant amounts of money.
A victim of this scam may experience financial loss, reputational harm, or identity theft issues; and unwillingly participate in money laundering. The recipients of these funds (if successful) are individuals who are wiring money to criminals in overseas locations.
How to protect yourself:
- Watch out for unsolicited email that requests you to take some form of action.
- Don’t click links in e-mail messages.
- Protect your computer by using a Spam Filter, Anti-Virus, Anti Malware and a Firewall.
- Never log into non-email services with your email account password and username.
- Use unique, strong passwords (ones that others will not guess) for every website you use.
Signs that your e-mail account may have been compromised:
- Customers or business partners inform you of an issue with your email account.
- Changed settings, or unusual options (such as mail forwarding to an unknown address).
- Your e-mail and/or internet provider notifies you that you are sending spam.
- Your sent e-mail folder contains e-mail you did not send
Example of “phishy” email content:
Here is a new listing that may be of interest, let me know if you would like additional information CLICK HERE for immediate access. Please sign in with your email.
For more information about phishing and scams, Click here
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