Personalized Scams

Overview


Cyber criminals continue to come up with new and creative ways to fool people. A new type of scam is gaining popularity— personalized scams. Cyber criminals find or purchase information about millions of people, then use that information to personalize their attacks. Below we show you how these scams work and walk you through a common example. The more you know about these scams, the easier it is for you to spot and stop them.


How Does it Work?


Email or phone call scams are not new, cyber criminals have been attempting to fool people for years. Examples include the “You Won the Lottery” or the infamous Nigerian Prince scams. However, in these traditional scams cyber criminals do not know whom they are targeting. They simply create a generic message and send it out to millions of people. Because these scams are so generic, they are usually easy to spot. A personalized scam is different; the cyber criminals do research first and create a customized message for each intended victim. They do this by finding or purchasing a database of people’s names, passwords, phone numbers, or other details. This type of information is easily available due to all the websites that have been hacked. It is also commonly available on social media sites and in publicly available government records. The criminals then target everyone they have information on.


One common trick cyber criminals use is fear or extortion to force you into paying them money. The attack works like this. They find or purchase information on people’s logins and passwords obtained from hacked websites. They find your account information included in such a database ..