In our day-to-day lives we rely on technology so much that most of us consider ourselves to be pretty savvy. In fact, the majority of people who regularly use online services, like Gmail, believe that they are not likely to fall for phishing scams. The truth is, however, that no matter how tech savvy you are, there are simply some email phishing scams that are so sneaky they are able to fool even the sharpest people.
There is a new phishing scam that has been able to dupe people who may not ordinarily get taken in by online scammers. This phishing scam is a bit more elaborate than some of those that we have seen in recent years. Here’s how it goes down: Hackers will send the victim an email. The email has an attachment. If the victim should click on the attachment to get a quick preview, a new browser tab opens that appears to be a Gmail login screen. This, however, is not the case. If the victim continues on and puts in their username and password, the hackers get access to your account and can do with it what they will.
Some people may believe that they would never open a message from some random person to begin with. This is the catch with this scam: the email appears to be from someone that you know. The hackers who created this dangerous phishing method have managed to make these emails appear to have been sent by someone from your contact list. The messages even feature subject lines/attachment names that are similar to something that you have received from a trusted contact in the past.
Of course, the hackers don’t want this scam to end with you. Once they have access to your Gmail account, they will likely use your contacts to perpetuate the scam. Some people have said that there is no way that they would log into Gmail at the behest of this scam. The hackers have made the new login look very legit. For example, when people open these attachments they see something like this: “data:text/html,https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin? “ That is very similar to what a legitimate Google Account login screen look like. The login box has even been designed to look just like the actual login box that Google uses.
This phishing scam has actually been making the rounds for the past year or so, and is continuing to trick people to this day. Being savvy about technological risks doesn’t necessarily guarantee that someone will not fall for this scam. Among the people who have reported getting duped, many were people who considered themselves to be “experienced” with today’s technology.
How to Avoid Getting Scammed
Now that you know how dangerous and tricky this phishing scam is, it is time to get prepared to defend yourself from it. The first thing to do is to check any Gmail login screens that pop up and see if they start with data:text. You can also stretch out the address bar to look for blank space that you may not notice at first. At the end of the blank space, you’ll see the file that opens in the new tab. You can also set up your Gmail account to use two-factor authentication for additional authentication security to your account.
Always be safe when going online and don’t assume that email messages necessarily come from people you know and trust. Today’s scammers and hackers have gone to great lengths to create these kinds of scam messages that are able to fool even some of the most experienced and in-the-know technology users.