As transactions continue to shift into the online world, some people can take advantage of your email without you knowing.
Mail interception fraud happens when fraudsters monitor email transactions between a business and a client. After waiting for a high-value transaction, they can intercept the email and change the bank account details. Also, they can pose as a third party asking for payment to their bank account.
Anyone can be susceptible to mail interception fraud, whether you are a client or a business. So, to guide you on how fraudsters intercept emails and give you some knowledge on how to prevent them, read more about mail interception fraud below.
Understanding How Fraudsters Can Intercept Emails
Fraudsters can obtain your email username and password through phishing. Email phishing is the act of sending emails where the phishers disguise themselves as a credible company that convinces recipients to reveal their passwords or other personal information.
Aside from directly asking for your information, email phishing can also attach malicious software (malware). Once installed, the hackers can now get your passwords.
After obtaining your password, they can now monitor your incoming mails waiting for the perfect opportunity. They hide incoming emails by filtering and sending them directly to your trash to prevent you from seeing the mail.
If you are a buyer, the fraudsters can now send you a new email asking for your payment using an email address that is almost identical to the original seller’s email address – such as changing a single letter or character of the email address. It is also known as email spoofing.
Meanwhile, if you are a seller, the fraudsters can simply send a new email to your buyer with altered bank account details. The unsuspecting buyer will then send the payment to the bank account set by the fraudsters.
Other Consequences of a Compromised Email Account
Your email account contains personal and sensitive information, which fraudsters may use for their own advantage. Listed below are some of the consequences you may experience once fraudsters gain access to your email account:
- They can impersonate you and ask your family or friends to send some money.
- If you use the same password for your other accounts, they can access your social media, online banking, or other accounts.
- They can get sensitive information, such as your financial details, address, and personal email messages.
- They can access your email-based two-factor authentication, which is crucial for your email security.
- If you use an email account for business, they can destroy your reputation by scamming your loyal and potential customers.
How to Prevent Email Interception Fraud
As mentioned, fraudsters can intercept your emails, whether you are a client or a business. To prevent this dangerous misfortune, here are some preventive measures you can follow:
- Always check the email address if they are authentic or not.
- Usually, email messages with urgent call-to-action, such as ‘click this button now!’, are a scam, so don’t click on them.
- Check your trash and sent items folder for intercepted emails from time to time.
- Use different and complex passwords for your email, social media accounts, and online banking for better security.
- Update your passwords regularly.
- Use password managers and two-factor authentication.
- Check devices that are currently logged in on your email account.
- Update your anti-virus and anti-malware software to prevent the installation of unwanted malware.
- If you are a business owner, inform your customers that your current banking account details will not change unless stated on your official platforms.
- When using public computers, don’t forget to log out after use.
- As a more secure alternative, give banking details over the seller’s or buyer’s official phone number.
These are preventive measures against email interception fraud. However, if you think your email account has already been compromised, follow the steps below to retrieve your email account:
- Sign in from a different device since your computer might have malware infections.
- If you cannot sign in, try answering the security questions you have set at the initial set-up of the account or contact the support group of your email host provider.
- Once you recover your email account, check the sent items folder and activity log.
- When necessary, inform people who have received intercepted emails from your email address.
Fraudsters can intercept your email through phishing or malware. As an email user, it is crucial to secure your account by establishing a strong and uneasy-to-crack password. Since email interception fraud can happen to anyone, it is better to be safe than be sorry later on.
Moreover, as cliche as it may seem but prevention is always better than cure. Always remember to safeguard your password, avoid clicking suspicious emails, and update your anti-virus or anti-malware software to prevent phishing emails from accessing your email account information. These are just some of the things you can do to prevent fraudsters from intercepting your emails.