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Phishing emails and spam have become very commonplace today, and we are all potential primary targets for these types of unwanted and potentially malicious emails. Scams have also evolved and become much more sophisticated, so we should all be incredibly diligent when opening and clicking on our emails.

Private Ocean Wealth Management uses multiple levels of spam filters for incoming mail and notifies everyone on the team when new scams are introduced that can potentially pose a threat to our security. We believe that beyond technology protections, our second best defense is for our team and our clients to be well informed on the latest tactics that spammers are taking to obtain information. Here are some important terms to know:

Phishing. Phishing is when a scammer disguises themselves as a trustworthy entity via email for the purpose of obtaining sensitive information. If you ever receive an email that is requesting information, i.e. password changes, credit card updates, or “We need you to update your account information,” messages, etc., delete the email and update your info directly through their website.

Spear Phishing. Rather than casting a wide net, spear phishing is when scammers significantly narrow down their email target and provide more personalized details, making it easier to trick the receiver.

Whaling. Very similar to spear phishing, except these emails target C-suite recipients. Tech, healthcare and financial services are the most targeted industries for these type of attacks because of our dependency on electronic data and our access to sensitive information.

Spoofing. Email spoofing is an easy type of phishing used to get data from users by sending an email from a familiar username or by impersonating your organization and asking employees to share internal data.

Clone Phishing. This is when a valid, previously-sent email containing any link or attachment is used as a copy to create an almost identical or cloned email. Scammers replace the link or attachment in the email with a malicious link or attachment.

Image Phishing. Be wary of emails containing images according to your personal interests. Why? Scammers use images and other media to deliver viruses and other infected files.

Ransomware. A malicious software designed to deny access to a computer system or data until a ransom is paid. Ransomware usually spreads through phishing emails or by unknowingly visiting an infected website.

On average, our firm receives upwards of 70,000 emails per day, and 50% of that email is spam! Research done by our IT team has shown that 20% of these spam emails are intentionally directed at financial organizations and 5% are viruses. The top three offenders are fake invoices or fake delivery notices and emails with malware-infected attachments.

The battle for your inbox is ongoing – The more informed you are about phishing and spam scams, the better you can protect yourself from these attacks. It takes a team effort to ensure the right emails get to you and the wrong ones are sent to spam purgatory. Please let us know if you have any questions.