‘Spear phishing’ scams specifically target your personal and business email accounts

Con artists attempt to trick you into clicking a link that contains malware
Published: Dec. 26, 2022 at 12:53 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

InvestigateTV - The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a warning on a specific type of phishing scam called spear fishing.

Phishing is when a fraudster sends you an email that, once you click it, downloads malware on your computer, potentially allowing scammers to access your computer and accounts. Spear phishing is the same premise, only the victim is specifically targeted.

Jesse Schibilia, a special agent inside the Richmond division of the FBI, said the hackers could deploy ransomware or try to go after a specific person inside a business to get access to that company’s secrets. “So something in your company’s network that is really, really, valuable, that they could use to gain an economic advantage or sell to somebody else who might really be interested in that information,” he said.

Experts suggested several ways to protect yourself against spear phishing attacks:

Be careful about the links you click in emails, on social media platforms, and text messages

If a link looks suspicious, call the person who sent it to verify it came from them

If you own a company, teach your employees to spot suspicious emails

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has resources to help you spot suspicious emails. Here are a few signs of classic phishing scams:

The message has a generic greeting

You are asked to update your account information

There is urgency to share personal, financial information

You can report phishing attempts to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.