What is Spear-Phished!

Here's a true and alarming story that's also unfortunately becoming a common occurrence. Anyone reading this who works with sensitive company information should take note.

An executive assistant received an urgent email from her boss, the company president. The email directed her to wire funds immediately to a vendor—the vendor was going out of town and needed an outstanding invoice paid right away.

But something didn't seem right to the assistant. The request was out of the ordinary, so she didn't send the money, even though she was worried what her boss would do.

But it was very good that she trusted her instincts because the email wasn't from her boss at all—it was from a con artist. That company was lucky.

Every year, thousands of companies aren't so fortunate. More and more firms are losing money or sensitive data to online thieves, thanks to a scam call spear phishing, which is similar to another scam that you likely have heard of or even experienced firsthand.

Phishing: Getting caught in a big net.

Online scams come in a variety of styles, and one version is called phishing.

Online con artists will often send mass emails to an email list they've compiled...and your address might be included. The message, which seems to come from your bank or another large company such as PayPal, typically sounds urgent. It may say your account is about to be closed so you must take action immediately to avoid problems.

There's usually a link provided that will take you to a website where you can take care of matters.

And it's all a scam. It may look 99% authentic on its surface, but it's likely a 100

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