Email-based scams called “spear phishing” led to Canadians losing nearly $37 million last year, as outlined by a CTV News report.
A spear phishing scam is when attackers pose as a specific business or organization and send emails to people demanding money.
For instance, an attacker can draft an email to make it seem like it’s being sent by a government agency. The attacker can make up some sort of claim saying that the person owes the organization some money, and then demand payment.
Interestingly, spear phishing emails aren’t the only way that Canadians lost money online last year. They also lost more than $23 million in romance scams. People who are new to online dating can fall victim to these types of scams.
Canadians lost $13 million to investment scams and another $11 million by extortion as well. In these cases, attackers use ransomware and force companies to choose between losing data or paying a ransom.
For instance, a Canadian insurance company recently faced a ransomware attack that resulted in a $1 million payout. The attackers had disabled all of the computers at the firm and had bypassed its firewall.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is warning Canadians to be extra careful and to exercise caution to avoid becoming a victim to these scams.
The centre says that Canadians should hang up when they receive automated calls and should not feel pressured to pay, especially when the attackers are demanding gift cards or bitcoin.
Source: CTV News