Rising Scams and How to Protect Yourself

Dr. Nicholas E. Michels, CFP®

Email-Based Scams are on the Rise this Holiday Season

With billions of emails sent globally each day, it’s no wonder that email compromise has become one of the largest and most financially damaging online crimes. In an email-based scam, fraudsters send an email that appears to come from a known or reputable source with a legitimate request, such as updating a mailing address or payment instructions.

Here are Five Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself:

  • Set up two-factor (or multi-factor) authentication on any account that allows it. You can set up multi-factor authentication for your Michels Family Financial account as well.
  • Be careful with the information you share online, and the details others share about you online. Scammers often use personal or common information, such as pet names, schools you attended, links to family members, and your birthday, to send phishing emails, guess your password or answer your security questions.
  • Think before clicking or downloading. Don’t click on anything in an unsolicited email, text, social media or messaging application message asking you to update or verify account information. Never open an email attachment from someone you don’t know and be wary of email attachments forwarded to you.
  • Verify email addresses. Carefully examine the email address, URL address, and spelling used in any emails or text messages. Scammers use slight differences to trick your eye and gain your trust.
  • Compare the From address to the Reply-To address. Scammers are sometimes able to spoof a legitimate email address. Before sending a reply, confirm that the reply-to email address is accurate.

Stay Aware of Email-Based Scams Involving Home Purchases

We’ve noticed a recent increase in email-based scams for homebuyers. In this scenario, a person is purchasing property and receives authentic instructions from the title company about wiring funds, followed by updated wiring instructions from the fraudster. Fraudsters are able to accomplish this because they have compromised the client’s or title company’s email.

To carry out an email compromise scam, fraudsters will often:
Create a fake email account or website: Slight variations of legitimate email and website addresses, such as one including slight misspellings, can make fake accounts appear authentic.
Step 2Send spear phishing emails: These messages, which seem like they’re from a trusted sender, can cause victims to reveal confidential information and result in criminals accessing personal or business accounts, calendars, and data to carry out schemes.
Step 2Use malware: Malicious software also lets criminals gain control of mobile phones and personal computers, which provides them undetected access to confidential data, such as passwords and financial account information.


    For more security tools and steps you can take, visit MichelsFamilyFinancial.com to view our latest resources and learn more about how you can safeguard your personal information and assets .

    The views expressed represent the opinion of Michels Family Financial. The views are subject to change and are not intended as a forecast or guarantee of future results. This material is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute investment advice and is not intended as an endorsement of any specific investment. Stated information is derived from proprietary and nonproprietary sources that have not been independently verified for accuracy or completeness. While Michels Family Financial believes the information to be accurate and reliable, we do not claim or have responsibility for its completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Statements of future expectations, estimates, projections, and other forward-looking statements are based on available information and the Michels Family Financials’ view as of the time of these statements. Accordingly, such statements are inherently speculative as they are based on assumptions that may involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.


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