Ready or not, the season of giving is here, and that means it’s gift card season. These can seem to be the perfect gift for coworkers and employees… which is why everyone will need to be wary of a particular business email compromise scam that has seen an uptick this year.
Let’s face it - business owners, managers, and employees often feel the need to recognize the holiday season with some small gift or trinket given to their teammates.
However, some office relationships are strictly based around office matters, which makes gift-giving difficult. Moreover, the people who generally would be distributing gifts to the entire office - management - probably don’t have the time to select a well-thought-out gift for each employee. Frankly, in circumstances like these, the best gift is one that the recipient can pick out for themselves.
Hence, the popularity of gift cards in the workplace, and the reason that these scams can work so well.
How the Scam Plays Out
A cybercriminal carrying out this scam will leverage email spoofing and social engineering to pose as one of a company’s higher-ups, like the president or the CEO. Using this persona, the scammer then reaches out to an employee with a request to buy gift cards for the staff. Seeing as this request is “from the boss,” and these emails are typically directed to upper members of the business and accounting staff, the employee complies.
Inside the email, the scammer instructs the employee to provide the codes from the gift cards, allowing them to redeem them and make their own use of them. Since gift cards are an untraceable form of currency, the scammer gets away with it with very little effort.
How to Avoid Being Scammed
When it all comes down to it, the best defense is old-fashioned vigilance. Everyone in the company needs to be aware of threats like these and know how to spot them.
Most crucially, there needs to be a companywide understanding that any claims like this need to be substantiated through a second means of communication. While a twenty-second phone call may sound more like a pain than anything else, it is nothing at all compared to the stress and hassle of being scammed.
Scammers are only getting more clever. For assistance in keeping yourself safe, turn to the professionals at Strata Information Technology. Call 888.678.7282 today.
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