Just last week, I was awarded $15 million from the United Nations Secretary General. Apparently, the African government was supposed to pay me my long overdue funds, but because of corruption and busy schedules, the Secretary General was unable to take action sooner. All I need to do to get my money now is provide “Chase Bank” with my name, address, cell phone number and nearest airport.

Sound familiar? Email scams like this have been around for a while and are pretty easy to identify. But a new wave of phishing scams is proving that email scammers are becoming more abundant and sophisticated. Now, scam emails may even appear to be from familiar companies or organizations. Recently, phishing scams have appeared to come from Google Docs, SharePoint, Dropbox and more. This means you need to take caution with every email you open.

Diligently protect your email account by taking a few simple steps:

  • NEVER open an attachment or click on a link from someone you do not know.
  • Carefully check the email addresses used in the “To” and “From” fields in your emails. Were you part of a mass distribution list? Is the “From” email address suspicious or does it have a minor spelling error? These are warning signs of a phishing scam.
  • Never provide sensitive or confidential information via email or through unfamiliar websites.
  • Check links before clicking on them. By hovering over a link, you can see the actual web address you are being directed to. Make sure the link is taking you to the website you expected. Links in scam emails may direct you to web addresses that are long, unfamiliar and use random characters.

Hackers are also becoming more strategic in their attacks and are targeting specific industries. They may use industry jargon, place fake orders for your specific product offering or pose as a familiar service provider or supplier. When in doubt, don’t click on any links or attachments. If you receive a suspicious email or an email you are not expecting, call the business that you believe sent you the email. They will be able to tell you if the message is legit or not. Follow these simple steps and it could protect your personal and critical business information. Don’t be duped into actually thinking someone is sending you millions.