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Criminals are getting better at spoofing banking services

Fraud
(Image credit: Image Credit: Gustavo Frazao / Shutterstock)

Covid-19 continues to provide inspiration for cybercriminals and fraudsters looking to scam people out of their hard-earned money.

A new report from cybersecurity firm Bitdefender claims that, with Covid-19 forcing people indoors, online shopping and banking is surging. Criminals are well aware of this fact and have started spoofing banking emails more frequently, looking to defraud consumers.

In September, for example, more than a third of all incoming emails relating to banks and financial services was marked by Bitdefender as spam. A month later, in October, more than half were marked as fraudulent, later dropping to just below a third in November.

With Christmas on the horizon, experts are warning users to be extra cautious when reading email, especially via smartphones and tablets that make nuances harder to spot.

Evidencing its claims with a few screenshotted examples, Bitdefender has shown that these emails are getting harder to distinguish from genuine banking newsletters. Formatting is almost identical, as well as the color schemes, and criminals are also using legitimate logos and even industry lingo.

Bitdefender hints that one of the ways to spot a fake is its general sense of urgency. These emails will usually ask the victim to quickly share personal or financial information, to download a document or attachment, or click a link to resolve a security issue.

Standard Bank, Bank of America, HSBC Bank, Wells Fargo, La Banque Postale, PayPal, and Western Union are just some of the financial organizations mimicked by cybercriminals. 

As usual, the best way to spot a phishing email is to look at the sender's email address, which usually resembles the genuine address, but with a small typo.