We’ve all heard of scam emails from Nigerian princes and data leaks on social media. But when it comes to your import/export business, you’re relatively safe… right? Thanks to that type of attitude, cyber criminals are literally making billions. Now, clever cyber-cons have graduated from consumer scams to those targeting small and mid-sized companies – which are more vulnerable to viruses, malware and ransomware. And, due to the nature of international business, importers and exporters are particularly at-risk.
In order to protect your business, the best thing you can do is stay alert. Phishers count on blending in, and use common requests in order to steal your financial information. Watch out for any language in a correspondence that feels “phishy.” Although you are dealing with cultural differences, some types of requests should never be granted. Read on to discover the 10 Ways to Spot a Phish.
1 – THEY “SWIM” OUTSIDE
You receive a request for goods or payment originally from a go4WorldBusiness user via an inquiry message, but later they email you outside of the site from an entirely different email address (all go4WorldBusiness connects are required to contact you via our platform for security reasons).
2 – THEY LIKE FREEBIES
The sender’s email address is from a free email host (e.g., Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo) instead of the name of the company that (s)he claims to be from. Most of the times, a fraudulent scammer will not have the capability to setup business domains and business emails. Although, this is something they have increasingly started doing as well.
3 – THEY AREN’T FROM WHERE THEY SAY THEY ARE
The sender claims to be from one location, but their IP address indicates another. Our platform makes this easy to spot – connects made through go4WorldBusiness will always list the country of origin.
4 – THEY USE FISHY, PHISHING LINKS
If a message contains a link that takes you to a website whose URL doesn’t match the address specified in the link, do not click. Here’s how you can tell: hover (don’t click!) over it with your mouse to reveal the real url – if it looks suspicious, it probably is.
Phishing is a way for a scammer to steal your account credentials, such as your email address, your login ID and your account password. It involves taking a user to a genuine looking, but fake form on a web page and asking you to login into your account. A scammer may take you to a page that looks like the login form of your email provider such as gmail, hotmail, yahoo etc. or to a page that looks like the login form of go4WorldBusiness, paypal or your bank account.
They may even lure you into websites where they ask you to login to see an invoice or catalogue or order details.
Never expose your login credentials at websites unless you verify the identity of the business by looking at the url and confirming that you see “https” at the start of the url.
5 – THEY ENGAGE IN “SQUIRMY” BEHAVIOR
A common scam is that a cyber criminal will pose as a contact you know and trust. After you’ve made a deal with your legitimate contact, the Phisher will send you an email (posing as your contact) informing you of a change in payment terms. If you receive a suspicious request, even if it appears to be from someone you know, pick up the phone and confirm with your contact before proceeding.
6 – THEY DON’T KNOW YOUR NAME
If the message contains a generic salutation (e.g., “Dear Sir” or “Hello Friend”) or features a lot of language copied directly from your own online listing, it’s probably a phish. If a connect is truly interested in starting a business relationship with you, they will take the time to greet you by name and write the message in a way that makes sense.
7 – THEY’RE HUNGRY FOR YOUR INFO
If the sender requests information such as a credit card number or login information, it is, without a doubt, a scam. Legitimate business contacts will request that payments go through an Escrow Service or International Bank. They will never ask for your login info or credit card information.
8 – THEY’RE IN A HURRY
Cyber-cons try to create a sense of urgency as a psychological tactic to persuade you into acting before you realize it is a scam. Don’t fall for it.
9 – THEY ARE INFECTIOUS
If you receive an unsolicited message that contains an attachment, do not download it. Ransomware, a malicious software that holds your data hostage, is becoming a common practice in the business world. Cyber criminals will unleash it on business computers and then threaten to either expose or destroy precious digital assets unless a large payment is made. Even after you pay their ransom, there’s no guarantee they’ll ever return your data. If however, you receive an attachment from a contact you already know and trust, proceed with caution (it’s a good idea to scan it for viruses first).
10 – THEY WANT TO GET YOU ON THE HOOK
Sometimes a clever phisher will resemble a legitimate connection, at first. After a few seemingly normal exchanges, their behavior will gradually get more and more suspicious.
UNFORTUNATELY, THERE ARE MANY PHISH IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS
Be on the lookout for these telltale signs, and you can protect yourself against some of the most common phishing scams. If you encounter even one of these warnings, beware. Most of the time, if it sounds like a phish and looks like a phish, it probably is a phish.
At go4WorldBusiness, we take security seriously. Our rigorous vetting process prevents most ill-intentioned users from interacting on our site, and we’ve implemented built-in security features such as IP location IDs and Community Reporting for added protection. If you receive any suspicious emails through our platform, please click on the “File a complaint” link at the bottom of the email, and we will investigate it right away. Additionally, every business listed on go4WorldBusiness has the link – “File a complaint” that you can use to report a suspicious user to us. While it is ultimately your own responsibility to protect yourself against phishing, we are constantly working to prevent phishers from using our site.