Colorado Springs

SCAMBUSTER: Hackers use phishing emails to impersonate employees

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A new phishing email scam is circulating - targeting small businesses. The idea is scammers will impersonate people to get access to financial information.

What does the hacker term 'phishing' mean?

It describes how scammers convince their victims to reveal personal information so they can sell it to other hackers.

Scammers will do their research. When they pick their victims - they often know a lot about them. So it's important to look out for specific clues that will identify if the email sender is legitimate.

Arlene's story

Arlene Lanman started her summer with a bucket list - and the first on her 'to do list' was to sort through all of her emails.

"It's very difficult reading these emails, trying to figure out what is real and what is fake," she said.

Lanman ran into this problem last week.

"I received an email from my accountant. His office said immediately I needed to make a payment that I would need to wire this money to him before it was delinquent."

At first thought - the message seemed legit, complete with a similar email address as her accountant.

"I went back to check and sure enough it was his name, his logo, his address, and everything on his letterhead," said Lanman. "Except I did notice a misspelling."

Det. Jon Price with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office reports an increase in this type of fraud in our county.

"The way this happens is the suspect does a lot of research into the company and the different people filling each position," he said. "That means they know how the company works and who pays the bills."

Price worked on another case recently where the scammer copied a similar email address of a local pastor.

"An administrator received an email from someone who she believed was her boss and she sent off a wire transfer at his request," he said. "But of course it wasn't really him requesting it."

What to look for?

The mistakes can be easy to overlook - it could just be an extra letter, an extra slash, or even a typo. If you get an odd email - go back to verify it just to be sure.

Do you have a scam you'd like us to investigate?

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