Whenever I visit any of my grandparents I am always inevitably asked to help them with the various tech problems they face. It is a situation I am sure all grandchildren face around the world and most are happy to help.
Yet as the older generation tackles this new technological world there are many obstacles they face. I was alerted of one problem when my grandmother asked me about an email she had been sent about Bitcoin.
Knowing her grandson wrote about it, she opened the email and was then asked to send Bitcoin to an address. I was worried and quickly asked her if she had paid any money. She told me no, thankfully.
A few days later, the topic of email scams or Phishing as it sometimes called, caught my attention again. West Midlands Police in England, the area where my grandmother lives, had put out a warning to its residents about scammers using the Coronavirus to lull the victims in and ask for Bitcoin payments.
It is not just a problem in the UK, according to a report on Phishing from retruster, 90% of all data breaches come from email scams. With this success, a rise in proponents has also been found with attempts growing by 65% and 1.5m new phishing sites created each month.
To a younger eye or a more tech-savvy brain, you might be wondering how could these people fall for the internet fraudsters tricks. However, often these fraudsters prey on our deepest shames and fears.
Take the internet porn scam in the US which saw scammers take almost $1 million in Bitcoin. According to the Fortune report, the scammers would claim to have webcam footage of the victim watching porn and then would blackmail a payment so they wouldn’t send to their contact list.
Scammers don’t even need to hang the prospect of releasing images of you doing x rated things for members of the public to part with their cash. Examples of successful scams include sending you an old password and claiming to have access to all your data.
I have received an email scam, what should I do?
So, what should you do if you receive an email scam? Kloe Burrows from the police forces economic crime unit gave similar advice to which I gave to my Grandmother, saying:
“Our advice is to be mindful of clicking on links in emails or messages, paying for items online from companies you have not researched.”
The experts all seem to agree on one thing. Most likely, even if email’s claim to have lots of personal information and even images of you doing explicit things, the chances are they don’t. Panicking and worrying are useless, and will only lead to a rash decision which could leave you out of pocket. If you are really worried, you can report it to your local police or IT department.