Warning about current scam e-mails


Several attempts of targeted scam via e-mail have been observed over the past few weeks. In those cases directors of different departments have been impersonated to send out e-mails with requests for assistance ("Are you available?"). The necessary information for impersonation as well as the e-mail addresses for the recipients usually have been extracted from public websites. If the recipient answers, the scammers ask the recipient to buy prepaid cards, e.g. Paysafe cards, and promise to reimburse them for the spent amount of money. As soon as the codes for redeeming those prepaid cards are transferred towards the criminals the money will, in most cases, be lost irretrievable since they will be redeemed immediately.

How you can identify such scam e-mails:

  • Always carefully check the sender! Even if the shown name looks correct it often hides a different, external e-mail address, e.g. from GMail.
  • The initial message usually is very short with phrases like "Available?", "Are you available?" or "Can you contact me?".
  • You should get suspicious if someone suddenly requests you to buy prepaid cards or something similar, usually with some urgent explanation, e.g. illness or meetings. Contact the supposed sender for example via telephone to verify the request.
  • If a communication partner usually only sends out digitally signed e-mails a missing digital signature can be a sign for a scam attempt.
To protect your employees from such scams consistent usage of digital signatures is recommended. Further information about e-mail security can be found here.