Communicating safely with email

In recent times email scams have become prolific, and email isn’t as secure as you may think.

How often do you stop and consider that a criminal could be lurking in your inbox?

Email communication is the preferred choice of most companies and clients. Email gives anyone with a secure internet connection an easy way of contacting anyone at any time, and usually for free. Unfortunately, these benefits also extend to the cyber criminals who can quickly and easily contact their targets.

Email is considered one of the largest contributors to breaches of personal information. For every story that you hear about home buyers being swindled out of their deposit or sellers not receiving their settlement funds, there are many near-misses that don’t make the headlines.

How email incidents happen.

Email is designed to be highly accessible. You can log in from any device or web browser. However, this also means that anyone can guess, crack, or steal your password, potentially login to your email and send and receive messages on your behalf.

Short, common, guessable, or reused passwords are commonly exploited by criminals to steal personal information or tamper with payment requests.

In many cases, fraudsters will register a domain name similar to a genuine domain name in a bid to try and trick victims into thinking the emails are legitimate.

A percentage of the billions of emails sent each day are malicious “phishing” emails containing malware, spyware, or links to credential harvesting websites. Victims who mistakenly open attachments, download malware or enter credentials into malicious websites give the criminals the opportunity to access their inbox.

Locking down your inbox.

There are some simple steps you can take to make your communications more secure:

  1. Set up multifactor authentication (MFA) for your email account. MFA ensures no one else can log into your email account by sending a code to an app on your phone.
  2. Develop a level of healthy skepticism about email. Criminals try to trick you into clicking on content in an email. Navigate to websites rather than using links. Examine email addresses for any slight anomalies.
  3. Mitigate the risks of email fraud by calling suppliers and clients to verify bank account details. Look up the phone number rather than relying on the details in the email.
  4. Delete sensitive information from your inbox when it’s no longer needed and investigate other options of sharing sensitive data rather than putting all your faith in email.

The Conveyancing Industry has adopted the policy of not sharing bank account details over email. If you receive a request to share bank account details from a Conveyancer, please check with them on the phone immediately before making any transfers.