Scammers have long used Hotmail, Yahoo, Yandex email accounts and those of many other email providers. But seldom used Gmail as it is more difficult to create Gmail accounts.
However, people trust Gmail more so the scammers are now creating and using more Gmail accounts.
- You receive an email from someone you know and open it.
- It contains a message and an attached file. As you know the person who sent the message you open the attached file without thinking.
- When you click the attachment, you are redirected to what seems to be the Gmail sign-in page and you enter your login and password.
- The result is not what you expect. You have in fact given your login and password to a scammer on a fake webpage made to look like a Gmail login screen.
- The attachment that is sent isn’t actually an attachment; it is just an image of an attachment which links to a fake Gmail sign in page. When you enter your Gmail login details, it sends them to the scammer and she has instant access to your email account.
- As the scammers can access your account, they can send emails that appear to be from you and hence it’s easier for them to convince people who know you to pass on confidential information. And the cycle continues with more people being targeted.
There’s a lot a scammer can do with your email address as most websites use it as an ID. A scammer may try your login and password on numerous websites in the hope of gaining access in your name and hence be able to buy products and you get the bills etc.
Most websites have a ‘forgotten password’ feature so if the scammer uses that they can get the ‘reset password’ message and get hence change your password. Getting access to your own account then becomes seriously difficult.
How to avoid the Gmail Phishing scam:
- Stay cautious and if not sure of an email then do not open it or any attachment
- Do not click on links in emails
- Beware of messages claiming to be from friends but that seem odd
- Beware of any messages claiming to be from Google about your account
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