Imagine you’re going about your day when suddenly you receive a text from the CEO.
The head of the company is asking for your help. They’re out doing customer visits and someone else dropped the ball in providing gift cards.
The CEO needs you to buy six $200 gift cards and text the information right away.
The CEO promises to reimburse you before the end of the day. Oh, and by the way, you won’t be able to reach them by phone for the next two hours because they’ll be in meetings. One last thing, this is a high priority. They need those gift cards urgently.
Would this kind of request make you pause and wonder? Or would you quickly pull out your credit card to do as the message asked?
A surprising number of employees fall for this gift card scam. There are also many variations. Such as your boss being stuck without gas or some other dire situation that only you can help with.
Without proper training, 32.4% of employees are prone to fall for a phishing scam.
Variations of this scam are prevalent and can lead to significant financial losses, both personally and in the business.
In one example, a woman from Palos Hills, Illinois lost over $6,000 after getting an email request from who she thought was her company’s CEO about purchasing gift cards for the staff.
3 Tips for avoiding costly phishing scams
1. Always Double Check Unusual Requests
Despite what a message might say about being unreachable, check in person or by phone anyhow. If you receive any unusual requests, especially relating to money, verify them. Contact the sender through other means to make sure it’s legitimate.
2. Don’t React Emotionally
Scammers often try to get victims to act before they have time to think. Just a few minutes of sitting back and looking at a message objectively is often all that’s needed to realize it’s a scam.
Don’t react emotionally, instead ask if this seems real or is it out of the ordinary.
3. Get a Second Opinion
Ask a colleague, or better yet, your company’s IT Service Provider, to take look at the message. Getting a second opinion keeps you from reacting right away. It can save you from making a very costly judgment error and only takes a few extra minutes.
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