Emily Valla of the Idaho Statesman recently wrote an article indicating that scammers are now targeting Quickbooks users. Some of the newer scams have become particularly deceptive, appearing to come from your bank, or the IRS, or some trusted nonprofit.
The Better Business Bureau has reported that this particular phishing scam starts with an email that appears to be from Intuit or from Quickbooks. While the email is sent to individuals as well, the targets are those small business owners using Quickbooks, who are more apt to assume that the email is legitimate. This email indicates that it is confirming that the business owner has changed the name of the business with Intuit. If the business owner did not make a name change, which is typically the case, the email comes with a convenient “cancel” button that can be clicked. However, by clicking that “cancel” button, the unwary business owner will be downloading malware and viruses. That rogue software will look for key passwords and sensitive personal information, with the goal being identity theft.
The scammers are getting more and more deceptive. As a rule, remember the following:
- Never open an email if you don’t know the sender.
- Never respond to a request for information that you did not initiate.
- Be very wary of clicking on any links or attachments unless you know the email is legitimate.
- Permanently delete any suspicious emails, before opening the email and certainly before opening any links or attachments.
- Use up-to-date malware and virus software.
Ms. Valla also provides some other tips, such as:
- Look carefully at the reply email address of the sender. The address should always show the company’s name, followed by .com (like abxcompany.com). Scammers often use generic addresses from free email providers.
- Before clicking, hover the cursor over the link to see its destination. You’ll want to see that the destination is pointing to a link with a correct domain name. For instance, if the email is from Intuit, the link should show “intuit.com”, and not some disguised fake site like “intuit.endgame.com”.
- If the organization normally contacts you by mail or by phone, be on alert to an email. Respond to any concern you might have by phone or mail. Think of all the warnings we have provided about the IRS phishing scams and phone scams; the IRS will virtually never contact someone by phone or email for the first time.
- If you’ve not done business with the company sending the email, delete it immediately.
- Scammers are really, really good at disguising their emails, and will use logos and verbiage that look and sound perfectly fine. If you get one of these, go through the previous steps listed to make sure it’s legitimate before responding.
- Regularly alert other members of your business about proper protocol in these cases. Pull your staff together and discuss this issue. Everyone should know immediately what to do if a breach is suspected.
Please keep these tips in mind. If you’ve ever been through an identity theft, know someone who has, or counseled someone who has, you know that it is an arduous and time-consuming process.