Malware-based phishing uses alerts and notifications from known malware companies to fool users into supplying personal information. This can lead to credit card fraud, bank account hacking, and identity theft. Many computer users are ignorant of whether an alert is fake or not, and they may react to pop-ups and other notifications without thinking about their roots.
Most malware phishing scams capitalize on consumer suspicion of viruses and computer crashes. They may send an alert that the computer has a virus or needs an update with its virus protection when it does not. The individual may be directed to supply their credit card information, which will be rerouted to the scammer’s account.
What Is Phishing?
Phishing is a scam by which a susceptible victim willingly gives some personal or financial information to what they think is an official institution the victim already has some connection with.
An example would be the mass emailing that took place in 2003. An email was circulated to many individuals claiming to have originated from eBay and informed the reader that their account would be revoked if they did not click on a link within the email and verify some data. When the reader clicked on the link, they were taken to what seemed to be an authorized eBay page that asked the reader to correct their credit card information.
It turned out that neither the website nor the email was written by eBay but was sent by a crook who used it to gather credit card details. While not all those who received the email fell for the bait, many already had an eBay account and believed it was a legitimate email from eBay.
How Do I Avoid Falling Victim to These “Phishing” Scams?
Here are some tips that will help you avoid falling for scams.
Legitimate companies will never ask you for sensitive financial information via email. If you get an email asking you to do so (even if it looks honest), ignore it. Rather, you may want to review the organization’s official website or email them or call them at an address or phone number you know belongs to the company.
While you are at it, do not transmit any personal financial information via email. Email is not a protected source, and instead, you should give that information through a secured website (like one whose address begins with “HTTPS” instead of just “HTTP”). Be cautious about what data you are giving away, and do not give away any private financial information unless necessary.
Install anti-virus software on your computer and keep it updated. Occasionally “phishers” send software with emails that either damage your computer or track where you go on the Internet without your knowledge.
What Is Fraud?
Fraud is a criminal or illegal act of deception to secure financial gains, such as property or money. Fraud may be both a civil tort and a criminal violation.
This means that an individual who perpetrates fraud may be sued for damages in civil court and tried and sentenced in a criminal court. Whether fraud cases end up in criminal court or civil court hinges upon the party filing the action and the type of act committed.
Another difference between civil fraud cases and criminal fraud cases is that a civil fraud lawsuit demands a plaintiff demonstrate that they suffered actual damages. In contrast, a prosecutor is required only to demonstrate that the defendant intended to and attempted to commit fraud in a criminal case, not actual damages resulting from the criminal act.
When a private person or private party sues another person or entity for damages in court, it is typically due to the perpetrator of fraud either negligently or intentionally misrepresenting a fact that caused the private party damage.
When fraud is charged as a criminal offense, it generally applies to a specific type of fraud, such as:
A state may enact its own criminal law statutes, providing when illegal acts should be classified as fraud. Thus, the elements of proof and the requirements for criminal fraud charges may vary based on the offense committed and the case’s jurisdiction.
Unlike civil lawsuits, a local prosecutor will be the person who files charges against the fraud perpetrator. To get a conviction, a prosecutor will be demanded to establish the elements of fraud beyond a reasonable doubt.
If the defendant is convicted of fraud, they may be directed to serve time incarcerated, pay criminal fines, or be put on probation.
What is Identity Theft?
The U.S. Department of Justice broadly defines “identity theft” as a term that applies to all crimes involving obtaining and using someone else’s data through fraud or deception for their financial gain.
For instance, suppose a person saves their credit card information on their computer, to a web browser, or within a pre-filled form on a website. If a hacker gains access to it and uses it to buy things, this would be deemed an act of identity theft.
What Are Some Examples of Malware-Based Phishing?
Some examples of malware-based phishing techniques include:
- The “FBI Warning” Locked Screen: This usually involves noticing that the FBI has locked your computer due to illegal downloads. The individual will not be able to unfreeze the screen unless they call a number, etc.
- “You Have a Virus”: The individual may be asked to buy more malware to fight the virus. Credit card details are then stolen with no actual purchase taking place.
- “Download this Program”: Likewise, the individual may be asked to download a program or install an update.
In most circumstances, the malware scam will involve some fake purchase to fix a potentially dangerous situation for the computer. In most circumstances, no purchase is made, and rather, the individual’s data or money is stolen and rerouted to an off-site bank account.
How Can I Protect against Malware-Based Phishing Scams?
Be wary of notifications from programs that are not installed on your computer. Your computer will not send update requests if the program is not on your computer. If you’re unsure of a specific pop-up message or notification, you may need to have your equipment looked at by a professional. Don’t disclose your information or credit card numbers to any company or person you aren’t sure of.
You can also report fraud or scams to government agencies or the police. In some circumstances, you may file a lawsuit if a person or organization has directly caused you losses (such as lost business or lost work files on your computer).
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Malware-Based Phishing Scams?
Malware scams can be particularly damaging for individuals and businesses. You may desire to hire a fraud lawyer if you need to report a scam incident or if you need to sue concerning malware scams. Criminal consequences can result from these types of infringements.
A qualified lawyer near you can assist you in filing a claim and can help you obtain damages if this is necessary in your case. Use LegalMatch to find the right lawyer for your malware-based phishing needs today. There is no fee to schedule a consultation with an expert lawyer in your area.