The latest bout of scam emails is using public social media friend and contact lists to send out fraudulent messages.
These emails — usually containing what appears to be an invoice — are being sent by robots using names of people and local organizations familiar to the receiver.
Les Parker, a spokesperson with the Regina Police Service (RPS), said the RPS’ fraud unit is aware of these phishing emails.
Oftentimes, he said, these scammers — generally from out of country — have bots phishing for personal information, like credit card numbers, with an intent to steal it.
“Without even hacking into anything, because these are publicly available lists, (names) get collected and then the scammers’ machines will make attempts,” Parker explained, adding, typically, thousands of these fraudulent emails are sent out at once.
As a way to prevent being targeted, Parker suggests making certain lists, such as Facebook friends, private, rather than public.
“If there’s any way for (scammers) to get ahold of your contact information, then they have a list of names, and even perhaps emails, that look legit.”
Scammers also using fake e-transfer text messages
While some people are receiving fraudulent invoice emails, others are getting fake direct deposit text messages.
These texts normally imply a bill has been overpaid and directs people to click a link to an e-transfer. The link then takes the receiver to a very real-looking direct deposit website, which goes on to ask them to log in to their online bank account.
Anyone who’s received a fraudulent email or text message is asked to contact Regina police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.