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Email Phishing attempts targeting small businesses are on the rise.

In today's digital age, small businesses are increasingly becoming targets for phishing attempts via email. These deceptive practices are designed to trick individuals into providing sensitive information or making unauthorized payments. It's crucial for small business owners and their employees to be aware of these schemes to protect their assets and sensitive data and to have a back-office support team with a trained eye for these tactics. Here are some red flags to watch out for:

Sudden Changes in Payment Instructions

Be cautious if a customer or another party suddenly asks you to change where you send payment. Fraudsters may pose as familiar contacts to redirect payments to their accounts. Always verify such requests through a secondary communication channel.

Urgent Calls to Action or Out-of-Character Threats

Phishing emails often contain urgent calls to action or threats. These messages may claim to be from a provider or entity you have never dealt with before or are not in regular contact with. If you receive an email that pressures you to act quickly or makes threats, take a step back and assess its legitimacy.

Poor Spelling and Grammar

While it's true that not everyone has perfect writing skills, a sudden drop in the quality of spelling and grammar from a known contact should raise suspicion. Scammers may not pay close attention to these details, making it a telltale sign of a phishing attempt.

Generic Greetings

If you have an established relationship with a contact or client, receiving an email with a generic greeting can be a red flag. Phishers often use generic phrases like "Dear customer" because they're sending the same email to multiple targets.

Unusual Requests for Communication

Be wary of emails requesting you to communicate through WhatsApp or another messaging service you’ve never used with that client before. Scammers try to move conversations to platforms where it's harder to trace their activity.

Mismatched Email Domains

This is a big one. Pay close attention to the sender's email domain. If you're used to receiving emails from a specific domain and it suddenly switches, this could be an attempt to impersonate a legitimate contact. Always double-check the email address for any discrepancies.

Stay Vigilant and Protect Your Business

By being aware of these signs, small business owners and their back office support teams can better protect themselves from falling victim to phishing attempts. Together, we can thwart the efforts of scammers and keep our businesses safe.

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