Selfies aren’t just for legitimate websites with a good reputation. Beautiful photos are also of particular interest to phishers. Next, it will be explained to you how the scam works and why criminals are using it more and more, why they chase you with an ID in the first place and how to avoid possible baits.
A common business scenario today begins with an email from a bank, payment system or social network asking you to confirm your identity as part of “additional security measures” (or for any other reason).
The attached link will take you to a page with a form where you will be asked to provide an account, payment card, address, phone number or other information, and also to upload a selfie with your ID or other document. At this point, you should ask yourself if it’s really a good idea to upload your selfie with an ID!
This is why selfies are popular with fraudsters. As already mentioned, some online services require a photo ID upon registration. However, if such a selfie falls into the hands of fraudsters, they can create accounts in your name, for example, on crypto exchanges and thus launder money in your name.
On the black market, your selfie with an ID is worth much more than just your ID photo. Once scammers get the coveted photo, they can sell it for a profit, and buyers can abuse your name at will.
Signs of online fraud
Fortunately, online fraud is rarely the domain of meticulous types who perfect every little detail. So a close examination of the phishing email as well as the website the link leads to almost always reveals many suspicious elements.
Grammatical and spelling mistakes
Most likely, neither the e-mails nor the input forms are characterized by their artistic prose. Are official websites and e-mails from reputable companies often marred by grammatical and spelling errors?
These messages often come from addresses registered with free email services or companies that have absolutely nothing to do with the company mentioned in the email.
Mismatched domain names
Even if the sender’s address looks legitimate, the website where the phishing form is hosted is likely to be associated with a wrong or unrelated domain. In some cases the address may be very similar, in others it may be completely different. The image shows a purported LinkedIn message inviting users to upload a photo to Dropbox.
Pressure to act
The authors of these emails often try to pressure the recipient, for example by claiming that the link will expire in 24 hours.
Scammers often and willingly use this scam, as the wrong pressure to act leads many people to act without thinking.
Ask for information you have already provided
Be especially careful if you have already provided at least some of the information requested (such as your email address or phone number) when you signed up.
If the email is from a bank, remember that your identity was already confirmed when you opened the account. Why should you reconfirm this as part of the “additional security measures”?
Demand rather than supply
Many resources offer advanced features that you can unlock in exchange for information about yourself, but these are requested through your personal account on the site, not via email.
Generally, this is an offer you can decline if you wish. However, in the form that opens via the link in some fraudulent emails, there is only one button and therefore only one option.
No information on the official website
You may have already had to confirm your identity once for a resource you have been using for a long time. However, this is the exception and not the rule. Transaction details should be available on the official website of the service and should be easy to google.
Do not reveal your identity with your ID card
To prevent fraudsters from stealing your identity, you need to be especially vigilant about claims involving important data and documents.
- Beware of identity verification requests for services you have been using for a long time. If in doubt, check the company’s official website first for information.
- Pay attention to the quality of the message text. Remember that grammatical and spelling mistakes, missing words, etc. are rare in authentic business communications.
- Check the origin of the message. Companies send emails through official domains and exceptions are explained with 100% certainty on their websites. Surveys, registration forms and other official sites are usually cited in official resources as well. Any restrictions or conditions, such as a tight deadline for submitting information, should set off alarm bells. Better to miss a phony deadline than to send your data to cybercriminals.
- When in doubt, call customer service. However, don’t use the phone number listed in the email, but look for it on the official website.
- Use a reliable AV program that can protect you from phishing and online fraud.