A Word of Caution about Spoofing

Spoofing is a scamming technique that has been around for ages. The scammer presents himself/herself as the representative of a legitimate firm in order to earn a potential victim's trust. In the pre-digital world the "spoofer" would do things like have business cards and letterheads printed up bearing the logo and information of a legitimate company. The spoofer would then concoct a tale as to why he is not to be contacted there (e.g. he is always out of the office or always on travel, etc.). In the age of computers this deception is even easier to carry out. The spoofer can cut and paste images from the a legitimate firm's website and create authentic looking emails. These emails might even bear a return email address that really belongs to the legitimate company - but the potential victim is then "guided" to not actually send his communications to the legitimate address. He might be told that the email is automated and he should not reply there but instead call/instant message the scammer directly; or he might be instructed to use a reply form that actually re-directs to the scammer's personal email address.

The technique can be implemented quite successfully by a skillful scammer because after earning the victim's trust, all subsequent communication can be contained between scammer and victim, with no one else aware that a deception is ongoing, least of all the legitimate company whose name and goodwill is being misused.

Fortunately, there are a few easy ways one can protect oneself from falling victim to this deception:

1) Compose an email to the company from scratch and manually type in the company's email address in the recipient's box; this way, the legitimate company will really receive your email and sense that something is wrong (since there is no such person working for them).


2) Pick up a telephone and call the company to ascertain the identity of the person one has received electronic communication from.

Protect yourself and your hard-earned funds at all times. Better safe than sorry.