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Recently, Town Staff obtained emails that had been sent to several current and former Town Officials by someone pretending to be the Mayor and requesting wire transfers or gift cards (pictured). These are fraudulent phishing emails that are designed by hackers to appear as high-ranking officials or staff members by "spoofing" their names or email addresses. They may also contain malicious attachments that can download malware or viruses to computers when clicked on.
Phishing: The fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.
Spoofing: The act of disguising a communication from an unknown source as being from a known, trusted source. Spoofing can apply to emails, phone calls, and websites,
These phishing attempts have occurred irregularly over the past several years and the best defense against them is user education. The emails usually have things that give them away as being fraudulent, such as improper grammar, strange requests and unfamiliar response emails. Attachments will usually say something innocuous like "Recent Bill" or "Invoice" but can contain viruses. If you were not expecting anything from that person, it’s best to contact the sender directly to verify they sent the email. Also avoid clicking links in emails whenever possible, it’s safer to go to the site yourself in a browser.
This following article gives examples of typical phishing attacks to help identify them: https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-online-scams-phishing-email-examples.html