A scammer recently gained access to a local bank account, according to the police’s Financial Crime Unit, and stole money from a woman in the United Kingdom using an email scam.
The scam, called a “phishing” attack, emulates an email from the bank and directs the reader to clink on a link. Email phishing is one of the most common forms of hacking, and many banks in Cayman have been subject to attempted email scams.
Police said in a statement that the woman “received an email purportedly from the local bank stating that the client’s account had been logged into from an unusual location outside the Cayman Islands. Instructions were given and a link provided for the client to log in to secure the account.”
CIBC FirstCaribbean managing director Mark McIntyre, who also serves as president of the Cayman Islands Bankers Association, said in a statement last year. “Cybercriminals can be very persistent and we have seen some quite creative efforts in developing all sorts of different schemes to trick recipients into believing their email is from a legitimate source.”
According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, about 90 percent of hacker attacks come through email.
“These days it really does pay to be cautious when on the Internet and to ‘think before you click,’ to protect yourself from phishing attacks. That’s what I think the community really needs to understand,” Mr. McIntyre said.
Last week, researchers with the U.S. cybersecurity firm Symantec found a new scam involving emails purporting to offer cheaper access to Netflix.
Targets are enticed into downloading a fake version of the Netflix software, and meanwhile the site secretly installs software designed to steal banking information.
A separate version asks people to create a Netflix account and asks for their personal information and credit card details.
Phishing on the rise
Late last year, the Financial Crime Unit warned up an increase of phishing emails directed at clients of Cayman banks.
“The public should be suspicious of any banking instructions received over email purporting to be from banking institutions. The FCU has seen an increase in wire transfers and other banking activity as of late initiated on the basis of fraudulent instructions,” the police said in a December advisory.
The Financial Crime Unit said people should always call their bank to verify emails, and should never send personal financial information by email.