June 16, 2024

Illustration: Sarayut Thaneerat (Getty Images)

Deceptive activities, such as telephone and email scamming, AI imitations, as well as counterfeit advertisements, are all too common nowadays.

Scammers misled people in the U.S. into losing an astonishing $10 billion in 2023 alone, as estimated by The Federal Trade Commission. The most prevalent deception technique were imposter scams, responsible for $2.7 billion in losses. Imposter scams involve fraudsters posing as a credible individual or organization, such as a bank representative, a government official, or a family member, or even a famous business.

Email phishing scammers often feign affiliation with notable corporations to trick their victims, using false email addresses and counterfeit company logos. Seven such companies were most commonly abused by scammers in 2023, as revealed in a study by the cybersecurity company Proofpoint.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are “imposter” scams?

Imposter scams refer to a type of fraud where the scammer poses as a trusted individual or organization in order to trick their target. The scammer might pretend to be a bank representative, a government official, a family member, or a famous business, among others. The aim is to manipulate their victims into surrendering sensitive information or money.

How do phishing scammers impersonate companies?

Phishing scammers often pretend to be a part of a well-known corporation. They do this by using counterfeit email addresses, fake company logos, and often, a tone that convinces the victim of their legitimacy. By doing this, they trick their targets into believing that they are communicating with the actual company.

What was the critical study by Proofpoint?

Proofpoint – a cybersecurity firm – conducted a study to identify the most impersonated companies in phishing scams. According to their 2023 report, seven specific companies were most commonly abused by scammers to dupe their victims.