Utah Businesses: Common Types of Phishing Scams and How to Avoid | First Utah Bank

Business Credit Card

Merchant Services

Hub Access


Utah Businesses: Common Types of Phishing Scams and How to Avoid

In the world of business email, it’s always a good idea to be on your guard. That email you get from your department VP asking for serial numbers to purchase cards or that vendor who sends you an invoice with an updated mailing address may be scammers.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently shared some information that can be valuable to business owners in the Beehive State. The FBI gives details on their website about the ways cyber criminals perpetrate Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams, ways to protect your business from these threats and how to report if you’ve been the victim of an online scam.

When it comes to making electronic payments secure, First Utah Bank can provide merchant services that provide the latest technology and offer convenience to those who use your business, as well as for your own money management.

What to watch out for with email scams

The cyber criminal who attempts a BEC scan can use three distinct methods, according to the FBI. The first is do what is called spoofing, where an existing email address – such as markriley@fakecompany.com – is slightly changed to something else – such as marcriley@fakecompany.com – in order to trick the email receiver into thinking it is from an authentic source.

There’s also spearphishing emails. According to the FBI’s page, “these messages look like they’re from a trusted sender to trick victims into revealing confidential information. That information lets criminals access company accounts, calendars, and data that gives them the details they need to carry out the BEC schemes.”

Lastly, there is the use of malware which can go into a company’s network and find access to its email threads about financial matters such as invoicing or billing. “That information is used to time requests or send messages so accountants or financial officers don’t question payment requests,” the FBI page explains. “Malware also lets criminals gain undetected access to a victim’s data, including passwords and financial account information.”

The FBI also provides tips on how to act fast when it comes to identifying a BEC scam. They suggest that you:

  • Contact your bank or financial provider at once to contact the financial institution where the transfer was sent
  • Contact your local FBI office to report the crime. The FBI has a link to field offices across the country.
  • File a complaint about the scam with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, also known as IC3.

Preventative measures you can take to prevent fraud

There are several things that you can do specifically to make it difficult for cyber criminals to take advantage of your business in this way. Among those techniques are these recommended by the FBI on their page:

  • Watch what you place on your social media. Sharing items such as pet names, links to family members, and birthday info can give scammers ammunition to try and guess your passwords or security questions.
  • Never click on links in unsolicited emails or text messages if they ask you to verify account info. “Look up the company’s phone number on your own and don’t use the one a potential scammer is providing,” the FBI suggests, “and call the company to ask if the request is legitimate.”
  • Always look to make sure the URL, spelling used and email addresses are ones that you trust. Any differences might denote a scammer.
  • Never open email attachments from unsolicited emails or texts or if the attachment is forwarded to you.
  • It’s best to have multi-factor authentication for accounts and to always have it enabled.
  • For purchase requests or payments, always verify in person if you can, calling to make sure it is a real request. “You should verify any change in account number or payment procedures with the person making the request,” the FBI writes.
  • Lastly, check for urgency – if they are asking for you to act fast, it may be a scam.

Merchant services offer Utah businesses better money management

It’s an essential part of running your own business to best use the technology that’s out there. For merchant services, First Utah Bank and our partner, Select Bankcard – another business from Utah – allows you to accept electronic payments from the internet or mobile as well as at retail locations.

Having a merchant account can lead to some excellent benefits for businesses, including providing customers with convenient, flexible ways to pay for your goods and services. Accepting cards through online means also can streamline transactions for your business, allowing for better cash flow forecasting and management. There are also less instances of bad checks, avoiding the expenses and inconvenience that occur when a check bounces.

For location shopping, there’s also Clover Station, a system for accepting electronic payments with a fast-as-lightning processor, end-to-end encryption and data tokenization, and acceptance of chip, mag stripe or contact-less payment methods.

Learn more about merchant services and how they can help strengthen you business at our merchant services website.