RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The threat of Russian cyberattacks has had many on edge, especially as tensions continue to rise amid the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Criminals are noticing the attention given to cyberattack awareness and are using fear to prey on people.
Thousands of people around the country are getting emails saying someone from Russia is logging into their account. If you fall for it, they can steal your personal information and create all kinds of identity theft problems for you.
“They’re getting sneakier and sneakier about it,” said Rebecca Goodson.
For her, the sneakiness began with an attempt to scam her with a phony winning lottery notification.
In late March, she received an email saying she’d won $6 million in the Microsoft lottery. In order to pay it off, the email requested a list of personal information including: name, address, monthly income and a copy of her ID card.
Goodson said when she got that email, her first thought was that it was a scam.
However, the scammers weren’t going to give up.
With Russian hacking a hot topic, they began sending Goodson more emails designed to play on her fears.
“I’ve gotten three or four emails claiming to be from the Microsoft security team,” she said. “They said there was unusual sign-in activity on my account and it listed the country Russia/Moscow.”
Those social engineering emails look legit. They ask you to click a link if you aren’t the person signing on from Russia.
“I was a little bit concerned,” she said.
She’s not the only one. Thousands of people are getting these emails, according to the website Threat Post. It said the criminals behind it are using it to steal your personal credentials when you hit a reply button.
The tipoff to this scam is that it doesn’t come from Microsoft.com, but from another email address that is a close approximation of Microsoft’s URL.
Security experts said anyone who replies by clicking the link in the email to ”report” the unauthorized user will receive a request for login details and other personal information.
Some of those phishing attempts may even ask for some sort of payment.
The best thing to do is not to reply and delete the email because once you get in the sights of the hackers, they are relentless.
“I’ve had texts messaged to my phone claiming it’s from my phone,” Goodson said. “It’s getting ridiculous. It makes you even afraid to get on the internet and do anything anymore.”
In Goodson’s case, she told Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia after getting the scam emails she just changed every password she uses for anything she does online.
Fearing her email is compromised, she is also about to get a new email address.
Even with those changes she knows, it will just slow hackers down because they are out there lurking.