Don’t jump to say yes if you receive the message ‘Important incoming email from HR, do the needful’ on your Android phone.

A Trojan could be lurking behind this message that will redirect you to a fake job offer posted on a Web site.

Internet security firms in India have found a new trend where cyber criminals send fake job offers, with salary break-ups, through email and through Android apps (applications). Once you accept this so-called offer, they will follow the regular procedure – a phone conversation and a slot for an interview – to make you buy the story.

McAfee has identified such fake offers being sent in the names of Tata, Barclays Bank India and Maruti Suzuki to job seekers, some of whom have fallen for this trick.

Smaller cities

“This is a newer avatar of an old trick the cyber criminals play. It is called social engineering scam. They lure and convince the targets by sending them a job offer or a lottery announcement. It resembles the classic Nigerian online fraud,” Vinoo Thomas, Product Manager at McAfee, told Business Line.

“The growing population of users adopting the Internet – particularly first-time users from smaller cities – are a lucrative target, as it helps the attackers take advantage of the aspirations of emerging India,” Shantanu Ghosh, Vice-President and Managing Director (India Product Operations) of IT security solutions firm Symantec, points out.

Safety measures

But how can one avoid falling prey?

“You should not respond to unsolicited email. Don’t even try to unsubscribe from spammy mailing lists as it tells the attackers that your digital identity is alive. You should keep your general-use email ID separate from the one you use for your online shopping or banking accounts,” he said.

A simple Googling (of the sender’s address) too would help. It would lead you to fellow victims who have already poured out their woes somewhere.

Identifying bogus mail

It, however, is not all that difficult to identify the scam offers. “At some point of time, the fraudsters will demand processing fee, document processing fee, and money to support your hotel stay or travel expenses. This is the moment of truth,” Govind Rammurthy, Managing Director and Chief Executive officer of eScan, cautions.

Always verify before any action is taken, preferably through an offline source such as a company hotline, Amit Nath, Country Manager (India and SAARC) of Trend Micro, advises.

(This article was published on March 15, 2013)
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