A costly scam that lands in your inbox
ATLANTA - Well, folks there is a new scam in town and it reaches you through an email. And it got an Atlanta woman. She spent $2,000 very quickly in what she thought was a legit request from her boss.
Scammers know that when the boss asks you to do something that isn't so unusual, well, you generally do it. After hearing this, you should should always double check because scammers are tracking you and your boss through Linkedin and asking you to buy a very popular gaming gift card.
"Here are the cards that I bought," executive assistant Tisa Pearce said showing us the stack.
She bought 20 popular gaming gift cards at $100 a piece. That's $2,000 out of her own pocket. But she did it because she thought her boss had asked her to.
"That day I was, actually, it was our service day; I was working off of my phone at the event. I got an email from what I thought was our CEO."
It reads, "Tisa, I need some Steam Wallet gift cards. Can you confirm if we can get any today?"
She's an executive assistant, so of course she could. That's her job to get things done, and quickly. And buying gaming gift cards wasn't unusual either.
"It made sense because there was a large event that night," she said. "In January, I planned a conference for our analytics team and it all revolved around gaming."
She did notice that her boss's email was not from the company's email address, but that wasn't odd either. The company had just been bought out. So when another email - presumably from her boss - arrived in her inbox again, she didn't flinch. This time she was asked to scratch off the back of the card to reveal pin codes and send him a picture. She was still in the store parking lot, yes, scratching off the silver backing when her husband called.
"My husband happened to call and said, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'I'm scratching all of these numbers and everything.' He said, "That's a scam."
This time Tisa picked up the phone and called someone at the office. And her fears were realized - no one from the company was making this $2,000 request.
"When I went to our corporate security they said what the scammers do is go into Linkedin and they find the hierarchy of companies. They pick the senior leadership level and they find out who supports them."
And you get an email with a request from your boss. Is she 100 percent sure this is how they knew she worked for her boss? No. But it's a version of an email phishing scam that's coming to inboxes now.
Linkedin is a business and employment service that lists companies, their employees, their job titles, even resumes.
Tisa isn't exactly sure how the scammers found her, but a PR rep with Linkedin told the Fox 5 I-Team they are as much of a target for scams as anybody. Linkedin has a help page with tips for avoiding a phishing scams which include noticing bad grammar, emails that ask you to act immediately, and with any email, don't open an attachment unless you know who it's from.
In the end, the company where Tisa bought her gift cards says it'll refund her $2,000. And from here on out, she will put in a call from her boss next time she's asked to spend money.
"Double, triple check, everything. Yes, even if it's from a good source, check it," she said.