Most people who access the Internet these days use some form of email for communication. For those that don’t have business email accounts, a free email service might be used. This is also true for those who don’t wish private emails sent to their place of work. This is a very wise decision. Corporate policy usually forbids personal emails out of fear of virus attachments. Other jobs don’t want employees wasting time with personal endeavors when they’re supposed to be working. Also, business executives may not wish company IT technicians to access their personal communications.
In any case, anonymous free email accounts with Hotmail, Google, Yahoo or other services are very popular. So much so, that many of us have come to depend on them for a number of different functions.
A free email account, such as Gmail from Google, can be used for more than just personal mail communication. Many people rely on these accounts for the transmission of personal and financial information. For example, an individual who does a lot of business online with Ebay may have their PayPal account directly linked to their free Gmail account.
Personal documents may also be transferred through an account, such as Gmail. Sensitive information is often received in like manner. Is it possible to compromise a victim’s Gmail account and impersonate their identity? You bet it is!
When access to your free email account has been compromised, the damage is variable. Most of the potential harm has to do with how much you rely on that particular email account. For example, if you depend heavily on your Gmail account, then the damage can include:
• Access to all of your personal and business messages
• Potential access to your online passwords
• Spam distribution in your name
• Virus distribution in your name
• Malware programs that appear to come from you
There has been a recent proliferation of Gmail account attacks through the use of fraudulent emails. The attack is initiated when the victim receives an email that begins with wording that, in effect, warms of an impending Gmail account suspension. This wording is designed to elicit the fear that your vital email tool is now in jeopardy. This is the most basic tactic of an identity thief. The use of fear of loss is extremely common in these types of identity scams. The second tactic is a sense of urgency. In other words, “Do as we say NOW – or you will lose something valuable.”
The body of the email is designed to look authentic. All logos and formatting will be stolen from the legitimate Gmail site. Here is an example of the current fraudulent emails. Remember, the goal is to obtain the victim’s username and password.
Dear Gmail Account Holder,This email is being sent as a courtesy from the Gmail Customer Care Support Center. Due to a recent email congestion situation involving anonymous accounts, we are forced to shut down a number of active accounts. You account has been listed for immediate shut down and deletion. This email has been sent for you to verify that you are still accessing this account.
If you are still interested in maintaining your Gmail account, please take a few moments to verify the following information in the spaces provided below:
• Your full name
• Your Username
• Your Password
• Your Date of Birth
• Your Country of Residence
Verification of this information is necessary to determine the validity of your account. Failure to respond to this notice will result in the suspension and subsequent termination of your Gmail account for security purposes. Upon following the above instructions for verification, your Gmail account will continue with no interruption. Thank you for your attention to this matter and we apologize for any inconvenience.
Warning!! Account owners that refuse to update their accounts after 5 days of receipt of this notification will be subject to permanent removal of their Gmail account. Warning Code: USF59MR2
Gmail Online Support Team
The best way to deal with emails of this type is to simply ignore them. You can also contact Google through their legitimate website and ask questions regarding any suspicious emails.