This is the first time I have ever been pulled into a Cyber Scam, and should serve as a warning to all businesses that scammers are using more and more targeted ‘Spear Phishing’ techniques to rip off companies.
I received a phone call this morning from a major tech company PR department that went like this (names of tech company and person withheld and it is not relevant anyway) –
Tech Company – “Charlie, we received an email from you asking to review a ‘Blah’ device, is that correct”
Me – “No”
Tech Company – “Oh, that is weird the email came from a gmail account, saying ‘Hi, I am Charlie Brown and want to review a ‘blah’ for my Life and Technology.com.au Blog’, so that wasn’t you or someone in your team?”
Me – “No, but that is a bloody good scam! And this is the first time I have ever been targeted in one!”
Me – “What it sounds like is this………”
And the conversation went on.
What is clear is this. A scammer has read my blog, noted I review lots of gadgets and then contacted the Australian PR department of a major tech company (don’t ask me who it is, as I won’t disclose and it is not relevant) and pretended to be me, asking for a product to review. I doubt they intend to return the item when finished!!
How clever is that? The product requested was not an item I have reviewed yet, it was released about a month ago and was of a high value (about $3000 rrp). All tell-tale signs of a smart scammer thinking about the scam and targeting it to the individual, being me.
And, the only thing that twigged the red flag of the tech company was that the email came from a Gmail account. It also helped that I had only just been speaking to this tech company last week and had not mentioned the upcoming review interest.
My directive to the tech company was that they need to be very careful, because this is a total scam. They needed to update their processes to reflect this new threat.