Hacker lowering a fishing rod over a person reading a payroll letter

Phishing alert – Hackers target home workers by masquerading as payroll department

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Social engineers are stealing users personal information in a recent wave of payroll-based phishing emails.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations worldwide are struggling to stay afloat, employees have been furloughed or let go by the tens of thousands and the tension surrounding job security is palpable.

As usual, scammers see this as a golden opportunity to steal from victims whose minds are otherwise engaged. The fears over job losses and reduced income create an ideal mindset for hackers to exploit, a rather “kicking one while one is down” scenario.

The phishing campaign in question purports to come from the victim’s payroll department, arriving with the subject line “COVID-19/MAY PAYROLL BENEFITS”. It urges users to update their personal information for a “new payroll directory”, directing them to a fake landing page which simply steals their information.

The campaign was discovered by UK fraud prevention experts Cifas, who have issued warnings to end-users surrounding the fraudulent campaign.

Unfortunately, it isn’t the first time a campaign like this has been used to great effect, in fact, it’s not the first time this exact email has been used to steal information.

As you can see below, an email asking for the exact same information was used only last month in a similar campaign to harvest personal information:

The same email theme was used throughout last month in order to steal user information.

We urge all readers to remain vigilant during this period, scammers are working much harder than ever to capitalise on the vulnerabilities brought about by the global pandemic.

Don’t allow yourself or your users to become victims, at Phishing Tackle, we’ve created several free tools to build cyber awareness. The most popular of which is our Free Click-Prone® Test, which reveals how many of your users are currently susceptible to falling for a phishing attack.

Remember, the user knowledge is still the strongest form of defence, use this time wisely, train your users and make your organisation stronger than it’s ever been.