Whaling Scams: Tips To Avoid Whaling Phishing Scams

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A whaling scam, also known as whaling phishing or a whaling phishing scam, is a type of phishing scam that targets high-profile employees, such as the CEO or CFO, in order to steal sensitive information from a company.

The scammer’s goal in many whaling phishing scams is to trick the victim into authorising high-value wire transfers to the scammer. The term “whaling” refers to the size of the scam, and the whales are thought to be chosen based on their position within the company.

Whaling scams are often more difficult to detect and prevent than standard phishing scams due to their highly focused nature.

Security administrators in large enterprises can help reduce the effectiveness of whaling scams by encouraging corporate management staff to receive information security awareness training.

Modus Operandi of Whaling Scams

A whaling scam attempts to trick an individual into disclosing personal or corporate information by using social engineering, email spoofing, and content spoofing techniques.

For example, the scammer may send the victim an email that appears to be from a trusted source; some whaling campaigns include a specially designed malicious website created specifically for the scam.

Whaling scam Emails and websites are highly customised and personalised, with the target’s name, job title, or other relevant information derived from a variety of sources. This level of personalization makes detecting a whaling scam difficult.

Whaling scams often rely on social engineering techniques, as scammers will send hyperlinks or attachments to their victims in order to infect them with malware or solicit sensitive information.

Scammers may use business email compromise (BEC) techniques to induce high-value victims, particularly chief executive officers (CEOs) and other corporate officers, to approve fraudulent wire transfers.

In some cases, the scammer poses as the CEO or other corporate officers in order to persuade employees to make financial transfers.

Because of the potentially high returns, scammers are willing to spend more time and effort developing these cyber-scams.

Scammers frequently use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to gather personal information about their victims in order to make the whaling phishing scam appear more credible.

Ways to Avoid Whaling Scams

Whaling scam require a combination of employee security awareness, data detection policy, and infrastructure. The following are some best practises for preventing whaling:

1. Employee Education

To prevent any type of cybersecurity threat, every employee must accept responsibility for safeguarding the company’s assets. In the case of whaling phishing, all employees must be trained on how to recognise these scams.

Although high-level executives are the intended targets, lower-level employees may indirectly expose an executive to a scaM due to a security lapse. Employees should be aware of social engineering tactics, such as fake email addresses that look similar to trusted email addresses.

2. Social Media Education

Make high-level executives aware of the potential role of social media in enabling a whaling breach as an extension of employee awareness. Social media platforms contain a wealth of information that cybercriminals can use to create social engineering scam such as whale phishing.

Executives can restrict access to this information by enforcing privacy settings on their personal social media accounts. CEOs are frequently visible on social media in ways that reveal behavioural information that criminals can imitate and exploit.

3. Anti-phishing Tools

To help prevent whaling and other phishing scam, many vendors provide anti-phishing software and managed security services.

Social engineering tactics, on the other hand, remain popular because they capitalise on human error, which exists with or without cybersecurity technology.

4. Data Security Policies

Implement data security policies to ensure that emails and files are monitored for unusual network activity. To decrease the likelihood of a breach occurring at the last line of defence, these policies should provide a layered defence against whale phishing and phishing in general.

One such policy could involve automatically monitoring emails for indicators of phishing Scams and blocking those emails from reaching potential victims.

5. Multi Step Verification

Before allowing wire transfers or access to confidential or sensitive data, all requests should go through several levels of verification. To identify potentially malicious traffic, scan all emails and attachments from outside the organisation for malware, viruses, and other issues.


A notable whaling scam occurred in 2016 when a high-ranking Snapchat employee received an email from a scammer posing as the CEO. The employee was duped into giving the scammer employee payroll information; the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) eventually investigated the attack.

An attempted or successful whaling scam should be immediately reported to a number of people.

Victims should immediately notify their employer and its IT department so that action can be taken to prevent further scams or to stop attackers from causing further damage.

Whaling Scams can be reported to a variety of government agencies and organisations dedicated to preventing and investigating various other scams. A few examples are provided below.

PlaceContactAddress and EmailWebsite


ACP, Cyber Crime Cell, Commissioner office Campus Egmore, Chennai- 600008
E-mail id: s.balu@nic.in
For Rest of Tamil Nadu,
Address: Cyber Crime Cell, CB, CID, Chennai
E-mail id: cbcyber@tn.nic.in


Cyber Crime Police Station, C.O.D Headquarters, Carlton House, No. 1, Palace Road, Bangalore-1
Check here

+91-040-2324 0663
+91-040-2785 2274
+91-040-2785 2040
+91-040-2329 7474 (Fax)

Cyber Crime Police Station, Crime Investigation Department, 3rd Floor, D.G.P. office, Lakdikapool, Hyderabad–4

CBI Cyber Crime Cell:, Superintendent of Police, Cyber Crime Investigation Cell, Central Bureau of Investigation,
5th Floor, Block No.3, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi – 110003
Uttar Pradesh
094544 57953

Sri Balmiki Marg, Inside Hazratganj Police Station, DM Compound Colony, Hazratganj, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226001
Email ID: NA
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