Beware of Cyber Threats and Scammers Exploiting COVID-19
Dan Levenson May 26, 2020
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, illness isn’t the only threat facing many businesses. Cyber threats and scammers are on the rise in the midst of the pandemic, as well. Your emails could pose a source of danger for your business and your employees–but with the right training and the right responses, you can decrease the odds that you will face severe consequences from a cyber attack in the midst of an already difficult time. Keep your business safe by following these key steps.
Verify sender information in email addresses to see that it’s accurate. Beware of misspellings or letter substitutions in email addresses, particularly organization names. It’s easy to skim across the top of an email address and assume that it’s correct, but before assuming that an email comes from exactly who it says it does. PayPal, Amazon, Apple, and other businesses you already have accounts with are popular facades for scammers to hide behind–so make sure you check those emails carefully.
Be suspicious of an email that asks for personal information. The businesses you work with on a regular basis already have access to your login credentials, your financial information, and any sensitive information they need to maintain your account. Avoid simply replying directly to any email asking for that information, especially if it comes from a source that shouldn’t need that information.
Be careful of unsolicited attachments or links. If you don’t know who a link or attachment comes from, don’t open it! This includes files that come through popular sharing sites like Dropbox and Google Drive. Avoid opening files from unfamiliar senders–and if you don’t recognize the attachment that you’re supposed to be receiving, don’t open it!
Be wary if an email contains characteristics that send up red flags. Do you know how to identify potential scam emails? Make sure you’re familiar with these characteristics, which should cause you to reevaluate who an email came from and whether you should take it seriously.
- Emails from a known sender, but with a change of tone or unfamiliar greeting. This could indicate spoofing–and should always trigger a check of the email address directly, rather than just checking the highlighted name of the sender.
- Grammatical or spelling mistakes in an email that claims to come from a professional organization. An occasional error isn’t surprising. Significant grammar mistakes, on the other hand, are–and should be a red flag when it comes to opening your emails.
- Emails with a tone that tries to create a sense of urgency. The sender will try to compel you to bypass any additional levels of verification in order to get a fast response. They may encourage you to act immediately to avoid suspension of an account or claim that you have made an extremely large purchase to get you to react, rather than thinking it through.
Always check directly with an organization if you have questions. Most companies have customer support lines in place that will deal with any queries you have. While it may take longer to get a response during this difficult time, you should be able to get through to the company directly to answer any questions you have about your emails–and to report a spoof if necessary. Do not send your query to the address on the email; rather, contact customer support directly.
Make sure your business is fully protected during this difficult period by training your entire staff about how to handle potential threats and scammers. Some of them may try to exploit COVID-19 directly, citing changes in policies. Others may simply try to take advantage of higher stress and anxiety levels during this time. By preparing yourself, however, you can protect your business and your private information, keeping yourself safer. Want to learn more ways to protect your business, including insurance policies that can help keep you operational even in times of disaster? Contact us today.