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Settle the Score With COVID-19 Cyber Scams

July 9, 2020

4 min read

Don’t let COVID-19 cyber scams throw your business off track.

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How’s the return to work plan going for your business? Does it feel like you’re solving five Rubik’s cubes at once?

Once you think you have everything figured out, there’s a new wrinkle to consider.

That’s the way it’s been going with COVID-19 cyber scams. You swear you’re up to speed, then another scheme pops up.

Use this info on COVID-19 cyber scams to protect your business and your data.

What COVID-19 Cyber Scams Look Like

Posing as Charities

COVID-19 has led to a higher unemployment rate in the United States. This hurts charities because many people don’t have as much to give.

Still, scammers try to use your kindness and generosity against you.

They send messages saying they represent an established charity, or they create a fake one. They try to convince you to donate right away.

They claim coronavirus threatens the existence of their organization, and they’re not sure if they can stay open for the next month.

What should you do when you receive a message like this?

If you’re in a position to donate, make sure you’re giving to a legitimate charity. Run the information through the IRS tax exempt organization search.

If you’re dealing with someone claiming to represent a well-known charity, contact that charity directly through email, social media, or even phone. They’ll let you know if the fundraising effort is legit or phony.

Business Stimulus Phishing Scams

Forbes says you should stay on guard against emails, text messages, and letters promising faster access to COVID-19 relief funds.

Here’s how this phishing scheme works:

  • You receive a message with some “good news.”
  • You’ve qualified for faster business relief funds from the government—and possibly more money.
  • The sender encourages you to reply with personal information like your account numbers.
  • They say this is the only way to receive more money.
  • There’s a processing fee included with this offer.

Don’t respond to messages like this. Instead, report them to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

At-Home Workers on Vulnerable Wi-Fi

Do you have employees working from home?

Cyber thieves look for employees who use Wi-Fi networks with security vulnerabilities. They could exploit these weaknesses and attempt to access your company’s confidential information.

Connecting to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) adds an extra layer of security for at-home workers. When they use a VPN, they access a secure, private network that allows them to send and receive encrypted data through a network.

This setup is a must if you work with confidential customer information. It’s a great idea to mandate the use of VPN regardless of what your business does.

Two-factor authentication requires employees to provide an extra piece of information before they log in to an account. One kind of two-factor authentication sends an access code in a text message.

Use two-factor authentication for accounts like your email, messaging services, and any site housing confidential information.

Posing as Your IT Department

The FTC warns of a scam where cyber thieves pose as members of your IT department.

They use LinkedIn to look up information on your company’s employees. Then, they call them asking for passwords or access to a laptop. Their next step: download malicious software.

To cover for themselves, the cyber thieves name someone else who works in the IT department. How do you defend against a scheme like this when it can be so convincing?

Tell your employees to stay on guard against schemes like this. While you’re at it, establish a contact or email address for general IT questions if your business doesn’t have one.

Work with your IT team to coordinate messaging for software updates before they happen. That way, your employees will know when to expect these updates.

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Despite your best efforts, your business could fall victim to one of the scams mentioned above. All it takes is one wrong click.

Adding CyberOne™ coverage to your business insurance plan could offer extra defense for your bottom line. Your local, licensed Pekin Insurance agent can tell you more about CyberOne’s computer attack coverage and network security liability.

Plus, you might qualify for data compromise coverage through our Pekin PAK program!


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