With so much business being conducted online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, hackers and scammers are working overtime to take advantage of fear and uncertainty to forward their schemes.
Services like IT Support Los Angeles and IT Support NYC can help protect your company from these phishers, but there are precautions you can implement yourself to keep your information safe if you know what to look for.
Discrepancies to Look For
An FBI public service announcement shared that there’s been an increase in COVID-related phishing scams, and warned employees to be on the lookout. To avoid accidentally clicking on a bad link, there are some common things to look for before opening emails.
Fear language. These types of emails are designed to create panic. Lots of exclamation points, and words meant to alarm: Urgent, Now, Problems, Take Immediate Action.
Check spelling and language. You’ll often see misspelled words or improper grammar in the sender’s email, subject line, or body of the email.
Strange or unexpected greetings, like “Hello, dear” or “Hi, friend”.
Some Common Scams
It’s important to know that these phishing emails or texts may be designed to look like they’re from a company you trust, such as a bank or credit card company. In many cases, they will use a story to trick you into opening a link or attachment. Some common stories include the following:
● An institution requires you to confirm personal information.
● There’s been suspicious activity on a site, or log-in attempts that were unauthorized.
● Asks you to click a link to make a payment.
● A “bank” or “financial institution” brings to your attention a problem with your account or payment information.
● Claims you are eligible for a government refund.
● Offers or coupons.
Because these emails are formatted to look like they come from a legitimate business or site, it’s important to read through carefully. Some will even use a header with a well-known company logo. If you don’t have an account or a professional relationship with the company that sent the email, chances are high that it’s a phishing scam. Don’t click on any links.
How to Protect Yourself
There are several ways you can keep yourself safe from hackers and scammers. First, protect your computer with security software. Remote IT support is available to help you figure out the best system to use, and make sure that it’s updated regularly.
Take this same precaution with your phone. Make sure you set all software to update automatically. These updates can give you crucial protections against threats.
Back up all your data. Copy computer files to the cloud or to an external hard drive, and make sure you do the same for your phone.
Finally, if you get a phishing email, be sure to report it. This can help fight the scammers, and protect others. Emails can be forwarded to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at email@example.com.
You can also report the phishing attack to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.