Watch Out for Scams Targeting Businesses
Don’t fall the latest pandemic-related scams targeting businesses. Help your business mitigate risks by learning about common scams and how to avoid them.
The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a new wave of scams designed to wreak havoc and take advantage of businesses. Under normal circumstances, employees may be alert to the warning signs of suspicious emails and unusual financial transactions. However, the pandemic has created chaos in the system, and those red flags might get lost in a flurry of expedited orders, canceled deals and supply chain issues.
Help your business mitigate risks by learning about common scams and how to avoid them. It’s important to keep your guard up, especially when your business is adapting to remote working, contactless delivery or other operational changes. Raising employee awareness can help you defend your business against new and evolving threats.
Business Email Compromise
Changes in workflow have created some new avenues for business email compromise. Scammers set traps to try to get employees to click on infected links, or worse, wire money under false pretenses. Some of the scams circulating now attempt to exploit the time-sensitive and high-pressure nature of B2B transactions.
- CEO scam: A spoofed email may appear to be from the CEO or another person of authority within the business. The email asks the recipient to wire money or transfer funds under the guise of an emergency.
- IT scams: Another scam involves fraudulent emails claiming to be from your information technology staff. They may direct employees to follow a link to a new teleconferencing system or download new software. Workers who are overwhelmed or stressed may click before thinking twice.
- Supplier scams: Businesses may receive emails and invoices from unfamiliar suppliers requesting payment for orders that don’t exist. Employees may be targeted with spoofed emails that appear to come from trusted vendors. Remind employees to use caution and follow best practices to make sure purchase orders and invoices match up.
- Loan program imposters: Watch out for fraudulent emails claiming to offer financial help from a government agency. They may ask for an upfront payment with a promise of free money or emergency loans from the government. If you have doubts about the authenticity of an email, double-check the address it was sent from.
Robocalls are used to attempt to reach employees for a variety of criminal purposes. These robocalls may be selling bogus COVID-19 test kits and cleaning supplies. Or the message may claim that small businesses affected by COVID-19 need to provide more information so they can be properly listed on Google. If anyone at your business receives a call like this, hang up.
With more employees working from home since the pandemic started, there’s a greater risk for security vulnerabilities. A breakdown of cybersecurity protocols could inadvertently expose your business’s data to hackers. Most commonly, an employee’s computer can be hacked when they click on a link from a spoofed email or visit an unsafe website. From there, the computer may house ransomware, a type of malicious software that denies access to the computer’s data until a ransom is paid.
To help prevent computers from being hacked, all employees should be required to use strong passwords on all devices, have up-to-date security software and use an encrypted wireless network.
Protect Your Business from Cybercrime