COVID-19 has left the world in disarray. With fluctuating cases and schools and businesses reopening just to shut down again, the future is uncertain. These transitions, though, have put an emphasis on using technology. Whether it’s working from home or shopping online, people need the internet more than ever.
As more and more people turn to tech, scams are on the rise. Business scams, especially, are necessary to identify and avoid. For the duration of the pandemic, these scams are likely to stick around.
The Types of Scams
The first step in avoiding COVID-19 business scams is being able to identify the types of scams that you may encounter. From stay-at-home orders to quarantines, people are turning to telehealth, unemployment sites and better cybersecurity systems. Each of these areas is a potential spot for a cyber attack.
Phishing is one of the most common business scams. These often come in the form of an email that asks employees for private information — passwords or social security numbers, for instance. The contents of the email could ask for private data on the business, too. Employees might not question it if the sender appears to be a supervisor or coworker.
Charity and donation scams are going around as well. These will likely ask for money or a contribution to their cause, masking themselves as a legitimate organization.
Conversely, around 70% of small businesses applied for loans within the first few weeks of the pandemic hitting the United States. In doing so, COVID-19 business loan scams increased, attempting to take advantage of vulnerable companies during this time.
Inside a company, too, scams can occur. IT departments are where experts fight off attacks, but also where the company can be vulnerable. The time is now to act and take preventative measures.
How to Avoid COVID-19 Business Scams
After understanding the various types of scams your business may see, you can move on to these actionable steps.
First, make everyone at the company, and in your life in general, aware of how many scams are out there. For instance, at the beginning of the pandemic, people were in need of information about the spread of the virus and what to do. Scammers came forward pretending to be official organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), offering false information.
Proper training is imperative. Use resources that help you identify scams to perfect your knack for weeding them out. Then, you and your coworkers will have an easier time avoiding them.
Identifying and verifying email addresses is critical as well. Make sure emails belong to the right person. The difference could be as subtle as “.com” instead of “.org.” If something looks off, consult someone else before doing anything.
Clicking on links, for instance, is something to avoid unless you’re certain about the sender’s identity. Otherwise, you could be feeding into a phishing scam.
To set up a preventative measure for everything, though, a business should have the best cybersecurity protection. These systems can filter out many scams and keep attacks at bay.
Protection During Uncertain Times
Navigating technology can be difficult. As the pandemic lasts for an indefinite amount of time, people are turning to tech and the internet more than ever. It’s imperative to follow the above steps for the best protection against scams, using tech wisely.