What Can Be Done to Counter COVID-19-Themed Scams?

As commonly happens with any disaster, COVID-19 has inspired no short supply of scams. While these scams initially focused upon the relief funds that were delivered to people to help sustain the suffering economy, the ongoing vaccine distribution efforts have given those behind these efforts a new means of attack.

Let’s consider how these scams have materialized over the past year.

The Opportunity COVID-19 Gives Scammers

Like most predators, hackers will fully utilize every advantage they have over their intended prey. With COVID-19, this advantage comes in the form of the desperation many still feel for news. As a result, numerous scams have been reported to reference the coronavirus outbreak, adopting a wide variety of methods.

Some of the old tricks that these scammers have adapted include:

  • Phishing – While phishing scams are nothing new, and certainly won’t end with COVID-19, scammers have certainly taken advantage of it during these tumultuous times. By sending emails and other messages (as we’ll get into) that appear to come from a trustworthy source or an authority, a scammer can manipulate their target into compliance.
    • Vishing – This form of verbal phishing is conducted over the telephone but is otherwise identical to your more typical phishing scams.
    • SMiShing – Once again, a basic phishing attack, but carried out through SMS texts.
  • Pretexting – Basically, this is what occurs when someone reaches out to you seeking out your information under the guise of calling from some trustworthy entity looking for verification. As you would imagine, this has not been uncommon as of late.
  • Spoofing – Spoofing is the act of disguising a URL or a profile to appear to link to one location, but take the target to another, generally malicious one.
  • Quid Pro Quo – Just as it sounds, a scammer offers someone something in return for their information, but never holds up their end of the bargain. A longer scam, this usually requires some level of trust to be established but can be quite lucrative for the miscreant who carries it out.

How to Protect Your Business from Scams

Like most things having to do with cybercrime, there isn’t really a surefire way to prevent such scams from appearing, which means that the onus to keep data safe falls to the user that is dealing with these scams firsthand.

The biggest thing that you can do—and that you should encourage your team to do—is to verify everything. Any time anyone requests something of you online—whether it seems to be your boss, your coworker, your parents, or the CDC—you need to make sure you’re talking to who you think you’re talking to.

Verify. Everyone. And. Everything.

With so much of modern life now utilizing the Internet, it is nothing if not irresponsible to not have an appreciation for the severity of today’s biggest threat landscape. Keeping a good perspective about how valuable your personal information is and treating it as such with best practices can very much help protect you and your business from cybercriminals.

ExcalTech is here to help you see to your business’ cybersecurity preparedness and protections. Find out more about what we can offer by calling our team of professionals at (833) 392-2583 today.

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