As if the past year wasn’t stressful enough, the pandemic and changes in workspaces have created new ways for scammers to do what they do best. For business owners and managers, it’s vital to educate yourself and your staff so that you can avoid phishing scams and viruses in 2021. Unfortunately, scammers often target small and medium-sized businesses. The lack of resources makes it difficult to recover from hacks and scams. You can prevent yourself from falling prey to these scams by staying aware. Follow general safety rules like setting up strict passwords, limiting access to files, and checking in with employees regularly to make sure they’re doing the same.
Some of the biggest scams to look out for in 2021 include:
A lot of hackers and scammers are using Coronavirus as a way to get personal information out of people. From false “contact tracing” calls, emails, and texts to testing kit scams, scammers are getting creative. Some workspaces have reported receiving calls or emails from “the CDC” offering “free testing kits” for employees, asking for healthcare information in order to send them out. Contact tracing scam calls ask for your social security number to confirm your identity. Government officials will never ask for this type of information. You should warn your team to ignore these emails and stay away from anything that sounds even slightly off.
Any website that doesn’t link to an official .gov page is likely a scam. Any website promising testing kits, or providing “news” and “information” that requires personal information from you is definitely a scam.
This isn’t new to 2021, but expect phishing emails to continue and even increase. As scammers learn to bypass spam folders, you may notice a variety of messages in your inbox. Emails with subjects like, “Download this greeting card sent by a friend!” or emails from “the IRS” have links in the body that install spyware, viruses, and can get to your personal information. Stay aware and don’t open any suspicious emails, especially on your work account or computer.
Many people get ripped off shopping online. Now that many retailers are closed due to the pandemic or people prefer to avoid crowds in stores – a host of new websites have popped up offering all sorts of items. From home products to clothing, it’s best to buy from a site that either has a physical store or warehouse that you know of. You can also check the name of the site you’re shopping on and type in “scam or not” and see what other users have to say. If the ratings are low and reviews mention double charges or never receiving products, it’s best to avoid it.
Mobile App Scams
Though both Apple and Android do a good job vetting the apps in the play store, many companies have apps that are available for download through their site. For example, casinos, games, retail stores, or even news sites may advertise their own apps even if they fail to pass the app store’s criteria. Though they advertise themselves as safe, it’s best to stay away from those apps, or at least check customer reviews and ratings. A scam app can also install spyware and viruses onto your phone, or ask you to enter personal information that may leak because their software isn’t secure.
Get Professional Help With Internet Scams
If you’re looking to safeguard your business’ information, or if you’ve already suffered from a hack or scam, it’s time to bring in the professionals to help. At Internal Computer Services, our experts have more than 30 years of experience and know exactly what precautions need to be taken to protect your company and your client’s information. Call us at 804-672-1057 to speak to an expert about your security concerns.