As the Pandemic Continues, Scammers Are Busier than Ever. We Have the Resources You Need to Avoid Them

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Categories: Alert, Security



As the Pandemic Continues, Scammers Are Busier than Ever. We Have the Resources You Need to Avoid Them.

With lockdowns and remote working continuing in 2021, cybercriminals are gearing up for another banner year. Scammers are having a heyday tricking or intimidating people into giving them access to credentials, sending money, or even giving them access to their computers. (Rest assured that Microsoft, Apple and Google will never call you and need remote access to your machine.) More disconcerting, the FBI and Interpol warned in early January 2021 that COVID-19 cures and vaccine scams on fake websites could pose a significant risk to peoples’ health, or even lives.

At the heart of the matter is the well-known wisdom, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” With the help of our scams alert page (and some prudent behavior), you can avoid becoming a mark.

To help companies and their workers better recognize these threats and avoid being scammed, Carmichael Consulting Solutions has prepared a dedicated page to scams — both online and phone-based. It not only details the traits of these scams but also offers tips on how to recognize and avoid them. Our page covers six of the most prevalent scams, providing both descriptions and pictures to help company leaders and their personnel recognize these threats.

Why Are There Now Even More Scams?

While company owners were busy dealing with attacks in 2020, cybercriminals were planning for an even bigger and more lucrative 2021. Per cybersecurity education firm InfoSec*, ransomware attacks will continue to escalate and become even more sophisticated as remote working continues. Furthermore, “crimeware as a service,” where cybercriminals sell their tools to less skilled thieves, will also grow as an industry. In addition to these new threats, state-sponsored hacking and data theft will continue unabated.

Our free resource page lists the latest scams to watch out for including:

Phishing: Information from what appears to be a reliable source, usually sent via email, that attempts to extract personal information.

Phone Scams: Cybercriminals call numbers, often at random, and then trick the recipient into providing personal information or giving them remote access to their PC or devices.

Porn Scams: An email-based scam that demands ransom for questionable, sexually oriented material.

Ransomware: Criminals use malware to access company or personal data and lock it down until ransom is paid.

Trust-based Scams:  Cyberthieves masquerade as a relative, business associate or acquaintance and request money, account credentials, or other items of value.

Webpage Clones: Fake home pages and log-in pages of reputable businesses, such as banks, designed to trick site visitors into providing personal credentials such as social security numbers or bank account information.

Please Take Threats Seriously

In addition to creating our scams alert page to help companies and their workers avoid being scammed, we also offer the following advice:

  • Steer clear of fake websites. Check the URL, watch for bad grammar, research the age of the domain, search for contact information and read online reviews.
  • Don’t purchase items from social media ads. While these quick purchases are convenient, always go to the actual website of the vendor and confirm it is genuine.
  • Use trusted purchase methods. Use secure, traceable transactions and payment methods such as a credit card or PayPal.
  • Don’t assume an official-looking seal means a site is genuine. Scammers are great at mimicking official seals. This is particularly true with sought-after products during peak shopping periods.
  • Practice good password hygiene. Make sure passwords are secure and don’t use the same one for multiple sites. Commonly used passwords that are very easy to crack include abc123, Password, 123456, Iloveyou, 111111, Qwerty, Admin and Welcome.**

Scams continue to be very costly to companies of all sizes. IBM evaluated breaches*** across more than 500 organizations and determined that the average financial hit, with all damages considered, was nearly $4 Million. Yet many business owners remain uncertain of how to proceed or are unwilling to accept they or their personnel could become a target. If you are not confident that your company is defended as stoutly as possible, please familiarize yourself with the threats on our scams alert page, reach out to us for a complimentary cybersecurity evaluation at 678-719-9671 Ext. 1 or sales@carmichaelconsulting.net.

* https://resources.infosecinstitute.com/topic/cybersecurity-predictions-for-2021/
** https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-launches-password-checkup-feature-will-add-it-to-chrome-later-this-year/
*** https://www.ibm.com/security/data-breach/