With many of us still operating remotely, it is important to remind ourselves how sophisticated fraud schemes have become, and how easily you can become a victim. With that said, we’d like to share some basic fraud prevention tips that can help keep you, your business and your family safe from cyber-crimes.
Understanding common cyber-crimes and risks*
- Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams exploit the fact that so many of us rely on email to conduct business, personal as well as professional, and it’s one of the most financially damaging online crimes.
- Identity theft happens when your personal information is stolen, such as your Social Security number, and the information is used to commit theft or fraud.
- Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware that prevents you from accessing your computer files, systems or networks and demands you pay a ransom for their return.
- Spoofing and phishing are schemes aimed at tricking you into providing sensitive information to scammers.
Five key fraud prevention steps
- Passwords: Avoid storing your passwords in browsers. Change passwords regularly and avoid using the same password across different platforms. Never share your one-time password (OTP) with anyone. We will never ask you for your password or OTP, sharing them with anyone may lead to your credentials being compromised.
- Emails: Be wary of clicking on links, especially those from unknown senders. When in doubt, navigate directly to the website in question by typing the URL into your browser bar. Links and attachments can be embedded with malware and viruses designed to steal your credentials and personal information.
- Social Media: Don’t overshare on social media. Fraud perpetrators scour social media accounts to collect information they can use to infiltrate your accounts or use social engineering tactics on you.
- Reconcile frequently: Monitor your bank accounts regularly to spot irregular transactions and immediately report any unauthorized transaction to the bank. The sooner the unauthorized activity is reported to the bank, the greater the likelihood of an equitable resolution.
- Be Skeptical: Perform verbal callbacks to trusted numbers to validate any requests to change payment instructions. According to the FBI, Business Email Compromises attributed to $1.8 billion in losses in 2020. Implementing simple callback procedures is the number one deterrent for this type of fraud.
Staying up to date with basic computer health checks is essential in the fight against fraud. Here are several simple steps you can take to safeguard your devices.
- Keep systems and applications updated - Updates fix the vulnerabilities that can leave a system open to attack.
- Have robust verified backups of data - Backups are important for disasters as well as an important defense for ransomware attacks.
- Use multi-factor authentication (a.k.a. two-factor) when available - Multi-factor authentication helps to defend against account takeovers.
- Lock your phone - A lost or stolen unlocked phone could give an attacker access to the owner’s personal data creating a significant risk.
- Know who you are talking to - Whether communicating via phone, email or webpage, know who is on the other end. If you are unsure, confirm with verified contact information.
- Securely configure your systems - Use available security features and add-ons such as firewalls and endpoint security (anti-virus software).
Staying up to date with current fraud scams and educating yourself, your staff, family and friends are the best preventative steps to avoid becoming a victim.
If you suspect that you may be a victim of fraud, please contact your Relationship Manager.