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The 4 Types Of Coronavirus Frauds Targeting Your Business!

It’s been more than two months since the Coronavirus known as COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.

During this time, as the world ground to a halt, schools shuttered, businesses were forced to close, and stay-at-home orders emptied the streets.

If you have felt stress, fear, or frustration at any moment of these unprecedented times, you’re certainly not alone.

While the world was gripped with fear and panic, cybercriminals took advantage of the human frailty.

Cybercriminals had created thousands of coronavirus-related websites daily.

Most of those sites were being used to host phishing attacks, distribute malware-laced files, or for financial fraud, for tricking users into paying for fake COVID-19 cures, supplements, or vaccines.

Source: IntSights

In fact, in the space of five-month (December 2019 – April 2020), there were 78,272 Phishing domains including “coronavirus” or “COVID”

More alarmingly, study research conducted by IBM security team X-Force showed an increase in COVID-19-related spam of over 6,000%, ranging from the impersonation of WHO officials to the US Small Business Administration (SBA) and banks offering financial relief funds.

Sample emails collected by the team reveal that small business owners are being targeted by fake SBA, promising recipients government funds to keep them afloat during the crisis. Close to 40% of business owners surveyed by IBM believe they have received at least one such email, which often contains malicious attachments designed to deploy malware on their devices.

It is not just the SBA that is being impersonated, and similar frauds are taking place in Australia and other countries too.

Four Types Of Coronavirus Scams Targeting Small Businesses

1. Government Checks

You are aware of whether financial help for businesses might be available in your country. But remember that criminals read those headlines, too, and use them to make their phony pitches sound more credible. If someone calls or emails you out of the blue claiming there’s money available from a Government agency if you just make an up-front payment or provide some personal information, it’s a phony.

2. Business Email Compromise (BEC) Scams

The BEC scam is no different than what it was before. An employee gets a message that appears to come from the CEO to wire money, transfer funds, send gift card codes, etc. In reality, a con artist has spoofed the boss’ email address or phone number.

With the economic upheaval caused by the Coronavirus has led to a flurry of unusual financial transactions – expedited orders, cancelled deals, refunds, etc. That’s why an emergency request that would have raised eyebrows in the past might not set off the same alarms now. Compounding the problem is that teleworking employees can’t walk down the hall to investigate a questionable directive. Warn your staff about these scams and give them a central in-house contact where they can verify requests they may receive.

3. Supply Scams

With many businesses scrambling for supplies, it’s wise to heed warnings about websites that mimic the look of well-known online retailers. They claim to have the essentials you need, but in reality, they’re fakes that take your “order,” grab your credit card number and run.

4. Data Scams

With more people telecommuting, hackers are hoping business owners will drop their online defences, allowing hackers to breach their systems. Ransomware attacks have seen a massive surge over the Coronavirus period. Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks or limits access to your computer or files and demands a ransom be paid to the scammer for them to be unlocked.

What Can You Do Moving Forwards?

  1. Be vigilant knowing that Coronavirus is a recognised subject being used to compromise you.

  2. If you received some information that you didn’t ask for it, then don’t click on the link or open the attachment.

  3. Don’t believe the information that you receive. Anyone can make up a story and pretend to be someone else.

  4. Make sure your computer devices are up to date with the latest software.

Moving Forward

This crisis is an excellent opportunity to push past fear.

Listen, we’re not minimising the challenges in your business right now. But instead of feeling like you’re walking down a dark alley all alone not knowing what’s ahead, with our help, it’s like we’re walking side by side with you.

If you follow the above advice, your digital life will be well protected.

“Everyone can win here. Be calm, focused, and planned.”

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