Cybersecurity and Scams

Be ready for cyber scams

by Carolyn Schrader


Eight scams to be ready for include:

1. Social Media Scams with fake offers or discounts

Everyone loves a deal. Unfortunately, the criminals rely on this human behavior. Fake offers and too-good-to-be-

true discounts increase during the holiday shopping season.

Businesses should alert their employees who might be shopping using a company computer or mobile device.

Shoppers should patronized reputable, known shopping sites and be cautious using sites that cannot be verified.

2. Fraudulent links and URLs

Business owners should remind their employees that fraudsters may established a fake website that look like an

official known site. Savvy shoppers should look closely at the URL link to make there are no misspellings in the

name or an extension other than dot com unless it is known the site has another extension. Do an internet search

on the business name to see what the typical response is.

3. Emails offering bogus deals

Cyber criminals use email addresses either stolen or easily available from social media to offer bogus deals. As

with social media scams, people need to use caution. Even if the offer appears to be from a known site, it is safer to

go to the site’s URL directly and check out the offers there.

4. Fake purchase invoices

Scammers targeting businesses can easily send fake purchase invoices to someone in your accounting department

or an administrative assistant. The fake invoice may have malware embedded or the invoice may be an attempt to

get money sent to a cybercriminal. If your employees are buying gifts for customers or staff, make sure whoever

pays the bills knows the real merchant to reduce cyber risks.

5. Shipping status malware messages

Malware can be embedded in a shipping status email. Once the attachment is opened, malware can infect a

computer and then the network. Advise employees that to help protect the company’s network, they should type the

tracking number directly into the shipper’s website, rather than click on any links within the email.

6. Charity-related scams

Cybercriminals may send emotional emails requesting funds and even have a website talking about their fake charity. If the charity is not a highly recognized name, a thorough search on the Internet will help determine if the cause is legitimate.

Businesses should donation to their choice of charities through safe channels such as through a service organization, directly to a community based charity or via an Internet verified website.

7. Unauthorized charges to bank account

Businesses should keep a close eye on their bank account activity during the holiday season and immediately

contact their bank about any irregularities. Your backup staff should know how to handle wire transfers and invoice

payments if the primary staff is out of the office.

8. Unauthorized charges to debit or credit card

This is the season to watch for any unauthorized charges to personal or business debit or credit cards. Balances on

cards are that are infrequently used should be reviewed to ensure a card stolen in a recent hack is not being used

by a criminal.

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