Many businesses have shifted to working remotely due to the pandemic. This workplace transformation has forced many businesses to adopt new protocols and procedures that amplify their exposure to fraud losses and cyberattacks. A recent study from Harvard revealed that 16% of workers in the United States intend to continue working remotely even after the pandemic. Additionally, now that businesses have embraced telecommuting, many are moving from the conventional staffing model of full-time/part-time staff to hiring contract workers, according to an article published by the CNBC. Unfortunately, these changes have led to a surge in business scams. Here are handy tips on how to protect your business from some of the common business-related scams.
During the pandemic, there has been an upsurge in automated phone messages making their rounds, says the Federal Trade Commission. These calls offer all sorts of pandemic-related services and products, including cleaning and sanitizing products and services, COVID-19 testing kits, and even vaccines. If you take the bait, you’re directed to a call center where an operator tries to squeeze important business information or money from you.
Business Email Scams
Particularly now with the pandemic, your employees may not be suspicious if they receive an official-looking email requesting them to wire funds to a given account. Typically, email scams involve employees receiving an email from someone in upper management with an urgent request that they transfer funds to a given account.
IT scams typically involve a scammer impersonating someone from your IT department. The scammers usually request for information like passwords needed to access your IT system. The fraudsters take advantage of your employees’ eagerness to be helpful.
With more employees working remotely due to the pandemic, your network is much more exposed to cybercriminals.
Tips on Protecting your Business from Pandemic Scams
- Robust cybersecurity policy – You need to have a written cybersecurity statement that’s distributed to all employees.
You should require everyone in your team to read and master the policy and you should provide periodic updates and retraining.
- Invest in technology – Ensure that everyone who has access to your IT systems has installed up-to-date virus protection and that you have software that monitors for fraudulent activity.
- Dual authorization – The procedure of approving payments that exceed a certain level should involve at least two cybersecurity-savvy people. Audit all your payment procedures and protocols to ensure that dual authorization is incorporated into all payment functions.
- When suspicious, confirm – You or your employees shouldn’t rely on email alone when processing or approving payments. Scammers rely on the employees’ tendency to act hastily when responding to urgent emails from the ‘high-ups’. Emphasize to your team that whenever they have even the slightest suspicion, they should make a call.
- Back up data – Regularly back up and encrypt essential information. With secure backups, you can limit disruptions in the unfortunate cases of ransomware attacks.
- Use WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and Encryption – No Wi-Fi is completely secure, but private and password-protected networks provide more security than public Wi-Fi offered in public places.
- Use a VPN – A VPN avails to you an encrypted tunnel that shields your internet traffic movements from the prying eyes of cybercriminals. A VPN coupled with multifactor authentication offers the best defense.
- Purchase Insurance – Even when after you’ve taken all precautions, fraudulent attacks can still occur; this makes insurance crucial. The right insurance will mitigate any loss you might incur in case of an attack.
Use these tips to protect your business from pandemic scams. Additionally, carry the right insurance policy that protects your business against any scam-related losses. Contact Humble & Davenport Insurance today for all your business insurance needs.