COVID 19 is causing an increase in phishing scams as employees and businesses learn to work from home. Everyone should pay close attention to their emails and confirm the sender. Many of the email scams we see for businesses we provide IT support are in the form of fake invoices. These invoice emails request payment and provide alternative instructions for how to make payment claiming COVID caused the change.
The payment change will route the payment to the scammers bank account rather than the company. Payment reaches the first bank, is then sent again and eventually converts to cryptocurrency. The authorities have little time to stop the transactions and banks are unable to reverse them. For business owners one the most important steps is to educate employees.
Employee education is often the most difficult, but also the most valuable aspect of cyber defense. Employees are the last line of defense when determining whether or not to transfer funds or respond to an email. Teaching employees to slow down, ask for help and confirm requests for payments is vital. Red flags include a request for a payment or payment method that is out of the ordinary, broken English and incorrect sender information. The manager and employee should contact the person they believe is sending the email by phone. This will allow confirmation of the payment and instructions.
Confirm the sender is valid by reviewing the properties of the email. Inside of Outlook a user can click on the arrow at the bottom of the Tags section and review the email header information. The header information provides all of the sender details and the true email address of the sender. Users with questions about the validity of the email sender should escalate the concern to their manager for review. All emails with broken English need to escalate for review regardless of the content.
Business owners can help their employees safeguard the business by teaching when to escalate an email for review. Software can test employee knowledge and provide further training if necessary.
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