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Cyber Attacks Are On The Rise

May 13, 2020

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Scammers and cyber thieves have always followed the headlines, using the public’s heightened fear and desire for information or solutions as leverage to gain access to systems, data, and money. The current pandemic is no different.

According to "The Cyber Threat Impact of COVID-19 to Global Business," from cybersecurity firm IntSights, Coronavirus scams are spreading nearly as fast as the virus itself. Scammers are using illegitimate Coronavirus apps that promise to track live and localized virus activity, phishing efforts, malware, and money mule scams to swindle everything from a few dollars to your life savings.

Reported Cyber Scams:

Here are some other types of Coronavirus scams to look out for:

EventBot

Recently discovered by researchers at security firm Cyberreason, EventBot, masquerades itself as a legitimate Android app — like Adobe Flash or Microsoft Word for Android — which abuses Android’s in-built accessibility features to obtain deep access to your device’s operating system. Once installed, the EventBot-infected fake app quietly siphons off your passwords and intercepts two-factor authentication text message codes. With your password and two-factor code, the scammers can break into bank accounts, apps and wallets, and steal your hard-earned funds. To combat this, always download apps from trusted sources like the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Stimulus Scams

If you get a call, email, text or social media message saying the Internal Revenue Service needs money or some personal information before sending your income-tax refund or stimulus payment, don't respond. The IRS isn't going to call you asking to verify or provide your financial information so you can get an economic-impact payment or your refund faster. That also applies to surprise emails that appear to be coming from the IRS. Remember, don't open them or click on attachments or links.

The Test

This scam involves a phony promise of a corona test kit. The scammer will call you and say something like: “If you want to receive a free testing kit delivered overnight to your home, press 1.” Then, if you press 1, you get directed to send money for the test kit. Of course, there is no Coronavirus test coming. At this time, there isn’t a FDA-authorized home test for the Coronavirus. They just want your money.

The Cleaners

Another scam is when a person promises to clean your home in such a way that protects you from the Coronavirus. There is no 100% solution to protecting yourself from this virus. Any person claiming they have some type of secret cleaning formula is lying.

The Email

Scammers love a good phishing scam. These new scams include an email from someone claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The email will claim that there’s vital info about the Coronavirus via a link. Once you click that link, you’re taken to a website that asks for your personal information. The scammers then use that info for more scams in your name.

The Supplies 

Another Coronavirus-related scam involves a call from someone claiming that they have special medical equipment — that can keep you safe from the virus — for sale. They’ll ask you to wire money and, of course, never send a thing.

For more info on Coronavirus scams, check out the FTC’s website.

How to Protect Yourself

While scams continue to circulate the news, there are plenty of things that you can do to reduce your risk of becoming a victim. Take a look at our list of best practices below:

Don’t click unknown links

More than half of phishing attacks contain links to malware, according to Avanan. Beware of links – even if you’ve already verified who the email is from. Simply hover over the link without clicking on it to see where the link would take you. Shortened links that don’t provide much information are ones you should be especially suspicious of. When downloading apps or attachments always use trusted sources and avoid third party sites or stores.

Be wary of attachments

Items that look like word documents or Microsoft Office Suite files can still contain threats. Look for poor grammar and spelling or a message without your name. These are typically signs of a phishing scam.

Ignore the sense of urgency

Most scammers try to make you feel frazzled. They’ll use language that make you think you need to act immediately. Phrases such as “act now or your account will be shut down” or “for a limited time only” can trick you into acting in a hurry, which is exactly what they want. Take the time to properly review the communication and ensure it is legitimate. Furthermore, that false sense of urgency should be a red flag when you are communicating.

Keep your security up to date

Ensure your computer and phone have updated security software in place to protect you from phishing scams. Back up your data and utilize the latest software, which can better detect scams.

Utilize multifactor authentication (MFA)

With MFA, you have to go through multiple authentication steps before accessing a website. This is a good way to create another barrier between you and would-be thieves.

Create strong passwords

Use a mix of letters (both capital and lowercase), numerals and symbols in your passwords. Don’t use the same password for multiple platforms. If a thief gains access to your social media account, you don’t want them to also automatically have access to your bank account.

Educate your loved ones 

Teach your loved ones about common phishing techniques. Help them understand what to look for, so they don’t fall victim to a phishing attack.

 

It’s important to remember that VisionBank will never reach out to you through phone, text, or email to request your password, secure access code, debit card information, or any other personal information that could compromise your account. Please do not respond to these requests.

If you receive a request for personal information which appears to be from VisionBank, please contact us at 1-800-574-8123 to verify the validity of the request. Also, we recommend that you never include confidential information in any unsecured email message.

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