Stay updated on all areas of tax filings and business processes affected by COVID-19Learn more
Lately we have been discussing cyber threats and what kind of preventive measures would be best to use to protect ourselves and our clients. Earlier in the week one of staff members listened to a webinar that explained new phishing techniques that are being used to obtain people’s personal records or trick people into handing over their hard-earned money. Phishing techniques have been around for years and unfortunately effected many people. However, the news of phishing scams has surfaced and people are doing their best to be proactive about not falling for them. With that being said scammers have come up with some new and interesting ways to steal your money or delicate personal information.
The best way to protect yourself from phishing scams is to understand the latest threats and phishing techniques. One of the latest threats is file sharing links, such as “drop box”. Scammers are sending you emails claiming they are someone from your address book and they are attempting to share a document with you. Once you click on the link they now have access to your computer.
Another scam that is being used is a gift card scam. This scams con people to buy gift cards on their credit card. You will get an email from the scammer claiming that your employer needs you to please purchase a gift card for clients or soon to be clients.
The next scam is a direct deposit scam. This is where the scammer will send you a convincing email explaining that an employee needs to update their bank account for a direct deposit. This will usually have a fake check provided in the email.
Then there is a text phishing scam. This scam uses a phony login page to capture your credentials. You will receive a text message saying that your account has been hacked and to please click on the link to verify your information. Once you click on the link, they can retrieve your information.
Finally the final threat I want to touch base on. This is the fake invoice threat. This is sourced form an actual vendor, actual invoice, different payment information. You will receive an email with a real invoice attached wanting you to pay.
I know all of this seems scary and it is. However there are ways to protect yourself from these criminals. First know the phishing red flags. Second stop, look, and think. If something seems wrong or looks off DON’T CLICK ON ANYTHING. Third, verify the information you are receiving. Go to a search engine and do some research on the email you received. Or call the vendor it’s from. Fourth browse directly to the site, DO NOT CLICK THE LINK IN THE EMAIL. Finally when in doubt DELETE!
If you are now in complete panic about your financial security don’t be. Here are some preventive measures you can take to protect yourself. First have you been Pwned? This site basically just lets you see if any of your cyber information has been used in scams. You can visit the site to see if you are at risk. Go to https://haveibeenpwned.com to see if any of your email address or passwords have been used in a scam. The website will instruct you on what to do from there. If you are still panicking go through and change your passwords. Don’t make your password generic. Get creative but make sure you jot them down somewhere just in case you forget them. A fun password tip is spelling your name backwards. For example if your name is Smith make your password “Htims09#” Or you can turn letters into numbers an example of this could be Sun$h!n3 aka Sunshine.
A key thing to remember is to NEVER click on any links you get in your email. Do not open attachments or give anybody personal information over email or phone. No matter how legit the email, text message, or phone call may seem. If something seems fishy it probably is. The best thing for you to do is call the business or the person directly and ask for the safest way to transfer sensitive information. Most business have an alternative route for safety. Compton Accounting currently is using Liscio. This program allows us to bypass email and securely communicate with our clients using an app. We are always looking for new ways to protect ourselves and our clients. If you need help or are in complete panic, you can call Compton Accounting and we will be happy to assist you in protecting yourself.