How To Spot a Cyber Scam in 2021
Are you confident you can identify a cyber scam?
Just about everyone these days has a good idea of the kind of damage a data breach, hacking attack or cyber scam could have on their finances.
However, when it comes to such threats, entirely too many people take the attitude of "It could never happen to me." The fact is that anyone can be victimized by such a security risk because all it may take is a single mistake to put a company's sensitive documents or financial information at risk.
The question, then, is how you (or, if you're a small business owner, your employees) can identify these threats before they actually hurt you. Given that there are so many potential vulnerabilities, the task can certainly seem daunting.
With that in mind, we have a few suggestions for how to spot a cyber scam in the new year:
Common signs of scam messages
Most often, these risks arise when you receive an email, text or phone call that shares a few different characteristics with a typical scam. The Federal Trade Commission warns that these include :
- Creating a sense of urgency
- Preying on risks and fears
- Pretending to be a trustworthy
We've certainly all received those obviously fake emails from someone pretending to be another company saying your account has been compromised and you just have to log in or share our passwords to correct the issue.
The simple rule of thumb to avoid this kind of scam? No legitimate company would ask you to "confirm" information or click a link to sort out these problems, sight unseen.
Service or merchandise offers
You should always remember that old saying: "If something seems too good to be true, it probably is."
Indeed, another type of fraud that can affect individuals and small businesses alike is when a scammer offers you goods or services at cut-rate prices, usually out of the blue.
CSO Online notes that if this kind of offer comes from a source that isn't an entity you already trust, or that you can easily identify with a quick web search, it's best to steer clear. And even if it is, double-checking that the price is right is a simple best practice.
Taking advantage of the new normal
The novel coronavirus pandemic has been a problem for many people and businesses, and for many reasons. This includes an all-too-common risk that unfortunately accompanies many disasters, of unscrupulous scammers taking advantage of those already in a tough spot.
It's sad but true: There are "COVID scams " out there now, according to Business News Daily, and they prey upon the many unknowns that accompany the pandemic to this day.
These scams can include posing as legitimate organizations like the federal agencies or a state employment office, phony charities related to COVID and so on.
As such, it's also important to take steps like avoiding untraceable payment methods, checking website and email addresses to make sure they're not just clever spoofs, etc.
When it comes to any kind of cyber scam, your approach should be "overly cautious," lest you be ripped off and put in financial peril. If you have any questions or concerns related to your personal or small business finances, get in touch with your local Vectra Bank representative.
The information contained herein may not represent the views and opinions of Vectra Bank a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. It is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.