According to the FBI1 instances of cybercrime have jumped by as much as 300% since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In April they were receiving between 3,000 and 4,000 cybersecurity complaints per day; a drastic increase from their usual 1,000 complaints per day before the pandemic. With a 146% growth in online retail orders2 it’s no surprise to see such a high increase in cybercrime, as many people are doing a majority of their shopping online. It is as important as ever to remain up-to-date on current scams online and around your area and to stay vigilant when speaking with someone over the phone or computer.
Individuals and Cybercrime
Cybercriminals and scammers consistently prey on people’s vulnerabilities as a way to take advantage of you. They’ll want to receive your “help”, usually through sending or giving full access to money. They will make themselves as familiar with you as possible by researching your social media accounts, trying to find out family member’s names, where you work and other details about you that may give them enough information to convince you they are legitimate.
Always be aware of fraudulent emails. It is common for a cybercriminal to mask their email by using the name of someone that’s an executive of the company they are pretending to work for. Pretending to be a c-suite executive makes the email seem more legitimate because the association between the executive and company appears to be real. The fraudulent email usually contains either a link or attachment embedded with a malicious code that is used to gather information and data from the device.
Cybercriminals set up fraudulent websites that are built to almost exactly mimic a large company or brand so remember to only do business with companies you know, trust, or have previously purchased from.
Businesses and Cybercrime
Cybercriminals don’t just target individuals, they also target companies of all sizes. Company cyberattacks have grown both in frequency and intensity during the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing by 273% when compared to the same time last year3. Employees of Sandia Area are trained to recognize scams, fake calls and to take action to prevent fraud from occurring.
Protection Against Cybercrime
Sandia Area proactively protects our members, and we want you to be able to protect yourself as well. As a quick and easy-to-update tip, always choose strong, secure passwords. Use something unique, not similar to your corresponding username, and make sure the password is longer than six characters and includes special characters (such as #, $, !, @). Using these elements in your passwords makes them harder for a cybercriminal to crack.
Always be aware of who you’re talking to on the phone or online, and be sure to never give out personal information. With the help of Sandia Area employees and our members we can minimize the threat and amount of fraudulent activity.
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