Beware Of Coronavirus Scammers: Protect Yourself Online

As Coronavirus fears have increased over the past few weeks, we’ve seen an unsettling trend of cybercriminals taking advantage of this pandemic by targeting both businesses and individuals through phising emails. With increasing numbers now working from home, it’s more important than ever to be vigilant with your cybersecurity, as remote working is often usually less secure than working from an office.

When handling sensitive data such as client tax documents, you need to be extra diligent about protecting yourself (and your clients) from scammers. Read our three tips to spot, and protect yourself from, phishing attacks:

1. Learn to recognise fake emails

Regarding Coronavirus emails specifically, remember that a government or health body emailing you directly is not very likely – and even if they did, they would not be asking you to download anything or enter any sensitive information into a database.

As well as government bodies, be on the lookout for phising emails from other companies – for example fake purchase invoices and shipping receipts coming from brands you know like eBay or Amazon. Clicking a link in these fake emails could potentially install malware on your computer, or land you on a phishing page where your credentials could be compromised. Make sure to look at the address the email comes from to ensure it is from a reputable source.

2. Be wary of ‘urgent’ requests

Understand that the bad guys will be targeting you. Carefully review any emails containing links that urgently request you to change a password or state that your account has been compromised, etc.

Hover over the links in emails to display the true link destination. If the link does not match the destination, this could be a phishing attempt. You can also physically type in the address of a web site if you have any question about the validity of a web hyperlink in an email.

3. Take an active role in security

The best defence we have against malicious scammers is to take active steps to reduce the risk of an attack:

  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date
  • Practice good password hygiene
  • Don’t share log-in credentials

For more tips on keeping your data (and your client’s data) secure, download the SmartVault security eBook, Cybersecurity for Accountants, which covers a whole range of cybersecurity issues here.

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