As many of us are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to protect our personal and business information in Phoenix, AZ from scammers. Hackers and “phishers” target Social Security numbers, bank accounts, credit card numbers and other sensitive information, especially during a pandemic. Since many people are adjusting to remote work and the sheer breadth of information is overwhelming, it’s all too easy to fall for a scam. Here’s how to protect yourself from phishing, phone calls and popups.
Phishing is the act of seeking to harvest information, using fake emails, websites and texts to try to get your personal information. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you might get messages claiming to be from government agencies, offering “coronavirus relief” packages, fake checks and other farfetched promises.
If you get any sort of written contact from someone claiming to be from a government agency, do not give out your personal information. Instead, check the Federal Trade Commission website to see if this is a reported scam. You can also go to the agency’s website yourself and call the number there to confirm whether they actually contacted you, or if it is indeed a scammer’s attempt to get your personal details. Never send cash, cryptocurrency or personal information to someone unless you have verified their identity first.
Phishing with phone calls
Scammers often try targeting vulnerable individuals and businesses with phone calls. They often claim to be from a company needing to verify your personal information, and will ask you to give them your Social Security or banking information. During the COVID-19, these scammers have chosen a new predatory type of phone call, offering services like “coronavirus kits” and Medicare information. The callers will try to get your Social Security number while holding themselves out as a Medicare representative. If you receive an unsolicited call claiming to be someone from Medicare or offering services to protect you from COVID-19, hang up and do not provide your personal information.
Finally, popups are an annoying way that scammers and hackers will attempt to gain your sensitive data. Hackers can install malicious code even on legitimate government websites, causing a new window to pop up. These may look legit, but if you see a popup, beware—most legitimate agencies and websites will not ask for your sensitive data in a popup, where it’s difficult to see the source URL.
In short, always exercise extreme caution and skepticism when giving out your personal and business data. It’s not unreasonable to assume no one should be reaching out to you for this information without your contacting them first.
GeekForce.biz can help you and your company protect yourselves from scammers and malware. Our IT services include creating strong security settings so that your remote work can continue without fear of stolen information or viruses. For the past two decades, we’ve been providing the Phoenix, AZ area with the best personal information protection services available. Call us today to learn more about what we can do to protect you during these uncertain times and beyond.