Scams & fraud in the new normal

INVESTING ON THE GO - Iggy Go (The Freeman) - October 6, 2020 - 12:00am

Fraud is often most virulent during economic downturns and crises – both of which we are experiencing with the global health pandemic. Fraudsters typically feed on fear and greed, and all kinds of fraud attempts are now more likely.

Old tactics that still work

The following are old tactics but make us more vulnerable than ever since the lockdowns have forced people’s activities into the digital world. Older users are less familiar with banking online, so they are being increasingly targeted in account takeover attacks. Call centers are much busier than normal, while employees working from home are under much more frequent assault.

While attack volume is increasing, most of the fraud we’re seeing today is rooted in criminal behaviors we’re familiar with:

Themed phishing attacks - that take advantage of people who are more inclined than ever to click on a link if it promises the right COVID-related or government’s relief package information.

Ransomware - that allows fraudsters to turn phishing into profit by preying on individuals and businesses at an especially vulnerable time. Ransomware denies you access to your data and demands payment to release.

“Carding”- which is when stolen credentials are used to make unauthorized purchases, has gone digital and is ramping in scale during the pandemic.

Account takeover (ATO) - where fraudsters compromise sensitive personal information like an email password to gain control of your digital identity.

What's New?

In addition to the rise in tried and true financial fraud tactics, there’s a new threat that’s been accelerated by shifting digital behaviors during the pandemic. Fraudsters are now taking a more subtle approach, piecing together your data from various sources over time. To put it simply: the new normal for fraud is to creep in, not burst in.

Fraudsters have data scientists too, and they’re using AI to find unconventional ways to compile your information. They may get your personal info from a political survey, another from quizzes to aggregate a digital picture of who you are, where you spend your money and how you behave online. They’re chipping away at your identity one piece at a time.

A New Normal of Scams & Fraud

We have no choice now, us consumers and businesses always need to be on guard, here’s how you can stay vigilant:

The same rules apply: don’t just click on a link from an email, go find the website yourself and always, always, always check your URLs – if the web address doesn’t match the business it’s meant to be, the odds are it’s bogus.

Awareness: Simply knowing how these bad actors work can reasonably reduce your risk. Being informed on the tactics and ploys you may encounter online, you can be more mindful about how, when and where you share your personal details. You have to protect your data one piece at a time.

Commit your information with caution: Register with the companies that you plan on doing business with time and again. The more data you have online, the larger your vulnerability is.

Think twice about quizzes: It might be fun to take but what may seem like harmless personal details can be used to build a profile of you, which fraudsters can easily exploit.

Anytime you go through change, scams and fraud is going to be there. So, stay vigilant & stay safe physically, mentally, financially as well as digitally!

PANDEMIC
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