These days more people are working from home. Even before 2020, the trend was already on the rise. With the introduction of the Covid-19 outbreak, working from home seems to be here to stay. Many employees and employers have embraced this change for the long term.
However, scammers have also taken the opportunity to take advantage of others. By learning to identify and react to the most common scams, employees and employers can continue to keep their data safe.
Some work-from-home scams are more common than others. The following are the most commonly seen work from home scams.
Common Work-From-Home Scams
One of the most common is a phishing scam. In this type of scam, an email is received that asks someone to follow a link. The link leads the user to a login screen that seems familiar. The screen often looks identical to Google or Microsoft logins.
In reality, it is an alternate website set up by a hacker to fraudulently collect login information. These scams are easily detectable if you check the URL. You can also use an email lookup to verify if it was sent by the company it claims to be.
Covid-19 has caused a shift in where people work. Reductions in hours have caused people to look for new jobs. Working from a distance also doesn’t suit many. Additionally, not every manager can effectively organize and lead from a distance. Some scammers are exploiting the rise of unemployment and job hunting.
They send fake invites to jobs with prestigious companies through email or even LinkedIn. These jobs are often claimed to be senior positions with generous compensation. A scammer will impersonate a recruiter and ask for application fees for this non-existent job.
Information Technology Scams
The Information Technology (IT) scam has similarities with phishing scams. In the case of an IT scam, an employee is contacted directly by someone who claims to be with the company’s IT department. Contact is made by either phone or email.
Once the scammer has made contact, the employee is told that their username and password are required for routine IT purposes. If the employee complies, the scammer gains access to sensitive company data.
Ways to Protect Yourself From Work-from-Home Scams
Scams can be hard to detect since fraud is built on taking advantage of others. There are ways to protect yourself from scams while working from home.
1. Email Blocking
Many companies have artificial intelligence software that can identify and block emails that are fraudulently structured. This includes certain phrases and email addresses that appear non-standard.
Staff needs to receive training to detect scams. This training should include scam identification. Employees should know that under no circumstances should usernames and passwords be provided to others. Users should be trained not to click links on emails and identify abnormal requests for money.
3. Encryption or Authentication
Many companies now use technology to fight fire with fire. This means having technology in place to silo the company’s data from the rest of the internet. User access is confined to certain geolocations, or two-factor authentication is required.
4. Common Sense
In most cases, the best way to detect a scam is common sense. If something seems odd, it probably is. Employees and management should view emails from outside the company with healthy skepticism. Recognizing the scam is the first step in preventing a scam.
5. Using Email Lookup
Communication from outside the company should be verified through email search. Reverse search tools will identify which country an email is from, social media accounts, and the person’s name. These tools can help identify scammers and protect the organization from being affected.
6. REPORTING SCAMS
If you or your company have fallen victim to a scam, it is important to immediately report the issue. Contact local authorities and have a police report made for insurance purposes. Senior management needs to be advised as well as technology departments.
If the organization works quickly, minimal impact is made on the business operation. In some cases, customers will also need to be informed about potential breaches.
The rise of working from a home office has motivated the rise in work from home scams. Companies and employees can stay protected by identifying common scams. Making use of available technology will also help maintain integrity.
Working from home is a beneficial shift that, at this stage, is prone to fraud. Ensure safe and stable working environments by employing these measures to ward off malicious scams.
About the Author: Emily Andrews is the marketing communications specialist at RecordsFinder, an online public records search company. Communications specialist by day and community volunteer at night, she believes in compassion and defending the defenseless.