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Fraud Attempts On the Rise Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Hackers Target Vulnerable Businesses with COVID-19 Scams

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Florida businesses and individuals are the targets of scams preying on fear. Learn how to keep your business cyber secure.

Communities throughout Florida are warning against a wave of fake calls claiming to be from the state Department of Health.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, the calls are preying on some of our most base fears. The calls often are related to the pandemic and claim to be either from an official agency or a healthcare system. They are a reminder of the depths some scammers will go to steal personal or business information. They’re also easy to detect and stop.

What Are the Fake Calls Coming Into Florida Phones?

One round of calls claims to be from the state’s health department. These unsolicited contacts often are made under the guise of needing to share information about COVID-19 and ask respondents for personal information. The calls, which have made the rounds in the past, are apparent fakes and prompted the state and local health departments to issue warnings.

The state noted that the health department would never ask for identifying information over the phone, such as Social Security numbers, birthdates, or address confirmation. Scammers use this information to steal identities and rob victims of money. They encourage residents who suspect a call is fraudulent to hang up the phone simply.

What Other Fake Calls Are Occurring in Florida?

In late March and early April, another round of fake calls surfaced. The Flagler County sheriff’s office said residents were receiving calls claiming to be someone from AdventHealth. The callers claimed to be offering in-house testing for COVID-19.

The health care company is not offering home testing. Officials also warned that some criminals are traveling door to door, dressing as a nurse or in personal protective equipment, and claiming to be checking up on residents. These acts are also fraudulent.

“It is really unfortunate but there are people out there who are trying to take advantage of this pandemic,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said. “If you receive a phone call from AdventHealth or someone offering to come to your home and test you for COVID-19, I urge you to hang up.

In what could be a well-timed move, the Federal Communications Commission announced new rules in late March designed to stop caller ID spoofing, wherein robocallers mimic numbers and IDs of real businesses or agencies on phone displays. The new system, called STIR/SHAKEN, requires telephone carriers to verify the caller ID data matches the actual number before allowing a call to go through. However, the new guidelines do not need to be in place before June 30, 2021.

How Are COVID-19 Scams Affecting Businesses?

Much like the assaults using robocalls and fake caller IDs, other attacks rising in frequency are capitalizing on the fear and uncertainty due to the pandemic. For businesses, remote workforces complicate the issue as employees grapple to use new technologies like Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

Hackers are increasing their phishing attacks on businesses, sending emails and texts that claim to contain information about the virus or, in some cases, financial assistance to individuals or companies.

These emails and texts contain links and attachments that, when clicked, can lead to malware downloads that infect computers and corporate networks. In some cases, the attacks are intended to steal company data or install ransomware. Other attack vectors in circulation will rewrite a key boot sector, making it impossible for a computer to load or, even worse, destroy all data on a machine.

Now is the time for businesses to ensure that their technologies are protected from unscrupulous cyberattacks. At SemTech IT Solutions, we help companies with robust cybersecurity solutions. Our proactive cybersecurity tools include:

  • Security assessments that evaluate your infrastructure to identify vulnerabilities
  • Encryption for company-issued and personal devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets
  • Advanced ransomware detection and removal
  • Dark web scanning
  • Continuous security monitoring to detect and contain threats to your network perimeter
  • Remediation of weak security points
  • Endpoint management

SemTech also provides comprehensive employee training that can help workers understand the genuine danger of phishing attacks, how to detect them, and what to do with suspicious emails or texts.

To learn more about how SemTech can keep your valuable company data protected and secure during these unprecedented times, contact us today.