Technology

Is Your Business a Fraud Target? Identifying and Preventing Online Frauds

Cybercrime damages are constantly increasing, affecting the gross domestic product in many countries. Your business may face ransomware attacks and even threats from other simple online activities.

Common online breaches include social attacks such as mimicking legitimate web pages, email spoofing, spear phishing, and attacks through social media. Social attacks may not look serious, but they play a major role in collecting data the attackers may use to perpetrate cybercrime.

Which industries are fraud targets?

Most frauds, including data breaches, virus attacks, and ransomware attacks, are motivated by money or revenge. Online attacks are now happening through mobile devices because most devices are not equipped with comprehensive data protection or antivirus software.

The manufacturing industry is one of the most targeted industries by cyber attackers. Like most industries, this industry has largely adopted remote working due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are working at home, causing scammers to take advantage of communication gaps and leading to business email compromise attacks. Ransomware attacks and data theft account for 35% of the manufacturing industry’s scams.

The finance and insurance services sector is also a fraud target. This industry is the hub of global finances, so it can easily attract unsavory attention from scammers. Counterfeit cards and skimming are major threats to bank officials and customers in the banking sector.

Cybercriminals are targeting the retail industry because they know that many businesses have ventured into e-commerce due to COVID-19. Ransomware and server access have become rampant as hackers realize that many transactions are happening online. Other industries that are fraud targets include the energy sector and the professional services industry.

Here are the ways to identify and prevent online frauds:

Protect your system against malware

Malware can intentionally damage your computers and other devices. It includes Trojans, worms, viruses, adware, spyware, ransomware, and more. Malware can spread to your devices through phishing emails, installing malicious browser extensions, or downloading pirated media.

Loss of business, financial or personal information could be an indication that your devices are infected by malware. Updating your OS and other software is one of the best ways to protect your devices against malware. Malware and viruses are constantly evolving, and it is easy for new variants to bypass your outdated systems.

You can also update your systems by installing anti-malware and antivirus software on all devices. Regular file and systems backup also helps to safeguard against malware. Besides these procedures, have vigilant and informed employees and avoid pirated media and shady websites.

Understand social engineering

Social engineering is all about tricking users into disclosing their financial information and login credentials and allowing unauthorized users to access computers. Businesses become victims of social engineering because the attackers appear helpful and legitimate. The attacks become more rampant when used alongside recent events or news such as natural disasters, health scares, and so on.

One of the ways to recognize social engineering is by monitoring employee behavior. The behavior may influence the security of information in your organization. Hackers use social engineering tricks to get employee information through social networks and websites. They use the information to create scams to trick employees into taking actions that may be harmful to your business.

Since there is no tool to prevent social engineering attacks, the best you can do is to train your employees. Let them be aware of the risks associated with sharing business and personal information through social media.

One of the biggest waves of fraud took place in the US in July 2021. The fraudsters used teams of low-wage workers and bots to fill online forms and file fake unemployment claims in different states. It is estimated that about $87 billion worth of fraudulent claims were filed, but some experts say that the losses could be over $100 billion.

Know how to deal with unexpected phone calls

Most of the social engineering attempts take place over the phone. Some text messages and spoofed calls with suspicious links are common, especially during natural disasters, health scares, and similar happenings.

In case of such attacks, the criminals gather employee information via social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. They use the information to make their texts and phone calls convincing- they can easily spoof the phone numbers.

Whenever you receive a phone call from an unknown source, verify the caller’s identity. Watch out for signs such as:

  • A caller signaling that the call is urgent
  • The text or the call is confusing
  • Someone calls out of the blue saying they are from a government agency, tech support, or your local bank
  • The caller asks you for financial or personal information or asks you to use your device to take action.

In September 2021, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) arrested nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals for allegedly participating in COVID-19-related healthcare fraud. The medical practitioners were accused of distributing illegal treatment facilities that resulted in losses amounting to $1.4 billion.

Identify phishing attacks

Since email is inexpensive, 94% of malware attacks happen through emails. It is easy to spot most phishing emails, but the technique of this fraud keeps evolving. Gmail blocks millions of phishing and malware emails daily, but that does not mean that your business is immune to attacks.

So, even with spam filters, you must ensure that your employees are vigilant. The employees must be able to identify the phishing techniques used by cybercriminals, so they don’t fall victim to scams and fraud.

In March 2021, Bose Corporation (BOSE0 suffered a data breach and ransom attack, causing a huge impact on its US systems. In April 2021, another The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) also suffered an attack, forcing them to shut down their website, network, phone, and email systems.

Conclusion

Businesses in the manufacturing, finance, retail, energy, and professional services industries are the main fraud targets. Despite the advanced cybersecurity tools, no system can effectively protect your organization against scams and online fraud. Combine employee training with strong security procedures and policies to create a secure environment whether the employees are working remotely or reporting to their workstations.

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