COVID-19 Fraud Prevention Best Practices
Fraud has been an increasingly common threat for enterprises as COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines. With the virtualization of many activities in the pandemic, criminals are getting even more creative in the ways they perpetrate fraud through cyber and web systems.
Consequently, there’s an urgent need to adopt COVID-19 fraud prevention best practices that can help address the associated rise in cyber vulnerabilities. Some of the COVID-19 fraud prevention best practices to keep in mind include:
1. COVID-19 fraud prevention best practice: Increase Security for Video Conferencing Platforms
As social interaction gradually shifts online, video conferencing platforms have become a prime target for scammers. Criminals will attend a meeting where they are unauthorized and collect sensitive corporate data.
You can protect the video conferencing platforms you use by;
- Requiring each invited attendant to use a password before joining the meeting
- Designating co-hosts and moderators to monitor the chat room
- Implementing features such as virtual waiting rooms that allow you to see who is attempting to join before allowing access
2. COVID-19 fraud prevention best practice: Educate Yourself and Your Employees
COVID-19 scams continue to evolve in their sophistication. Keeping up with the latest scams and how criminals execute them is an important step for keeping safe. Some of the tactics criminals are using during the pandemic include:
- Sending legitimate-looking emails with malicious links or attachments;
- Setting up fake websites to impersonate government agencies, charity institutions, and healthcare providers;
- Sending unsolicited emails, texts, or phone calls that threaten adverse action. (For example, a scammer might threaten tax penalties for filing a wrong return, and request you to send your information so they can correct it).
Educating yourself about cybersecurity risks includes knowing what to do in case you are the victim of a cyber attack. The steps to take usually differ based on the nature of the attack.
For example, for an individual whose financial information is compromised through identity theft, your first step should be reporting to the police and credit bureaus.
For organizations targeted through a cyber attack, you will take additional steps such as informing customers and shareholders, and instituting measures to mitigate the effects of the attack.
Knowing what to do after an attack prepares you to take action when a cyber incident occurs.
3. COVID-19 fraud prevention best practice: Keep Your Computer and Mobile Devices Updated
Computers and mobile devices come in handy, enabling us to stay connected and continue our economic activities. However, they also present security risks when not updated. Updating your phone and computer keeps the devices safe as most of these updates come with security patches.
The longer you take before updating your devices, the higher the risk of cybercriminals targeting your device through the security vulnerabilities that the update fixed.
Phones and computers have settings that allow the device to notify you any time a new update is available.
Reducing Your Exposure to Fraud during COVID-19
While it is impossible to prevent COVID-19-related fraud entirely, you can take steps that minimize your exposure. You do not need special skills or qualifications to protect yourself from cyber fraud. With simple steps such as educating yourself and employees, updating your devices and software, and taking steps to protect your video conferences, you can reduce your exposure to COVID-19 fraud substantially. Other additional steps you can take include;
- Control the information you share with organizations and individuals. Be careful about sharing sensitive information over the phone or email.
- Limit access to your computer and devices using strong passwords
- Strengthen your home network
- Use anti-virus and anti-malware protection on your devices
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