Wherever money is involved, you can be sure that there are scammers trying to gain access to your cash. In this guide, we’re exploring how to stay away from financial scams, and the steps you can take to spot a scam while you are working from home. It’s vital that you keep in mind the fact that both your own financial health and that of the company you work for could be at risk as types of malware can infiltrate your device, or account takeovers can threaten your online security. Fraud is commonplace, and due to home working, the average employee can be seen as a way in. It is estimated that global payment fraud was worth $32.39billion in 2020. You can see why it is so vital to avoid scams.
Common Types of Financial Scams: WFH
There are many ways in which fraud can rear its ugly head. However, being aware of some of the most common types of frauds can help you to recognize and steer clear of them.
This is usually when someone guesses or hacks your password. Passwords can be sold on the black market or used for fraud or identity theft. This can be extremely costly for an individual or for the business they represent.
Email hacking is common nowadays as the usage of technology is rising. This is when an email is sent with a harmful link to download malware or make you give up your details. Unfortunately, scammers have become really good at imitating email newsletters and making communications look legitimate.
These are those annoying scam calls you receive on your phone. They might be threatening you that you owe debt repayments or trying to offer you help and support. In the pandemic, this type of scam has often masqueraded as something that offers help and support but is just out to steal money or details from people.
For businesses, you might face some bogus invoice scams. People send your business small invoices in the hope that you just pay without considering whether or not the invoice is real.
Some people find that they are targeted, and details are stolen, but that their important files and access to accounts have been hidden behind a paywall. The idea is that you pay a ransom to get your information back.
How to Recognize Financial Scams While Working From Home
Working from home can make it even more difficult to spot a scam. Communication is key, and you should be suspicious of any unsolicited emails or communications. Always check invoices and where emails are coming from. An email search tool ensures that you can lookup an email address and check if it is legitimate or has a spammy history.
You can also spot telltale signs yourself. Pushy tactics, misspelling, and unprofessional language can all be signs of a scam. Also, remember the saying that “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.
Tips to Avoid Financial Scams
- Keep your password safe and secure and change it periodically.
- Never use public WiFi or networks that you cannot control or trust.
- Communicate, and flag up any suspicious communications within your workplace.
- Check email lookups and other public records to see if someone is legitimate when they contact you.
- Use antivirus software.
- Don’t open any files if you can’t be certain of the contents.
What Should You Do If You Are Scammed
If you spot a scam then you can report it to your local state consumer protection office. Of course, you also need to communicate with your superiors within your business if their security is at threat.
If you lose money or possessions then you should immediately report the scam to the police. The FTC has a site dedicated to identity fraud and helping victims.
If a scammer is operating in your local community then local police may pay attention, but in the majority of cases, they will simply direct you to the FTC. You can contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP, 1-877-ID-THEFT, or online at the Federal Trade Commission official website.
Unfortunately, financial scams are very common, and people who work from home are getting targeted as potential access to company details. Make sure you pay close attention to your company policy regarding online security and do all the right things to keep your personal data safe and secure.
Hackers can leak data, steal your identity or even sell your information on the black market. Password breaches, personal data theft, and other types of fraud are on the rise, so it is essential that you protect yourself, and the company that you work for. Always follow their policies and practice good, secure habits when you are using the internet for work or your own personal use.
Do you work from home? What practices do you put in place to help you avoid financial scams online?
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.