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Fraud Phishing Attempts on the Rise During COVID-19

4/20/2020

Recently, the US Office of Inspector General created a list of potential fraud schemes including phishing attempts to be on the lookout for, relating in particular to loans offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Scammers are now sending fake emails and text messages claiming to be from government agencies, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and even US officials.

According to the IT security firm Barracuda, there has been a steady increase in the number of coronavirus (COVID-19)-related phishing attacks, up 667% since the end of February. A variety of phishing campaigns are taking advantage of the heightened focus on COVID-19 to distribute malware, steal credentials, and scam people out of money.

SBA-Related Phishing Schemes

What to Know: One of the schemes cybercriminals are using is branded logos in communications. If you see the presence of an SBA or other government logo on a website, it does not automatically mean the information is accurate. This is also true for emails presented with official logos—these may be attempts to obtain your personal or banking information, or to install ransomware/malware on your computer system.

Prevention Tactic: Cross-reference any information you receive (through communications, emails, or websites) with the information available at www.sba.gov or other government websites.  

10 Quick Dos and Don’ts for Personal Online Security

If you haven’t put these simple safety practices into place, consider doing so as soon as possible.

  1. Do use antivirus software, and be sure to keep it up-to-date.
  2. Do create strong passwords, and change them every 90 days.
  3. Do create separate email accounts for work, personal use, and other interests.
  4. Do set up a primary network at home, and another network for guests.
  5. Do look for warning signs of infected computers (changes in performance, additional pop-ups, etc.)
  6. Never click on a link in an email before you validate the source.
  7. Never disclose personal information in an email, IM, or text message.
  8. Never use the same password for multiple accounts.
  9. Never divulge sensitive information via social media.
  10. Never use an unsecured, public network to conduct business.

Pacific Premier is here to help. We will never ask for your confidential information through unsolicited emails, texts, or phone calls. To learn more tips and tactics about how to protect your personal and business information from potential cyberattacks, visit our Cybersecurity Center at www.PPBI.com/Cybersecurity.

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