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Exposed: Fraud Techniques amid and Beyond a Crisis

Surviving a Phishing attack among Crisis-fueled Fraud

Scammers are masters at planning attacks, and perfect timing is one of the areas they excel at. As the world struggles with the Coronavirus pandemic, scammers have been taking advantage of business owners who are looking for new ways to offer services to their customers. This confusion offers the perfect opportunity for cybercriminals to pounce on your business and customers through various techniques like phishing attacks, account takeovers, etc.

Fraud Techniques amid and Beyond a Crisis

Here are the many ways cybercriminals are likely to target you during and post-coronavirus. 1.

Account Takeover.

In this method, a cyber-thief uses data gathered from an attack to control accounts. This form of fraud has risen in recent years and escalated further amid the crisis with increasing traffic to the internet. 2.

Phishing attack.

Phishing is when you receive a fake legit-looking email with a link that gives a cybercriminal entry to your device and most private information if clicked. Today, cybercriminals are likely to send Crisis-related emails with catchy topics that will make you want to click. Please double-check, it might be a phishing attack! 3.


In this technique, the fraudster seeks to gain access to your bank account info. You receive an email that there's an issue with your bank account and you should dial a number (which they provide). But on dialing the digits, which is often a VoIP number, a victim can naively give away the confidential info and bank account data. 4.


Smishing is more like vishing; only this time, the attacker calls or sends a text message (SMS) to bait the prey. Many of the smishing cases today are taking advantage of the virus and the need to act quickly. 5.

Work-from-home opportunities.

If you're a freelancer or freelancing business that offers services online, this is the time to be careful as "Work from Home" ads flood the internet. Such scams can waste your time, eat up your resources, and even lead to loss of money. 6.

Social Media Attacks.

Warn your customers of social media fraud that look so legitimate today. In this method, the fraudster posts an ad that mimics your brand. Such messages can lure customers and lead to Account takeover or loss of money.

How to Stay Safe.

Follow these tips to avoid becoming prey to the above forms of fraud; • Ignore any strange calls or texts from weird numbers that seem suspicious • Don't be quick to share your information or make any payments. • Do not rush to click any link you see in an untrusted email to avoid a phishing attack • Don't give up any personal or banking account info through SMS, phone or email • Do not give out donations before confirming the legitimacy of a charity. Fraud protection keeps changing by the day, which is why a business must struggle to change with the times. These fraudsters are out to make money amid a pandemic and stop at nothing to rip you off. Leveraging artificial intelligence is one of the ways to protect your brand and customers.

Using Artificial Intelligence to Combat Fraud.

Mobile shopping has increased amid COVID-19, and cybercriminals are desperately looking to pounce on any business that fails to protect its customers. Mobile-related fraudulent payment rates went up more than 600% all over the world in three years— between 2015 and 2018—according to 2019 white paper on the current state of cybercrime. Criminals are targeting mobile payments in many ways. Mobile transactions accounted for an entire 70 percent of all fraudulent payments. Fake mobile apps are also increasing according to the white paper— accounting for over 20 percent of all fraud reported in 2018. . These statistics are a sign that online stores can no longer compromise on the security of mobile transactions. Criminals are shifting to mobile fraud because merchants and their customers are still reluctant to put up mobile fraud safety measures. To combat mobile fraud, merchants must adopt the finest technology to detect fraud and stop them before they occur. AI or Artificial Intelligence stands out as one of the best measures. Artificial intelligence can help prevent fraud in many ways. For instance, it can study user behavior, master those trends, and later use it to detect and stop any irregular behavior. But that's just one of the ways artificial intelligence can protect you from mobile fraud, here are more ways to make the most of AI. 1. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can minimize false-positives or "legit-looking but fraudulent" transactions by checking the various behaviors and giving an accurate prediction of whether a payment is deceitful. 2. AI can help you spot and stop fraud by checking for irregular activity from a mobile device under attack. 3. Artificial intelligence and machine learning tactics cut across multiple security levels than any other mobile fraud protection techniques. 4. Supervised and unsupervised machine learning offers the need for speed in fraud detection. It detects fraudulent payments in as little as 250 milliseconds. 5. Two-factor authentication through Short messages (SMS) or Voice verification can help reduce fraudulent transactions. 6. Leverage the power of supervised and unsupervised machine learning to get a real-time score of the risk levels of each transaction. Lastly, clues obtained from AI can be used alongside contextual clues to study security trends and notice loopholes. Leverage the power of AI this festive season to experience safe mobile ecommerce.

Other Ways Scammers Are Likely to Target Your Small Business.

As you toil to achieve business success even in tough times, Cybercriminals are doing double duty to breach your site and loot a share of what they haven't worked for! And while you may say— "my business is small, it just kicked off, there's not much a cyber-thief can get from me"— it's safer to switch sides and stand on the safer end. The safer side here means being proactive when it comes to security. Remember, of all the cyber-attack threats, nearly two-thirds target small businesses. So, you want to be watchful against any phony requests that may come your way as it may be a phishing attack hidden behind a sweet offer. Discover the most common ways a fraudster may attempt to target your small business.

Impersonating Your HR Team to request the latest banking information.

According to, the FBI is warning against fraudsters impersonating Human Resource staff and asking for the employer's most recent direct deposit info. Tricksters redirect staff to sites that look legit asking them to submit confidential company information like login authorizations or account details. That's why you need to double-check any requests when you receive an email from HR. Call your staff to confirm the validity of a claim before giving out any bank information. Avoiding unknown emails can also help prevent these crimes, which normally begins with a phishing attack.

Demanding for a wire transfer to get approved for a loan.

According to reports from small businesses, cybercriminals are now pretending to be your trusted financing institution, like a bank, moneylenders, or other legitimate sources. These criminals often ask victims to make a wire transfer deposit to have their loan requests accepted.

Don't wire money to anyone to get business financing!

Well, I've never heard of financial institutions requesting a desperate small business owner to send cash before loan approval. If you receive such weird requests, then the chances are; you are a click away from getting ripped off! The best thing to do in this situation is to cut contact and visit the original site to check for similarities and differences! Contact the official site and inquire whether they require applicants to pay any "loan acceptance fees."You also want to learn how to tell fake sites from legit ones.

Targeting your staff during the taxpaying period.

Cybercriminals are now breaching the servers of tax accountants to steal customer data, which they use to file false tax returns using the taxpayers' bank account, warns the IRS. Other times, the taxpayer receives calls from "debt collectors," claiming the tax return was wrongly filed before asking for direct payment.

More Ways to Ensure Your Team is Proactive.

Here are more tips to run a proactive team; • Make calls to verify any requests from staff or phony companies • Never send sensitive company or customer data through email. • Scrutinize the site you've been redirected to, double-check the URL to see if the site is secure (look for a "lock" symbol on the browser's left corner) or compare it with the homepage of the website you trust. Lastly, update your security defenses from time to time to avoid breaches due to obsolete technologies.

Final words

A perfectly planned phishing attack can get you off-guard and take a toll on your business. Criminals are getting cleverer by the day and using methods you never imagined they could employ to attack your businesses. The best you can do is to stay proactive and update your company on any new loophole tricksters discover. Not every site that claims to offer financing is legit! Cybercriminals are impersonating moneylenders and ripping off business owners by asking them to make a wire transfer before accepting their loan applications.

Contributor: admin
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