If you communicate electronically, you are a target of cybercriminals. And, since 2021 there has been a 61% increase in phishing attacks. They come through link-based URLS, targeted advertisements on social medial, email messages. These cybercriminals are also becoming more sophisticated which also means they’re more dangerous to the average person and business. You can protect yourself, your business and your team by knowing the latest scams and messages and by having a plan in place to keep your data safe. Two of the latest tactics are the two-pronged approach and the seasonal urgency request.

The Two-Pronged Approach

In this latest method, you likely receive a phone call that references a text or email you received earlier in the day or week. You feel like the phone call makes the email that went to spam or the text you ignored more real because someone is following up on it. However, resist the urge to click on the link. If you have any doubt about the validity of any link, message or email you receive, contact the alleged sender by looking up their phone number and dialing it yourself. Don’t just call the number provided in the text, email or voicemail.

Seasonal Urgency Requests

Although this approach may happen any time of the year, two of the most common times are around the Christmas holidays and tax time. At holidays, scammers offer too good to be true offers and capture you when you click on their links. They also offer sweepstakes for hard to find but popular gifts. The old saying, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” rings true here as well.

As we approach tax season we’re seeing more phishing attacks that utilize fear as a motivator. Most of us have heard about phone calls, emails and text messages from fake IRS agents, however, a new approach is people calling to offer free or highly discounted tax assistance. You provide your social security number and they will let you know if you qualify for the tax assistance. When you give them your social security number, they steal your identity. They also may file your taxes and collect any refunds due to you.

Protect Yourself, Your Business & Your Staff Against Phishing

Education is key. Tell you employees how and when they will receive their W-2s or 1099’s. Remind them about the latest tax scams and that they should never give their social security number out to anyone who calls them. Finally, make sure that they understand not to click on unknown links or forward emails that they think may be suspicious. Have them reach out to your IT team.

You can protect yourself and your business from cybercriminals by securely backing up your business data. Make sure that your network has a firewall as well as quality data protection software. If you aren’t sure about how safe your business is from cybercriminals, call Toucan Technology Group. We can share with you our many service offerings as an MSP and help you and your business stay safe from hackers, ransomware and cybercrime. Call us today at (317) 376-4874 for your no obligation consultation.

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