Important information to help protect yourself against cyber fraud
With the continued spread of COVID-19, there could be an increased risk of fraud attempts and cyber security threats across all industries worldwide.
Cybercriminals are preying on individuals’ fears and emotions as well as our natural inclination to help – and always looking for opportunities to exploit highly visible events and uncertain times to take advantage of increased stress levels, anxiety and urgency. Be on alert for potential scams to protect yourself, your families and our communities.
- Cybercriminals are setting up websites to sell bogus products and using fake emails, texts and social media posts as a ruse to steal money and personal information.
- Some attackers may disseminate malicious links and PDFs that claim to contain information on how to protect yourself from the spread of the disease. Once the recipient opens the PDF or clicks the link, their device may be infected with malware and compromised.
- Attackers are also beginning to embed malware in mobile apps and registering website domains for malicious purposes. The best way to not become a victim to these attacks is by only accessing known and trusted websites, and only downloading apps only from trusted sources such as the App Store (Apple) or Google Play (Android) – not from any third-party sites.
- Be on alert and able to recognize phishing emails. Do not click on links in emails from unknown senders or appear suspicious.
- Fraudsters may set up fake charities and crowd-funding sites to support coronavirus research, treatment or impacted individuals. Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Recipients of these attempts should not allow themselves to be rushed into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card or by wiring money, don’t do it.
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also issued an alert to warn of investment schemes that could pitch products and services that will be used to control or stop the coronavirus outbreak. The SEC noted that there have been a number of internet promotions claiming that products and services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect or cure coronavirus, and the value of the stock of these companies will increase dramatically as a result. Individuals and companies should be wary of these types of promotions and understand that there is substantial potential for fraud.
At Voya Financial, in addition to the systems and processes we have in place to catch the majority of attempts, we consistently provide our employees and partners with information and educational tips and trainings about potential fraud schemes and how to protect themselves, the company and our customers.
Some general tips for not becoming a victim of these scams include:
- Don’t click on links from sources you do not know.
- Make sure your anti-malware and anti-virus software is up-to-date.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from government agencies or experts claiming to have information regarding the virus.
- Use common sense.
Be on the alert for tactics scammers often attempt through phone calls or emails:
- Impersonating a customer, agent, or advisor with the hope of gaining unauthorized access to accounts or information.
- Impersonating an employee, sometimes calling from an anonymous line or “spoofing” a customer or Voya number and potentially impersonating that customer or employee.
- Asking you to share and/or confirm confidential customer or employee information.
- Referring to you by name as a way to personalize the conversation and reinforce or legitimize the scam.
- Injecting a sense of urgency and/or fear or guilt that you will be reprimanded if you do not immediately provide the information they seek or take the actions they request.
Secure your device:
- Lock your screen whenever you step away from your desk (WIN + L).
- Reboot your device nightly. This will ensure any Windows or program updates install properly.
- Ensure laptop or desktop PC screen savers are configured properly.
- Ensure your laptop is physically secured properly. Use a locking cable or lock it in a desk drawer if you need to step away.
- Add a privacy screen to reduce the risk of “shoulder surfing” by prying eyes.
- Use a webcam cover to secure your video camera when not in use.
- Do not leave your laptop unsecure and unattended, specifically in public area or vehicle.
- Do not work in public places, such as coffee shops, airports and libraries.
Create strong passwords:
- Never duplicate passwords between websites or applications
- Avoid using personal information, such as names or birth dates
- Keep your passwords confidential — avoid sharing them with anyone
- Stay away from using common dictionary words
Secure your home network
- Run your home networking equipment (Wi-Fi routers, switches, cable modem, firewalls, etc.) on the latest version of firmware.
- Protect your home router or cable modem with a secure and strong password.
- Use WPA2 or WPA3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) encryption protocols to ensure your home Wi-Fi network is properly secured against hackers.
- Ensure your home Wi-Fi uses a strong password that cannot be easily guessed, and only give that password to trusted members of your household who need it.
Registered Representative of Voya Financial Partners,LLC (member SIPC)