Identity protection company urges consumers to prepare
As the country teeters on the brink of the predicted second wave of COVID-19, IDStrong, a premier credit and identity theft monitoring company, is issuing a call to action against a parallel second wave of scams and cyberattacks.
From Zoombombing to unemployment scams, Americans faced an onslaught of cyberattacks as shelter in place orders began to take hold in March. For the most part, individuals and companies acted quickly to tighten security. But just as mask-wearing and social distancing practices are starting to slip, so too are security practices, leaving consumers as vulnerable as ever.
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“Officials have warned that a second wave of infections is coming, and I contend that two forces will collide to create a concurrent second wave of cyberattacks,” said Levon Gasparian, CEO of IDStrong. “The first is that renewed shelter in place orders – and their consequential impacts on lifestyle and the economy – will create new opportunities for scammers. The second is that Americans’ general fatigue with restrictions and precautions has allowed us to let our collective guard down. This combination makes the environment ripe for new scams.”
IDStrong offers four actions Americans can take today to start bolstering their security.
- Take the Time to Type Out a URL
It is getting increasingly difficult to decipher a deep fake email from a real one, leading consumers to unknowingly click links containing malware. One fool proof solution is to avoid clicking any links by visiting the websites directly. For instance, if you get an email from Amazon saying that your order has been delayed and suggesting that you follow a link for more information, take the extra time to open your browser and type in Amazon’s URL yourself to look for information on your order.
- Outsource Password Security
Password managers are a type of software that store and manage passwords in an encrypted format. They allow you secure access to this information with a master password. Password managers can offer great protection, but they are an investment. If you cannot afford to budget for one, change your passwords frequently and do not repeat passwords for multiple sites.
- Get to Love the Latergram
If you are leaving the house for an extended getaway, posting in real time is alerting criminals to the fact that you are not at home and likely off your guard. Most people have open following on Instagram and Twitter making it even easier for criminals to track your whereabouts – especially if you use hashtags broadcasting that you are on #vacation!
- Be Proactive Aganist Potential Threats
No matter how careful you are personally, you still run the risk of being exposed via a breach. Sign up for identity monitoring, which includes scouring the dark web, public records, forums, and social media for any mention of your personal information (SSN, email, logins, driver’s license number, credit or bank account numbers, medical information and more).
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“Cybercriminals take advantage of fear, confusion and fatigue to lure victims,” continued Gasparian. “Right now, we’re in a little bit of a lull on those emotions. But when wave two of infections hits, we will be right back in the epicenter. Stay strong, stay vigilant, stay safe.”
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