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Working from Home? Tips for Avoiding COVID-19 Scams

In times of crisis, criminals will always take advantage of human emotions such as kindness or fear. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. The Buncombe County Information Security team is diligently monitoring the situation via threat intelligence feeds from both the public and private sectors. We would like to share some of what we are seeing with the greater Buncombe County community.

Work from home mandates significantly increase the cyber risk of businesses and individuals. More than ever, good cyber hygiene is vital and that includes:

  • Keeping devices updated
  • Running up-to-date endpoint protection (anti-virus/anti-malware)
  • Not clicking on links or downloading attachments in suspicious emails
  • Not visiting suspicious websites
  • Using multi-factor authentication when possible
  • Validating information shared over social media channels

Many of the cyber threats we see impersonate credible organizations such as the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, government agencies (local, state, and federal). Other scams will offer hope in the form of COVID-19 testing kits, prevention methods, and other false pretenses aimed at having you click links in emails and text messages. These often lead to malware or ask for sensitive information (Social Security numbers, credit card information, etc.). Also, be aware the email address and/or signature might look familiar but actually be from a scammer. And as new platforms such as Zoom gain popularity, be advised that they will be targeted.

If you are suspicious of an email, text, or other communication; contact your IT team. If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, contact the North Carolina Attorney General’s office here or at 877-5-NO-SCAM. Suspicious text messages can be reported to your mobile carrier by forwarding them to 7726.

Videos and resources on cybersecurity while working from home: