Working from home…10 tips to help you avoid getting scammed

Kelly Potter, CIC, PWCA

It’s estimated over 75 million employees may be working from home before the COVID19 crisis is over.

Cyber criminals are jumping on this opportunity to try to find and exploit system vulnerabilities, and we are reading about increased cyber related claims as a result.

Below are 10 tips to help you avoid getting scammed:

  1. Follow your employer’s cyber security practices. If you don’t know what they are, ask the individual responsible for IT what protocols you should be following.
  2. Keep your security software up to date and make sure you use passwords on all your devices and applications.
  3. Make sure your home network is secure and your router has encryption turned on.
  4. Dispose of sensitive information securely, use that shredder!
  5. Keep an eye on your laptop. Don’t leave this on the front seat of your car where criminals will be tempted. Make sure your laptop is password protected.
  6. Always double check that the email address you’re receiving an email from is legitimate. This may take an extra step when checking emails on a phone or tablet.
  7. Check the URL before you click on the link. If something looks off about the website you’re being sent to, it probably is and you should avoid clicking on it.
  8. Your passwords should be unique, long, and with a mix of numbers, symbols and upper and lowercase letters. Change your passwords regularly, and immediately if you feel there’s been a breach. If you think you have suffered a breach, let your IT team know immediately.
  9. Any COVID19 email with an attachment or link should be treated as highly suspicious and verified using known contact information before responding. Don’t be fooled by a coronavirus related phishing email that tries to entice you to click on a link.
  10. Remember that scams are by email, phone call and text. Be on guard with any requests that asks you to provide information. Always get verbal confirmation from a known contact with any payment process.