Thursday, May 6, 2021
Times of Georgia
HomeWorldSmall Businesses Struggling After Pandemic Fall Prey To Sophisticated Loan Scams

Small Businesses Struggling After Pandemic Fall Prey To Sophisticated Loan Scams


  • Australia named sixth place in cyber-attack
    targets, according to
    Scamwatch
  • Offers of business loans
    and demands for vaccine registers are the latest to creep
    into our business community

Business
owners struggling to keep their doors open are particularly
prone to increasing and ever sophisticated criminal attacks
online, according to Lucas Meadowcroft, co-founder of
innovation and IT solutions company CROFTI.

Mr
Meadowcroft said up to August last year in Australia,
Scamwatch had received a massive 55 per cent increase in
reports of cyber-attacks, compared with August the previous
year, putting Australia in sixth place for the most hacked
country in the world.

“Here at CROFTI, we are also
experiencing a 75 per cent increase in criminal activity
compared to the pre-COVID landscape,” Mr Meadowcroft
said.

“We are still seeing the same type of scams
that were developed years ago, but also new ones that suit
the current business climate. For example, a new scam that
has started doing the rounds relates to the COVID-19
vaccine, purporting to be from an official organisation and
requesting the client’s personal details so that they may
register for the ‘compulsory shot’ to resume their
employment.”

According to Mr Meadowcroft, another
popular scam is offering business owners and sole operators
business loans to carry them on from the COVID climate,
where they may have experienced significant losses due to
lockdowns and isolation.

With JobKeeper payments
finishing this month, he warned that business owners and
employees are bound to fall prey to cyber-attacks more so
than usual because they are concerned about their future and
are looking for solutions.

Expert tips to spot scam
emails:

  • Relax, take your time to read the email
    carefully. It’s often when someone responds to email
    instructions in a hurry that they will get caught
    out.
  • Does the format of the email look strange? Does
    the email address it came from match the organisation in the
    email itself? Do the logos and graphics look amateurish or
    point to someone who has no access to genuine logos or other
    corporate graphics?
  • Are there spelling or
    grammatical errors in the content of the email? The style of
    content can almost always point to a creator who has little
    or poor professional English.
  • When you click the
    link, does it take you to the company’s page or a
    completely random one?

Mr Meadowcroft said the
purpose of the criminal activity is to coerce victims to
enter all their personal details into a form, so the
criminals ‘can steal your identity’. They will retrieve
your passwords to access your bank accounts, go online
shopping purporting to be you, access your confidential
data, hold you to ransom and more.

“If you feel you
have been scammed, immediately go online and change all of
your passwords. Email, data storage, banking, online
shopping, any website you have ever accessed. It’s time
consuming, but even if the scam happened a week or month
ago, it’s worth doing.”

Mr Meadowcroft’s advice
to everyone, especially business owners, is to ensure they
implement security upgrades, and empower their
people.

“Your staff are your last line of defense.
They need to know what to look for, and how to check for and
report
issues.”

© Scoop Media

 



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