In 2019, everyone including celebrities were falling for the most realistic online scams, just ask Julia Roberts, Usher or Pink. Everyday it seems as though there’s a new scam out there, but here are (3) online scams that you should always keep an eye out for as a business professional: Credit Card Fraud, Phishing Scams and Job Application Scams.
Credit Card Fraud is more common than you might think. Be wary of the websites that you make shopping transactions on since this is how cyber-criminals can get their hands on your personal and financial information. Some websites try to lure people in with deals that sound like they’re too good to be true, or priced way below their market value. If you start seeing activity on your credit card that you don’t remember, this could be how your information was breached. If you’ve noticed any questionable transactions on your account, report it immediately to your bank institution to cancel the card. Make it a habit to regularly check your transactions online or when you receive your monthly statement. There are also telephone scammers that attempt to get your credit card information by posing as the Canada Revenue Agency. Never give out your credit card information to any suspicious caller – as creative and believable as they may seem, always be on the safe side and never share your PIN with anyone over the phone or online.
According to the Q1 2019 RSA Fraud Report, 52% of phishing attacks occurred in Canada alone. Phishing simply explained, is when someone tries to get access to your private accounts such as your Gmail, Instagram or Facebook by sending you a clickable link in the message with the goal of getting you to send your personal information. If a hacker is able to get into your account via phishing, they can attempt to change your password and lock you out of it. Always double-check who the sender is, and never open a suspicious looking email or click any of the links or downloadable attachments. Setting up multi-factor authentication is also an additional layer of security that will keep hackers out of your account if you fall for a phishing attempt.
Pro-tip: Watch out for “smishing” the SMS version of phishing scams. It’s when someone attempts to get your private information by sending you a text message with a phishing link.
Job Application Scams
Imagine finding your dream job online. They’re offering you a huge salary and lavish perks. You’ve submitted all your personal information that they’ve required including your full name, date of birth, home address, phone number and maybe even your SIN number and bank information. Just like that, you’ve literally bore your soul – well not exactly, but it might as well be since this sensitive information can be used to hack into your financial accounts, or worse cause scenario – your identity – which can go up for auction on the Dark Web. Job scammers use legitimate looking vacancies to seek your interest. It’s never a bad idea to thoroughly do your homework on the company, as well as the job listing. We recommend finding jobs directly from the company’s website and not on skeptical websites that are completely unrelated to the company. Other than requesting a cover letter and a resume (maybe even a portfolio depending on the position) – most vacancies do not require you to submit sensitive information at this stage of the process, so watch out for job postings that require this kind of information upfront.
Pro-tip: “Be suspicious of unsolicited ‘work from home’ opportunities or job offers, particularly those that offer a ‘guaranteed income’ or require you to pay an upfront fee”. Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency. It is rare to recover money sent this way.