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BBB offers tips to be safe from cyber-scammers while telecommuting

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) wants to warn employees about scammers and hackers who are trying to capitalize on the confusion of people who are working from home for the first time because of the coronavirus.

Because of inexperience, confusion or the potential distractions from kids and pets, these employees may be vulnerable to accidentally falling victim to a scammer’s tricks.

★ Watch out for strange voicemails or emails from your boss. Voice cloning software makes it easy for scammers to impersonate your boss and leave you a voicemail instructing you to wire money or divulge personal information. Likewise, scammers can hack into your boss’s email account — or create an email address that is similar to your boss’s — and send you an email with those instructions [Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams]. Take extra precautions to verify that the communication is actually from your boss before complying.

★ Stick with the company’s officially approved communications tools. Thirdparty, instant messaging apps might be more convenient but are often used by scammers to impersonate trusted contacts.

★ Never click on links or open attachments in an email unless you’ve verified the sender. This is how hackers download viruses, keystroke loggers and other malware onto your computer. Slow down and be careful.

★ Use company-issued equipment when possible. If you have a laptop or a mobile device provided by your company, use it. Security protocols on company technology are typically stronger than what’s on your personal devices. If you must use your personal computer or cell phone, make sure all security software is up-to-date.

★ Always use the company portal to access the corporate servers. Every company has procedures in place for how employees should access the network when out of the office. If you’re not sure what that is, check with your IT department.