Nowadays almost everyone is online, both privately and commercially. Life can no longer be imagined without the internet.
Although the internet simplifies our lives, it makes it increasingly easy for people with bad intentions to make money from criminal activities.
Cybercriminals are emerging in a vicious way to steal money from individuals and businesses. This is called cyber fraud. What exactly is cyber fraud, how do you recognize it and most importantly, how can you protect yourself from cyber fraud?
What is cyber fraud?
First, we need to clarify what cyber fraud is and what types of scams there are.
As soon as you and your employees become aware of the different types of fraud, it will be easier to recognize them.
Cybercrime is a criminal way of stealing money using the internet. As technology plays an important role in both the private and business environments, it becomes increasingly easier for criminals to collect sensitive data and to misuse that for criminal purposes. As soon as you and your employees become aware of the different types of fraud, they become easier to recognize.
Also, criminals no longer have to break into a building or house but can access other people's computers and systems from inside their living room.
Types of fraud: Phishing, smishing, and vishing
All three types have the same effect, but the potential victim will be approached through different channels. With phishing, you receive an e-mail, smashing uses SMS and with vishing, you will be contacted by phone. In most cases, the scammers pretend to be your bank, internet provider or other institution where you are a customer. You will receive a link via e-mail or SMS and you may be asked to click on it. Then you will be redirected to a fake website that is very similar to the actual institution, service or company. Here you will be requested to leave your login data, which is then visible to the scammers. This allows them to log into your account. When contacted by phone, you will be asked to visit a fake website or they will just ask for your login data.
Known examples are situations in which scammers pretend to be an employee of the bank where you do your business. By using the same layout, logo, and name of the employee in the messages and conversations, many people will fall for this. This can lead to the potential theft of a lot of money in a short amount of time.
Cyber fraud in business
The above-mentioned fraud techniques primarily affect individuals and their private assets.
However, in the business environment, it is more difficult to get money through phishing, since not every employee has access to corporate business accounts.
As a result, cybercriminals commit more and more CEO fraud whereby the criminal pretends to be CEO of the company. With an e-mail address that matches that of the CEO, he or she sends an e-mail to an employee of the finance department. The e-mail address behind the name of the CEO is not always immediately visible in e-mail software and therefore is often the e-mail address of the scammer.
So, if you send an e-mail with the reply feature of your e-mail software to ask a question or to ask for confirmation, the scammer will give you a confirming answer.
Previously the scammer has been well informed about who is authorized to transfer money and who the CEO of the company is. Usually, the e-mails are written with a personal touch. For example, the CEO calls the employee by his first name and asks to handle this request confidentially.
The employee can feel honoured and can make him of or more vulnerable to such scams.
Mostly the amounts transferred are large, which makes it more difficult to reverse once the bank has received the money.
Malware and viruses can be used to unwillingly transfer data to other computers.
These types of software are often distributed via attachments in an e-mail, via chat messages or by hiding in downloaded software, music, movies or other files from suspicious websites. A well-known form is the Trojan horse or Trojan for short. This is a software program hidden in other legitimate software.
The Trojan gets onto your computer unnoticed because you are thinking you have downloaded general computer software. Then, the insecure software will be invisibly launched so that a scammer can access your computer and for example, can find out what personal information you use to log in to companies, institutions, who you share emails with and what you communicate about.
How do you prevent cyber fraud?
The most important thing is to be aware that cybercrime exists.
If you are aware of how online scammers work, you will also recognize them faster. Always pay attention to whom you have received an e-mail from. For example, always check the sender of an e-mail.
If you are instructed by your supervisor to transfer money to a foreign bank account number, it is always advisable to not reply to the mail but to forward it. Enter the email address of your supervisor manually. Always keep in mind that banks or other institutions will never ask you for your login information by e-mail, chat or phone. Always check the link (URL) in a message. There are several websites where you can easily check whether a link is secure.
Tips to avoid cyber fraud
- Change your password regularly
- Never use the same password for all your accounts
- Never give your password to someone else
- Do not send passwords via e-mail or chat service
- Do not save passwords on your computer or mobile phone
- Do not open documents from an unknown USB stick
- Do not open documents from a foreign USB stick
In short: Do not make it too easy for cybercriminals!