Hurricane survivors and those who make it through other natural disasters have enough to worry about following the event’s drama. These victims should not have to be concerned with fraudsters attempting to take advantage of them on the web. Unfortunately, cyber criminals come out of the woodwork after natural disasters of all sorts. In fact, even corporations and businesses are that much more susceptible to cyber attacks following natural disasters as their systems have been compromised. Part of the problem is IT personnel are tasked with getting systems back up and running so their guard is temporarily let down, opening the door for attacks.
Cyber thieves are well aware of the fact that victims and others interact with all sorts of new people and groups during and after natural disasters. From volunteers to government agencies, non-profit organizations and beyond, there is plenty of interaction taking place. Cyber criminals will go as far as pretending to be one of these legitimate parties in the aftermath of the natural disaster with the overarching aim of obtaining as much highly sensitive personal information as possible. Some cyber evildoers will pretend they represent charities, collect donations for victims, pocket the money and obtain bank account and credit card details.
Look for Signs of Legitimacy
When looking at an email, link or website, think critically and be patient. Review everything on the screen to determine if it appears shady or legitimate. In some cases, seemingly legitimate websites will be slightly altered with a misspelling to make victims think they are visiting a regular website. When in doubt, do not click on the link in question. Elect to type web addresses into your browser rather than clicking links. Finally, be sure to update your anti-virus software with regularity. If your email provider offers an anti-phishing defense, apply it right away.
Posing as FEMA
Fraudsters pose as FEMA agents after natural disasters. These scammers will dress as FEMA agents, obtain personal information ranging from Social Security numbers to banking information and appear perfectly legitimate. The collected information is sold to others, used to steal the victim’s identity or used to transfer money/purchase items with the victim’s money. The bottom line is people should never give their personal information to anyone in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster.
A Business Continuity Plan Will Help
Businesses can prepare for natural disasters and the inevitable scammers by developing a business continuity plan. This plan should detail IT procedures for crises. The business continuity plan should also outline all actions that should be taken in the event of a digital breach.