As cybercrooks rush to take advantage of the chaos created by Covid, Covid-related cybercrimes and scams are surging.
And as data on these attacks becomes clearer, what’s also becoming clearer is that more affluent consumers are not only likely to be the preferred targets, but also likely to lose more.
A quick survey of security experts and industry chatter suggests nearly a dozen reasons why affluent consumers should be more vigilant:
- Everything is disrupted, and criminals thrive on exploiting the confusion, fear, and uncertainty. So risk has increased for everyone.
- Security defenses are shrinking for many organizations, as budget and manpower cuts spare no one. The security teams that are left are often being stretched too thin as they’re forced to take on other roles. So data, networks, and accounts may be more vulnerable.
- Stress and anxiety are at critical levels globally, including the people who might be in charge of your accounts. Both stress and anxiety impact cognitive function, reducing vigilance and attention and increasing mistakes. Attackers are anticipating what’s increasingly being referred to as “psyber risk.”
- Business email compromise and account takeover frauds are on the rise, and the scammers much prefer targets with more accounts and bigger bank balances. $26 billion was lost to BEC scams in just the last three years, nearly half of that in the U.S., and an average loss to victims of $130,000.
- What businesses are not sending out multiple emails sharing the great things they’re doing in response to Covid? Hidden in the tsunami of real emails are millions of very dangerous fakes.
- Fraud experts are seeing a massive increase in charity and fundraising scams, and affluent consumers normally tend to be the biggest donors to worthy causes.
- Employees are facing their own tsunami too, and of all kinds of scams relating to unemployment assistance, vaccines and cures, changes to credit card terms, stimulus funding, etc. These are all back doors to their employers.
- We’re seeing fewer work-at-home scams and more working-from-home scams, like hot deals on the latest video conference technology that will make your online meetings much better.
- There’s been a noticeable increase in cryptocurrency scams, either soliciting donations using crypto or investing in exciting new cryptocurrencies and initiatives. More affluent consumers are more likely to be looking for investment options at this time or more likely to already have crypto wallets or investments.
- The SEC is reporting an increase in all kinds of Covid-related investment scams. Examples include promising startups that are surging because of Covid (like video conferencing, medical privacy, teleworking security, or promising new treatments); investing in companies making ground-breaking testing equipment and supplies; investing in alternative assets that can take advantage of the volatility; investments in distressed debt or businesses; investments in better insulated assets and so on.
According to CNBC “The Great Recession of 2008 saw investors flock to fake certificates of deposit, private placements, non-publicly traded real estate deals, promissory notes and scams involving gold and other precious metals, experts said. Many turned out to be Ponzi schemes and other frauds.”