Working remotely can boost your fraud risk profile
Working remotely can boost your fraud risk profile as scammers can appear to be legitimate business contacts. You may not think twice about logging on to your personal computer or mobile device for work, but doing so can put you at risk for fraud in more ways than one.
That's because it's easier to hack people than machines, says Nic White, global fraud prevention head for Citi Commercial Bank. “Cybersecurity has improved significantly over recent years, so criminals are increasingly targeting people, tricking them into voluntarily handing over information or sending a payment to an unintended beneficiary,” White says.
According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 2021 internet crime report, BEC scams, along with ransomware and the criminal use of cryptocurrency, were identified as the top incidents reported in 2021. BEC schemes alone resulted in an adjusted loss of nearly $2.4 billion for businesses.
If you find you're interfacing more with business contacts who are working out of the office, be especially watchful against BEC scams, as fraudsters might use the pretense of remote work as a reason you need to suddenly send payments or funds to a new and unfamiliar account.
For example, White says one of the most popular tactics used by fraudsters is business email compromise (BEC) scams. These rely on the use of seemingly legitimate-looking emails to defraud remote workers and small business owners. BEC scam victims are deceived into sending money transfers to criminals, believing the recipients are legitimate business contacts.
According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 2019 internet crime report, BEC scams accounted for nearly half of the cybercrime-related losses reported by businesses last year. The FBI advised in April that these scams may become more prevalent in 2020.