You’d never leave the warehouse or jobsite without confirming that the door was locked and security activated. Are you as careful with your electronic devices? Scammers are getting better at finding the weaknesses in people’s workflow, and they may be coming for your contracting business. Officials say that businesses are often the biggest targets for cyberattacks, and that they can seem more real and innocent than you think. Here’s what to watch out for, and a few ways you can protect yourself.
Remember: It’s Easy to Get Scammed
Practically everyone has received an email from a prince offering millions of dollars to anyone willing to give sensitive bank account information. While most people know not to fall for something like this, most modern scams are much less obvious. Scammers look for weaknesses in the system and figure out the most effective ways to exploit them. They’ve spent years getting better at it. This means that when you get an email from a contractor you know asking for your routing number for a wire transfer, it might look entirely legit. As a general rule, you want to assume that many communications like this can be faulty.
Lock Down Your Passwords
If you’re not changing your passwords regularly, or if you’re using the defaults on the devices you buy, you’re putting yourself at risk. You hear about hackers using conventional passwords on smart home technology to break through a home’s security. This is just as easy to do for your security cameras on the jobsite. Good passwords should be:
- long, at least eight and preferably 12 characters
- a combination of numbers, letters and symbols
- different between accounts
- difficult for anyone to guess
Strong passwords are hard to remember. If you’re constantly forgetting them, or choosing easy ones so you don’t, it’s time to get a password manager.
Never Share Confidential Information Over Phone or Email
People expect scams to look over-the-top fake because they assume scammers are sending it to hundreds of thousands of people. At the business level, identity thieves only need to get one hit to get a huge payout. This encourages them to make it as personal and realistic as possible, knowing that you’ll be more likely to take the bait if there’s a real person on the other end. Just like you wouldn’t believe someone making a prank phone call, you should treat all unexpected communications with suspicion. That texter can’t fix your student loans, your bank would never email you to ask for your password, and the IRS doesn’t make phone calls.
Use Multiple Means of Verification
Phishing scams, where the person uses some correct information about you to try to get more, are so slick these days you might not even see it. Sure, you might think that you should log into your business bank account to make sure the email is correct, but how do you get there? Clicking on the link in the email is how they get you. Instead, find the contact information for the institution through their regular website or from an official communication like a bank statement. As an added layer of protection, use a different device to verify it. If your phone or computer is already compromised, using the same machine might still put you at risk.
Watch What You Download
When a random website asks you to download something, you may already know not to do so. What happens if you get an email from someone on your team asking you to review documents in a ZIP file? This is where being a little more suspicious comes in handy. Scammers hide ransomware and malware in certain types of files that seem reasonable and related to your business. If you download them, they’ll often create hours or days of trouble for you. When you’re not expecting the files, don’t click on them. And if you are, install anti-virus software to help identify problems.
Keeping your business secure is getting harder and harder, especially in the construction field. By taking this advice, you can protect your information and your money. To discover the benefits of a career in construction, visit CSLS today!