Many businesses seek out an IT consultant in Los Angeles during the tax season because fraudsters today like to phish payroll and HR departments for W-2 information. This can be very successfully done with a well-crafted email, and it can be extremely damaging to even smaller businesses. You don’t want the IRS blaming you for tax fraud that’s perpetuated by a cybercriminal. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid being so undermined. Education is a big part of that. You need to know what to look for to avoid being phished. Several things that usually characterize such a fraudulent email include:
- A Suspiciously High-Ranking Sender
- An Unusual Request for Sensitive Information Sent Elsewhere
- An Urgently Stressed Timeline of Response
A Suspiciously High-Ranking Sender
Let’s say you’re working in HR or Payroll, and out of nowhere, you get an email from the company’s CEO demanding all W-2s be sent to their inbox immediately. This happens outside operational protocols and represents your first interaction with that CEO. How are you going to feel, and what are you going to do? Likely, you’ll be flustered enough to immediately comply, thinking your own job is on the line. This is what the phishers want and why they’ll often send an email from a high-ranking sender.
First, compare the time the email was sent with the schedule of the individual in question. Second, see whether it came from an internal email address or a personal one. Third, see if the email violates company policy in any way regarding internal communications. Fourth, carefully read through the email to see if there are any surprises. Your CEO may be named Jim Jackson and have JimJackson@YourBusiness.com as his email address. A phisher might change that to JimJacksom@YourBusiness.com. It’s a very subtle change and one the eye is like to scan right over. This is a sure sign of phishing.
Finally, contact the sender to ensure they sent it. If you can’t verify that the email is fraudulent with one of these techniques, confirming with your boss can help you avoid a terrible mishap.
An IT consultant in Los Angeles is usually going to advise against sending large quotients of sensitive information to servers, email addresses or elsewhere, owing to such requests. When you see emails out of the blue, requesting you to send such data, there’s usually a good chance that phishing is involved.
Hackers want those they target to not think clearly and immediately comply. Accordingly, they demand urgency where either no urgency is necessary or where it’s unexpected. Don’t be fooled. You can always check to see if someone in your company really sent an attachment or asked you to send anything back. Also, don’t click on any links you find in such a suspicious email; they could end up acting as an access portal for some ransomware worm or something else that’s pernicious.
Be the “Phish” That Got Away
An IT consultant in Los Angeles from Integritechs Technology Professionals can help you avoid getting lured in by cybercriminal exploiters who understand how to “angle” businesses onto the “hook” of their phishing scam. Contact us for cybersecurity solutions, as well as cutting-edge technology solutions.