Right now most of us are staying home for “social isolation”, and we’re all spending more time online. Hopefully your ebooks, games, and chatting with friends are a welcome reprieve from the frightening events going on in the world. But we do feel it’s our duty to warn you that during this difficult time, criminals are taking advantage of heightened emotions to launch their digital attacks.

With news of an upcoming stimulus check swirling, hackers are taking advantage of public fears – and hopes. Emails are circulating, claiming to be from government officials such as the IRS or US Treasury, offering updates on free money to help offset the financial suffering felt by many of us. Others promise free government grants for small businesses, while still others appear to offer health advice from the World Health Organization (but they definitely aren’t).

It’s safe to say that if you haven’t received emails from these sources before, they probably aren’t suddenly deciding to email you. It’s a scam, aimed at downloading malware onto your computer or tricking you into clicking suspicious links.

If you receive an email that seems too good to be true, use your mouse to hover over the sender’s name in the address bar. Their email address will show, and you can often use that information to determine whether it is fake.

Also, keep in mind that the government won’t contact you this way. Agencies such as the IRS or Social Security will send you letters in the regular mail. They never email citizens asking for private information (and also do not call them on the phone asking for your Social Security number).

If you do open an email from an unexpected source, remember that simply clicking the link can download malware onto your computer. Instead, proceed to that agency’s website directly, and look for the pertinent information there.

And just a reminder: Never give out personal information such as your Social Security number over email. This is almost always a trick to gain access to your essential data, for identity theft purposes.

Most importantly: Make sure your employees understand this information. Your network is only as safe as each user accessing it.

If you need more help safeguarding your computer systems at this time, give us a call at 888-RING-MY-TECH. We can help you troubleshoot your security system and upgrade it if necessary.