News outlets have reported that, during the time of Covid-19, phishing scams are up at a rate of 6,000 percent. But why? What does a worldwide pandemic have to do with internet security?

Essentially, this boils down to the worth of your personal data. As scammers pose as IRS agents, human resource professionals, medical equipment salespersons, charitable organizations and more, there are more scams circulating now. After all, times of chaos represent an opportunity for those with less than scrupulous morals.

How much is your data worth? It’s not that scammers are after you personally. But with the average adult’s data worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars to thieves on the black market, scammers seek to gather as much as they can. They then sell off personal information to other con artists, who use Social Security numbers, health insurance information, and more to steal identities and reap financial gain for themselves.

Just imagine how much one identity is worth right now, with regard to the stimulus payments offered by the IRS! With future payments in the works, we likely won’t see a reduction in phishing attempts any time soon.

And of course, medical scams have increased during this time as well. As people are desperate for possible coronavirus preventives or testing, fake medical providers are taking advantage of the situation to offer solutions by phone or email – in exchange for insurance information, of course.

And then there’s the fake charities. We all want to help, but in our eagerness might lose track of more wise donation practices.

What can you do about it? If a device is connected to the internet, it’s a potential entryway for hackers and scammers. All devices – not just your computers – must be regularly updated when security patches roll out. Even your wireless router needs to be updated about every five years, to ensure the latest technology is in use.

And of course, this goes for firewalls and passwords as well. Review your firewall settings, and change passwords for online accounts regularly.

Avoid phishing. Finally, remember that the IRS, your doctor, and other official organizations will not ask for your personal information by email (or phone, or social media messaging). This is a sure sign of a scam. Remind your employees not to click on links in emails, and that they should never provide personal information via these channels.

For more help securing your network, give us a call at 888-RING-MY-TECH. We can help you update your firewall and double check your processes for security risks.