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Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday: Avoiding end-of-year scams online

Oregon FBI's Tech Tuesday: Avoiding end-of-year scams online
Written by Publishing Team

PORTLAND, Oregon (KTVZ) – This week, the FBI’s technical segment Tuesday in Oregon focuses on building digital defense as 2021 approaches the end.

You’ve been able to navigate the holiday season, and you’ve almost made it into the new year. There are only a few last minute things that you need to pay attention to.

First – charitable fraud. you have until 31St To make year-end donations to charities so you can claim this year’s tax deductions.

Charity scams can come in many forms: emails, social media posts, crowdfunding platforms, cold calls, or even text messages. Always be careful and do your research.

  • Donate to charities or groups whose work you know and trust.
  • Be aware of organizations with fake names or similar names to reputable organizations.
  • Check your charity record on Federal Trade Commission website.
  • Give using a check or credit card. If a charity or organization asks you to donate cash, gift card, virtual currency, or bank transfer, it is likely a scam.

Moving on – there are two other end-of-year concerns we want to warn you about. The first is payroll or benefits fraud. Employees might not be surprised when they get a notification, allegedly from HR, to log in and check their accounts online when we get to change the calendar from year to year. Once the employee clicks on the conveniently provided bad link, the malware is downloaded to the system, and the bad actor can now access the employee’s personal and financial information.

The second concern involves the payroll office itself. As your financial staff prepares year-end reports, they may receive a fake email – purportedly from the IRS – asking for Social Security numbers, bank account information, and the like.

In both cases, the best defense is a strong attack:

  • Train your employees to never click on links or attachments.
  • Train employees not to give out login credentials or personally identifiable information in response to any email.
  • Directing employees to forward suspicious requests for personal information to the IT or Human Resources department.
  • Ensure that the login credentials used for payroll purposes are different from those used for other purposes, such as employee surveys.

That concludes it for this year. Wishing you a wonderful and safe New Year!

As always, if you are a victim of this or any other online scam, you should report the incident to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov Or contact your local FBI office.

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