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FBI warning: Avoid these Microsoft and Google scams

Google and Microsoft are taking bold stances in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. Rather than upcharge customers forced to work from home, they’re actually offering their premium business services for free. This makes it easier for employees to operate remotely across the country.

Some of the features include larger amounts of cloud storage, as well as an increased number of participants in teleconferences and meetings. These, and other features, aren’t available in the free editions of G Suite and Office 365. Tap or click to see what else major companies are offering in response to the coronavirus.

But office workers across the country aren’t the only ones aware of increased G Suite and Microsoft Office traffic. Scammers are taking advantage of the surplus of remote workers to peddle phishing schemes that can hijack your company email. Here’s how you can stay safe.

FBI puts scammers on notice

According to reports from BleepingComputer, the FBI is alerting G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 users of an increase in phishing scams targeting company email addresses.

These Business Email Compromise, or BEC scams, are not particularly new, but the sheer number of people now working from home makes them far more dangerous than they were previously. Tap or click to find out how to steer clear of coronavirus scams.

In the FBI’s words, “Between January 2014 and October 2019, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received complaints totaling over $2.1 billion in actual losses from BEC scams targeting Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite.”

The scams imitate ordinary system messages that would come from Google or Microsoft, which can successfully trick people into clicking and providing login information.

And once someone does, the account can be accessed by the scammer or sold online on the Dark Web. Typically, these fraudsters search for any hints of financial information or classified, internal business documents to use in their schemes.

To make matters worse, a compromised business email can make it easy for a scammer to impersonate an employee, which can potentially cost a business thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

The best option companies can take now is a preemptive defense against phishing, as well as educating remote workers about the risks they face.

It’s time to have a talk about cybersecurity

If you or your employees will be working from home, make sure you’re using your work-related systems in a secure manner. Log into VPNs, protect passwords in password managers and log out every time you’re finished with work.

These practices will help keep your valuable accounts safe from intruders. Tap or click here to learn how to secure your business for remote work.

Knowing the signs of phishing schemes will also keep you safe. Always verify email addresses are legitimately from Google or Microsoft before responding or clicking on anything. If you’re not sure, ask a supervisor or coworker to verify that it’s really what it appears to be.

Ultimately, working from home adds a different set of responsibilities on top of ordinary work duties. Without paying attention to cybersecurity and digital safety, you’re putting yourself and your colleagues at risk for compromise. Why take the risk?

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