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April 21, 2020
With more than 80 million economic relief payments sent out by the IRS, con artists are out in full force. This batch of payments went out individuals that have direct deposit information on file. Millions of additional checks will be mailed.
“Many of you are eligible to receive economic stimulus checks from the U.S. federal government in response to COVID-19 in the coming days. Unfortunately, criminals are actively exploiting the situation to steal stimulus funds, capture people’s personal information or spread misinformation. These individuals use a wide variety of methods to steal payments — including text messages, social media, email, phone calls and fake web pages,” Ingram Micro wrote in a letter to partners. “We want to remind you to please be alert for email scams or other attempts to trick you out of your money or steal your identity around this topic. Below are some tips from our email security partner ProofPoint that we thought would be useful to help you avoid being a victim.”
Proofpoint, a cybersecurity vendor, outlines five best practices on how to not fall victim to criminal exploitation scams.
Refer only to official IRS sources for information about stimulus checks.
Ignore all solicitations from any source, in particular, those who encourage you to provide your personal information to obtain your funds or to obtain them faster.
Take no action, unless you’re in a small group of people who need to provide information to the IRS.
If the IRS requires more information to send your stimulus payment, there is an IRS website. However, be aware that the IRS uses an authorized non-government website to collect your information.
Share these safeguards with family members or others who might need it.
In the business world, employees are the weak link when it comes to security awareness. Eighty-three percent of global organizations experienced phishing attacks in 2018, according to Proofpoint’s 2019 “Beyond the Phish” report.
Ingram Micro and other distributors began supporting partners during the COVID-19 crisis back in March. Vendors have also introduced programs to help channel partners navigate business operations through the pandemic.
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