Insights and tips on how to protect your inn or bed & breakfast, giving you and your guests peace of mind.

Ward, Hayden
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Tips to Reel in Phishing Scams for Innkeepers

phishing tips for innkeepers

An unfortunate result of  COVID-19 is that cybercriminals are attempting to capitalize on the public’s desire to learn more about the outbreak and vaccine updates. With a large amount of the population still working remotely due to the coronavirus outbreak, phishing scams are becoming the fastest type of cybercrime. Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails claiming to be from reputable companies to induce individuals to reveal personal information. Obtaining passwords and credit card numbers are often the goals of these scammers.

Once criminals have these credentials, they can use them to commit financial fraud or impersonate the real user to access social networking sites or apps. Some of the emails also attempt to get people to download software (malware) onto their computer. The download contains a virus that monitors all activity on the device. If that computer is logged into a business network, an attacker could, potentially access information on the entire system.

Inn owners are at high risk for scammers as the travel and hospitality industry has been a large focus in the news. If you are receiving emails regarding bookings, cancellations, and refunds make sure it feels right before you accept. These criminals can also pretend to be someone else and use your previous guests’ names.

Many of these scams are playing on fears of the coronavirus. The latest wave of phishing scams are repurposing standard phishing templates with coronavirus-related phishing scams. For example, you may see email subject lines like: “New coronavirus cases confirmed in your city” or “Receive your vaccination for COVID-19.” Some also mimic those emails coming from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO). If you are searching for more information on the coronavirus, visit those sites directly.

The ways to spot these scams is not new, but you could probably use a refresher during this time of increased attack. Here are a few reminders of what to look for before opening emails:

  1. Examine the subject line for spelling errors and poor grammar. These are signs it could be a scam.
  2. Inspect the from address to determine if it has a letter or symbol out of place. This is a good indication that it is bogus.
  3. Check the link – Hover on the link and look for misspellings as well as how the URL ends. A “.ru” on the end means the site was created in Russia; “.br” means Brazil.
  4. If the greeting isn’t personalized, the email may be fake.
  5. Be wary of emails asking for financial information. Never share personal or financial information via email or an unsecure site.
  6. Think before you click on links or open attachments, you could download malware.

Bottom line, if it seems off, delete it. Be extra vigilant before opening emails, especially if the subject is related to the coronavirus. Remembering how to spot a suspicious email can help your business avoid a cyber breach. Click here to download our tips to avoid email phishing and hang it up in your office space for a constant reminder.

If you feel like you have been involved in a phishing scam, received fraudulent charges or become a victim of identity theft, please refer to the Federal Trade Commission for more information.

Disclaimer: This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. In an actual claim situation, coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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