'Be smart:' FBI reports rise in online scams, here's what you can do to protect your data



MENOMONEE FALLS -- Thousands of people are working from home and finding out it's not as convenient as it sounds. Between technology issues and security risks, many jobs are more stressful than ever.

As more people work from home than ever before, scammers across the world see opportunity.

John May



"It's a big business. It's a lot of money, and that's why people do it," said John May with Ontech, an IT business. "There's also organized crime syndicates mostly overseas."

May said that most home WiFi networks are pretty secure. Still, there's been an uptick in phishing emails -- targeting employees in isolation.

"Be smart about what you're looking at. If you see requests coming from someone that you don't normally get a request like that from, question it," May said.

When using a home computer, make sure your security is up to date, use strong passwords and two-factor authentication. Even if a request appears to come from a co-worker, be suspicious of links in emails, requests to wire money or to provide personal information.



"The display name says John Smith, your boss, but the email address is actually something completely different," said May.

It's not just email being targeted either.

The FBI reports people are hijacking video-teleconferencing platforms -- something called "Zoom bombing" -- and "has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language.

May said these are the risks that come with working remotely, but you are the first line of defense.

"Just be more cognizant of the fact that people are going to try to take advantage of the situation," said May

Ontech says if your WiFi access point is less than five years old, it should be pretty secure. Use that or a hotspot and, as usual, avoid public WiFi when working with sensitive information.