In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic is a tsunami of criminal activity designed to play on your members’ fears and distractions. Perhaps one of the greatest threats is the use of phishing emails to attack members to gain access to all sorts of personal data and financial information. On the heals’ of the formal FBI warning to all Americans about increased criminal attacks related to the pandemic, there are two prominent sources who see phishing emails as one of the greatest threats on the rise
Last week, an article published by The Hill noted that there had been an astounding 667% increase in phishing emails in the previous 30 days alone. This article points out, “These types of emails try to lure individuals into clicking on dangerous links or download attachments that typically include computer viruses.” The article also notes, “as the coronavirus crisis continues, researchers are expecting hackers to grow increasingly sophisticated at using coronavirus to lure individuals.” Furthermore, The Hill reported that even the World Health Organization itself experienced an unsuccessful cyber-attack within the past few weeks, and they are seeing a dramatic increase in hacking attempts.
Another prominent subject matter expert on ID theft and data breach activities, Mark Pribish, notes in his recent newsletter, “the vast majority of data breach events are the result of phishing emails and not high technology hacking tools.” Mark also references the 2019 Internet Crime Report in pointing out that “phishing scams were the most common type of internet crime last year where 114,000 U.S. consumers lost more than $57.8 million in 2019 as the result of phishing.”
Credit Unions have the opportunity to reach members and sound the alarm about this tidal wave of phishing emails coming at them, thus creating a powerful awareness moment. It would be an incredible time also to consider how you might be able to bring members protective services with high-value propositions. Your members need extra support and guidance during this unique time in our history and providing a positive service right now would also go a long way to increase their loyalty and engagement with your credit union.
Jim McCabe, Senior Vice President, Identity Theft Services at Vero.