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Working Remotely? Be Aware of these Home Office Scams

Working from home offers undeniable perks, but it can also introduce new fraud risks. Learn about the scams targeting remote workers.

Working remotely from home offers undeniable perks — such as zero commute and a more flexible schedule.

However, while every day may be casual Friday, one thing you can't take lightly is online security.

If you're working from home temporarily or permanently, knowing how to protect yourself from cybercrime belongs at the top of your daily to-do list. You take steps to protect your personal information online, and your home office should be a priority, too.

But first, you need to understand the most important steps to take — and the biggest security risks to watch out for — when working remotely.

Working remotely can boost your fraud risk profile

You may not think twice about logging on to your computer or mobile device for work, but doing so can put you at risk for fraud in more ways than one.

That's because it's easier to hack people than machines, says Nic White, global fraud prevention head for Citi Commercial Bank.

“Cybersecurity has improved significantly over recent years, so criminals are increasingly targeting people, tricking them into voluntarily handing over information or sending a payment to an unintended beneficiary,” White says.

For example, White says one of the most popular tactics used by fraudsters is business email compromise (BEC) scams. These rely on the use of seemingly legitimate-looking emails to defraud remote workers and small business owners. BEC scam victims unknowingly send money transfers to criminals, believing the recipients are legitimate business contacts.

If you find you're interfacing more with business contacts who are working out of the office, be especially watchful against BEC scams, as fraudsters might use the pretense of remote work as a reason you need to suddenly send payments or funds to a new and unfamiliar account.

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