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ST. LOUIS– Pandemic-related phishing attempts jumped 33% in June and there is no end in sight for the cybercriminals preying on those worried about proof of vaccination or booster shots.

The cybercriminals are sending emails regarding COVID-related issues hoping you will click on the phony links attached.

Scott Schaffer with Blade Technologies says the crooks are also trying to make their phishing attempts more clickable by using catchy copy about employees losing a job or salary information.

Phishing is a type of social engineering scam where bad actors cloak their identities and send emails trying to trick recipients into clicking a link or attachment. This link can load malware on your computer, send you to a specially crafted webpage that asks for your credentials, downloads ransomware, etc.

Phishing attempts can happen at work or at home. Organizations often offer training to try and prevent its employees from clicking on this type of links.

Schaffer suggests using multi-factor authentication is another good way to try and protect yourself against phishing.

Here are some ways he says you can spot phishing:

  • Keep an eye ou tfor spelling or grammatical errors, misspelled web addresses, or slightly altered email domains (Example: Correct — versus Incorrect —
  • Read link URLs and sender addresses carefully, and be wary of subject lines that don’t quite make sense
  • Always verify requests through a second channel — if HR sends a document you weren’t expecting, for instance, confirm with HR first