Posts

What You Need to Know About Business Credit and Covid Relief

If you are the owner of a small business owner, you might find that you occasionally have issues with your cash flow. One option you have is to open a business line of credit. There are advantages to this, of course, but it’s important that you keep some things in mind.

Business CreditUnderstand the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured

One thing you should know is that you need to know the difference between the types of credit lines. There are both secured and unsecured lines. Secured lines are those that are secured by your company’s assets. If you default, the lender now owns these assets. An unsecured line of credit does not require collateral.

Look at Fees

You also want to take a look at fees. Interest is always going to be part of a loan, but there might be other fees that you can come across. If you access your line of credit time after time, those fees will add up. You might also have some maintenance fees to deal with.

Consider Bank Drawdowns

If there are times of economic uncertainty, the lender might require borrowers to pay back the balance of their credit. They can do this because it’s in the small print, and if you sign the loan agreement, you allow them to do it.

Understand Interest Rate Variability

Most interest rates are variable, and they are based on the prime lending rate. If your interest rate rises, your payment will be higher, and you might find that it’s hard to pay it back.

Think About Insuring Your Line of Credit

You also might want to consider insuring your line of credit. This can help to cover any payments if you become ill, injured, or die.

Understand how to get the Best Line of Credit

There are many lenders giving lines of credit, so it’s important that you do your research before signing on the dotted line. You also might want to look at any borrowing limits and take a close look at the repayment terms.

Get Help from the Small Business Administration

Finally, especially during the Covid pandemic, consider looking to the Small Business Administration for help. They have a plan in place that helps you to obtain credit, though they don’t lend directly. They offer programs like Lender Match, which takes a look at your business and matches you with lenders offering lines of credit that will fit your needs.

ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program.

8 Scams That go Beyond Pandemics

As you might know, scammers often take advantage of people during times of trouble, such as in the current atmosphere of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the scams that you should be on the lookout for:

pandemicAccount Takeovers

This is a scam where the cybercriminals take credentials obtained from data breaches to take over accounts. They are also trying to reach out to kids to give up their account credentials, as they know most of them are out of school.

Phishing

There are a lot of phishing scams out there that are taking advantage of peoples’ fears about COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, the most prolific are coming out about the World Health Organization, WHO. Preying on fears is a common tactic that people use, and when people click on links in emails that look like they come from WHO, they can get access to your devices, collect private information, and even steal address books.

Vishing

This is a tactic that scammers use to get access to people’s back account information. The scammer informs people that there is something wrong with their bank account, and that they should call a number. When they do, it is a VoIP number, and the victim can unknowingly give up their personal information, including their banking information.

Smishing

A smishing attack is similar to a vishing account, except it uses SMS instead of emails or phone calls to lure in their victims. Most of these smishing attacks are focused on the coronavirus and have a sense of urgency to them.

Social Media Attacks

Social media attacks are looking pretty legit these days, and that’s why it’s easy to fall for them. Essentially, they look like a social media post from a real retailer who is giving something away.

Fake e-Commerce Sites

There are also a ton of new fake e-commerce sites popping up, most of them claiming to sell things like masks, gloves, and other COVID-19 related products.

Rogue Mobile Apps

Fake mobile apps are also on the rise, and when downloaded, these apps can install things like spyware, malware, and ransomware on the person’s device.

Work at Home Scams

Finally, we have work at home scams, which are becoming very popular due to so many people being out of work. Often, these scams make people lose more money than they could make.

Don’t be a Victim

Here are some tips that you can use to stop yourself from becoming a victim of these scams:

  • Don’t respond to any texts or calls from numbers you don’t know or that seem suspicious
  • Don’t share any financial or personal information via text, email, or on the phone.
  • Be careful if you are asked to share information or make an immediate payment.
  • Scammers might try to spoof numbers to trick people into answering. Remember, there are no government agencies that will ask you for money or personal info.
  • Don’t click on links that you get in text messages. If you get one from a friend, make sure it is legitimate before clicking on it.
  • Always check that a charity is real before making any type of donation.

These cybercriminals are poised to profit from this pandemic, and they are doing all they can to take advantage of people. So, it’s important that you use caution.

ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program.

This is Why We are Irrational In Times Like These

Though we, as humans, are supposed to be pretty smart, we do a lot of things that might not seem rational.

For example, we do things like text and drive, we don’t get flu shots that can stop us from getting sick, and we hoard things like toilet paper…Dan Ariely, a professor from Duke University, has some reasons for this.

Ariely has released a book called “Predictable Irrational,” and it takes a look at why we do these irrational things…especially in a time of crisis. One of the most mind-boggling things is why we have all become such toilet paper hoarders and why, when we see empty shelves, we start to panic.

According to Ariely, when we are in these situations, you are saying to yourself “This must be something I need to get very quickly and let me get a lot of it so I don’t run out.” But, in general, our responses to things like this are flawed.

On top of this, we don’t do a good job at thinking ahead. Ariely says, “We don’t pay much attention to things that will happen in the future, even if the future is two weeks from now.” He also says that we “don’t pay attention to things that are invisible like viruses.”

All of this is compounded even more as COVID-19 started to spread, and this led to a slow government response and the population’s collective apathy to the threat. Another thing that compounds it is that we, at our core, are also pretty selfish.

“We do what is selfishly good for us and not what’s good for other people,” Ariely says. This means that people who should be staying home because they are sick, go out anyway, and then they contaminate others. This is a normal impulse to defy the stay-at-home orders that many of us are under. And wearing a mask is NOT a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of caring for others than yourself.

Ariely says, “What’s interesting about public goods problems is, as long as everybody participates, everybody gets a lot of benefits, and when people start defecting or betraying the public good, lots of bad things happen. And in a situation like a pandemic, it’s enough that a small percentage of people don’t adhere to the rules and they can hurt everybody.”

Now, we also have the issue of some government officials and health experts being at odds with themselves. President Trump is pushing governors to open their states back up quickly, while public health experts are warning that doing this could quickly cause a huge uptick in cases.

What does Ariely say about this? He says, “The sad reality is that we’ve always had a tradeoff between money and saving lives. This is not something new.”

He also adds that the best thing we can do right now is make the best of our quarantine:

“It’s an opportunity to start new habits, new routines like exercise, eat better, spend time with your family,” he says. “It’s also an opportunity to start worse habits, like not exercising, overeating and developing addiction to social media and the news.”

ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program.

Cybercriminals are Stealing from you by Using these COVID-19 Scams

It is estimated that COVID-19 fraud has cost Americans more than $13 million, and it is rising. This comes from the US government.

The US Federal Trade Commission has added up the costs of all of these scams. They are looking from those that started from the 1st of January to the current week. What are these numbers made of? Mostly vacation and travel scams, as these have added up to $4.7 million lost. Online shopping scams are also out there, but they have only added up to $1.4 million.

The global spread of coronavirus has forced people to change the way they live, work, and even socialize. This is going to be the case for some time to come, and because of this, the cybercriminals have jumped onto the bandwagon, and they know…if they are lucky…this could be a lucrative thing for them.

These COVID-19 scams are definitely playing on the fears of the general public, and the goal of these cyber criminals is to get their targets to give them their personal information. Then, the bad guys use this information to commit fraud. In other words, they take money directly out of the hands of the people who need it the most.

What are the Tactics that People are Using to Hack Their Victims

There are a number of COVID-19 tactics that are being used to trick people into giving away their personal information, and in some cases, their hard-earned money.

Most of the tactics are combining phishing texts and emails with fake sites. Here are some of the things that are commonly found in a number of different languages:

  • Malware that is sent by “official” feeds, which are not really official. These include things like real time COVID-19 maps, which are actually meant to spread malware.
  • Messages that are offering an iPhone 11…for free…to help pass the time at home.
  • Messages offering payday loans to help people who are having problems with money.
  • Scams advertising products that are supposedly “cures” for COVID-19.
  • Coronavirus-themed domain names that seem to offer official information about the virus, but instead, simply spread viruses.
  • Emails from sources that show they are from WHO, the CDC, or even local governments.
  • Emails that ask for donations for COVID-19 research
  • Emails that look like they are coming from the government that have fake links allowing you to claim a tax refund.
  • People from the UK have reported getting fake emails saying they are from the BBC and the person’s TV license is expired. Then, they are asked to go to a website and update their details.
  • Phone calls are coming that are recorded and telling people that their broadband access will be cut off within 24 hours thanks to “illegal activity,” and the user must “press 1” to speak with a person to fix it. Once you are connected, they do all they can to get personal information from you.
  • Emails from people claiming to be “company officials,” that contain and attachment with the names of people within the organization that have tested positive for COVID-19.

No person nor industry is immune to this, so keep your eyes open and stay safe.

ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program and the home security expert for Porch.com

What are Coronavirus Contact Tracing Apps?

Two of the biggest tech companies, Google and Apple, are pairing up to build software that could tell people if they were recently in contact with someone with coronavirus. This tool is due out in a couple of months, and it will be built into iPhones and Androids. People would have to opt in to use the tool, and if they become infected, they must voluntarily report it.

coronavirusIt is pretty unusual to see these tech giants partnering up, since they are generally rivals who are constantly working to outperform the other. This shows us that the coronavirus is a pretty serious thing.

This software could be highly significant in regard to slowing down the spread of the virus. In fact, public health authorities have implied that better tracking of those stricken with coronavirus could absolutely slow the pandemic.

This all sounds well and good, but think about this, too. We can now see that two of the largest tech companies on the face of the Earth have a huge impact on our lives. A tool like this could raise some privacy issues, of course, and it won’t be the only solution, but it could help in the long run.

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, confirms that the goal of this software is to track the virus, but he also says that they are focused on respecting “transparency & consent.” The CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai said that the software has “strong controls and protections” in place for the privacy of the users.

With this tool, a person who has been infected with coronavirus would send a notification to an app, which would then send an alert to the phones of people who had been close to that person’s device. Sounds cool, but there is a catch; Google and Apple have to get public health authorities to agree to letting this information get accessed.

There are also a number of third-party tools already out there for contact tracing. This is why Apple and Google are stepping up and trying to reach more people. The companies also said that they would offer up the technology they were using to other apps, in order to make them even more reliable.

The goal, here, of course is to make us safer…we just have to make sure that our privacy isn’t being compromised in the process.

ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program and the home security expert for Porch.com