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WAUKEE, Iowa– The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the nation into its largest work-from-home mobilization in history. 

A cyber risk expert from the insurance company, Holmes Murphy Associates, Ross Ingersoll, said every time a new remote employee accesses their company’s network from a personal wifi app that represents a new vulnerability to a business, whether that’s security or privacy. 

To help local businesses, Holmes Murphy will host a webinar Wednesday covering the rise of malware and phishing attempts through the increase of email scams.

Ingersoll said when you see emails offering things such as toilet paper and PPE be very leary and only trust, reputable sources. If these emails are not coming from official sites such as cdc.gov or coronavirus.gov, it is likely a scam. 

“With emails, I find it helpful just to read it out loud. It might have a generic reading like ‘dear reader’ or ‘hello.’ Typically generic greetings are a telltale sign of phishing. Also spelling errors in the email domain address,” Ingersoll said. “It’s a criminal or bad actor, leveraging that fear and anxiety around the coronavirus pandemic.” 

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has received and reviewed more than 1,200 complaints related to COVID-19 scams within a two week span. They are encouraging people to do more research on these site before clicking on unfamiliar links. 

“Really think, ‘hey is there a reason why a doctor would be emailing me, or why a random person would be calling me about the coronavirus are offering offer me toilet paper and mask for instance,’” Ingersoll said. “Really just take a step back and evaluate the situation.” 

The webinar will be held today at 3:00 p.m.