After speaking with numerous remote working creators who have fallen for scams, we’ve noticed a concerning trend..

This primarily affects people who work remotely or engage in international deals.

The challenge for these remote workers and creators, particularly those involved in international transactions, is verifying the authenticity of a brand or company. This is due to the absence of physical offices or stores.

Here’s a resource on how to identify these scams and protect yourself.

Common Remote Working Red Flags 🚩

While not all red flags necessarily indicate scams, here are a few common scenarios that might suggest otherwise.

Unprofessional Outreach

One of the first signs of a scam is when brands contact you unprofessionally.

They often start the conversation with casual greetings like “hi dear” or “hi girly”, and promise a large upfront payment and brand deal. 

Typically, they don’t put much effort into these scams, often using a normal Gmail account targeting newer remote workers & creator. They usually find your contact information from twitter hashtags, and possibly send you a contract that doesn’t read well.

Using this tactic, it allows the scammers to filter their target more effectively, as experienced creators will normally ignore this kind of emails.

Suspicious Domain Name

In some instances, these fraudulent brands may impersonate real ones by using similar domain names.
ie. vs notarealemail@ugccreatö

Real websites usually have multiple social media accounts linking to their websites as well,
it is easy to verify through a quick google search!

Fake Online Presence & Reviews

When googled, those brands will show reviews that are fake, overly positive, read poorly & scripted.

An easy way around this is to google for how many pages are indexed on by using
Site:(domain name) in the google search bar to see how many pages are indexed.

Real brands would have multiple pages like about page, contact.

Tools For Remote Workers

Brave Browser – Brave blocks ads, trackers & uses Google Safe Browsing to identify websites that are known for phishing users or hosting malicious software. It also blocks you from downloading potentially dangerous software and prevents you from installing browser extensions known for violating policies.

Upwork / Fiverr  – If you are a new remote worker, we recommend starting with platforms first. Even though they charge a fee, they offer protection for both brands and creators against fraud & bad actors.

Virus Total – Scan PDF & Contract documentations before opening them, Virus Total uses over 70 antivirus scanners and URL/domain blacklisting services to analyze potentially harmful files and websites.

Google Workspace & Custom Domains – using Google Workspace attached to a custom domain is beneficial as it helps to prevent impersonation attempts. By having a professional email address that’s unique to your domain, you not only enhance your professional image but also add an extra layer of security by making it harder for cyber criminals to impersonate you.

Google Password Managers – These tools generate and store complex passwords for different sites, enhancing security.

LastPass – A password manager that securely stores your passwords and personal information in a secure vault.

NordVPN A Virtual Private Network (VPN) service that protects your internet connection and privacy online.

ProtonMail – An email service with a strong emphasis on privacy and security.

Authy – A free mobile/desktop app for two factor authentication, which provides an additional layer of security when logging into your accounts. – This platform offers a unique way to protect your credit card information online, Pay with virtual Privacy Cards that shield your card info.

Yubikey – Yubikey provide an additional layer of security for critical accounts such as email and financial accounts.

Free Phish Test by PhishingBox – For remote workers that would like to know how a phishing attempt looks like

Best Practice For Remote Workers

The rise of AI has significantly transformed the cyber threat landscape, especially for remote workers and creators who receive a multitude of emails daily.

Have you heard of the 25 million AI vishing & impersonation scam?

Finance worker pays out $25 million after video call with deepfake ‘chief financial officer’

Recent incidents, such as the deepfake scam in Hong Kong, underscore the sophistication of these new threats. Here are some best practices remote workers and companies can use to prevent this.

Additional Read & Resources For Remote Workers

How to address the risks of removable devices for remote workers

Remote workers are still more vulnerable to hackers than they should be. Here’s what to do

Remote Working Scams & Hack Statistics