Originally published on Forbes.com, Matt Mills explains how banks, insurance companies and retailers can protect themselves and their customers from fraud during a crisis (read the full article here).

Like many people, you’re probably reading this from your home office or kitchen table instead of on your commute. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to big shifts in the way companies operate and has also changed our lifestyles, the way we work and our spending habits. People may be more likely to make emotional purchases in the heat of the moment and less likely to make decisions online in a clear-headed, logical way.

This new world we’re adapting to is creating vulnerabilities that criminals are actively looking to exploit. According to data reported by Action Fraud, the number of pandemic-related fraud cases increased by 400% from February to March of 2020. While the majority of these cases have been online shopping scams — for example, consumers ordering hand sanitizer or face masks that never arrived — Action Fraud reported that there have also been plenty of reports of lender loan fraud and pandemic-related phishing emails.

You may recently have been the recipient of an email that was purportedly from the government where the sender offered financial support during the pandemic, or perhaps you have received a fraudulent email with a malicious attachment. Some of the recent scams I’ve seen are incredibly sophisticated. They echo trusted brands and include fake URLs or use the latest government messaging. It’s no wonder so many consumers are taken in.

Continue reading on Forbes.com about how fraud investigation teams can ease their case workloads by separating the good from the bad.