Screening News Weekly Wrap: September 4th, 2020

Screening News Weekly Wrap: September 4th, 2020

By Jennifer Gladstone

A “vishing” ring takes spam calls to a whole new level, more American workers are failing their drug tests, the CDC is offering guidance for employees trying to enforce COVID-19 requirements. It’s all in today’s EBI Screening News Weekly Wrap.

New Work from Home Risk: Vishing

We’ve all heard of phishing, but do you know what “vishing” is? The term means “voice phishing,” and was originally coined to refer to all those spam calls everyone gets claiming you are in trouble with the IRS or your credit card has been compromised.

But now, with so many people working from home, the term is also being used to cover new and sophisticated attacks on employers’ virtual private networks, or VPNs. Getting access to these networks can give thieves access to a treasure trove of confidential information from HR records to trade secrets.

The attacks start with a call to an employee working remotely. The caller says they are working with their company’s IT department to help troubleshoot issues with the VPN. The attackers tend to target new hires, sometimes claiming to be new to the company themselves. They set up social media profiles to support their lies, so even the most diligent employee could be duped.

Their goal is to either get the employee to reveal their log-in and password over the phone, or they will send a them to a website that has domains set up with the company name and words like ticket, vpn, or portal. Then the webpage will ask for the authentication code sent to the employee’s email or text.

Right now, it seems the vishing ring is only targeting large companies in finance, telecommunications, and social media, but it doesn’t hurt for us to all be aware that this scam is out there.

Positive Drug Tests Rising

The number of American workers testing positive for using drugs is at a 16-year high, and believe it or not, COVID-19 is not to blame. Quest Diagnostics puts out a yearly report about workforce positivity rates. The number of workers testing positive had been at a 30-year low.

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index for 2019 – before most of us had even heard the word coronavirus – shows that marijuana positivity rates were in double digits, with cocaine and methamphetamine showing a surge in the Midwest. The last time the numbers were this high was in 2003.

According to Quest, these findings mirror other national drug use statistics, including drug deaths. The number of drug deaths rose 5% in 2019.

Unfortunately, the look ahead to next years numbers is already grim. During the first few months of 2020, drug deaths soared 13% above the already high 2019 numbers. Researchers say the social isolation and other COVID-19 issues are to blame when it comes to the 2020 numbers.

According to Quests’ Dr. Barry Sample, this increase in drug usage could affect employers and their employees for years to come.

Protecting Workers Facing Attacks Over COVID-19 Protocols

None of us would have ever dreamed that masking-up would become a normal part of our day-to-day, but what’s even more bizarre is that retail and service employees have found themselves on the front lines when it comes to enforcing the mask and social distancing mandates. The response to the request to put on a mask is too often met with aggression, and sometimes even out-right violence.

Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has weighed in, offering guidance for how employers and their employees should handle this new role safely. The guidelines include making sure people work in teams when it comes to COVID-19 prevention, as well as installing cameras, panic buttons, and safe spaces in case an employee feels they are in danger. The CDC also recommends training employees to recognize possible threats and to teach them how to diffuse the situation through conflict resolution and nonviolent responses.

Probably the most important part of the recommendation is to avoid arguing with a customer who refuses to follow the rules. Basically, employees are told to ask nicely, but stay calm and get out of the way if a customer refuses.

About the Author

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.

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