Last year, the amount lost to fraud broke the £1bn barrier in the UK, according to KPMG research. With a steep rise in ‘super cases’, where financial loss exceeds £50m, there seems to be no end to the number and complexity of new scams that we need to be aware of. The two main problems with this are information overload and indifference.
We are all constantly bombarded with things we are told we must or must not do. At the same time, it’s hard to appreciate the likelihood of falling victim to fraud, and the impact this could have on us or our businesses.
‘By giving yourself time to reflect and make a balanced decision, you can protect yourself, your business and your clients from financial and data loss’
This is why at Investec we are working with UK Finance and the UK Government to support the Take Five campaign. Simply, we are just saying – take at least five seconds before you click on a link, open an email or take a phone call from someone you don’t know, and make sure it really is who it’s supposed to be. By giving yourself time to reflect, check and make a balanced decision, you can protect yourself, your business and your clients from financial and data loss.
Five things you can do right now to secure your business
1. Use secure networks
Avoid using public computers or unsecure Wi-Fi for financial or business matters. Open Wi-Fi means just that, anyone can read your transmissions. Stick to secure and controlled access.
2. Multiple passwords
Use a different password for every account and avoid using ‘free’ password manager applications. Talk to your IT security team for the right tools to keep you and your client details safe.
3. Beware of CEO fraud
Many high-ranking employees are having their personal details ‘harvested’ online and then fraudsters are impersonating them to obtain control of both private and business accounts. So beware if you receive an ‘urgent’ money transfer request from your CEO.
4. Avoid invoice fraud
Have the right controls in place so you don’t inadvertently transfer money to fraudsters. Criminals are increasingly posing as regular suppliers and tricking businesses into changing their bank account payee details.
5. Don’t take the email at face value
Emails can be hacked or ‘spoofed’. It may look like it came from your client or a colleague, but a call to the registered account number – not the number on the email – can help you confirm. Simple, but effective.