Fraud: a wake up call. It’s happening to someone you know!

Robin Cooper talks about Fraud and how some simple actions can help prevent it.

More and more often these days I’m hearing about people and business’s whose accounts have been hacked, whose passwords have been changed or – worse – who have paid into the wrong account because they were told that the payment / bank account details have changed.

The implications of this are massive: business impacts, personal impacts (even identity theft), data loss – never mind the financial loss.

It used to be that it happened to someone you know who knows someone. Now, it’s everywhere. It’s happening to close, personal friends, suppliers, clients. It’s not surprising, really, that research commissioned by Santander Business showed that 50% of small business owners leave themselves open to fraud!

“A whopping £49.3m was lost by victims as result of invoice scams in the first half of 2018. The majority were from non-personal or business accounts.”

-         Smallbusiness.co.uk

It’s time for a wakeup call!

Personal fraud used to be clicking on a spam email or having your credit cards copied while you were on holiday – it’s a lot more than that now. Targeted business fraud includes external attacks, payroll and accounting fraud, supplier fraud as well as low-level theft.

Many large companies are doing a lot to protect themselves, but the onus has to be on the individual.  Businesses can only do so much – individuals need to be responsible for their own data, security and – quite frankly – passwords, especially when everyone is working remotely more often – whether it’s from another company office or the local café between meetings. Don’t be lazy.

This is for you, small business owners!

Here are a few tips to prevent something terrible like this happening to you. It may seem obvious but, trust me, you want to do it before it’s too late:

1)      Change your password (Seriously. Do it. Now. Change ALL your passwords.)

2)      Check your email inbox rules in Outlook. (Are there any that seem like you didn’t put them in place? If so, you may have been hacked. Hackers will often wait up to 6 months before taking action, so there’s often time to spot it if you know what you’re looking for).

3)      Don’t leave your laptop unlocked in any environment.

4)      Use a screen guard when you’re working on a laptop in a public location.

5)      Use a password manager.

6)      Be careful about using public WiFi and always log out!

7)      Don’t put other people’s USBs into your device.

8)      Don’t click anything that doesn’t look right.

And here are a few more cybersecurity best practices for remote employees to follow, too.

TRUST YOUR GUT!

If it doesn’t look right, don’t ignore it. Stop what you’re doing and take the time and effort to check it out. Then change your password. Trust me, anyone touched by this experience doesn’t just suffer with the massive inconvenience and potential financial loss – there’s also a loss of trust in your own systems and a paranoia that isn’t easy to shake.

 

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