Protecting your business from scams


The number of scams has increased since the pandemic and to cash-in on the current financial uncertainties – pension scams, travel scams, and fake charities are all among the methods fraudsters have been using.  Here we look at some of the things you should look out for.

Remote access or computer software scams

The scammers try to convince you that you have a problem with your computer or internet connection. You will be called by someone who claims to be from your phone or broadband provider and they’ll request remote access to computer or ask you to download software to your computer to fix a problem. By providing access or downloading the software, you’re providing the scammer with access to your computer. They’ll then look to compromise your security by accessing your sensitive information or financial accounts.

Safe account scam

You’ll be contacted by someone claiming to be from a trusted organisation such as your bank or the police, who’ll tell you that your account has been compromised in some way and that you need to move your money to a ‘safe account’. The details they’ll give you will be fraudulent and once you move your money they’ll have access to it.

Push payment fraud

Scammers convince a customer to transfer money to them. The scammers may pose as a legitimate business or individual who is known to you, typically via email, to inform you that their bank account details have changed and to make a payment to the new account. The scammer may have intercepted emails and therefore have information to make them appear convincing, such as information about who you are due to make payment to.

Email scams (Phishing)

Always be suspicious of unsolicited emails that are supposedly from your bank or HMRC or some other trusted organisation because the address can be easily faked. The email will typically encourage you to click a link and log into your account, by telling you your account has been locked or that there’s been an unauthorised login attempt. In reality, the link in the email goes to a fake website that collects your information or targets your computer with a computer virus. Another version of this scam involves an email attachment, which is in fact a computer virus.

Phone scams (Vishing)

This is the same as phishing, but you’ll be contacted by phone rather than email. You’ll get an unsolicited phone call encouraging you to give out your personal details, such as sensitive financial information. The fraudsters might call you on your mobile phone or landline pretending to be calling from your bank or another mainstream provider offering a ‘one-time deal’ or an unsolicited upgrade. They may already have some of your personal information such as your name, address, or phone number to make them sound genuine.

Text messaging scams (Smishing)

Scammers may contact you via text message, pretending they are from your bank or another organisation you trust. They will usually tell you there’s been fraud on your account and will ask you to deal with it by calling a number or accessing a hyperlink.

Protecting your identity

Identity thieves work online, looking for snippets of information about your life in social media posts and profiles, and unprotected email accounts. Here is some advice:

  • Never share account details or other information that you use to prove your identity
  • Think about what you share on social media, such as date of birth and family members’ or pets’ names you also use in your passwords. Don’t post details or images of your driver’s licence, passport, National Insurance number or other confidential items.
  • Never reveal private information in response to an email, text, letter or phone call unless you’re certain that the request is authentic
  • Install the latest software, app, and operating system updates on your computer and mobile devices
  • Make sure all your passwords are strong and keep them safe. Don’t use the same password for more than one account
  • Don’t connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots when doing anything confidential online
  • File sensitive documents securely, and shred those you no longer need.

Castletons Accountants

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