Cybercrime is on the increase as reports of fraudulent emails become increasing commonplace. What can individuals and businesses do to protect themselves?

There has been an increase in the number of reported phishing emails (and even letters) being sent to individuals and businesses purporting to come from reputable firms with whom they have a connection. The communications are often to do with:

  • fake invoices with links to external documents, or
  • changes of Bank details.

Anyone receiving such emails/letters should be wary where they would not expect to be emailed/written to by their contact in that way.

And before any changes in bank details are accepted or used, it will be prudent to telephone the client/supplier directly to confirm the correct facts. Under no circumstances should funds be transmitted to an account other than that provided in written correspondence or invoices on letterheaded paper, or over the telephone by a known person.

A number of professional firms are now including fraud warnings in their email footers to make clear that they have no intention of changing their bank details. This is being replicated on invoice templates.

In addition to making these additions, businesses can also ensure they have up-to-date internal guidance and procedures on dealing with suspicious emails, and on what is sent out to customers and the form it should take.

Cyber-fraud insurance is also becoming increasingly popular in order to cover the costs of the disruption caused by a successful cyber-attack.

Scams are developing in their sophistication. An email demanding a money transfer could be an obvious scam, but communications are becoming more devious and far less easy to detect. Developing and regularly reviewing practices and procedures should help to ensure better and safer communication and prevent fraud.

Although fraud comes in many forms, Action Fraud has published some simple steps that can be taken by individuals and businesses to protect themselves against cybercrime.

If you would like to discuss the issues raised in this article, please contact your usual Bishop Fleming adviser.

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