Over the last couple of months an increasing number of our clients have received phone calls, emails and text messages purporting to be from HMRC informing them of a fraud on their account or a tax refund due to them. It is likely we will see more such scams as a result of Covid and the various financial support measures available. For the avoidance of doubt HMRC would never make contact in this way, so do not act on these calls, emails or texts. If you are in any doubt phone your usual contact at RG. It is imperative everyone stays extra vigilant in these difficult and challenging times.
A reminder of the issues and the10 top tips to prevent fraud are detailed below.
Cybercriminals are increasingly turning their attention to small and medium sized enterprises, viewing them as potentially easier targets than larger organisations which have more resources to dedicate to cybersecurity.
Coupled with the fact that more businesses are working remotely due to Covid-19 and applying for grants and loans which involve exchanges of detailed financial data over email, it’s never been more important to stay alert to the possibility of fraud.
We have identified 10 top tips to prevent fraud:
- Talk about fraud
Think about a strategy to prevent fraud for your business which includes controls and procedures. It’s important to discuss this strategy with any employees so they understand the risks and how losses can affect not only the business but also themselves.
- Identify areas where your business is vulnerable to fraud
Identify any ways in which a fraudster might target your business and test any systems in place you have to reduce this risk. These systems should be reviewed and tested regularly.
- Develop an action plan
It’s important to consider when you might need professional or legal advice: having an action plan in place can help limit any losses directly as a result of fraud.
- Protect your property
Business insurance can help to protect any business assets should these be stolen or compromised.
- Be sceptical
Ask as many questions as possible when confronted with any ‘deals’ or ‘opportunities’. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
- Know your business inside out
Having a thorough understanding of your business will help you realise immediately when something isn’t quite right.
- Customers and Suppliers
Knowing your customers and suppliers well will help to identify if a transaction or a payment request doesn’t look genuine. Performing due diligence checks can ensure all customer and supplier details are accurate and correct.
- Be aware of cyber attacks
Cybercrime is increasing significantly. Protect your business from attacks through technology and ensure regular backups are taken of any non-cloud based systems.
- Understand your finances
Bank statements should be checked regularly to identify any discrepancies. It’s important to identify who can make payments and if another person should check these before they are paid as an additional security measure.
- Report fraud and get help
Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre. You can also get information about fraud and financially motivated internet crime from the organisation.
Should you be unsure of any calls or information requests you have received, please feel free to get in touch.