Pre-emptive action can cut exposure to fraud for businesses

PINs and passwords must be strong and safe as a first step in preventing cybercrime. Picture: Rob McDougall

PINs and passwords must be strong and safe as a first step in preventing cybercrime. Picture: Rob McDougall

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A PWC study of international companies from last year found that 37 per cent had experienced fraud over the past 12 months but other studies show that only one in five businesses has actually undertaken any level of staff training to minimise and prevent it from occurring in the workplace.

New figures released by Financial Fraud Action (FFA) also show that card fraud and remote banking losses rose during 2014, underlining the importance for individuals and businesses to be alert to the increasing numbers of scams aimed at tricking them into disclosing financial details or directly transferring money.

The rising use of computer malware is a good example of this, with people being deceived into giving out personal details. The fraudsters are also targeting companies in similar ways to steal more sizeable amounts of money, making it vital for businesses to be more vigilant than ever.

The support we offer customers through our corporate office includes advising on PINs and passwords which must be strong and safe as a first step in preventing cybercrime. These should never be written down or entered on to an e-mail.

It’s also essential that companies use a firewall or antivirus software and carefully scrutinise any unsolicited e-mails or calls requesting details.

Thorough investigation of new customers and unusually large orders from existing ones is vital in preventing cheque fraud. Financial directors should also take care if put under pressure to release goods on the back of payment.

Likewise, any supplier which has claimed to have changed its bank details should first be contacted on a known phone number before payments are set up to prevent potential invoice fraud.

While banks continue to focus on the introduction of new security measures to protect their customers and stay one step ahead of the fraudsters, individuals and businesses must also remain vigilant and ensure they don’t fall prey to these criminals and their increasingly elaborate scams.

• Andy Kilgour is a regional director, commercial and private banking at RBS

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