The Boss Made Me Do It! A Cautionary Tale About Fraud

It’s no secret that fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated -and the numbers of businesses targeted is on the increase.

So what should you look out for?

Phishing continues to be an issue with the fraudsters asking you to click through to genuine looking websites to update your details or win a prize. Think before you click should be the order of the day.

And moving on from “Phishing” is “Vishing”. This is simply the voice version of the above. An example is where you are contacted by telephone and asked to give account numbers or other access details to the person purporting to be the “official representative” from perhaps a bank, HMRC or a utility company on the other end. So another golden rule is – if in doubt – don’t give out!

Finally the scariest one – the Bogus Boss. Apparently this scam has been so successful, that businesses have been duped out of over £100m – so far. It works something like this.

An email is sent from the account of a partner/senior manager in the business to a real person in the organisation asking them to do something financial, usually along the lines of a transfer of funds to someone.  That “something” will be something that the recipient does as part of their job so it won’t obviously look as if there is anything fishy about the request, because they will get lots of these genuinely as a matter of course.

15056961 - scam computer keys showing swindles and fraudUp until now, it was possible to hover over email addresses to see if they were genuine, but this no longer happens with this scam – to all intents, it looks like the request has genuinely come from an internal person  – and cleverly, the fraudsters are doing their business research so they choose to use the email address of someone who truly would have the authority to request such transfers.  The transfer requested is also a random number i.e. not a round sum, so again it looks “real”.

Obviously the names of business partners and managers together with their contact details are clearly available on websites these days for the fraudsters to obtain –and these calls and emails can be very convincing.  So the rule is, if you get asked to “immediately” send any money or give out any account or customer details from any source – double check! And tell your staff the same!

<Nov 2017>
MTWTFSS
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-- Susan Little