Business fraud and how to prevent it

With SMEs struggling to cope with economic headwinds, they must be working efficiently and taking measures to make sure they avoid being defrauded. 

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are constantly warning of scammers, posing as genuine accountants, targeting people and offering help to get tax refunds and rebates. 

But it goes wider than that and ignoring what is a growing threat to businesses from hi-tech fraudsters could be damaging, as criminals are using an increasing variety of tools and techniques. 

It’s very difficult to protect against every type of attack as cybercriminals adapt their methods almost as quickly as security firms create new products and services. But there are several weapons to take on the cyber crooks including: 

Protecting your finances 

Separate your business accounts from your private accounts, minimising the risk if hackers manage to access one of them. Examine your bank’s online security systems and ensure things automatic logout are available.  

In addition, understand how money leaves your business, including payment methods and who makes and checks them. 

Beefing up your digital protection 

Antivirus technology and a good firewall is a good start. Create and protect strong passwords that are difficult to decipher and have them changed regularly.  

It is good practice anyway to back up your files via a secure cloud storage system, but most important when protecting against potential fraud attacks. It allows you to retrieve and restore files that may have been lost or corrupted. 

Knowing your employees 

It is vital to know and trust who is working for you, so don’t rely entirely on references and work history. Instead, conduct a thorough background check, particularly on those dealing with your finances. This could include checking on anti-money laundering or previous adverse credit checks. You could also request a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for someone applying for a role. 

Some companies can provide this service for you, but make sure you obtain proper permission to run the check. 

This will help you realise immediately when something isn’t right. Tell-tale signs could be employees spending beyond their means, working longer hours or showing signs of stress. 

Insurance is the last line of defence 

ID Theft Insurance makes it easier to return to day-to-day life in the event of an attack.  

Need help and advice with protecting your business? Contact us today. 

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