Business Technology

Constant vigilance: Don’t fall for email impersonation fraud

2 min read

23 January 2017

Former deputy editor

A new campaign from Barclays has warned SMEs to stay vigilant against email impersonation fraud, detailing the alarming financial damage the online attacks can cause.

The bank cited National Fraud Intelligence Bureau data as it revealed email impersonation fraud has cost UK companies some £32m. It warned that the cyber attack is increasing in usage, which is why SMEs must stay vigilant lest they risk being hacked.

Email impersonation fraud may seem legitimate, but scams will have employees receive requests from “bosses” for sudden money transfers.

Social media has been highlighted as a tool used for the online crime wave, with fraudsters doing their research on companies and individuals through social networking accounts.

“Prevention is of upmost importance in putting a stop to this crime – companies need to consider fraud as critical to their business operation as cost or cash flow,” said Adam Rowse, head of business banking at Barclays.

“We want to help businesses by providing information and guidance to keep their money safe from any attack and to fight back against the fraudsters. With the number of customers going online rapidly rising the issue of fraud prevention has never been more important.”

In order to prevent these attacks, Barclays has encouraged businesses to discuss the issue with its staff. This will include considering how they can be more vigilant about what is being shared publically, so that hackers have limited information resource.

In addition, the bank will provide free cyber security workshops nationwide to teach SMEs about methods of scams, such as email impersonation fraud, that businesses could be harmed by and how to prevent attacks.

This comes after Barclays and the IOD found last year that 91 per cent of business leaders said cyber security was important, though just 57 per cent had a protection strategy. Furthermore, only 20 per cent have insurance for attacks.

One of the top recommendations to stay safe was to keep contact details with banks updated, so that businesses are easily reachable should suspicious activity be detected. Barclays also warned to use caution with unsolicited emails, making sure anything that looks dubious is verified directly before taking any action.

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