Business Technology

Protecting your business from cyber fraud doesn’t have to be tough or expensive

5 min read

03 October 2016

It’s becoming more widely acknowledged that cyber fraud is a very big (and illegal) business sector. Indeed, figures from the annual Crime Survey from the Office of National Statistics this year included questions on fraud and computer misuse for the first time, in acknowledgement of the rising threat.

The inclusion by the ONS shows that cyber fraud is being taken much more seriously as volumes rise. Elsewhere, Experian’s research has shown that ID fraud is soaring, and that 67 per cent of all current account fraud occurs as a result of ID fraud.

Only two years ago it accounted for only 39 per cent of all current account fraud. Over the same period, savings account frauds grew from 68 per cent to 92 per cent, and insurance claims from 11 per cent to 30 per cent – all as a result of ID theft-based fraud.

Why me?

Businesses are targets because they are a faster route to greater amounts of money. It’s less complicated for an individual to keep an eye on their statements for any unusual activity on their one bank account or credit card, as well as know when they are receiving post or bills that they should not be getting.

For a business with hundreds or more customers, as well as suppliers, it’s not as easy and there may be a longer time lapse before they spot it. Businesses face risks in many forms, from “man-in-the-middle” attacks, “friendly fraud” and ID theft to money laundering – amongst many others too.

Whether a victim of fraud or looking to tighten up procedures to close the loopholes, it’s wise to turn to an expert. There are professional services and expert advisors that businesses can turn to in order to help them get back on their feet after fraudsters have taken advantage. Of course it’s better to not be a victim at all.

Any business can fine tune its processes so the business can be sure of its assets. It is worth assigning someone in the business responsibility to holistically investigate the customer management, IT and financial arrangements regularly to be sure the latest thinking, techniques and tools are deployed. This helps ensure the business is still two steps ahead of the criminal element.

Continue on the next page for some free-to-implement cyber fraud tips in order to keep your business safer from the criminals preying on easy targets.

Guarding assets and people

Be a good citizen

Give advice and help customers to protect themselves. When a business or person is defrauded, everyone they are connected with becomes the next potential victim.

Know what you’ve got

Ensure you know what you have and how well it is currently protected. Some processes aren’t regularly looked at. It can be surprising to know just who has access to what – especially with business data.

Keep it safe

Your front door has a lock, and probably an alarm. Online, the locks need to be upgraded proactively and include firewalls, password managers, age verification tools and online document verification services. When you’re starting from nothing it’s worth taking a free trial or free software solution to start off with. If you’re growing it can be worth upgrading to professional services.

Know your customers inside out

No one knows your customers like you do, so make sure to take notice of how they behave and when their orders just aren’t usual – it might indicate that their account has been taken over.

Set your limits

Set the types of payments that you are prepared to accept, and the channels of doing business. Don’t accept business that you can’t trust – be confident in the solutions and services you use.

Treat your business identity like your own

Shred documents you don’t need, guard your corporate banking details, and look out online for your name being used in vain.

Protect customer data like gold

Secure the data you look after. Ensure you are compliant with regulations like PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Keep an eye out for new regulations and be ready well in advance to smooth the transition if needed.

Nick Mothershaw is ID & fraud expert at Experian

It seems counter-intuitive to believe but it’s true, for even smart people make stupid mistakes – thus the future of cyber security is smarter than humans.