Fraud and scams are on the increase. Unfortunately, criminals will use every opportunity they can to scam innocent people and their businesses. They are experts at impersonating people and organisations including HMRC, banks and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment.

The increase in remote working has given cyber criminals and fraudsters another way to exploit businesses. We urge you to stay vigilant and to increase systems and security as much as is possible.

Here’s a few things to think about:

Invoice redirection

Firstly, criminals may pose as creditors or suppliers, saying their company’s bank details have changed due to the coronavirus outbreak. This could be sent as an e-mail or letter or possibly even as a phone call. Make sure you independently double check the details by calling or e-mailing your usual contact. Do not use the information included in the request.

Vishing

This is fraudulent contact made by phone. The criminal may pose as being from the bank, your IT company, the police or another organisation that you know and trust. Scammers may claim that they are investigating fraud by bank staff, some suspicious activity on your account, or a problem with your account that needs urgent action. They may ask you for account details, your pin or passwords to resolve the problem. Remember, your bank/police/HMRC will NEVER ask for your PIN or password. They will never ask you to transfer funds or to download software to connect to your computer.

Also, be aware that fraudsters can spoof your caller ID to display a recognised number so that you believe the call is genuine. If you aren’t sure, hang up and call the person back using an independent number (such as from the website). Do not just press redial! If possible use a different phone or call someone else to make sure your line is clear and hasn’t been kept open by the fraudster trying to intercept your outbound call.

Phishing/E-mail scams

Criminals are sending out coronavirus-themed emails, attempting to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial details. We know several clients that have received ones from HMRC telling them they can claim a tax refund to help protect themselves from the coronavirus outbreak. HMRC will never send notifications by email or text about tax rebates or refunds. Do not reply to the email and do not open any links in the message. Look out for things such as personalisation, if they are using phrases such as “Dear valued customer” treat it with suspicion!

At times such as this we urge you to be extra cautious and extra vigilant. The banks and HMRC understand this and won’t be upset or frustrated with you for double checking… But fraudsters will!

Finally, if you have any questions or need more information please don’t hesitate to contact us.