Given the current circumstances, authorities are warning that everyone should take particular care against frauds relating to Covid-19. In parts one and two of this series we looked at what mechanisms the banks should have in place to protect their customers and potential courses of action available to individuals and businesses which have been victims of fraud. However, the safest way to protect against fraud is to prevent it taking place in the first place, so what steps are recommended to reduce the risk of fraud?

Types of fraud

Fraud comes in all shapes and sizes. Below are several key approaches which you may encounter:

Preventative measures to take

Given the heightened risk currently, it is advisable to put protective measures in place to minimise the risk to yourself and your business. Some examples of such measures include:

  1. Businesses should have a set procedure for how to handle requests for payment, including a clear understanding of what warning signs to look for and a process for reporting any suspicious requests.
  2. With more remote working, conduct regular risk assessments for your systems. Highlighting any potential risks now can allow you to close them off or to mitigate them before the fraudsters come calling.
  3. Always confirm new payment details (whether for first time payments or for a change in payment details) using a different method from the one used initially to send the account details. For example, call the business using their central number and ask to be put through to the relevant individual rather than using their direct dial or email them in a new email rather than replying to the message containing the account details.
  4. If you have received a potentially suspicious email, double-click on the email address to see if it matches the purported sender. Make sure that you read the email address very carefully as sometimes fraudsters will mimic the correct email address with only a small difference such as a minor change in spelling or changing the email address from ‘.co.uk’ to ‘.com’.
  5. Ensure you have sufficient security measures in place. For consumers, this may mean having suitably strong passwords and firewalls. For businesses, in addition to these measures, consider having a virtual private network (VPN) or other remote desktop connection for your staff to work securely.
  6. Remind staff, family members or anyone with whom you share a bank account of the need for caution in these matters. For businesses, consider asking your staff to undertake training or refresher training in relation to fraud.

Further guidance on how to protect yourself or your business against fraud can be found on the following websites: