‘Don’t be an easy victim’ - Businesses warned about top three cyber scams
Businesses in Hertfordshire have been warned to look out for the current top three scams being used by cyber criminals.

Millions of pounds are stolen every year from the 60,000 companies in the county, despite simple steps which can be taken by organisations to prevent it.

The Independent Business Advisory Group (IBAG), which was established by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire David Lloyd, is highlighting the techniques used by fraudsters so firms are prepared.

The majority of business that reported to Action Fraud during 2021 say they were victims of Mandate Fraud. This occurs when the fraudster gets the payee to change a direct debit, standing order or bank transfer mandate. They do this by purporting to be an organisation where regular payments are made to, for example a business supplier, customer, subscription or membership organisation.

To protect your business from this threat, business should verify all invoices, as well as requests to change bank account details, using established contact details already on file, or by telephoning someone at the company.

The second most used techniques by fraudsters is Phishing & Social Engineering. In a typical attack, scammers send fake emails to thousands of companies to try and trick them into revealing sensitive information (such as bank details), or the messages contain malicious links or attachments containing malware, such as ransomware. The criminal’s motivations vary, from system sabotage and data theft, to financial gain; for example, encrypting your organisation’s data, and holding it to ransom.

The third most common scam is Business Email Compromise (BEC). This is more sophisticated than the standard phishing messages that are sent out indiscriminately to millions of people at once. BEC attacks are crafted to appeal to a specific individual and can be even harder to detect. They often purport to come from a senior executive asking staff to transfer money or purchase vouchers.

IBAG Chair Jeremy Bishop, from Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce said: “Many of us have either experienced or know of a business that has experienced one of these cyber scams.  As we say, “Don’t be an easy victim”, with some simple review steps in your payment processes you can all but eliminate the likelihood of falling foul to these latest trends.”

Mr Lloyd has also funded the Cyber Basics Review programme to prevent fraud rather than just responding to it. Small and medium-sized business can get a free cyber security check and training from a fully accredited Herts-based IT expert. For more information and to secure your free consultation send an email to cyberprotect@hertfordshire.gov.uk and a provider will be in touch to arrange an appointment.

For further information, please visit the National Cyber Security Centre’s website: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/section/information-for/small-medium-sized-organisations

The Police and Crime Commissioner established IBAG so a range of businesses from sectors such as the rural community, retail, leisure, technology and professional services along with representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) can discuss key issues around business crime.