12th October, 2017

Fraud is Evolving

For better or worse the world is going through a rapid period of change. Few industries are being left out of the technological revolution that is upon us, so much so that even fraudsters and con men are aboard the wave of change.

New types of fraud are having significant success, largely because the methods of conducting fraud are new and able to catch out their unsuspecting prey. With the benefit of hindsight the fraud is often obvious, but the speed at which actions can be completed in the online world mean before you realise your mistake your funds may be in an account on the other side of the world and largely untraceable.

The key to avoiding falling victim to online fraud is being aware of the how frauds are being carried out. It sounds simple but in those few seconds it takes to click on a link or make a payment if there are some warning bells in your mind then you are likely to dig a bit deeper and double check the integrity of what you are being asked to do. If you are unaware of similar previous frauds then those warning bells might just ring too late.

As your risk manager we want to help protect you whether it be by cyber protection insurance or by arming you with knowledge to avoid falling prey to scammers of any type.

One of the biggest areas of large value fraud at the moment are from hackers intercepting emails and changing information contained in the emails. The hackers driven by previous financial successes are patient and might groom their victims for months, selectively participating in the conversation and striking when the moment allows. You may have good security on your own IT system but often it is a client or supplier’s system that is hacked and where the emails are manipulated. Your email server will only see a normal email arrive and pass it on as normal.

It is almost impossible to stop these emails coming through but some simple steps can help avoid them succeeding with their devious intent. Ensure that security is tight on all payment information stored for your suppliers, clients or others. Only certain people should be able to update payment records and if someone asks for their account details to be updated by email always phone them to confirm the change is legitimate. It sounds very simple but very few SME businesses do this.

You may have noticed that Google and Microsoft have ramped up security on their email programs such as Hotmail and Google. They haven’t done this to be annoying, but rather to stop hackers getting access to your personal email. Make sure your information and contact details are up to date. If there is access to one of your email accounts by a new source you will notified instantly.

Be very careful when using unsecured free Wi-Fi. A hacker can quite easily view any information you send out over the internet when using public Wi-Fi including emails, security information and payment information. To use free Wi-Fi securely connect to a secure business connection via VPN so that any information is securely transferred via your secure business connection. Additionally you should turn off sharing in your computer settings when using free Wi-Fi.

Insurance is available for just about any risk there is and online fraud is no different. However many insurance policies are struggling to keep up with the evolution of online fraud and if you haven’t purchased the right policy you may not be covered anyway. Keeping up to date with the latest methods of fraud and taking simple security solutions will go a long way to help you avoid becoming a victim of online fraud.

Author: Murray Bruce