National Trading Standards has launched Businesses Against Scams – a free online training tool to protect businesses, employees and customers from costly scams.
Derbyshire Trading Standards is encouraging businesses to take advantage of the free resources available and make themselves aware of how the fraudsters are operating.
Criminals are seizing the opportunity to target employees who are isolated from colleagues as a result of lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
Scams include criminals impersonating government officials or a senior member of the business in order to put pressure on employees to give out sensitive information or make payments.
Criminals will also try and gain access to businesses’ devices and networks and everything stored on them. They can do this by:
- sending emails with malicious attachments
- exploiting vulnerabilities in your operating systems if they are not up-to-date
- trying to get you to click links or visit malicious websites.
Once they have access to your device and your data, they may try to steal that data or extract money from you by getting you to pay a ransom.
Councillor Carol Hart, Cabinet Member for Health and Communities, said:
“Businesses are already facing difficulties posed by the coronavirus pandemic and the last thing they need is to fall prey to scams from criminals seeking to use the current situation for their own ends.
“Derbyshire Trading Standards is working to protect Derbyshire residents and businesses and I would urge businesses to join Businesses Against Scams and use the free tools to train their workforce and to make their staff aware of potential scams.”
Government grant or tax refund scams
A business is contacted by phone, email or post by government imposters suggesting the business might qualify for a special COVID-19 government grant or a tax refund.
Invoice or mandate scams
A business may be contacted out of the blue by someone claiming to be from a regular supplier. They state that their bank account details have changed and will ask you to change the payment details.
CEO impersonation scams
An employee receives a phone call or email from someone claiming to be a senior member of staff – they ask for an urgent payment to a new account and instil a sense of panic. Scammers may even hack a staff email account or use spoofing software to appear genuine.
Tech support scams
With more people working remotely and IT systems under pressure, criminals may impersonate well-known companies and offer to repair devices.
Always be suspicious of cold callers
Genuine companies would never call out of the blue and ask for financial information.
If a business believes they have been the victim of a scam they must contact their bank immediately and report any suspicious activity to Action Fraud or by calling tel: 0300 123 2040.
And anyone receiving a suspicious email can report them to the National Cyber Security Centre, where they will review and take down fraudulent sites. email firstname.lastname@example.org.