As businesses move increasingly online in response to the coronavirus situation, we explain how to help keep yours safe, with tips from the National Cyber Security Centre
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, many businesses have adapted and embraced digital to operate remote teams and trade online to keep moving. This rapid digital adoption makes it even more important to take steps to protect your business and stay digitally safe. With more teams working remotely, there’s a greater dependence on digital technology to stay connected and operate safely. These new working conditions also bring an added challenge in implementing cybersecurity practices, where it’s often not possible to observe or reinforce good practice among staff.
Although the types of scams targeting businesses have not changed during coronavirus, the increased usage of digital platforms and online tools creates more opportunities for fraudsters to carry out a range of cyberattacks. With many individuals and businesses relying more on digital – and some for the first time – it can leave people more vulnerable to fraud. Helping you prevent fraud remains just as important as ever. There are some quick, simple ways to improve your cybersecurity, leaving you feeling more secure in your new, digitally-enabled working environment.
It’s important to be aware of the types of scams targeting businesses, like spoof phone calls, text messages and emails. During coronavirus, these types of scams are also happening through social media platforms, where fraudsters trick business owners into revealing security credentials.
Be particularly vigilant about fraudulent messages concerning health, financial support or removal of a service. For example, a fraudulent message saying that a business is eligible for a government grant. Here the fraudster is trying to gain confidential information or take an unnecessary payment for an ‘application fee’.
John Heaver, Fraud Lead for Business Banking, explains how fraudsters are trying to take advantage of the coronavirus situation: “Purchase scams are the most common scam type, and we’re seeing fraudsters claiming to sell hand sanitiser, PPE equipment, facemasks or surgical gloves.”
Fraudsters use a range of techniques, like emotion, urgency or current events, to trick you into responding without thinking. Scams often play into real-world concerns – like genuine worries about coronavirus – making them difficult to spot. If you do think you’ve fallen victim to fraud, don’t panic. Read the National Cyber Security Centre’s guide to suspicious messages to learn how to spot scams – and how to report them.
Review payment processes
Having a robust payment process is a key way to prevent invoice and impersonation fraud. Impersonation fraud, where fraudsters pretend to be bank staff or a CEO, for example, is one of the highest value scam types reported by business customers. With more people working remotely, fraudsters can take advantage of people not being physically with each other when making payments.
You can help protect your business from this type of fraud by carrying out verbal checks with trusted individuals for every new payee, change of payment details requests and internal payment requests. If you receive a message from an organisation – like your bank – asking you to call them, make sure you call back on a trusted number.
As more businesses embrace digital tools, we’re also seeing more of our customers make use of Online Banking and the Barclays app1. The app is a quick way to make payments to people and companies in the UK and abroad, with added security features to prevent fraud.
“Our app is an easy way to stay in control of your money from home or your workplace, without needing to visit a branch,” says John. “We’ve added extra check points in our payment journey to give you a moment to make sure each piece of information is correct. For example, if you choose ‘Paying an Invoice’, we’ll show you a message asking you to verbally check the bank details personally with your payee.
This will help protect you against fraudsters who’ve intercepted emails and replaced the payment details inside these.” ReadMore…
The average number of new daily cases in the UK has fallen substantially in recent weeks, but now appears to be levelling off. A further 4,040 confirmed cases across the UK were announced by the government on Tuesday. This compares with 5,379 new cases reported a week ago. Infection levels in secondary school-age children have risen slightly in England, according to the Office for National Statistics, which tests a random sample of adults and children in the community. But infections have fallen in older teenagers and young people, the ONS estimates. Overall, the percentage of people testing positive has levelled off in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and risen in Scotland. What might a third wave look like? It is thought the infection rate was much higher than was evident from the reported number of cases during the first peak in spring last year. Testing capacity was too limited to detect the true number of daily cases. The orange areas on the map below show the places currently seeing the highest number of cases per 100,000 people.
The nations of the UK are moving to the next stages of easing restrictions on everyday life.
England’s stay-at-home order has ended and two households or groups of up to six people are now allowed to meet outside.
This new rule includes meeting in private gardens.
Scotland’s lockdown will start to be lifted from 2 April, with the “stay at home” rule becoming “stay local”, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says all children are expected to resume school full time by 19 April.
In Wales, which moved to “stay local” advice from 13 March, four people from two different households can meet up outdoors to socialise and non-essential retail will re-open from 12 April.
A phased return to school is under way in Northern Ireland, with all children expected to return by 12 April. Other measures will be reviewed at the end of March. ReadMore…
Local Shops Count £142m Cost of Crime Over Last Year as almost 400,000 Colleagues Continue to Face Abuse
The 2021 Crime Report, launched today by the Association of Convenience Stores, reveals that 89% of colleagues working in local shops have experienced some form of abuse, with over 1.2million incidents recorded over the last year.
Throughout the pandemic, convenience stores have stayed open, providing essential goods and services to millions of customers that rely on them whilst adapting their businesses to ensure that they’re Covid secure. But despite limits on customer numbers in many stores and an overall drop in the number of people visiting convenience stores over the last year, there have still been an estimated 1.1million incidents of shop theft recorded in the convenience sector.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the report, Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “Over a million shop thefts and incidents of violence and abuse aren’t just big numbers, each one is a crime that has a personal impact on retailers and their colleagues. For so many people in local shops to have suffered this kind of abuse, just for doing their jobs, is shocking and must not be allowed to be normalised.
“Convenience stores have been on the front line serving their communities throughout the last year, but despite this they have been the constant target of criminals, often repeat offenders, who aren’t being dealt with properly by the justice system. This results in fewer retailers being willing to report crimes and less trust in the ability of the police to respond to incidents when they occur.
“We need action now to ensure that everyone, from neighbourhood police and the courts to Police and Crime Commissioners and central Government, takes crimes committed against retailers and their colleagues seriously. The upcoming PCC elections in May are an opportunity for every candidate to set out their priorities and commit to tackling this issue and supporting local shops.”
Financial Cost of CrimeCrimes committed against the convenience sector cost £142m over the last year alone, equating to over £3,000 per store. Stores have also invested heavily over the last year to make their businesses safer. Over £175m has been spent by retailers on crime prevention measures like CCTV, external security staff and intruder alarms. Taken together with the cost of crimes committed, there is effectively a 5p crime tax on every transaction in stores. ReadMore…
Advantage One Security is proud to announce our commitment, to honour the Armed Forces Covenant and to demonstrate our support for the Armed Forces Community, through our Policy and its objectives. Our Policy aims to recognise and support; all that serve, have served and their families. Securing our Customer’s assets; protecting their people and their property, is at the heart of what we do in Advantage One Security. Our very high expectations from each of our Officers demand that we source, recruit and train those people who have a natural desire to protect We recognise a synergy with those who have an innate ability to protect and embrace the opportunity to work with those who have served. We offer a Guaranteed Interview scheme and work with Service Partners to help connect us with highly motivated and experienced veterans, through Career Transition Partnership. Through our excellent Training and on-going Personal Development plans made for each Team Member and the natural skill possessed by ex-military personnel, we actively promote the inclusion of the Armed Forces community. We, at Advantage One Security, are extremely proud of our Service Women and Men and even though we could never show our appreciation enough for all that they have given and all that they will give, we are committed to doing what we can and determined to find ways to ‘give something back’, to all those who have given for us. If you are thinking of leaving the Armed Forces and are interested in a Career with Advantage One Security, visit:https://advantage1.co.uk/recruitment/