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.

Get educated

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…