To mark European Cyber Security Month, Swansea-based, award-winning IT and Communications specialists, Uplands Mobiles, is warning SME business owners of a rise in scams and cyber fraud.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently disclosed that the number of fraud victims has risen by 25% in the last two years with 4.5 million offences taking place over a 12-month period. In March this year, ONS estimated that 61% of all fraud incidences were cyber-related compared to 53% two years prior.
Uplands Mobiles, which helps clients to strengthen their cyber security, is warning SMEs of a range of sophisticated scams that are currently being aimed at businesses.
Phishing scams like emails, texts, or calls can appear to come from reputable companies, or even from someone within the business you work in. They will usually ask for sensitive information such as bank details, passwords, and birth dates, and usually contain dangerous links urging you to click.
Scammers will also impersonate your suppliers and call or email to ‘remind’ you to re-order product, and if you agree to this, they will send out overpriced merchandise. Fake invoices are also a key target for scammers. The ONS reported that in a study, of the people who clicked on a link in a phishing message, 30% did so to pay a fake invoice.
Ransomware is a tactic to infiltrate your tech by threatening to publish personal data or permanently block access unless payment is provided. This is initiated through downloadable content or dangerous links which then allows the scammer access to your organisation’s private information.
Paul Hooper, Managing Director of Uplands Mobiles comments: “It is clear that cyber and telephone scams are on the rise in the UK as criminals develop more sophisticated techniques to scam money from small businesses. At a time where SMEs are carefully watching their finances as the economic future looks uncertain, becoming the victim of a scam is the last thing that everyone needs, particularly as the average breach can cost businesses between £600k – £1.15m. We would advise businesses to double check the credibility of emails requesting personal data or payment and to trust their instincts if something doesn’t look right. Similarly, having the confidence to cut phone calls short and to report potential scams to organisations like Action Fraud. Businesses should also regularly review their cybersecurity credentials.”
European Cyber Security Month is an initiative to protect businesses and consumers from falling victim to scams. The scheme is encouraging people to ‘Think before you click’ and is providing a range of resources to download as reminders of how to spot scams and how to stay online.
Paul continues: “Cyber Security Month is a great platform from which to raise awareness about scams and to help keep businesses safe. We offer a range of cybersecurity solutions to help keep businesses safe including a free security audit that will highlight your cybersecurity weak spots.”