Last year (2021), it is estimated that £19bn was lost by UK SMEs to fraud alone!
Fraud attacks are only thought to be on the rise this year so it is important to provide awareness to SMEs on how to avoid this.
UK Finance recently released an up to date PDF for 2022 on fraud statistics, this can be found here.
Santander has put together a fraud awareness campaign with a series of webinars that will be taking place over the summer, you can find out more about this at: https://www.santander.co.uk/about-santander/media-centre/press-releases/santander-uk-partners-with-police-to-protect-business
UK Finance on Fraud Awareness and Scams:
The UK is seeing an increase in fraud. According to UK Finance figures, businesses lost £59.2 million in the first half of 2021, an increase of 35 per cent over the same period in 2020.
This is a problem for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) that are unprepared to deal with fraud. Fraud is often costly and time-consuming, and it can take away from valuable resources that could be spent on growing your business.
In the “Take Five to Stop Fraud Campaign”, 80% of SMEs said they had received an unsolicited text or email for money and personal information, and 64% had received unsolicited phone calls.
While 62% of SMEs stated they were more aware of fraud since the start of the pandemic, a perhaps alarming 16% did not challenge an unsolicited phone call or email requesting money or personal information.
Barclays collected data between January and October 2021 which highlighted that the most cases of SME scams were in property and construction (24%), retail and wholesale (18%), business services (15%), and manufacturing and transport (12%).
Take Five to Stop Fraud urges SMEs to remember that criminals are experts in what they do; whether this be at impersonating people or organisations, it’s wise to always stop and consider any requests for personal information or money. The campaign states SMES should:
- Stop and think
- Challenge and verify requests
- Protect the business by contacting your bank immediately if you think you are a victim of fraud.
Business fraud is a serious threat to the growth of your business, and it can come from anywhere. But here are a few quick tips for protecting your company from fraud:
1) Check your statements regularly. Don’t wait until you have an issue with your accounts to check them.
2) Be on the lookout for bills that don’t match up with what you remember ordering or receiving. If something seems off, don’t hesitate to call the vendor and ask about it.
3) Monitor credit card activity closely, and be sure to report any suspicious activity immediately.
4) Protect yourself from threats by using an antivirus software that’s updated daily, or even hourly!
5) Check the credentials of anyone who wants to work with you or your company.
6) Make sure all employees have the proper paperwork and licenses, if required by law.
7) Be wary of any requests for money or personal information from people claiming to be government representatives, especially if they’re asking for it over the phone or email.
8) And finally, if something seems suspicious, don’t hesitate to call the police—or even just Google it to make sure the source is legitimate.
If you want some more tips on how to protect against card fraud, you can check out this resource from the Federation of Small Businesses here.
Jennifer Tankard of UK Finance commented:
“The financial services sector is tackling fraud in a wide range of ways. But it is also important that businesses place high priority on implementing measures to combat fraud. The Take Five to Stop Fraud Campaign provides some top tips on how to protect your business from fraudsters.”