Increases in fraud during COVID-19
The upsurge in online fraud attempts during the COVID-19 lockdown is part of a long-term upward trend, internationally, observed in all sectors. According to PWC, 47% of businesses worldwide have been victims of fraud in the past 24 months. Action
Fraud, the UK’s National Fraud and Cybercrime Reporting Centre has received more than 2,500 reports of coronavirus-related scams, mostly online, totalling almost £9 million in losses.
Scammers are using mass cyber-attacks, such as phishing, smishing (phishing by SMS) or sharing malicious links on social networks, and bank transfer fraud.
Forewarned is forearmed: Be aware of the threat
A very common type of fraud is the invoicing of a company's accounting department for a few hundred pounds. If the team does not identify this as fraudulent, it can result in the business losing a considerable amount of revenue on a frequent basis
which soon adds up. As a business, you must ensure you have correct approval processes in place within your finance department to mitigate this.
Secondly, company director fraud consists of the malicious actor posing as a company director or senior executive to request an immediate transfer. It often equates to several hundred thousand pounds.
One of the most widespread types of scam is supplier fraud. This involves the fraudster taking on the appearance of a supplier that has changed their bank details. The fraudster will have collected information on the suppliers of the targeted company, in
order to pose as an official supplier. This can be prevented by ensuring that the supplier is contacted to confirm the legitimacy of the communication. It’s important not to call or email the supplier using the details provided on the fraudulent correspondence,
but to check the original details of the supplier and speak to them on their official telephone number or email on file.
Banking malware is the least commonly cited type of fraud but has a greater risk of financial loss of up to one million pounds. This malware is sent by email redirecting the recipients of the message to a fake banking interface, as a way of transferring
funds to offshore accounts.
Vigilance is key
To fight cyber fraud and scams, vigilance is needed across the business to ensure the protection of company and customer data. Businesses must also ensure they have implemented adequate training so that employees can spot the signs of a scam or fraud
before it is too late.
Know your customer
KYC - know your customer – is a procedure that banks and payment companies around the world use to verify the identity of their customers and to detect possible risks of illegal intent.
It’s essential that banks and payment companies have their own KYC engine and payment infrastructure, to manage financial flows. This system ensures the highest level of traceability across all transactions – including remittances and receipts of funds and
foreign exchange transactions internationally. At the same time, knowing your customer is not enough, you also need to know your transaction - otherwise known as a
Finally, banks and payment companies need to deploy anti-fraud modules to defend against cyberattacks, based on the latest algorithms capable of analysing transactions issued in real time and detecting anomalies or suspicious behaviour upstream, strengthening
the security and transparency of payments and building a network of trust between issuers and recipients of payments.