Can your business be at risk of a scam?

Emily Douglin, Managing Director, Regulatory Services

A new scam has emerged aimed at businesses. Because of COVID-19, many businesses are experiencing financial challenges, and to most, a £1,500 relief grant is big help.

This is just one of the new tactics that scammers are using to gain access to business bank details and steal money. Sharing guidance with the businesses on how to best protect themselves will raise awareness and help stop these scammers from operating.

Increase in COVID-19 related scams

Over the last few months there has been a number of scams targeting citizens. One of our recent community check-ins highlighted examples of doorstep crimes, such as, fake COVID-19 testing kits. It also uncovered stories relating to refund scams, various online and telephone scams, as well as counterfeit goods.

A number of business scams range from grants where fraudsters impersonate companies, or companies claiming support when they’re not entitled. Plus new types of fraud, such as furlough fraud, where employers have claimed furlough support for staff even when they’ve been asked to attend work.

Ultimately, the rise in scams is because of financial pressures and the opportunity to commit criminal acts.

The future

As we move past the initial urgency of the crisis it will be important to reinstate full fraud prevention measures. It will also be crucial for fraud investigators to conduct reviews and take action, including referrals to police where required.

Employers should be alert to the threat of insider fraud, taking the time to review processes and protocols as we move forward in a new post-COVID working environment.

It’s important to raise awareness and encourage citizens to question and check anything that doesn’t seem right. Fraudsters are becoming more and more advanced, creating fraudulent websites and URL addresses that mirror authentic websites; that are very convincing. It’s not surprising to see how easy it is to fall victim of fraud.

On a positive note, COVID-19 has driven remote working, data sharing and greater use of technology for public services. This will hopefully be a lasting shift and support efforts to prevent, detect and take action against fraud.