Due to the new rules in force now i just wanted to touch base with all our customers to let them know what to expect from Purple Triangle over the coming weeks / months.
Common fraud threats
Being aware of common threats, knowing how they work and what to look out for can help protect your business against falling victim to fraud.
Here are some of the common techniques fraudsters attempt to use to trick you into giving away your business information, banking details or even access to your computer.
Scam emails, texts or social media messages (Also known as Phishing and Malware)
Fraudsters send fake messages which appear to be authentic and from legitimate organisations.
Scam messages can be very convincing and are popular with fraudsters. Fraudsters will deliberately mimic the contact details of the Bank, Police or other trusted companies to hide their true identity.
Scam messages will often imply a sense of urgency encouraging you to act fast, e.g. to call a phone number included in a text message to stop a fraud payment or include a request for personal information, or banking details such as password or security credentials.
Scam messages can lead to you speaking to fraudsters, who may try to trick you into providing account security such as; verification codes or token codes to move money out of your account without you realising. Remember we will never ask you to provide verification codes or token codes over the phone.
Some scam messages will contain links or attachments which, if accessed, will take you to a fake website that prompts you for your online banking details. The fraudsters then use your details to access your account(s) and steal your money.
Accessing fake websites or opening attachments in scam messages may install malware, a type of malicious software. This steals information and can be so sophisticated that it can work in the background to move your money, or trick you into believing that you’ve been unsuccessful in logging onto your online banking page and prompts you to re-enter your security details, which the fraudster captures.
How to protect yourself from scam emails, texts and social media messages
- If you are in any doubt that a message may not be genuine, stop and do not respond. Instead, call us using a trusted number from the back of your card, your bank statement or from our contact us page.
- Be vigilant to any out of the blue message requests from family members, friends or work colleagues, which involve you transferring money to them. It’s always best to check the message first by speaking to the person direct before deciding to part with any money.
- Never respond to an unexpected message from an unknown source. Always avoid clicking on links or opening attachments contained in messages. Never log into online banking through a link in a message.
- Ensure you use strong passwords and lock your devices when not in use. Keep your anti-virus software up to date and always complete security and software updates when promoted. This can protect you from viruses contained in links and messages.
- Be vigilant and alert to requests to re-enter your security credentials or any unusual screens, when banking online. These could be an indication of malware.
- When making a purchase online or inputting personal details on a website, always make sure it’s secure. Look for a padlock symbol in your browser, usually next to the web address and check that the web address starts with ‘https’ rather than just ‘http’. This tells you that it’s a secure site.
- If you want to check that an email, text or social media message received is genuine, use contact details obtained from a reliable source.
- To help stop SPAM texts forward the text to 7766. For further advice on nuisance calls and messages visit the OFCOM website.
Scam telephone calls (Vishing)
Fraudsters may phone you out of the blue and claim to be from the bank, police, or other reputable organisations, in an attempt to obtain your personal information and banking details.
Fraudsters may even try to trick you into allowing them access to your computer to steal your money.
- Regardless of how professional or convincing a caller sounds, remember the bank, police or other trusted organisations will never contact you by any means to:
- Ask for your financial information or your full security details.
- Ask you to provide your PIN code or requests to collect your bank card from your home address.
- Ask you to provide a verification code or token code.
- Ask you to move your money to a new or ‘safe’ account.
How to protect yourself from telephone scams
- Always be wary of unexpected cold calls. Say no to requests for information and don’t be afraid to terminate the call.
- Never respond to callers who ask you to confirm your PIN, verification codes or token codes, or to request to collect your bank card from your home address. We will never ask you to do this.
- Never respond to a request to transfer your funds to another bank, even if the caller advises you that you need to urgently move your money to a ‘safe’ bank account. We will never ask you to do this.
- Never respond to a caller who asks you to log on to online banking or a request that allows them remote access to your computer.
- Don’t assume a call is genuine because they know personal details about you or by the caller ID information. Fraudsters can copy the telephone number of an organisation and make it appear on the caller ID display.
- If you want to validate a phone call use contact details obtained from a reliable source.
- Always stop and think – is this a genuine call? Take Five to stop fraud.
Invoice re-direction scams
Invoice re-direction scams can result in losses that run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. It happens when a fraudster tricks a business into changing bank account payee details for a known supplier.
All businesses, regardless of size, can become a victim of fraud. To protect your business from this threat always verify a request to change bank payment details. Contact your supplier directly using established contact details, before implementing the change or completing the payment.
How do invoice scams happen?
Fraudsters will do their research. They will often be aware of the detailed relationships between businesses and their suppliers and know when regular payments are due.
Fraudsters may attempt to intercept genuine invoices and change the bank payment details.
Alternatively, they may contact the business by telephone, email, letter or fax, posing as a trusted supplier to make a formal request to change the bank account payment details held.
If the business does not validate the change and settles the invoice, the funds go to an account that the fraudster has access to.
The fraudulent payment is then quickly transferred, often to outside of the UK, making the recovery of funds extremely difficult.
Often the business does not realise they have been scammed until the genuine supplier chases for non-payment, in some cases this can be weeks or even months later. At this point, it is virtually impossible for the business to get the stolen funds back.
Alternative reports of this scam have included fraudsters falsely claiming to be a senior member of a business, providing account details and instructing an urgent payment to be processed. If the business completes the request, the funds go to an account the fraudster has access to.
What are the warning signs to look out for?
Any unexpected requests to change or update payment details for a regular supplier.
Whether made by telephone, email, letter, or fax, if your business is contacted ‘out of the blue’ to amend bank payee details always treat this as a potential warning sign.
Any unexpected, urgent payment requests made via email, text or fax, which supposedly appear to have been made by an internal senior member and provides account details.
What steps can I take to protect my business from this scam?
Protect your business by:
- Treating any notification to change a supplier’s bank account details or complete an ‘urgent’ payment, as a high risk activity.
- Always verifying a request BEFORE implementing the change or completing the payment. Be mindful not to use the contact details provided on the instruction, instead use established contact details to validate the change.
- Educating staff with responsibility for processing invoices to be alert to scams and unexpected payment requests. To always check for irregularities and to raise concerns immediately.
- Ensuring that senior staff members of your business know about this fraud risk and understand exactly what they are authorising.
- Setting up designated single points of contact with regular suppliers.
- Reconciling accounts daily to help quickly identify potential fraud payments.
- Being mindful of information displayed on your company website and if this could be used to facilitate fraud.
- To not presume an email, text or fax request to make an urgent payment is genuine, even if it appears to have been sent by a senior member of the business.
I have lost money to an invoice scam. What should I do?
by visiting the Financial Fraud Action website.
Money mule scams
Fraudsters will try to trick you in any way they can, including offering you the chance to earn money. Fraudsters recruit ‘money mules’ who are used, sometimes unwittingly, to transfer illegally obtained money between different bank accounts.
Criminals often pose as employers, contacting you online or in person with offers to “earn from the comfort of your own home” or “make easy cash, with no experience necessary”.
The scam works by a participant being asked to receive money into their bank account and then to transfer it to another account, keeping some of the cash for themselves.
Students, people who are unemployed, new residents to the country or anyone in financial hardship are often the most at risk to this type of scam.
If you transfer money through your account that is from the proceeds of crime, you’re a money mule. Even if you are not directly involved in the crimes that generate the money paid into your account.
If you fall for this type of scam and move money on, you are acting illegally and could be prosecuted and imprisoned for up to 14 years.
Your bank account will be closed and you will have problems applying for credit, loans or mobile phone contracts in the future.
How to protect yourself
- If you have already responded to a money mule scam, stop transferring money immediately and your bank at your earliest convenience.
- Be wary of any jobs promoted on recruitment sites, social media or in chat rooms for positions such as ‘Account Manager’, ‘Transfer Manager’ or ‘UK Representative’.
- Don’t give your bank account details to anyone unless you know and trust them. A legitimate company will never ask you to use your own bank account to transfer money.
- Be cautious of unsolicited offers of easy money. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Research any company that makes you a job offer and make sure that their contact details are genuine.
- Be wary of job offers where all interactions and transactions are completed online.
- Be wary of job adverts with poor English, spelling and grammatical mistakes.