Working from home has never been as common and widespread across the British workforce and across the world. Offices closing due to the pandemic made virtual meetings and catch-ups the norm.
While the rise of working from home culture has seen a boost to some workers productivity and job satisfaction, this change to the normal business process and practices has allowed for a rise in coronavirus related fraud. This has made fraud prevention increasingly important.
In 2019, around a quarter of all UK businesses were reported to have been targeted by cyber-crime, almost twice the figure of the five years prior. With the widespread rise of home working due to the pandemic, this figure is estimated to have risen even further.
Find out what you can do to avoid ending up on the wrong side of one of these schemes and how Inquesta can help below.
What are the Different Types of Fraud?
In the new, post-pandemic world it can be tough to keep track of all of the different types of fraud. A wide range of frauds exist specifically to take advantage of coronavirus affected workforces, such as:
- PPE scams
- Hand sanitiser sale fraud
- Fabricated fines for breaching lockdown laws
- Pandemic insurance fraud
- Increased fraudulent attempts to access pandemic related economic relief
In addition to this, the increase in working from the relative safety of their own home has seen a rise in people letting their guard down and being caught out by more traditional forms of fraud such as:
- Computer software fraud
- Business impersonation
- Cold-caller scams
7 Coronavirus Fraud Prevention Techniques
Many companies around the UK are considering the possibility of keeping working from home in some form, from staying totally virtual Monday-Friday, to a few days at home a week. As a result some of the fraud that rose with home working could stick around too.
Find out just a few ways you can keep ahead of the fraudsters and keep your business, and all of its employees safe and secure below.
When it comes to security, always remember that your workforce is primarily your first line of defence. Put a reinforced focus on refreshing training, and educating them on any new forms of fraud, as well as making older tactics more fresh in the memory.
Remind workers of your company’s desired working practices while working remotely so they know what is expected of them while online to minimise any potential security risks.
Make sure your workers know how to spot fraud while working from home, and ensure that they know how to act to protect themselves and your business.
While the threat of cyber attacks is hard to ignore, there are things you can do to be ready. Prepare for the possibility of fraud and protect your business the best you can. There are multiple methods you can employ to try to maximise security and minimise the threat, including:
- VPNs to keep your connection secure
- Encryption to keep data safe
- Automatically backup all of your data on a daily basis
- Multi-factor authentication to minimise breaches.
Don’t wait for fraud to happen. Get ahead of the situation and do relevant checks, identify potential weak points etc to protect your business from any possible threat. If you have difficulties doing this or not enough time in the day then you always have the option to speak to a professional
The average cost of a data breach due to cyber-attack is estimated to be over £300,000. With costs rising once labour hours are taken into account, you need to ask yourself, are you prepared for such a high cost?
If you don’t have a plan in place to minimise any risks, as well as protect your business and its employees and clients, you could be leaving yourself vulnerable.
What fraud protection and prevention protocols do you have in place? If you don’t have any, or they haven’t been updated recently, create a new policy for all of your employees to follow in the event of a breach.
Research modern examples of coronavirus fraud, and ways to protect against them. Be as detail-oriented as possible. Examples of things to include are; the chain of command to alert in the event of fraud, what steps a team member should undertake to block an attack, and more.
One of the most important steps in fraud protection, is to always report anything you, or your employees may encounter. Make sure your staff know all the warning signs, and are confident in reporting them, either to you, or directly to authorities.
If you don’t tell relevant authorities, it is unlikely anything will ever be done about it to help you. No matter how big or small, reporting a scam could be the final piece of the puzzle for authorities to catch the fraudster.
Learn From Experiences
Should your company ever fall foul to coronavirus related fraud, you are very unlikely to realise until it is too late. You can have all of the right plans and procedures in place and still be caught out from time to time.
In this case, once you have spoken to relevant authorities, make sure to launch an internal investigation, find the breach and educate your employees on how to avoid a repeat to ensure that it will never happen again.
While plugging holes may not be the most efficient, or cost-effective way to protect against fraud, it is still preferred than to sink completely.
Seek Professional Assistance
For the regular person on the street or in the office, cyber-fraud can seem very intimidating, and highly complicated. It would be beneficial to do the research and try to understand the intricacies of the situation, but if you feel that you can’t, or you are too busy, it is recommended to find professional help to keep your business safe.
An outside professional can assess the flaws in your security and in your process, plug them, and educate all employees on ways to counter them.
How Inquesta can Help
Unsuitable cyber-fraud protection in the pandemic could see you and your business be hit with setbacks you can’t recover from.
British people and businesses are reported to have had around £35million pounds stolen in pandemic scams and cyber-attacks in the last year.
Decades of experience and business acumen makes us perfectly placed to offer assistance in helping protect you against Coronavirus fraud. Our expert team can help you to assess weaknesses in security, improve your proactivity, undertake regular fraud health checks, and in the event of being caught out, help you recover however we can.
For guidance and assistance, contact Inquesta, or request a free consultation.