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How to avoid being the victim of a scam

Scott Wilson is an IT security expect and owner of Wilson Computers.

Scott Wilson is an IT security expect and owner of Wilson Computers.

Thanks to Wilson Computers for this great article about how your can safeguard your company from becoming a victim of online fraud.  For IT Support, including new computer installations, networks, cloud services and security visit www.wilsoncomputers.co.uk.

There have been a number of reports in the media recently about sophisticated attempts to defraud local companies. This week one of our clients was targeted by a scam attempt. The person in charge of payments at the company received an email reporting to be from the MD requesting a wire transfer. To the untrained eye this email looks legit and it’s easy to see how many businesses are falling for these scams. Luckily in this case the person involved was concerned about the authenticity of the email and didn’t proceed.

There are several things to consider so as to avoid being the victim of a scam:

Behaviour – Is it normal for a request of this type? If there is anything unusual at all, check and then double check. There is no harm in verifying a request face to face or by making a phone call.

Email – is this the normal email address? Although it is possible to spoof an email address, sometimes a scammer will use a very similar address. For example, the email could come from youcompany.com instead of yourcompany.co.uk.

Urgency – Do you feel rushed? Often a scammer will say something is urgent to put pressure on their victim and make them more likely to miss warning signs.

Bank Details – Is this a bank account you normally send money to? In the past a local company was asked to change the bank account details for a supplier. The emails looked legitimate but unfortunately they sent a large sum of money to scammers. This money was not recoverable.

Research – Does it sound plausible? A common scam these days involves selling fake advertising space. Normally the caller will pretend to be someone in a position of authority i.e. a policeman. A simple Google search will show this is a scam. Always check something is legit before taking any further action.

While it may seem like common sense to some, scams are becoming more and more sophisticated. Rather than a traditional scattergun approach, scammers are now carrying out detailed research on companies and identifying points of weakness that they can target. This highlights the importance of shredding sensitive documents as well as safe disposal of computer hard drives. It is also very important to have good security on your network and use a good antivirus to avoid unlawful access to your data.

If you would like any advice on keeping your network secure or the safe disposal of old hardware then Wilson Computers can help. Feel free to call us on 028 9146 9751.