Fake messages attempting to scam you by impersonating professionals such as accountants, lawyers and banks are on the rise. Fraud attempts may appear genuine at first and contain accurate personal information that fraudsters have gathered by other means. You may also receive fake email, text messages and even phone calls from fraudsters pretending to be from Government institutions such as HMRC and the Home Office.
Fraud affects 1 in 4 small businesses every year.
Last year fraud losses to SMEs were estimated at £18.9 billion.
Be Suspicious of Emails – even those that appear genuine
Many frauds start with a phishing email that tries to get you to click on a link or attachment that will give them access to your information. Banks and financial institutions will never send you an email asking you to click on a link and confirm your bank details. Do not trust such emails, even if they look genuine.
In these cases always contact the sender using a previously established way such as the phone number on a genuine piece of correspondence, access their website directly or use the phone book. At Davis Grant we encourage you to use our Document Portal to send and receive all sensitive documents and if you are ever in doubt about a message appearing to be from us please contact us immediately.
Take Care When Making Payments
We have reports of businesses in our area being targeted with complex scams where a genuine business transaction is diverted to fraudulent bank accounts. Make sure that you and your staff establish authorised methods of payment to suppliers or customers and that any changes are treated with suspicion.
This is especially true of large payments where is it always best to be aware of the potential for fraud. Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and take note of browser security notifications.
HMRC will never use texts or emails to:
- tell you about a tax rebate or penalty
- ask for personal or payment information
Check HMRC’s guidance on recognising scams if you’re not sure.
If you have been a victim of fraud report it as soon as possible and also be aware of fraud recovery fraud. This is when fraudsters pretend to be a lawyer or a law enforcement officer and tell you they can help you recover the money you’ve already lost.