Is your business protected from scams?

(c) NicoElNino / Thinkstock

(c) NicoElNino / Thinkstock - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Citizens Advice and Trading Standards Services says now is the perfect time to check if you are scam aware or if there are vulnerable areas in your business that you need to keep an eye on

Fraud prevention is a complicated task but it is vital for your business. It is estimated private sector fraud could cost the UK economy up to £143.6 billion, according to the Annual Fraud Indicator 2016.

Scams can affect us every day and they come in all shapes and sizes, from the rogue trader charging for bad work, potentially life threatening products bought on-line and identity theft to subscription traps or jobs scams that offer expensive training courses that don’t exist. In the business environment we are also exposed to fraud, such as phishing attacks, mandate frauds and payment interception.

The first step to prevent it is being prepared and informed: talk to your staff, prepare training sessions and create scenarios in which they can find themselves at risk of being scammed.

Spend time protecting your data and ensuring your IT is secure. Double check your suppliers details (always verify changes to financial arrangements with the organisation directly) and before sending money somewhere, get in touch with the intended recipient to check the transaction details.

Other ways to prevent or stop fraud in your business are:

- Review your invoices and payment process regularly, don’t ignore anything that doesn’t look quite right

- Use reliable suppliers. Buy With Confidence, a Trading Standards approval scheme, provides an online directory with business that are committed to good customer service and act within the law.

- Monitor your business accounts

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- Know your employees and set up internal control processes. Be open about that - your employees need to know you are doing checks and be aware of your policies.

- If you have doubts, do not hesitate to ask. Trading Standards and Action Fraud are organisations that can answer your questions and help you improve your security.

- Keep yourself informed about scams: the police frequently find new ways that fraud is carried out, and knowing how fraudsters work will help you to protect your business.

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