If you are running a business you have probably educated your staff to be on the lookout for suspicious emails that attempt to lure them to fake websites in an attempt to snag their, or your, login credentials for online banking and other sensitive accounts.
But have you also educated them to be on their guard against phone scams?
Just because they don’t garner much publicity these days, it doesn’t mean they can’t be costly, as one business in Suffolk found out recently.
The firm fell victim to a conman who rang up and pretended to be from the bank where it had an account.
After telling a member of staff that the company’s internet banking facility had been attacked by a virus, he advised them to transfer all of the firm’s money into separate holding accounts while the issue was fixed.
Spoofing the bank’s fraud department telephone number, the conman socially engineered the staff member into trusting him enough to download a piece of software to aid in that task, software which gave him remote access to the company’s accounts.
Once access was achieved, the fraudster was able to make off with £1 million in what is believed to be the largest ever telephone banking scam in the UK.
Suffolk police said the firm reported the crime on Wednesday after it realised what had happened and staff members were “understandably distressed”.
Unlike myself, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said he was “absolutely flabbergasted about the audacity of these criminals” before adding that:
I can fully understand how this crime took place and the damage to this company is potentially huge and it stands as a salient reminder that businesses too are victims of crime.
We are aware that it is an evolving pattern of crime and I think it’s going to get worse and we have to commit resources, even at a time of reducing budgets.
The information being spread is really important and if anyone suspects a problem with cyber crime then please report it.
There’s no shame in admitting we have been subject to fraud. We are all vulnerable and we are only going to tackle it by working together.
The devastating crime comes just three months after Suffolk police joined forces with the neighbouring constabulary in Norfolk to launch a £300,000 joint Cyber Crime unit to tackle the increasing numbers of high-tech offences.
A spokeswoman for Suffolk Police said
Banks or police will not ask you to transfer or handover sums of money and you should never give out details of bank accounts, PINs or personal information. If you receive contact from an unknown caller stop and think for a moment.
Be suspicious particularly if they are telling you something is wrong or that you need to send or handover money. If you suspect you may be the victim of a bogus call hang up and leave the phone down for at least ten minutes or use another phone before contacting anyone else.
Don’t be afraid to hang up on unknown callers. Genuine callers will understand if you want to call them back later, after checking existing paperwork to confirm numbers, to check their identity.
If you, your family, friends or business have fallen prey to this type of scam then you should immediately report it to the police or Action Fraud , the national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre, on 0300 123 2040.
And if you haven’t fallen victim to a crime known as vishing you’re in luck – you still have time to learn about it and educate yourselves and others on what to look out for and how to avoid it.