Top Tips to Stay Safe Against Online Scammers

Scammers are getting smarter by the day, finding more ways to exploit our trust. So, business professionals need to be even smarter.

We use more systems than ever before to manage our businesses - email, text, databases, social media, cloud-based software - which means scammers have more opportunities to fleece people out of money.

Of course, most professionals are savvy with security. We know that we shouldn’t announce bank details over the phone, for example. 

But even the smartest of folks can be tricked. It wasn’t long ago when almost a million Google Docs users around the world were tricked by an email claiming someone was sharing a document with them and exposing their account details to scammers. 

There have been cases of scammers alleging to be UK banks and building societies, encouraging people to visit fraudulent websites so they will invest, pay money and reveal personal data. 

On that note, here are some top tips to help you stay safe and keep your business secure. 

1 - Scammers target people, not systems

Did you know that most cyber breaches are the result of human error rather than technical or systematic failures?

Scammers use ‘social engineering’ techniques to gain access. You may have heard of ‘phishing emails’ where scammers pretend to be an authority from an authentic organisation. Emails like these lead to log-in screens that look like the real thing but allow scammers to scoop up your details. 

This is what happened in the Google Docs case. The email had been especially design to look exactly like other emails, making it a simple decision with disastrous consequences.  It was no surprise that so many people were pulled in.

2 - Scams can sometimes look like “inside jobs”Phishing emails don’t just have to come from external sources; they can even come from inside your company. One case saw scammers impersonating people within in a company and exploiting their trust.  On the upside, you can always find out if 1) the person in your organisation does exist 2) if they really did send the email. 3 - Better to delay it, than regret it

Scammers exploit basic aspects of human psychology. For example, people may open an unexplained attachment ‘just to check it’ for themselves. Scammers know that we like the mystery.  

They may also use pressure tactics, pretending that there is an urgent need for a payment because of some complicated and obscure reason. 

But don’t fall for this. It’s always better to be over cautious.

4 - All the details matter

Scammers know that poeple often scan when reading and a simple misspelling can be easily missed. The possibility for human error allows scammers to pose as someone with an email address or URL that looks legitimate but is fake. 

Did you notice the misspelling of ‘people’ above? If you did then that kind of attention to detail can really help to maintain the security of your business transactions. 

5 - Check for the source of any hyperlinksIf you are ever unsure about a link in an email here’s a quick tip: roll your mouse pointer over the link and after a second or two it will reveal its true destination, displayed in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen. 

If it’s different than from what is displayed in the text of the link from the email then steer clear. 

6 - Don’t share it aroundOn that note, if you ever get an email that you don’t trust don’t forward it onto someone else, even if they can help by checking it.  

It’s important to stay vigilant. At Skipton Business Finance we will never send emails asking for confidential information or security details. Never respond to emails asking you to reveal such information. 

If you are unsure or concerned about any communication that seems to be from Skipton Business Finance, don’t hesitate to contact us on our secure line at 0800 0854 150.