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Don’t let your business become a cyber scam victim

Do you know your vishing from smishing and phishing? ICAEW’s head of enterprise Nick Levine unpicks the numerous scams that can catch you out.


October 2018

The techniques of cyber criminals to dupe employees and business owners are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with even those who are au fait with technology being at risk of becoming duped. Recently released data from Financial Fraud Action UK reveals that 77% of business leaders have not heard of common scamming techniques.

Phone Scams

Often referred to as Vishing, this is when an impersonator calls you and claims that they are from your bank or a trusted organisation. This can be convincing especially if a fake telephone number is displayed on your handset.

Remember that banks will never ask for personal financial details.

Text Message Scams

Smishing happens when a fraudster sends a text to you impersonating your bank or another organisation you engage with. This will often claim that fraudulent activity has taken place on your account with a request for you to visit a website or call a number to address this.

Never reveal sensitive information or click on links contained in the text of the message.


Phishing emails are messages purporting to be from your bank. It is easy for recipients to mask the true identity of their email address to make it look as if it has come from someone else.

Hovering your mouse over the recipient’s name will reveal their actual email address. You should be suspicious if emails are generic (not identifying you by name) and are in a format contained as an image with a clickable link. Be careful not to click on links.

Common business emails scams include CEO ‘spoofing’ and invoice fraud. The former is an email technique consisting of someone pretending to be the company CEO or senior member of staff asking to make an urgent payment.

Invoice fraud means that someone poses as a supplier and asks for bank account details to be changed. If you get such a request always make sure to contact the supplier directly to confirm whether this is legitimate.


Online scams are varied and include fraudsters attempting to misappropriate financial and sensitive data from your online banking and shopping experiences. In order to mitigate against being a victim install built-in security plugins on your browser to block pop ups falsely claiming that you have been the victim of malware.

For more detailed information on how to protect yourself against cyber crime visit the Take 5 and Fraud Advisory websites.

Nick Levine is ICAEW Head of Enterprise

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