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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 5 July, 2020

'Increasingly sophisticated' scams on the rise, warns ISME

Business owners are being warned of ‘new and ingenious’ methods of defrauding them.

Image: Shutterstock

BUSINESSES ARE BEING warned of a multi-million euro risk as fraudsters develop increasingly elaborate ways to rip off companies.

Results from the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association’s annual crime survey show that 68% of respondents have been targeted by scams in the last year.

ISME warned that reports of business scams to its helpline have “increased dramatically” in the last month.

The most common form of scam is still spam email, with 86% of victims identifying this as the “highest intrusion”.

Over half of businesses (58%) suffered from virus infection, with 61% reporting ‘phishing’ scams.

Credit card fraud and staff fraud are also on the increase, with the former climbing to 23% from 18%, and employee scams up to 6% from 3%.

Supplier initiated fraud was reported by 15% of respondents who claimed they had been the victim of a scam in the last year.

Rising threat

ISME chief executive Mark Fielding said that “the level of fraud and scam attempts on SMEs is rising and owner-managers need to keep themselves informed of the array of methods being used”.

ScamsIsme Source: ISME

New and ingenious  methods are being devised continuously and it is imperative that all business owners remain vigilant and staff are adequately trained to combat this crime.

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Fielding said that an increasing number of businesses have fallen victim to ‘social engineering’ scams in recent months.

“These are scams where the information is attained from a person rather than through the computer system. An elaborate lie or impersonation is used to establish legitimacy, with Revenue of bank as covers.”

The ISME chief executive said that scammers then obtain enough information to access company bank accounts, and make large fraudulent payments.

ISME warned its members that they should contact the lobby group’s helpline on 01-6622755 if they are concerned.

“Scam losses are a completely avoidable evil but the effects can be catastrophic, leading to job losses and business closures.”

Read: Business owners aren’t reporting crimes because they don’t trust the legal system>

Read: How many small businesses have been victims of crime?>

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About the author:

Jack Horgan-Jones

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