Reducing your risk
Given the growing threat the scammers pose, raising awareness of the methods they use and how individuals and businesses can protect themselves is high on the agenda across the Crown Dependencies. “It’s an industry-wide issue facing our communities, so we’re working collaboratively with local on-island government bodies such as the States of Jersey’s Cyber Security Task Force and the Isle of Man Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance, and with other banks to tackle it, explains Emma.
Emma continues, “That includes working closely with businesses to help them develop robust frameworks, policies and procedures and encouraging them to disseminate training throughout their organisations. At an individual level, identifying new scams and communicating that through radio and social media, and targeting education at specific audiences is crucial.”
Collaboration is also key to addressing one of the threats Emma has seen increasing over the past 18 months. “Scammers are adept at finding and exploiting weaknesses,” she points out.
“So, whilst many of our corporate clients have invested time and money in training their staff and improving processes to identify frauds and scams, the scammers are now targeting their clients and/or suppliers, who may not understand the risk and have therefore not invested in reducing it. Many of the invoice fraud and business email compromise cases we’re seeing are through this route, so encouraging businesses to collaborate with each other to discuss and address the threat is key.”
Talking about scams is the first step in tackling the threat, particularly as figures point to only 5% of victims reporting that they have been scammed. Whilst embarrassment or fear of reputational loss can stop victims from speaking out, reporting it can help build a picture of the scale of the threat, the nature of the threat landscape and potentially aid in the tracing and recovery of funds.
Ben says that the evolution of Best Practice Standards across the UK Finance industry as well as the launch of a voluntary code to promote the reimbursement of victims of scams who are clearly not at fault, is encouraging more people to report it. “It becomes a virtuous circle,” he points out.
“As more people report scams, we’re able to track and repatriate funds much more easily, but also as more people step forward and admit to being scammed, it’s obvious that it effects everyone from all walks of life. We’ve seen celebrities, high court judges, GPs scammed and making the news – and that reduces the embarrassment people often feel at speaking up.”
Emma agrees: “Because scams rely on individuals being persuaded to take action, for example, sending money or disclosing account information, preventing it also relies on individuals taking action to speak up, understand and protect themselves and their businesses.”
For more information about fraud, scams and cyber security, speak to our on-island team, or visit our Fraud awareness hub.