Woman Being Scammed

Be Aware of Possible Scams

As scams become increasingly sophisticated, it’s vital for businesses to be aware of the risks and take precautions. You may have already been targeted by an “Authorised Push Payment (APP) Scam”, where a scammer impersonates a company director and requests immediate payment for a fake invoice via email. These scams are particularly common in distributed work environments.

To pull off this type of scam, the fraudster typically identifies the company’s directors and finance personnel from publicly available information on the company’s website. They then change their email display name to match that of a company director, copy the signature format to make the email appear genuine, and send a request for immediate payment to someone in the finance department. While it’s not a particularly sophisticated scam, it can be very effective. In fact, over the past couple of years, successful APP frauds increased by around 40% each year, with over £500 million stolen through APP fraud in 2022.

Even if your bank has signed up to the SCC code, it’s important to take additional steps to avoid falling victim to these scams. Some companies flag all external emails with a large red banner and require a second or third method of authorization, such as a phone call or communication through internal systems.

But now scammers can even use AI technology to mimic human voices, making it easier for them to impersonate trusted personnel over the phone. This means that employees could be given instructions in a trusted person’s voice, even if the call appears to come from a recognised number.

To protect your business, educate yourself and your employees about the risks of these scams and always verify payment requests through a second or third method of authorisation. Use a corporate phone system and ensure that all internal communications are made through it, even for remote workers who can use a secure app on their mobile phone.
Remember that scammers are constantly evolving their tactics, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can keep your business safe and secure.

Check out this article for an example of the same voice synthesisation technology being used in a different, alarming way that will make any parent shudder.