Cyber crime scams are growing as fraudsters target people through emails, online banking systems, text messages and online transactions – including businesses.
According to a National Cyber Security Centrereport released earlier this year, criminals are launching more online attacks against British businesses than ever before, with fraudsters targeting people through emails, online banking systems, text messages and online transactions. A recent government study found that almost half – at 44% – of small and medium-sized businesses had been targeted by fraudsters and almost one in four had been victims of fraud, with an average cost to the business of £35,000.
The National Hairdressers Federation carried out a survey of its members, with similar findings:
- Over half (56%) had been the victim of cyber fraud and 52% had suffered a financial loss.
- Only 17% had their losses covered by their bank.
- Card fraud and phone scams were the most common kinds of fraud.
“If you don’t take cyber security seriously, you are risking serious financial and reputational loss,” states Hilary Hall, NHF chief executive. “Salons and barbershops hold data on clients and employees which is very valuable to cyber criminals. Remember that GDPR imposes much stricter requirements than the old Data Protection Act and you must make sure that any data you hold is secure and protected.”
The government’s Cyber Aware initiative advises businesses to take steps to improve online security:
- Update your software and apps when prompted as they updated will fix weaknesses in your systems to help prevent cyber-attacks.
- Use different passwords for all your accounts and include letters, numbers, capitals and symbols which can’t easily crack.
- Regularly back-up data so it can easily be restored if hacked, lost or stolen.
- Make sure your mobile devices are PIN or password-protected and can be tracked or remotely wiped or locked if stolen, especially if you hold business records on your phone.
- Don’t assume that phone calls, texts, emails or invoices are genuine. Have a clear procedure for making payments and get team members to check before agreeing to give or change payment details to anyone.
For help and advice from the NHF, visit www.nhf.info