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Watch out for fraud after spate of Northern Ireland incidents

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FSB Northern Ireland recently issued a reminder to small business owners to be aware of potentially fraudulent contacts purporting to be from well-known delivery companies.

Our Regional Chair, John Friel, reminded us of the importance of constant vigilance following an attempted fraud against a local business: “We know there are lots of threats to local companies including the risks of cyber attacks and online scams, and that the impact of these incidents is greatest on smaller businesses.

"Having been made aware of a very convincing scam involving phone contact from a well-known delivery company, requesting electronic payment of a nominal fee to facilitate delivery of an item, we wanted to ensure all business owners are conscious of the potential threats of such unexpected calls.

"With one local business almost losing thousands of pounds through this type of incident, we want to remind people of the need to exercise caution and implement appropriate checks on all financial transactions.

"Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, or the contact is unexpected, and you’re asked for your personal details or for an amount of money, there is a risk that you might be a victim of a scam. We encourage anyone who feels that they might have been contacted by scammers to report the details to Action Fraud through the Reporting Fraud section of the PSNI website, or to contact the PSNI directly if they require more urgent assistance or response.”

According to FSB research, two thirds of small businesses have been a victim of cyber-crime, with the average cost of each incident reached £3,000, but over a third of small businesses do not report crimes against their business. Confidence in the police remains low amongst business owners throughout the UK, with 38% of members not reporting crimes against their businesses as they do not think it would lead to a successful prosecution.

Given the significant impact of these crimes on small businesses, FSB has called for the PSNI to record crimes against businesses separately, to ensure we have an understanding of the scale of these incidents across Northern Ireland, and enable specific action, education and resources to be developed and deployed to tackle them.

For more information on the types of attacks that you should be aware of, check out The Little Book Of Big Scams.