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ISME's Top Ten Business Scams

ISME has published more findings from its recent national crime survey, this time highlighting the rising rate of business scams in the SME sector.

According to the crime survey, 68% of businesses in Ireland have been affected by business scams of some sort, with credit card fraud suffered by 23% (up from 18%) of firms in the last year.

Spamming is still the highest intrusion at 86%, with three quarters of businesses identified overseas offers, 61% 'phishing', 58% virus infection and 48% dubious business directories as the main scams perpetrated on their business.

Some 82% of businesses claim to have been the target of computer-related crime attempts. Supplier-initiated fraud occurred in 15% of firms, while staff fraud, suffered by 6% of enterprises, doubled from the 3% last year to its highest level since 2005.

Mark Fielding, ISME's chief executive, says that owner-managers need to keep themselves informed of the array of methods being used by criminals.

“A 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 or bank as cover. The perpetrators obtain enough information, including full details of the online banking passwords, to gain access to the victim company's bank account, following which fraudulent high-value payments are made.

“All it takes is for one member of staff to make an innocent mistake that could end up costing their employer thousands,” says Fielding.

ISME says that businesses should institute a full review of internal control procedures, carefully check invoices and not respond to emailed bank notices. (August 2014)

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