Fraud remains a huge issue for UK businesses, with the loss to the economy from fraud most recently put at £73bn by the Home Office. The agency’s Annual Fraud Indictor 2012 report stated that nearly two-thirds (63%) of fraud in the UK – some £46bn – is perpetrated against private sector companies, highlighting just how significant the issue has become to the UK economy.
The seminar focused on the key threats facing businesses and examined the most common scams. These include cheque and electronic payment fraud, employee fraud, cyber-crime and corporate identity fraud, and money laundering. Clients of Royal Bank of Scotland Corporate & Institutional Banking (RBS CIB) were shown the following steps to help them minimise the chances of becoming a victim of business fraud:
- Know your customer and who they may be representing. If you knew who they were representing, would you want to do business with them?
- Ensure you have robust business controls in place particularly around personnel, IT systems and finance;
- Respond to mandate and payment changes by calling your customer back, on an existing number you know to be correct. Don’t take the request at face value and don’t use the phone number on the request. If the request is a fraud, so will the phone number be;
- Don’t release goods until the funds have cleared. Just showing in your account is not enough, check they have cleared first; and
- If someone overpays you and requests a refund, wait for the initial funds to clear before you send the refund.
"A key threat is in electronic payments, where fraudsters send fake requests asking companies to change bank account details for outgoing payments. Seminar attendees were recommended to validate any requests received by calling the supplier or employee using known contact details from their own systems. We find there are usually simple steps that people can take that can drastically reduce the risks and losses they face."
DI Gavin Tyrrell, Thames Valley Police
"RBS is delighted to have partnered with the West Midlands Police in supporting local businesses with critical business information on the key issue of business fraud. This is such a significant risk for all businesses and I’m hopeful that we have highlighted and emphasised this to a relevant group of stakeholders."
Jessica Armstrong, RBS Service Delivery Manager for the East of England