Fraudsters often look for data on people that they can use to impersonate or defraud them.
They may research you or your colleagues, so we advise that you educate your staff about protecting their data and ensure they are fraud aware too.
What kind of data might a fraudster steal?
- Personal details, such as your name, address, date of birth and National Insurance number.
- Contact details like your mobile phone, landline, work number and email address(es).
- Memorable information used for security and passwords, such as mother’s maiden name, schools or university attended, pet names, car makes and names of family members.
- Your bank account number, sort code and card details.
- PINs, passwords, Digipass number or other login details.
Ways fraudsters might get hold of your data:
- Social media and online forums – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit – all public platforms could hold a wealth of information about you, your employees, your business and your customers.
- Your company website – if your business has a website, consider what information you include. We advise you not to put your bank details on your website, as fraudsters can use this to impersonate you or your bank.
- Competitions and quizzes – particularly those found on social media websites.
- Calling you and pretending to be a trusted organisation.
- Companies who sell your email address or phone number - always read terms and conditions when signing up for a product or service.
- Bank statements, post and paper documents. Always lock away documents that hold sensitive information and destroy them when no longer required.
- Hacking into email accounts. Ensure your IT systems are secure and be wary of using shared internet connections outside of work. Consider that your suppliers, customers and partners can also have their emails hacked. We recommend that you do not share sensitive data via email – if you need to, encrypt the information with a password.
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Bank impersonation fraud is when a fraudster impersonates someone from the bank in order to trick a victim into making payments to a fraudulent account.
What a fraudster might do:
- A fraudster usually calls their victim, though may use email or another contact method. It’s likely they already know information about the victim, including their name and who they bank with.
- While impersonating the bank staff member, the fraudster might tell the victim their account is under threat and they need to make payments to a “safe account” or set up payments in order to “block the funds”.
- The fraudster might ask for details from the Digipass so they can access the account and make payments to the fraudulent account themselves.
- The fraudster might ask the victim to download screen sharing software so they can view or control the victim’s computer. This can make it easier to take control of the account.
- In any scenario, the fraudster will foster a feeling of panic in order to get the victim to comply with their requests as quickly as possible.
- Fraudsters might also impersonate other well-known, trusted companies such as Microsoft, Apple, BT or HMRC.
What Triodos Bank will never do
- We’ll never call you to tell you to log into internet banking or to make a payment to a “safe account”. If we believe your account to be under threat, we can block the account ourselves and do not need you to do anything from your end.
- We’ll never ask you for your full Digipass number or your Digipass PIN.
- We’ll never ask you to download any software onto your PC or mobile phone.
What you can do to protect yourself
- Never give out your personal details to someone who has called you unexpectedly.
- Never download any software onto your PC or mobile phone when asked by someone over the phone or by email – even if you think you are speaking to a trusted organisation.
- Never give anyone your Digipass number or your Digipass PIN. Triodos will never ask for this information.
- Do not let someone else use your Digipass – even a colleague or family member. Your Digipass is assigned to you as an individual and must only be used by yourself. If you leave your place of work, please let us know and we can arrange for your Digipass to be cancelled.
- If you are unsure about someone who has called you claiming to be from the bank or another company, hang up and call back on the company’s published telephone number.
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This is when fraudsters send fake invoices claiming to be from a real business you work with. Sometimes they hack the emails of your supplier to send the invoice, so the email address is genuine, but the payment details are changed to those owned by the fraudster. It’s sensible to call your suppliers on the number on their website to verify their payment details before you pay new account details for the first time.
Steps you can take to protect against invoice fraud:
- Check invoices carefully
All staff who process supplier invoices and have the authority to change bank details should check supplier names, addresses, invoice amount and bank details to ensure they’re correct.
- Verify payment changes
If a supplier asks to update their payment details, always verify it with them by calling the number on their website.
- Follow up invoice payments
When you pay a supplier invoice, let the supplier know the payment has been made, confirming the amount and bank details paid into.
- Check bank statements carefully
Report all suspicious debits to your bank immediately.
- Call suppliers back
If you are suspicious about a phone request, say you’ll call the supplier back. Use the number published on their website or saved to your phone so you know it’s the genuine number you’re calling.
- Review public information about your suppliers
Fraudsters often thoroughly research suppliers of organisations so that they can convincingly impersonate them. It may be a good idea to remove any information about your suppliers from your website and other public materials.
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We’ve created this online resource to help you protect your business from fraud.
Share it with your team and regularly review it to help you protect what’s important to you.
We recommend that you:
- Review who can authorise payments and how much
Review your internet banking payment limits and authorisation in your internet banking or by calling us. Confirm how many people have a Digipass and access to your internet banking. A Digipass should never be shared - please request a Digipass for every individual who requires access to internet banking. What levels of authorisation do payments need? Decide if you want two people to authorise a payment over a certain amount to ensure each payment is double checked. We can set this up to suit your needs.
- Create a training schedule
Regularly educate your employees about fraud risks to help them spot and handle fraud. You can share resources like our how-to guides, and signpost them to websites like Action Fraud UK. In-house training could include regular emails about fraud, test emails to practise how to spot a fraudulent email and how to respond, and yearly refresher workshops. The training is not about scaring your employees, but helping them feel in control when they suspect fraud, and confident in how to respond.
- Introduce a payment process
Create a process document that outlines all the steps that should be taken to authorise a payment, including checking the authenticity of the payment request and payment details.
- Introduce a fraud policy
Make a policy that clearly outlines how employees can use their work devices, and ensure they understand it and follow it carefully. Your employees should never download apps, software or programmes onto their work devices or click on links in suspicious emails or messages. They should also be sensitive about what they share on social media and what they email to their personal email addresses from their work account.
- Install anti-fraud software
There’s plenty of software you can use to help you assess risks and detect fraud, including alerts for risky activity on a corporate device. Having up-to-date anti-fraud software reduces the risk of cyber attack, malware, ransomware, data breaches and ultimately losing the business money.
You can also find in-house training at:
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No-one wants to imagine that one of their employees would commit fraud, but sometimes this happens. There are a few things you can do to protect your organisation:
- Never share your Digipass or PIN
Digipasses are unique to each account operator, so if you allow someone else to use your Digipass it will be recorded as a payment authorised by you. If you have new staff or need to change an account operator, download the Business Banking change of account operator form and post it to Freepost TRIODOS BANK. We can set up each new staff member with their own Digipass and internet banking access. If you remove an account operator, please send the Digipass back to us.
- Employee checks
Review your recruitment procedures and ensure you’ve got appropriate checks and references in place for candidates hoping to join your organisation, such as criminal record checks and references from previous employers. See the ACAS website for advice.
- Be aware of who has access to sensitive information
Regularly check who can access important data and systems, such as customer or membership data, or financial information. When employees leave your organisation their access should be stopped. Access should only be given to employees who really need access to these systems or data.
- Create a whistleblowing policy
This can support your employees to anonymously report suspicious activity they see in the organisation. Promote the policy so all staff feel confident and safe in reporting suspicious activity. For more advice on whistleblowing, see the gov.uk website.