Small businesses have become prime target for email scams

Email fraud is on the rise and cyber criminals are constantly thinking of new ways to hack and impersonate your email address.

The most common approach fraudsters use is to hack into web based email accounts and search email conversations for pending financial transactions. From here they attempt to impersonate (spoof) colleagues, clients or supplier email addresses to request money be sent to new bank account details.

Often fraudsters will set up a fake email domain that looks very similar to a legitimate one, this is then used to pose as a recognised email contact.

Cyber Crime Sussex

One of the best ways to prevent email fraud is to educate staff on the threat of cyber crime. Making staff vigilant to attack helps win half the battle, to help win the other half we recommend enforcing ways to prevent email fraud:

10 ways to prevent email fraud

✓ 1. Always verify changes to bank details over the phone before transferring funds

✓ 2. Always use highly encrypted passwords for email. Do not use the same password for anything else, do not share the password with anyone and try to change it every 6 months

✓ 3. Avoid using free web based email accounts, these are far more likely to be hacked. Use a secure business email solution such as Microsoft Office 365

✓ 4. Treat pressure to respond quickly or make quick payments as suspicious

✓ 5. Look out for changes in email language and style from someone you know

✓ 6. Look out for changes in email domains and be vigilant when receiving email from unknown email addresses. Also look out for unknown email addresses that have been cc’d into a message

✓ 7. Never open suspicious looking email attachments, especially when they come from unknown recipients

✓ 8. Ensure you have 2 factor authentication set up for all of your online accounts

✓ 9. Ensure your email solution incorporates email security features such as spam filtering and virus/malware protection

✓ 10. Ensure you have up-to-date anti-virus software installed on all computers and install all software security updates

If you’ve witnessed email fraud or been victim to cyber-crime we recommend reporting it to your local police and contacting Action Fraud – the National Fraud and Cyber-crime Reporting Centre.