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Cereals 2019: Cybercriminals biggest threat to UK businesses

Lloyds bank have warned of the techniques cybercriminals used when targeting farming businesses

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Cereals 2019: Cybercriminals biggest threat to UK businesses

Farmers were becoming an increasing target for cyber criminals, with cybercrime now the number one threat to UK businesses.


Speaking at Cereals today (June 12), Lloyds Bank fraud risk manager Donna Dimmack warned cyber security needed to be a top priority for farmers.


“Do not leave it until you fall victim to a crime, or when BPS is delivering funds into bank accounts, as fraudsters often strike when potential victims are at their business, or when they know that there are increased funds available to steal.

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“This point in the arable year, when it is typically quieter, is the time for farmers to take practical steps to help protect against the risks of cyber fraud.”



Ms Dimmack warned telephone scams, or vishing, were a real threat, with victims suffering up to six-figure losses.


“Vishing scams trick you into divulging online banking credentials or coerce you into taking steps that then allow the criminal to access your bank account,” she said.


She added if a caller knew details about the business it can be easy to think it is a genuine caller.


Other threats included malicious software, or malware, from emails which appear to be from a legitimate source and include an attachment with the malware.


If the attachment is opened, fraudsters can then gain access to information.


Ransomware was also an issue, with fraudsters duping businesses into clicking a link which downloads a virus onto the computer, locking it down. The criminals then demand a ransom to reinstate it.


Fraudsters also sent written correspondence disguised to look like it comes from a genuine supplier, asking to amend the suppliers bank details to the fraudsters’ account.


“Farmers need to be aware of these risks and take steps to protect themselves. If not, they could be the next victim.”

Report all fraud to your bank and to Action Fraud, even if you spot and prevent the fraud.

Top tips

Be wary

  • If you receive a phone call from someone and you are not 100% sure of their identity, do not provide them with any information or carry out anything they request until you have independently verified them, for example by calling back using a number you’ve obtained from a reliable source.

Do not rely on caller display

  • Fraudsters can make a phone’s incoming display appear to show a genuine number

Keep your passwords safe

  • Never divulge online banking passwords or card and reader codes to anyone on the telephone - the bank will never ask for this information

Question any transfer requests

  • The bank will never tell you to transfer money out of your account to a ‘safe account’

Install antivirus software on all computers

  • Ensure that updates for this, the operating system and all software applications are regularly applied

Think before you click

  • Only download programmes or click on hyperlinks you can trust

  • Bank emails will never lead you to a screen which asks for your online passwords or card and reader codes, so be immediately suspicious if you are asked to re-validate this information

Beware of unexpected emails

  • Emails you are not expecting asking for secure or sensitive information or asking you to click on hyperlinks could be fraudulent

Email is not a secure method of communication

  • For payments or for receiving changes to existing payment details always ensure that you have a robust process to validate such requests or changes, preferably verbally with a known contact

  • Only download software from verified and trusted sites

Educate Staff

  • Ensure that anyone working in your farming business knows how to prevent fraud

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