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HSBC issues fraud warning as UK farmers targeted by cyber criminals

Farmers have been warned to ‘be vigilant’ against fraud attacks in the face of increasingly sophisticated levels of fraud and cybersecurity attacks against the agricultural industry.


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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Farmers are being targeted by cyber criminals

HSBC UK commercial banking head of agriculture Neil Wilson said small to medium sized farming businesses were being targeted at times fraudsters know they have larger income streams, such as when Basic Payment was paid.

 

Mr Wilson said fraud came in many forms and could be devastating for the victims.

 

Professional

 

“It might be easy to fall into the trap of thinking ‘it will never be me’, however, these fraudsters are very professional,” he said.


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“This is their ‘job’ after all, they just need to catch you at a busy moment, or when you are distracted, and they can achieve their own goal very quickly.

 

“If you have any suspicion at all that a call or email seems strange or out of place, please hang up and take some time to really think if it all adds up.”

 

Criminals stole £1.2 billion in fraud in 2018, with banks and card companies preventing £1.66bn.

Mr Wilson added farmers could take simple steps to protect themselves, such as never disclosing security details such as their PIN or full password.

 

“Never assume an email or phone call is authentic, fraudsters can falsify phone numbers and pose convincingly as bank employees or other officials,” he said.

 

He added farmers should not be rushed or pressured into decisions.

 

“Stay in control and follow your instincts - if something feels wrong, question it.

 

“The threat of cybercrime is very real but taking the right precautions and being wary of any unsolicited approaches can help you keep your business safe – do not assume, do not be rushed, never disclose.”

HSBC’s Taking the Pulse warned farmers were being targeting by four types of fraud

  • Business email compromise

A fraudster impersonates a legitimate person and emails a company’s payments team to convince them to make an urgent payment or change account details

  • Text and phone scams

Phishing phone calls (‘vishing’) and scam texts (‘smishing’) which can result in theft or fraud by tricking you into installing malware or divulging personal information.

  • Malware

This includes viruses, trojan horses, bots, adware and ransomware

  • Phishing

Emails which look real and appear to be from legitimate senders, to entice you to click on malicious links or attachments – in order to steal money or data.

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