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Cyber fraudsters targeting farmers: what you can do to protect yourself

AS fraudsters turn away from traditional doorstep scams in a move to target the online world, the number of people falling victim to cybercrime is on the rise.

 

Lauren Dean and Alex Black investigate...

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Cyber fraudsters targeting farmers: what you can do to protect yourself

Cyber attacks now cover a range of farm business activities including vehicle cloning, fake used machinery sales, false invoices and ’vishing’ password access – trying to obtain personal details by phone.

 

This was according to NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist Tim Price, who said farms were targeted because almost all were small businesses with no on-site support from trained IT staff.

 

In a recent survey of its 300-strong network of local agents, almost two thirds said the farmers they supported were facing cyber attacks.

 

Mr Price said: “Farmers are under intense attack from cybercriminals using a fast-changing range of scams to steal from farmers or gain access to their computer systems.”


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He urged farmers to keep IT systems and anti-virus software up to date and take time to ensure any phone calls, emails and texts were genuine.

 

Xcina spokesman Andy Mann said cybercrime was ‘a question of when, not if’, and it was not just financial information fraudsters were after, but also data.

 

Email addresses can be passed through the dark web and attacks through computer systems are significantly increasing – as well as becoming the fastest growing insurance claim.

 

“From a farm company point of view, farmers should not have their heads in the sand thinking it will not happen to them,” Mr Mann said.

 

Scammers often target farmers during the busiest times, as well as just after Basic Payment Scheme payments are made.

 

“But think of cyber protection as a deterrent," he added.

 

"You are making it difficult for the criminal to access your personal data.”

Phishing - what you can do to protect yourself

 

Criminals are increasingly using phishing emails, text messages and phone calls to trick people into giving away their financial details, according to UK Finance, the trade association which represents the banking and finance industry.

 

Criminals send emails, texts or messages which appear to come from reputable companies to encourage people to reveal personal information.

 

Farmers need to ensure they always check any suspicious emails by calling them back on a known number or email and never click links in unexpected emails or texts.

 

A genuine bank or organisation will never call out of the blue asking for your PIN, full password or to move money.

 

1 – Invoice or mandate scams

IN an invoice or mandate scam, a scammer intervenes to convince the victim to redirect a payment to the scammer’s account, often posing as professional or tradesperson claiming bank account details have changed.

 

2 – CEO fraud

VICTIMS receive what appears to be a genuine email from their boss, asking them to change the bank details for a payment to a legitimate payee or make an urgent payment to a new account.

 

3 – Internet banking scams

THROUGH scam phone calls, texts and emails, criminals are tricking victims into revealing their online banking details. These details are then used to access their account and make unauthorised payments.

 

  • If you think you have been a victim of fraud, contact your bank or building society and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.
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