Businesses join forces in bid to combat coronavirus scams

Businesses have joined forces with National Trading Standards in a bid to clamp down on coronavirus-related scams.

More than 100 organisations are spearheading the Businesses Against Scams initiative which National Trading Standards has helped set up to combat fraud against companies and employees.

The group said the coronavirus pandemic has led to security risks over “criminals targeting employees working from home who are isolated from colleagues”.

It said scams have included criminals impersonating government officers or senior members of businesses to pressure employees to give out sensitive information or make payments.

“Scams not only deceive legitimate businesses, they risk undermining the UK’s economic recovery,” said Lord Toby Harris, chair of National Trading Standards.

“As more employees work from home, we’re urging businesses to protect themselves, their employees and their customers to help prevent significant financial losses or data protection breaches.”

The group said an increase in remote working has presented new cyber security challenges, with security reliant on the resilience of home Wi-Fi routers.

NatWest, Places for People and the Co-operative Bank are among the first companies to take part in the initiative.

Allison Simon, head of fraud, commercial banking at NatWest Group, said: “During this uncertain period, fraudsters are using the anxiety and stress caused by the crisis to try and target individuals and businesses with seemingly legitimate and convincing requests.

“It’s more important than ever that our customers are aware and alert to this increased threat, and its why we’re pleased to be a founding member of Businesses Against Scams, in partnership with National Trading Standards.”

Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “Scams are despicable at any time, but particularly so if they seek to exploit the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As businesses adopt new working practices in response to the outbreak, it is important they stay vigilant against scams.”

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