The cheque’s in the post

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When was the last time you checked your business’s internet security?

We ask this because it looks as though one of Fashionizer’s suppliers was recently the victim of internet hacking.

They’d taken our order for hospitality uniforms and manufactured them to the quality we have come to expect from them. They’d delivered them to us, on time and to budget. And of course they then wanted paying. But, we said, we’d already paid them.

Or had we?

The challenge facing any business that communicates principally via email and conducts transactions online (and that has to be most of us) is that there are so many ways that you can be scammed.

Most people are wise to the schemes that offer you the chance to earn a lot of money by helping people get money out of a country, usually following the death of a relative. Then there is phishing, which tricks you into disclosing confidential information, such as passwords or personal addresses , by diverting you to bogus websites.

But the sneakiest of all is the Trojan: fraudsters send you an email that looks legitimate, but there is a web link or an attachment which, when you click on it, downloads the malicious software. The Trojan then has access to all your information.  Some Trojans are so sophisticated that they can track every keystroke you make and screenshot what you are doing. This enables the fraudster to mirror your activities, with the ultimate goal of getting their hands on your cash in the most subtle way.

This is what appears to have happened to our supplier. The extraordinary thing is that all the fraudulent communications from them were near-perfect from the use of the logos to the terminology on the invoices. Very clever. Vile, but clever.

Advice seems to be not to use a generic email account, but proprietary address instead.  A robust firewall and internet security software are advised for a business to protect itself. It’s worth reviewing how effective they are on a regular basis, as fraudsters are like mosquitoes in their ability to find new ways of infecting you.

We are on the case. And so are the police, as we are currently in the unfortunate position of having paid someone who hasn’t so much as stitched a seam on a spa uniform. Thankfully, it’s not a life-changing payment – but we will keep you updated.

The Information Commissioner’s Office and Bank Safe online are good sources of advice for internet security.  You can also report it to the police’s online fraud department .

We would be interested to hear about any similar experiences.  Let us know.

Comments: 0