Financial fraud is on the rise. But there are some simple steps you can take to protect your money and info from hackers, fraudsters and scammers.
According to Take Five to Stop Fraud – an organisation that offers straightforward and impartial advice to help everyone in the UK protect themselves against financial fraud – one of the most important things you can do is stop and think. Because, according to the cyber-security experts, you probably already know these basic rules on how to stay safe from financial fraud; you just need to take a breath and stay calm enough to remember them.
Get advice from Take Five here. You can also take a quick test to find out if you are too smart to be scammed.
Types of financial fraud
The financial sector is a lucrative target for cybercriminals, and keeping safe is an ongoing challenge. A cyber-attack can take many forms, including:
- Financial data hacks. A data hack happens when criminals break into an organisation’s systems to steal information. Cybercriminals are getting away with billions of pounds worth of records each year. We have seen instances where financial losses only started to occur three to six months later. This is often because data stolen is used in batches over time.
- Financial phishing attacks. Phishing fraudsters contact you using emails, texts, and other forms of communication. They disguise themselves as someone you trust. Their goal is to trick you into giving them your personal information (e.g. usernames, passwords, credit card details, etc.) and steal from you. Unfortunately, in some cases, where someone has become a victim of a phishing scam, their bank is not responsible for their losses.
- Bank and credit card takeover fraud. A form of identity theft, account takeover fraud (ATO) happens when a criminal gains access to an individual’s account and steals from them.
- Push payment scams. Push payment happens when a cybercriminal deceives an individual into sending them money.
- Cryptocurrency fraud. Like traditional money, cryptocurrencies can be used to buy goods and services, and they can be traded for profit. So it is no surprise that the cryptocurrency market is being targeted by criminals. With the equivalent of millions of pounds being stolen from cryptocurrency holdings each year, this is a very lucrative market.
- Ransomware attack. A ransomware attack happens when criminals infect an organisation’s systems and prevent or limit access unless a ransom is paid. Ransom may also be requested to stop the criminals from releasing sensitive data into the public domain.
Human error is the leading cause of financial data breaches
Despite fears about cybercriminals, it is human error rather than cybercrime that is the biggest cause of financial data breaches. Typical examples of such errors include where a bank or other financial organisation:
- sends sensitive data to the wrong recipient (via email, post or fax)
- loses paperwork
- forgets to redact data
- stores data in an insecure location
- loses devices such as laptops, phones and tablets
- doesn’t train its staff properly on data protection or where staff deliberately ignore data
- leaves sensitive information online without any password restrictions.
Are banks doing enough to protect customers from financial fraud & data breaches?
In many cases, financial data breaches happen because of a failure to implement reasonable and robust processes. Often because of the cost needed to do this. By not putting adequate processes and training in place, banks and other financial organisations are leaving customers open to an increased risk of cyber scams and avoidable mistakes that lead to data breaches.
Get justice for a financial cybercrime
As our world becomes increasingly digital, cybercrime is on the rise. And the impact on victims can be devastating. But cybercrime is preventable. And, in most cases, online theft and extortion can only happen when an organisation fails to invest in proper security to keep your data safe.
At Keller Lenkner UK, our expert data breach lawyers help people to make successful cybercrime claims against companies that have failed to protect their data from fraudsters and hackers.