7 in 10 businesses leaving themselves at risk

October 28th 2016

Seven in ten (69%) business leaders and managers have admitted they have not taken any action to protect their business and employees from financial fraud, new research from Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) has revealed today.

The research finds that almost half of business leaders (48%) have little to no concern about falling victim to financial scammers. Almost half (49%) believe it is unlikely to happen to their business. This is despite the fact that more than a quarter of businesses (28%) admit they have already fallen victim to a financial scam or have experienced attempted scams in the past two years.  

– Financial fraud soaring yet seven in 10 businesses leave themselves at risk

– Over a quarter of businesses have already fallen victim or experienced attempted scams in last two years

– Prime targets are senior management in SMEs, employees in large companies

The most common targets for fraudsters are senior management and business owners in SMEs (67%) and employees in large companies (40%). Common business scams include invoice fraud – where a fake invoice or bill is sent to a company requesting payment for goods or services – and CEO impersonation. Alarmingly, more than three quarters of business leaders (77%) admit that they have never heard of this impersonation technique where fraudsters send a spoof email purporting to be from a senior representative of the company requesting a payment to a new account.

Commenting on the findings, Katy Worobec, Director of FFA UK, said: “Fraudsters are regularly targeting businesses and both business leaders and employees need to be more vigilant and aware of their tactics.  For example, fraudsters will often use spoof emails to impersonate a senior member of staff to deceive employees into transferring money. They also pose as a regular supplier to the company and make a formal request for bank account details to be changed. Worryingly, this research suggests that business leaders demonstrate a degree of complacency when it comes to financial fraud. The reality is that businesses of all sizes are affected.  That’s why we’re encouraging business owners and employees to Take Five – to pause and think – before responding to any requests to send money or change any financial details. By doing so they can play an active role in protecting their businesses from financial fraud.”

The research also found that over a third (37%) of business leaders admitted they have never spoken to employees about fraud, despite the fact that in a quarter (26%) of scam cases an employee was approached directly.                                           

Ms Worobec continued, “It is particularly concerning that many businesses haven’t spoken directly to employees about how to spot and deal with scams. This means they are potentially exposing their business to significant financial loss. Our message to employees is simple: listen to your instincts, if something doesn’t feel right don’t feel rushed. Take Five to take back control.”

The study on business fraud is part of a national campaign to combat financial fraud in the UK. The campaign – Take Five – aims to put businesses and consumers back in control with straight forward advice to help prevent financial fraud.

Responding to the study, Ronan Quiqley, Executive Director of Corporate Services at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “This survey shows the importance for businesses in remaining vigilant in the face of financial fraud.  As a minimum step, we would encourage businesses and employees up and down the country to adopt the simple tips in this campaign to help protect themselves from fraud.”


The Take Five campaign is asking businesses to help protect themselves from financial fraud by sharing across their companies some simple tips:

1. Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full password – it’s never right to reveal these details

2. Don’t assume an email request or caller is genuine – people aren’t always who they say they are

3. Don’t be rushed – a supplier or genuine organisation won’t mind waiting to give you time to stop and think

4. Listen to your instincts – if something feels wrong then it is usually right to pause and question it

5. Stay in control – have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for information

Take Five is being delivered in collaboration with private and public sector supporters – including Government and the police – as well as FFA UK’s members: the major banks, credit, debit and charge card issuers, and card payment acquirers, together with Cifas and the City of London Police. It is also supported by a range of consumer and business groups and other organisations including the Business Chambers of Commerce, Money Advice Service, National Trading Standards, Neighbourhood Watch and the independent charity Victim Support.

Businesses can find out more by visiting the campaign website


By Get Safe Online

Written by

In partnership with