This week marks International Fraud Awareness week, shining a light on the impact of fraud. This is particularly pertinent this year, with fraud levels rising as a result of the pandemic. Ofcom recently revealed that 45 million people have been targeted by potential scams in the last three months.
In light of this, three experts share their guidance on how to protect against rising fraud threats.
Ben Fraser, Global Head of Business Development, Insurance at Endava
As we enter International Fraud Awareness Week this year, it’s a startling realisation that fraud continues to plague consumers despite leaps and bounds in cybersecurity. Last year alone, scam attempts rose by 33%, resulting in £2.3bn in losses for consumers. As fraud continues to rise, the question needs to refocus not just on how we can prevent fraud, but also how consumers can take matters into their own hands.
Part of the answer the answer may lie within embedded insurance, which allows insurers to reach consumers where they live and work: through offering solutions when they’re needed most, whether that’s while consumers are shopping online, checking their bank details, comparing cars for purchase, or looking for vets.
The concept of embedded insurance exists in a limited form today. There is, however, plenty of opportunity for insurers to better integrate solutions to eliminate the effort in consumers having to seek out support themselves, making it easier than ever to protect themselves from bad actors across their digital footprints.
As we head into International Fraud Awareness Week, hopefully we will see more of just that: better awareness of how technology can accelerate and combat the multiple threats we’ve see escalate as we all move toward a digital-first lifestyle. Making sure consumers have easy access to insurance is one – but one critical – element of that, and will go a long way in making sure consumers feel safe when heading online, flashing some cash, or hitting the road.
Raj Samani, Chief Scientist and McAfee Enterprise fellow:
International Fraud Awareness Week comes as a timely reminder that enterprises and individuals should all take time to shore up their cyber defences. The threat landscape is constantly evolving, and cybercriminals are expanding their tactics and target groups. As well as posing a threat to individuals across the country, fraud and scams intensify the threat for businesses. Today, many employees are accessing work files and information across both corporate and personal devices, meaning that while criminals could be targeting an individual, the end goal could be accessing sensitive enterprise information. Unfortunately, this threat has continued to increase due to the pandemic, with our research finding that 57% of UK organisations experienced increased cyber threats during COVID-19.
To tackle rising fraud threats, businesses need to educate their workforce on best practices, such as reporting any suspicious activity, questioning whether a link is dodgy, or thinking before accepting an unknown phone call. Employees must be aware of and vigilant against threats to avoid making it too easy for criminals to cash in on both personal and company data.
It is also crucial that organisations deploy the necessary security protections across their enterprise. For example, they should adopt a Zero Trust mindset that can help them maintain control over access to the network and all instances within it, such as applications and data, and restrict them if necessary. By taking these measures, organisations can rest easy knowing that they have taken the correct steps to protect themselves and their workforce from cyber-led scams.
Brett Beranek, Vice-President & General Manager, Security & Biometrics Line of Business, Nuance Communications
Fraud Awareness Week acts as a reminder to businesses and consumers alike that cyber security solutions and fraud prevention tools are no longer optional, especially in our current climate. Indeed, new research from Nuance has found that on average victims of fraud lost over £3,300 each in the last 12 months – three times higher than in 2019.
As we transition into a post-pandemic world of remote working, shopping and socialising, it has never been more important for businesses to ensure that users are provided with a more sophisticated and secure experience. Now is the time to confine PINs and passwords to the history books, so that modern technologies – such as biometrics – can be more widely deployed in order to robustly safeguard customers.
Biometric technologies authenticate individuals immediately based on their unique characteristics – taking away the need to remember PINs, passwords and other knowledge-based credentials prone to being exploited by scammers and providing peace of mind, as well as security, for end-users.