Businesses in Banbury are being warned to stay vigilant against scams and fraud.
Malicious email attachments, false government grant phone calls and CEO impersonation scams are among a raft of scams undermining businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oxfordshire County Council is supporting Businesses Against Scams – an initiative from National Trading Standards; with a free online training tool to protect businesses, employees and customers from costly scams.
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A spokesperson for the couty council said: "With remote working and many businesses having to stop or diversify their trading practices, criminals are seizing the opportunity to target employees who are isolated from colleagues.
"Scams include criminals impersonating government officials or a senior member of the business in order to put pressure on employees to give out sensitive information or make payments."
Criminals will also try and gain access to businesses devices and networks, and everything stored on them. They can do this by:
Sending emails with malicious attachments
Exploiting vulnerabilities in operating systems if they are not up-to-date
Trying to get you to click links or visit malicious websites
The increased risk for businesses has led National Trading Standards to encourage more businesses to join Businesses Against Scams.
The initiative provides free tools for businesses to train their workforce, through free online training modules that will help staff identify and prevent potential scams.
Businesses can take the training and sign up at: www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/BAS.
Cllr Judith Heathcoat, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for Community Safety, said: “Criminals will use every opportunity to defraud, and they don’t care ‘one iota’ about the devastation it can cause to businesses or residents.
“We want everyone in Oxfordshire to be vigilant. That’s why we are supporting Businesses Against Scams as a free tool for organisations to help them to protect their business, their staff and their customers.
“Businesses in Oxfordshire must be vigilant against scams and fraud.”