13 Mar 2018 11:12 AM

A common theme of cybercrime is that victims of online fraud, such as online money transfer fraud, often struggle to convince banks of their innocence. The picture is equally grim for businesses as it recently emerged nearly six out of ten small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK do not know which authorities can help them deal with fraud.

This worrying figure came from the latest release of the Close Brothers Business Barometer (CBBB). The CBBB is a quarterly survey which questioned one thousand UK and Republic of Ireland SME owners and senior management across a range of sectors and regions.

The CBBB found firms with ten or fewer employees were the least likely to know which organisation to contact. Regionally, businesses in the East Midlands were the least knowledgeable when it came to the framework for fraud authorities.

Of those surveyed, 13% of SMEs said they had been a victim of fraud, and that figure more than doubled (to 27%) for London-based firms. The research indicated companies operating services in the print-based sector were most likely to have been the victims of fraudulent activity.

A separate report from the government’s Cyber Aware Campaign found that the average cost of a cyber security breach for a small business is £1,570 increasing to £19,600 for larger businesses.

According to the CBBB, only a third (35%) of businesses were certain that they were covered specifically against fraud. A slightly higher proportion (37%) acknowledged that they weren’t insured, and the remainder were unsure either way. Insurance against fraud, theft or dishonesty can be obtained either as a stand-alone policy, or as part of more generic cover such as home contents, travel insurance, or legal expenses.

According to the Fraud Advisory Panel, it is also possible sometimes to buy ‘after the event’ insurance once a fraud has taken place, to help fund the costs of civil litigation, asset recovery and/or insolvency.

If you have been the victim of fraud you can contact Action Fraud (www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud), the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre.