Little Book of Big Scams Business Edition

Technology is rapidly evolving and while it provides fantastic opportunities to enhance business processes, communicate more effectively and achieve greater prosperity, it is also open to criminal abuse.

This booklet has been produced by the Metropolitan police Fraud and Linked Crime Online (FALCON) team to assist you in taking the necessary steps needed to protect your business and customers.

Top ten tips

1 Be sceptical

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always approach deals, opportunities, documents, transactions and information with an inquiring and questioning mind.

2 Know your business inside out

Having a thorough understanding of your business will ensure that you know:

  • how it operates.
  • the staff you employ.
  • the products and services it provides.
  • your target market and your business

obligations, both legally and regulatory.

This will help you detect when something is not right.

3 Know your customers and suppliers

Understanding who you do business with will help identify occasions where a seemingly ordinary business request or transaction looks out of the ordinary for that customer or supplier and may potentially be fraudulent. Conduct due diligence using a risk based approach. e.g. verify legitimacy of customer/

supplier details you have stored on file as well as online searches.

4 Identify areas where your business is vulnerable to fraud Take some time to imagine how a fraudster might target your business, internally and externally and consider testing the systems you have put in place to reduce your risk. Ensure you and your staff are familiar with those systems and review them on a regular basis.

5 Develop a strategy and talk about fraud

Consider a prevention strategy detailing controls and procedures to prevent and detect fraud that is adequate and appropriate for your business. Staff will look to owners and managers for guidance as to what behaviour is acceptable. Talk about fraud with your staff, suppliers and other contacts. Your staff need to understand the risks and the impact of any losses on the business and to themselves.

6 Take extra care with all things cyber

With increasing threats from cybercrime make sure your business technology is adequately protected against attacks. Make sure you back up your systems in case they go wrong.

7 Understand your finances

Understand how money leaves your business e.g. methods of payment, who has authority to make those payments and who checks that those payments are legitimate. Always check your bank statements!

8 Secure and protect your property

Including laptops, computers, smartphones and intellectual property and consider factoring in business insurance to cover these items if they are compromised or stolen. Use and maintain inventories.

9 Develop an action plan

Consider where you might need professional or legal advice. While prevention is better than cure, it is important for you and your business to be prepared for the worst. Having an action plan in place will help limit your losses to fraud and help to ensure your business doesn’t suffer damaging losses.

10 Always report fraud and get help

Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud reporting centre where you should report fraud if you have been scammed or defrauded. They provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and financially motivated internet crime Report online at or by telephone on 0300 123 2040.

Report to the police in your area if the suspect is known to you or still in the vicinity.


Proud member of The BID Foundation