The chances are you’re looking forward to a holiday over the summer, whether your tastes involve lying on a beach or something more active. If you’re running your business efficiently, there shouldn’t be a problem about taking a couple of weeks off to enjoy a well-earned break. However, there are potential dangers.
There have been a number of cases where an employee has received a very plausible email from a business owner who’s on holiday asking them to make a payment into a particular bank account. The employee has followed instructions, only to discover later that the boss not only never sent the email but knows nothing about the email address. And, as you’d expect, by the time the bank account is investigated, the money’s long gone.
The problem is that it’s very easy for any competent fraudster to set up an email address which seems very plausible. It’s not difficult, either, to find out that the owner is away. Plenty of people, both professional colleagues and personal acquaintances, will know about the holiday, and there’s likely to be a buzz of activity in the company — especially if it’s still heavily dependent on the owner.
You can reduce the risk of this happening with a few simple systems. Ensuring a process where all stages, from order to invoice, are carefully checked before a payment is made is good business practice anyway, as is a culture in the company where that process is expected to be followed.
Equally important is a culture where, in the kind of situation given here, the person responsible for the payment has the confidence to ring the owner and double check the instructions — especially if they come via an unfamiliar email.
Fraudsters are clever and will occasionally get round the best defences. But it’s in your interests to make it as hard for them as possible.