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Level of scam attempts on SMEs on rise


Mark Fielding

Mark Fielding

Mark Fielding

ALMOST one in four small businesses has been affected by credit card fraud, a survey suggests.

That is up from 18pc in 2013, according to a crime survey by the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME).

The lobby group has expressed concern as reports of business scams made to the ISME helpline has increased in the past month.

Chief executive Mark Fielding said the level of fraud and scam attempts on SMEs is rising.


"It has come to our attention that a number of businesses have fallen victim to social engineering scams in recent months," said Mr Fielding.

"These are scams where the information is attained from a person rather than through the computer system.

An elaborate lie or impersonation is used to establish legitimacy, with Revenue or a bank as cover. The perpetrators obtain enough information, including full details of the online banking passwords, to gain access to the victim company bank account, following which fraudulent high-value payments are made.

"All it takes is for one member of staff to make an innocent mistake that could end up costing their employer thousands."

Key findings from the survey:

l 68pc of businesses have been a scam target in the last year.

l 82pc of businesses have been the target of computer related crime attempts.

l Credit card fraud is at 23pc, up from 18pc last year.

l Supplier-initiated fraud occurred in 15pc, while staff fraud - suffered by 6pc of enterprises - doubled from last year.

Mr Fielding said businesses must do their utmost to minimise their risk and exposure to scams.