Essex Police
Non Emergency Enquiries 101

Fraud

Fraud can cause serious financial loss and be one of the biggest worries of running a business, but there are ways to help prevent it.

man handing over credit card at shop till

As technology changes you need to take steps to protect your business. That includes keeping computer data safe, knowing how to spot card crime and employing trustworthy staff.

Follow our advice to help keep fraudsters out of your business.

Computer security

Protect your computers by following a few simple steps:

  • Take regular back up copies of data and, if possible, store them at another location
  • Introduce a policy for computer use and make staff aware of it

  • Minimise computer viruses by controlling staff use of the internet and personal discs or CDs

  • Make staff aware of legislation surrounding computers e.g. The Computer Misuse Act

  • Use secure wireless networks

  • Change passwords regularly and keep them confidential

  • Shred all paper work that is no longer required

  • Break unwanted discs and CDs

Card fraud

Help keep fraudsters out of your business by following our advice:

  • The chip and pin system makes cards much harder to counterfeit but if you are not using it you should encourage staff to:

    1. Check the start and expiry datesCredit card machine

    2. Make sure the signature on the card matches the signature they’ve been given

    3. Check the number on the card matches the number on the till printout

    4. Look out for obvious signs of tampering especially on the signature strip

  • Keep a look out for suspicious customer behaviour such as trying to rush card payments and splitting payments between cards

  • If you are in any doubt, phone the card issuer for authorisation.

  • If you are accepting payments over the phone or online you should take special precautions and take advice from your bank.

  • Never accept payment by cheque without a guarantee card.

To find out more about credit card fraud and how businesses can help prevent it visit www.cardwatch.org.uk/

Employees

Criminals may try to infiltrate your business, either by applying for jobs or by enlisting the help of current employees so be prepared:

  • Check references.

  • Control who has access to computers and important documents.

  • Spot irregularities by sharing duties among staff and introducing monitoring controls and random spot checks. Question high numbers of voids or credits performed by the same member of staff.

  • Make staff aware of disciplinary policies surrounding fraud and enforce them when necessary.

  • Think about prosecuting rather than just dismissing the culprit. If you don’t they could find new employment and re-offend.

    Reporting Fraud

    Fraud is a crime so, if you think you’ve experienced it, we would encourage you to report it.


    Many fraud offences must now be reported direct to Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud-reporting centre run by the National Fraud Authority.

    You'll find more information on our Reporting Fraud page.

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