May 13, 2020

How To Stay Safe From Cyber Crimes during COVID-19?

Online Fraud

The past few months have seen the entire world come to a halt.  The impact of Covid-19 has seen business close down, entire economies on the brink of collapse, and places of worship closed.  However, one particular group of people have really thrived during this period, capitalizing on the misfortunes of others.  For those of you wondering who on earth I am referring to – fraudsters!

Whilst the majority of us have gone into lockdown, fraudsters have pounced on any gaps they can find resulting in a huge increase in fraud across the globe, with further increases in fraudulent activity expected.

There is precedent for this too.  Following the 2008 financial crisis, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), conducted a survey amongst anti-fraud professionals.  Of those surveyed, 80% said they believed fraud increases during times of economic downturn and the majority had seen first-hand an increase in fraud attempts. [1]

Fast forward to 2020 and the boom in e-commerce and digital business.  Fraudsters now have a multitude of avenues to make a quick buck at the cost of consumers.  Whether it’s by hacking a customer’s mobile banking app, using online delivery fraudulently right through to more complex cyber-hacking and phishing emails, one thing is clear – fraudsters have stepped their game up and will continue to do so.

The above becomes even more alarming when you take into account PwC’s Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey which found that only 69% of US organizations use corporate controls to detect fraud and 35% do not test or audit their controls at all![2]

Whilst several e-commerce businesses have experienced huge increases in business during the pandemic, it would be interesting to know the robustness of their anti-fraud controls.

It is not just external fraud we need to be wary of – procurement and balance sheet fraud are also both on the rise.  Be it to secure funding from external projects or to keep jobs, the internal risk is also heightened.

We are fortunate that whilst fraudsters have evolved and are capitalizing on any gaps they can, there are some fantastic financial crime and cybersecurity professionals in all industries.  I have experienced first-hand that these are no longer careers people stumble into, but ones which university students and experienced professionals alike are looking to pursue.

Whilst our own personal safety is of paramount importance in the current climate, we must commend the CEO’s and their departments who also prioritize our financial safety. 

If you are leading the fight against financial and cybercrime at your organization, be it a small start-up or a blue-chip organization and you require resources to strengthen your departments, please do get in touch.  AIQU Search partner with some of the world’s leading organizations, sourcing global talent for both permanent and contract positions.