Cyber security - don’t get caught out

16 November 2016

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has launched the National Cyber Security Strategy which is built on three core pillars: defend, deter and develop.

Cyber crime is a major threat to the UK; an accountant discovered this the hard way when he lost £100,000 to a cyber criminal.

HMRC’s tax agent blog posted the case study about the accountant who received an email, claiming to be from the firm's Managing Director. The email referred to a deal being completed that morning.  According to the email, lawyers were handling paperwork and all the accountant needed to do was transfer funds to complete the deal. The accountant acted on what he thought was the authority of the Managing Director, and transferred the large sum of money to the company outlined in the email.

As the morning progressed, it became clear the real Managing Director had no knowledge of the email requesting funds. Unfortunately, the email had been fake, even though it looked genuine. The money - equivalent to one year’s profit - had been transferred to a cyber criminal. Insurers would not cover the loss and the police are yet to catch the cyber criminal.

Incidents like this happen every day across the UK.  Cyber security is crucial to businesses security and, for HMRC, the protection of customers and their data remains a priority.

To learn more about cyber security, you can visit the National Cyber Security Centre on GOV.UK.

If you would like to report fraud and cyber crime, you can do so by visiting Action Fraud.