How to keep your business safe

Read about cyber security measures to take, vaccine scams to avoid, a fire safety warning for unoccupied premises and a reminder for businesses to check with insurers about coverage for unoccupied premises during lockdowns.

While the attention of business owners has understandably been on issues concerning accessing funding, paying employees and whether they can remain open, there are responsibilities and things to consider that are also of the utmost importance, such as:

  • maintaining fire safety procedures
  • knowing what you need to do to prevent damage in your property, even if it’s unattended during a lockdown
  • protecting your business from cyber threats
  • identifying and avoiding scams related to the COVID-19 vaccines

Fire safety

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is reminding businesses that “a fire in an unattended commercial property could have devastating repercussions for the business, the local community and any residents in the same building or nearby.

“It is important to ensure safety and maintain preventative measures for these premises while the country responds to COVID-19. It could be as simple as a quick visit to check that commercial smoke detection and alarm systems are still working. Where possible, in line with government guidance, make a visit."

They list several actions that businesses can take to ensure fire safety measures are carried out.

Read the full article here.

Will your insurance cover damage at your premises if the site was unoccupied due to COVID-19?

Businesses are advised to check with their insurance policy provider to understand whether or not they would be covered for damage that occurs are their property if it has been left unattended for a period of time.

The risk of fire, water damage or theft could increase with a prolonged absence from the site, and although lockdowns and closures force individuals to be away from their premises, some insurance policies can contain clauses about the maximum amount of time a property can be left unoccupied for.

A conversation with your policy provider should identify what you need to do to comply with your policy.

Cyber security

Raise your cyber defences with advice from the Thames Valley Police (TVP) Cyber Protect Team.

The Thames Valley Police (TVP) Cyber Protect Team is offering to deliver an online presentation via Microsoft Teams or Zoom that will deliver a high level overview as to how to raise your cyber defences to help plan, respond and recover from a “Cyber Incident”, and how to report a live or historical incident. All of the content provided is sourced from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

To arrange a presentation or to learn more, email cyber.protect@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk for the attention of Mark Godsland. Include any available date and time options for a presentation.

The team also offer presentations for community groups, covering topics like password protection, reporting suspicious emails and shopping securely online.

Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards – Businesses Against Scams session

Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards invite you to join their free virtual Businesses Against Scams session. The session is aimed at employees and volunteers that have the authority to make financial decisions on behalf of a business, or access to private company information.

They will be highlighting scams such as:

  • Government grant and tax rebate scams 
  • CEO fraud 
  • Invoice/mandate fraud 
  • Tech support scams 

Date: 26th January 2021
Time: 10:30am – 12 noon
Where: Virtually via Microsoft Teams

With remote working and many businesses having to stop or diversify their trading practices, criminals are also seizing the opportunity to target employees who are isolated from colleagues, so now more than ever it’s important to stay scam aware.

Sign up today by emailing: natalie1.webb@surreycc.gov.uk who will send you the link to join or can advise of future dates.

Beware of scams related to COVID-19 vaccines

Action Fraud is warning the public to remain vigilant as criminals begin to take advantage of the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine to commit fraud.

As of 7th January 2021, Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, had received 57 reports in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:

“The vaccine is a crucial tool in fighting the coronavirus and keeping people safe. Thankfully, the number of reports into Action Fraud are relatively low but we have seen an increase in the last two months, particularly around scam text messages. 

“Remember, the vaccine is only available on the NHS and is free of charge. The NHS will never ask you for details about your bank account or to pay for the vaccine. If you receive an email, text message or phone call purporting to be from the NHS and you are asked to provide financial details, this is a scam.”

Action Fraud has received reports from members of the public who have been sent text messages claiming to be from the NHS, offering them the opportunity to sign up for the vaccine. The texts ask the recipient to click on a link which takes them to an online form where they are prompted to input personal and financial details. In some cases the online form has looked very similar to the real NHS website.

How to protect yourself:

In the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the National Health Services of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.

  • The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.
  • The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.
  • The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
  • The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.  

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726, which is free of charge.

If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Support for COVID-19, EU Transition and other issues

The Buckinghamshire Business First team is here to support your business with our range of impartial and trusted sources of support and guidance.

Please get in touch with any queries you have related to your business. We are here to help.

Contact details:

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