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Are you Cyber-safe?

Are you Cyber-safe?

Cybercrime affects us all and it continues to increase both in scale and complexity, costing the UK economy billions of pounds every year. And every facet of our lives is affected, from our individual bank accounts to essential services and businesses of every size and type.

Cyber-attacks are financially devastating and disrupting and upsetting to people and businesses, and they come in many shapes, sizes and disguises. Smishing, phishing, vishing, malware, ransomware, cheque and credit card fraud, ID fraud, CEO fraud, malicious applications, business email compromise, remote access take-over fraud, the list is endless and the criminals are inventing new and more sophisticated ways to part us from our money and data every day.

And because of Covid-19, we’ve all become more reliant on emails, social media, WhatsApp, Zoom and other video technology. But social networking sites and instant messaging apps pose a risk to our cyber-security too: we’ve all heard of a friend or family member who’s had their Facebook account hacked or clicked on a link that wasn’t what it said it was. So be aware of the information you post or share and never give financial or personal information out over tinterweb.

Some of the mostly likely forms of cybercrime that we’ll see on a day to day basis as individuals, are phishing emails, smishing texts or vishing phone calls. Someone will email, text or ring you and pretend to be something they’re not: your bank, a supplier or customer, HMRC, the RPA, or even your boss. And they’ll try to con you into believing that they are who they say they are, so ALWAYS check and double check who you’re dealing with before supplying information or making any transaction, especially if it’s an unexpected request, bill, statement or call.

Both Covid-19 and Brexit are providing a lucrative hunting ground for criminals. Playing on people’s and businesses’ fears, uncertainty and lack of knowledge, fake goods, fake offers of PPE, fake testing kits and false web links are doing the rounds, making millions for those savvy underworld operators.

If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is!

The good news is that there is lots of advice and guidance available, free, for individuals and businesses. There is also a concerted effort from the Government and the law, to see these criminals behind bars and their activities stopped.

So please remember, be cyber-safe and secure!

UPDATE: January 2021: NFU has produced a new online resource in conjunction with the National Cyber Security Centre, specially written for farmers. You can read it online or download it from this link

Here are some more useful sources of guidance:

Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime. Ring 0300 123 2040 or visit

Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of unbiased, factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety.

Cyber Aware is the UK government's advice website on how to stay secure online during coronavirus. It is part of the National Cyber Security Centre, the Government’s agency supporting our cybersecurity.

And as we're undergoing another Lockdown, and perhaps spending more time on social media or buying more online, please take special care with emails and the internet. Visit TakeFive-StopFraud for useful tips and advice to keep you, your family and friends safe online. STOP, CHALLENGE, PROTECT