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GARAGES URGED TO THINK BEFORE THEY CLICK AS PHISHING AND EMAIL SCAMS SURGE

Increasingly, garages and their customers are being targeted with phishing and email scams that are designed to steal personal information, and trick people into transferring large amounts of money to scammer’s accounts.

Recent research* reveals the scale of the problem, with one in five Brits falling for phishing emails after clicking on malicious links which downloads malware onto their computers, or sharing their personal information, duped into thinking they were interacting with trusted, well known brands. (* Survey of 1,000 British consumers by security firm DomainTools, November 2018).

There have been many cases where through computer malware, scammers are then able to intercept, read and change emails, specifically targeting those containing invoices and payment details. The genuine bank details are then substituted, leading to the customer paying large sums to a scammer’s bank account instead of the company they thought they were paying.

Banks won’t reimburse the funds as they see it as a mistake on the customer’s part, as they made the transfer themselves, and by the time it is identified as fraud, the money has been moved or withdrawn from the scammers account. The customer loses their money and still has to pay the outstanding invoice, which is likely to be a very bad experience for the customer.

According to Dragon2000, this type of scam started to hit the headlines a few years ago with emails between customers and solicitors and builders being targeted, due to high value invoices involved in house sales and building work. More recently, they are hearing of dealers’ customers being targeted too, when purchasing vehicles or having them serviced or repaired, as these are unlikely to be insignificant sums.

Mark Kelland, Commercial Manager explains: “It’s important for garages to minimise the risks to their business which could be damaging financially, but also the risks to their customers too, who may not be very security conscious when it comes to their computers, email and the internet.

“It’s good practice for garages to avoid emailing their customers with bank details to pay deposits or balance payments for work – instead they should make a phone call to make sure the customer has their genuine details before they make a bank transfer. Customers will definitely appreciate the security steps they are taking and this can help build their trust with the garage.

“Equally, a garage that receives an email asking for payment with bank details included, even if it is a supplier they recognise, it is sensible to check the details with them – a quick call could save garages from a costly mistake.

“Not all scam emails are caught in garages’ email system spam filters, so they should make sure all their staff are aware of how to spot them. Garages should be following the basic steps for keeping safe from dangerous emails - checking email addresses, suspicious grammar mistakes and hovering over any links to preview a URL, as well as using anti-virus software and regularly updating computer operating systems.”

Dragon2000 has over 20 years of experience, helping garages, dealers and workshops grow their businesses. Dragon2000 build and host mobile responsive websites and the firm’s software is used by over 1,000 dealers, garages and workshops in the UK and overseas. DragonDMS is a complete Dealer Management System - integrated software for car sales, workshop, parts inventory and accounting. DragonDMS software is integrated with Sage50, enabling the motor trade to easily produce accounting reports.

For more information about Dragon2000’s services, please contact our Sales team at sales@dragon2000.co.uk

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