Barclays issues advice as farmers at 'high risk of fraud'

Cybercrime is becoming one of the most common forms of criminal threat that farmers face
Cybercrime is becoming one of the most common forms of criminal threat that farmers face

Barclays has issued security tips for farmers after research shows that cybercrime has become a major threat to the industry.

New research from the National Cyber Security Centre and the NFU shows that in 2019, more than 60% of farm businesses reported one or more digital attacks.

This number is set to continue rising, as more farmers have switched to the digital world during the Covid-19 pandemic.

On the back of this news, Barclays has issued a scam warning for farmers to remain vigilant following Brexit, which may well be requiring new or additional paperwork and agreements – presenting new opportunities for hackers.

Of the tactics most commonly employed by criminals, phishing scams pose the greatest risk to farmers, the bank explained.

Phishing uses emails and text messages impersonating organisations such as banks or the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) as a way to trick people in to handing over bank details.

These scams are especially prevalent around this time of year, with frequent bank transactions and payments from the RPA meaning farmers are more than likely to be targeted by cybercriminals.

Mark Suthern, National Head of Agriculture at Barclays, has offered farming businesses key fraud prevention tips:

Unexpected calls

Never disclose personal or banking details on an unexpected call – always ensure you are speaking to who you think you are speaking to.

Do your research

When looking to purchase resources or machinery from a new seller, make sure you research the company, check customer reviews, and avoid placing large first time orders.

Know your suppliers

When dealing with new, unfamiliar suppliers take extra caution to avoid being scammed, as fraudsters will target these uncertainties.

Links and attachments

Just like calls, unexpected links and attachments can also spell danger – extra caution should be taken when dealing with these to avoid malware and other phishing scams.

CEO impersonation fraud

Fraudsters are now able to impersonate emails and signatures to make them appear to be from the people you work with and request bogus payment.