RSM warns of surge in cybercrime ahead of Black Friday

News Team, 26/11/2020

With UK shoppers expected to hit the online sales hard, UK tax advisory firm RSM has warned of a potential wave of cybercrime over the coming days on a scale not seen before. 

The audit, tax and consulting firm predicts cybercrime could increase by as much as 50 percent, as lockdown coupled with Christmas shopping creates a perfect storm for cybercrime.

As retail experts predict a massive rise in online shopping this Black Friday, RSM is urging organisations and consumers to take steps now to protect themselves from cybercriminals.

The UK’s online retail association, IMRG, predicts UK online retail sales could increase by 35-45 per cent this Black Friday, while figures from data firm Springboard predict a 62 percent reduction in retail footfall in the run up to Christmas. As national lockdown means the majority of shops remain closed, Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains are already being scooped up online.

Sheila Pancholi, technical risk assurance partner at RSM said: ‘If consumers don’t heed the warning signs of suspicious online activity there is the potential of cybercrime incidents reaching epidemic proportions. This year has seen many small businesses adapt and develop their online retail services in response to lockdowns. Consumers are also pushed towards online shopping now more than ever as they try their best to prepare for Christmas amid a second national lockdown. This means both retailers and consumers will need to be on their guard and take the necessary steps to foil the fraudsters.’

RSM recommends the following steps to reduce the risks;

1. Use complex passwords with a combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers and symbols. Avoid using the same passwords for several different services, and use 2-factor authentication wherever possible.

2. Ensure software is up to date, as software updates include important security updates and pat...

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