• Tania Gill, Partner |
3 min read

Strategies to help you stay ahead of sophisticated scams in economic crime

In today's interconnected and digital world, businesses face an ever-growing threat from sophisticated scams. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly adept at exploiting vulnerabilities in company systems, targeting sensitive information, and manipulating financial transactions.

In its 2024 Business plan, the FCA emphasised the importance of addressing financial crime and highlighted an increase in the issuance of warnings regarding potential scams to 1,882 – an increase of 33%.

To stay ahead of these threats, companies must adopt proactive measures to protect themselves and their stakeholders. In this blog, we'll explore strategies that can help you stay ahead of sophisticated scams in economic crime.

1. Employee Training and Awareness

One of the first lines of defense against economic crime is an educated and vigilant workforce. Companies should invest in regular training sessions to educate employees about the latest scams, phishing techniques, and social engineering tactics. This includes recognizing suspicious emails, avoiding clicking on unfamiliar links, and verifying the authenticity of communication, especially those related to financial transactions. An aware and informed workforce can act as a crucial barrier against potential threats.

2. Operating Model Assessment

Initiate a regular reassessment of your operating model and Financial Crime strategy, delving into all areas of operations from policy, process, risk assessment and governance management frameworks. This will build agility into your strategy and help you identify any areas for improvement and optimisation.

3. Implement Robust Cybersecurity Measures

A strong cybersecurity infrastructure is essential for safeguarding against economic crimes. Companies should regularly update their software, install security patches promptly, and use robust firewalls and antivirus programs. Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security to sensitive accounts, making it harder for unauthorized individuals to gain access. Regularly conducting security audits and penetration testing can help identify and rectify potential vulnerabilities.

4. Real-time Monitoring

Implementing real-time monitoring of financial transactions is critical in detecting and preventing economic crimes. Companies should invest in advanced analytics tools that can identify irregular patterns, anomalies, or suspicious activities in financial transactions. Automated alerts can notify the appropriate personnel immediately, allowing for swift action to be taken in the event of a potential threat.

5. Due Diligence in Third-Party Relationships

Many economic crimes involve exploiting vulnerabilities in a company's supply chain or through partnerships with third-party vendors. Conducting thorough due diligence before entering into business relationships is crucial, including assessing the cybersecurity measures of partners, suppliers, and service providers. Regularly reviewing and updating contractual agreements to include cybersecurity requirements can also mitigate risks associated with third-party relationships.

6. Stay Informed About Emerging Threats

The landscape of economic crime is continually evolving, with cybercriminals adopting new tactics and techniques - meaning Companies must stay informed about emerging threats and trends. Regularly participating in industry forums, attending conferences, and collaborating with Economic Crime experts can provide valuable insights into the latest developments, enabling businesses to adapt their security measures accordingly.

As technology advances, so do the tactics employed by cybercriminals. Staying ahead of sophisticated scams in economic crime requires a proactive and multifaceted approach.

In the battle against economic crime, vigilance, education, operational agility, and strategic planning are key weapons in maintaining the integrity and security of businesses worldwide.

If you would like to learn how KPMG can help across your economic crime operations, please get in touch.