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A Cautionary Tale

So it is early one morning and you pick up an email from your boss. They say they have an urgent task they need you to do as they have forgotten and will not be in the office today. After a short while another email comes saying that they are just getting the information together that you will need to do the task but that is urgent. Then another email maybe saying that they are just finishing something else but will get the information to you shortly. Finally an email comes asking you to buy an amount of iTune gift vouchers, rub off the silver at the back and send photos of the codes to them. Although you think this is a bit strange you justify it in your own mind – your boss does do back to back meetings, they are not always¬† in the office and, although you do not recognise the email address, they do have several roles and use different email addresses, you know there is a circumstance coming up where this could be needed or there may be an offer on that they are trying to get for the company. So you follow the request…….

Of course it is a scam (, the latest of many. If you are lucky the shop will query if you are buying bulk cards and maybe restrict the number you can buy. Don’t get mad at them – they are trying to protect you.

Everyone thinks other people get caught by scams until it happens to you. At BVA we are very aware that organisations in the voluntary sector are increasingly being targeted by this sort of phishing attack, as well as other types of criminal scams. That is why in the near future we will be presenting a course from the National Cyber Security Centre on “Cyber Security for Small Charities”. This will help you identify the threats that charities face, and give you policies and practices to protect you and your organisation, as well as showing what IT measures and products can help you in your daily routine. We will let you know when this will take place soon.

In the meantime, Friends Against Scams is a National Trading Standards Scams Team initiative, which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering people to take a stand against scams. They offer face to face awareness sessions and online training.


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