This week sees the return of International Charity Fraud Awareness Week which seeks to bring together everyone involved in the charity and not-for-profit sectors to raise awareness and share best practices in the fight to tackle Fraud and Cyber Crime.
With a total annual income of over £69 billion, the charitable sector, wider Non-Government Organisations (NGO’s), and all not-for-profits organisations are vulnerable to fraud and financial crime.
Over the last few years, Cyber-attacks on charities have become more frequent. According to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2020, it was reported that in 2018 19% of charities reported a cyber security breach or attack over a 12-month period. In 2020, this rose to 26%.
The survey further highlighted how the nature of cyber-attacks has changed with businesses and charities reporting a rise in phishing attacks (from 72% to 86%), in the last 3 years whilst attacks from viruses or malware has reduced (from 33% to 16%).
This increase is a reminder that now more than ever, it is important for charities to be fraud aware and take steps to protect their money, people, and assets from harm.
When asked about the importance of Charity Fraud Awareness Week, Glen Hymers, Global Chief Information Security Officer and Head of Data Protection for Save the Children International and SECRC Board Member, said: “During these unprecedented times many charities are experiencing an increase in the demand for their help, whilst also feeling an increase in pressure on their ability to fundraise as a result of the global pandemic. Faced with these issues it is even more important for charities, regardless of their size to be more fraud aware to protect their valuable and very stretched resources.
“Cyber criminals will not spare our sector just because we help and support others, in fact, it is becoming more evident that the charitable sector is seen ever increasingly as a “legitimate” target for their activities due to the perceived weakness in our IT Security infrastructure and the training that our staff and volunteers receive in this area. I for one will be publicising this week across my social media platforms and the work platforms to help increase the awareness.”
Justin Torgout, Director of the South East Cyber Resilience Centre said: “I’m pleased that the Centre can support International Charity Fraud Awareness Week to help raise awareness of the dangers that charities face when it comes to cybercrime.
“At the SECRC, we are an innovative not for profit partnership between policing, academia, and private industry, committed to helping protect businesses in the South East region from cybercrime.
The SECRC offers a range of membership options to businesses in the region including a free Core Membership for businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
If you think we could help your organisation or business, sign up on the website today to access cyber Security support, guidance, and tools.”