It’s no secret that online fraud and crime is rife. As we continue to upload more and more data about ourselves to the web, we’re creating numerous points of weakness. Not only are these weak spots waiting to be exposed, even aspects of our everyday lives are catalogued and published for the world to see. And what seems like an innocent picture with friends could hold a host of information to be combed by criminals looking to hit you where it hurts. It doesn’t look as though this trend to of cloud storage and instant accessibility is likely to slow down. Therefore, security must improve. But even the most robust of systems is still left vulnerable to human error. And, to make things worse, even money is modernising. Tech-based finance such as BitCoin is rapidly growing in popularity – and value. What represented a minimal investment just a few years ago could have blossomed in to a princely sum. Inevitably, this has brought with it a criminal market. The Financial Conduct Authority estimate that £27m was lost last year by customers thinking they were investing in cryptocurrency or foreign exchange investments. Victims were hit by a sophisticated scam; first being targeted through direct channels such as social media and being told they had been identified as suitable investors. But the scammers didn’t just take the money and run. Initially, they asked for a small investment, which delivered a return. Having had their actions vindicated, the investors were only too happy to go again. Only this time, their bigger investment didn’t return a profit. And the scammers had disappeared. Those involved were ripped off by an average of £14,600 and not only that; the incentivised pyramid scheme offered by the criminals meant they had also inadvertently involved their friends and family. As if being out of pocket wasn’t enough, their loved ones were too. Now, you may think that it’s pretty easy to avoid this type of thing. Internet scams are almost as old as the medium itself. Haven’t people learnt yet? But this is where an accountant can add some real value. We are primed to advise all of our clients on keeping their finances secure both online and offline. Additionally, we work closely with cyber security experts to ensure our systems and, by extension, our clients’ data is as safe as possible. Anyone that is concerned about their security can get in touch to find out their vulnerabilities and what can be done to remedy them.