In the final instalment of our weekly feature Rima Evans examines fraud facts. Missed yesterday's episode? Click here

Fraud encompasses a variety of illegal activity: using lost, stolen or counterfeit credit or debit cards or the information from them to obtain goods falsely; hijacking a customer account or using an individual’s identity to open a new account and make unauthorised transactions; false claiming of refunds, for example, by claiming goods were never received or returning different goods to those sold; or financial fraud involving employees.

Fraudsters can steal personal financial information through interception of post and documents or through more sophisticated means using online methods such as phishing or spam emails, computer hacking, fraudulent apps and online social networking sites.

The risks don’t stop there. Cyber crime, the theft of data or other digital material, remains a “critical threat to businesses,” says the BRC. High profile and large-scale data breaches occurred last year in organisations such as Sony, and eBay.

Managing the risks from fraud: what pharmacies can learn from other small businesses?

  • Carry out checks, audits and risk assessments to ensure data governance is up to scratch.
  • Proactively contact customers if fraud is suspected, transactions look suspicious, or reflect any unusual payment patterns.
  • Informally collaborate with other businesses within the sector whenever a new threat emerges. While it may be your turn this week, there’s no doubt the fraudsters will switch attention to any perceived soft targets elsewhere.
  • Be willing to use industry networks and specialist fraud providers wherever possible.
  • Consider manual reviews of transactions as and when appropriate.
  • As soon as a data breach is spotted, complete a forensic review of the attack, identify and clarify points of vulnerability, analyse precisely what data was stolen and how the fraudsters got away with it.

Nick Mothershaw, UK and Ireland director of identity and fraud at Experian