Commissioner led initiative helps support finance sector

Leek United Building Society has become the first financial institution to sign up to a new initiative led by Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime.

The initiative, launched at the beginning of October by Staffordshire’s Online Fraud Forum on behalf of the Staffordshire Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, will enable Leek United’s branch staff to enhance their existing knowledge of cyber-crime.

Businesses who sign up to the new initiative will receive free training.  This training will give them the chance to become even more cyber savvy and help them stay one step ahead of online fraudsters by having designated workplace champions.

The partnership of local business and public sector organisations is chaired by Deputy Staffordshire Commissioner Sue Arnold.

Speaking about the initiative, Sue Arnold said:  ‘It’s all too easy to fall foul of online fraud, and the consequences can be devastating. We all have to become smarter if we’re going to reduce the impact of this kind of crime and this free training will enable businesses to stay ahead of the fraudsters.  The new Cyber Crime champions will be the first point of contact for information and will be able to share it easily and quickly with their colleagues’

Last year, online fraud and cyber-crime was estimated to have cost £11 billion pounds and fraudsters are increasingly targeting businesses large and small.

Cyber-crime is swiftly becoming the most damaging crime a victim can experience.  Millions of pounds and reams of sensitive data are stolen every year and a lot of this can be prevented with some simple actions.

The training is delivered by Staffordshire Police’s Crime Prevention Design Advisor, Kate Dempsey and Staffordshire’s Digital Police Community Support Officer.

Kate Dempsey, (lead advisor on the training), said:  ‘Introducing a cyber champion into the workplace will in itself raise awareness of online safety.

‘This is a really good opportunity for businesses to get free advice and training.

‘Keeping up to date with cyber and fraud threats reduces their risk of becoming a victim in the future’.

PCSO Matthew Hough-Clewes is one of less than 10 throughout the UK who took on the role to protect the public and businesses from online fraud in December last year.

‘I have visited a number of groups and organisations, showing them how to protect themselves online and not be tricked into giving away information to the wrong people’ he said.

‘I’m really excited about this new Cyber Champion initiative and look forward to helping businesses in Staffordshire improve their cyber security’.

Forum member Simon Round, Leek United Building Society’s Head of Branch Network, said: “At Leek United, the security and confidentiality of our members’ information is of paramount importance and anything that further heightens awareness of the risks associated with online fraud can only be a good thing.

This is a great initiative – one which Leek United Building Society wholeheartedly supports.”

For more information about becoming a Cyber Champion in your workplace and sign up for future training sessions

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