Categories
News & Blogs

Omicron Cyber Scams

Omicron Cyber Scams

9 December 2021

The new Omicron Covid-19 variant has not only led to the government reintroducing restrictions such as Work From Home, but cyber criminal gangs are using this new variant in a new phishing scam.

The new phishing scam has been created to look like an official communication from the NHS, and is targeting people with fake offers for free PCR tests for the new variant.

This new “variant of concern” is spreading rapidly around the world. Whilst this has caused distress for many people globally, especially those who are vulnerable themselves or have loved ones that are, it’s also created a new opportunity for cyber criminals to feed on those fears.

This wave of new phishing is being issued by text, email and even over the phone, with threat actors contacting people across the UK offering them what they say are new test kits specifically designed to detect the Omicron variant.

One of these emails read: “NHS scientists have warned that the new Covid variant Omicron spreads rapidly, can be transmitted between fully vaccinated people, and makes jabs less effective. However, as the new covid variant (Omicron) has quickly become apparent, we have had to make new test kits as the new variant appears dormant in the original tests.”

Alongside giving false information, the email is littered with grammatical errors. Should a victim click on the link at the bottom of the correspondence, they would be taken to a fake NHS page that asks for full name, date of birth, address, phone numbers and email address.

In addition to harvesting personal information, the site also asks for £1.24 as a delivery fee and mother’s maiden name which is often used as a finance security question, giving the cyber criminals access to the target’s banking information as well.

Like many other Covid-19-related phishing campaigns, this too relies on the target’s anxiety to cause them to overlook obvious signs of fraud. Researchers commented: “Phishing attacks and other scams often exploit emotions to get people to react quickly, without thinking things through logically. This new COVID-19 variant has significant emotional weight for people who are tired of lockdowns and the continuing impact of the pandemic, making it a powerful tool to get people to click.”

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is aware, but watchdogs have warned that other similar Omicron scams are likely to appear over the next several weeks – especially with the festive period in full swing and the reintroduction of working from home.

Not only do we all need to be more cautious with our potential exposure to the new Omicron variant, we must remain vigilant with our cyber security and threat awareness too. If you have High Value Home Insurance it’s likely to include an element of Cyber cover, so remember to check your policy.

Can Cyber Insurance help my business?

Whilst the new Omicron threat is targeted at individuals, it will be received on business devices. Now the government are imposing new Work From Home advice, cyber-criminals will tweak this to target businesses too – every change is a new opportunity for them to exploit.

Cyber insurance is more crucial than ever as attacks and data breaches increase in both frequency and sophistication. Having the right cover in place will support and protect your business in the event of a cyber attack or data breach. It not only provides comprehensive cover but will provide you with a trusted partner to support the business and get you working again.

Obtaining a quote for your business is a simple and straightforward, simply contact Charlotte.

Contact

Charlotte Perkins – Group Managing Director
[email protected]     0115 9420 111

Categories
News & Blogs

Season’s Greetings!

Season’s Greetings to all our clients, contacts, friends and their families

Our offices will close for Christmas at 5.15pm on Thursday 23 December 2021, opening again at 9am on Wednesday 29 December. We will then be closed for the new year at 1pm on Friday 31 December and returning to business as usual at 9am on Tuesday 4 January 2022.

As usual our Account Executives are available 24/7. Should you experience an emergency over the festive period, simply email or call your Account Executive on their mobile.

We’d like to thank you for your support during another very challenging year and wish you, and your family, health and happiness over the festive period.

We look forward to working with you in 2022!

Very best wishes

The Wilsons Team

Categories
News & Blogs

Stay safe up there!

Stay safe up there!

1 December 2021

The countdown to Christmas has begun! Sadly that also means thare’s a risk of people falling from ladders and stepladders as they hang decorations, lights and dress the Christmas tree.

As the festive season approaches, the No Falls Foundation is urging everyone to take extra care – especially anyone who seldom uses a ladder on the odd occasion.

However, there are some simple steps that everyone can take for an accident free Christmas. The Foundation is asking everyone to take extra care and follow this simple advice:

  1. Avoid using furniture, tables and chairs to stand on. Use a ladder or stepladder according to the height you wish to reach
  2. Before using the ladder make sure it’s in good condition. Check the rungs or treads and the sides are not bent, damaged or loose. Check the feet are clean and secure, the locking devices are working and step ladder platforms are not buckled or cracked
  3. Position the ladder on a firm and level surface, facing the work wherever possible. Check the label for the ladders maximum load and don’t exceed it. Step ladders must be fully opened, and any locking devices properly engaged. Never overreach – just move the ladder to a better position
  4. Maintain a firm handhold and only let go for a moment when the task requires it. When using a step ladder for jobs that briefly require both hands, keep both feet on the same step or on the platform and your body (knees or chest) supported by the stepladder to maintain three points of contact. On a leaning ladder, don’t do any jobs that require you to let go for more than a few seconds e.g. starting a screw or nail
  5. Wear footwear with a good grip and move slowly and carefully up and down the ladder
  6. Don’t drink and decorate! Alcohol significantly increases your risk of falling. You can celebrate once the job is done!

We hope you all stay safe – Merry Christmas!

 

Categories
News & Blogs

In cyberspace, no-one can hear you scream

In cyberspace, no-one can hear you scream

6 September 2021

We may have stolen a sci-fi strapline, but what will cyber-criminals steal from you? Many people hide behind the fact that they’re not one of the big boys, so they’re not really targeted by hackers, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Research published by Vodafone earlier this year found that 41% of UK SME’s had suffered cyberattacks over the previous 12-month period, with 20% experiencing multiple attacks. It warned that as many as 1.3 million UK SMEs could collapse completely after falling victim to a cyber-attack.

SMEs are under-protected from cybersecurity risk, they are less likely to have robust defences in place than their larger counterparts and the pandemic has increased their vulnerability to attacks. A very attractive target for cyber criminals.

Despite the increased risks, most SMEs only have the most basic protections in place such as installing firewalls and anti-virus software. But the biggest risk is your people and only a minority routinely train staff on cybersecurity issues.

Hello, I’m an SME and I am a cyber target…

So what can you do? Like the old saying goes, acknowledging you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Review the risk, make a plan and action it.  Even simple steps can prove hugely valuable- SMEs that routinely back up their systems and data are much less vulnerable to ransomware attacks; introducing multi-factor authentication on remote devices is simple and reduces the risk of attackers getting in this way.

The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) said the most important thing SMEs should focus on is how to build stronger cultures of cybersecurity, with management working harder to build employees’ awareness. They suggest practical steps such as regular cybersecurity audits, training for staff, the development of cybersecurity policies and incident response plans.

ENISA’s data suggests that the five most common threats to SMEs are: phishing attacks; web-based raids; general malware; malicious insiders; and denial-of-service strikes. It seems SMEs don’t invest enough in cybersecurity, they fail to access the right type of expertise and favour quick fixes such as anti-virus software, rather than building a culture of cybersecurity awareness.

The Home Working Threat

Measures introduced by many SMEs during the pandemic, including remote working have given cyber attackers new opportunities.

A recent survey found that 56% of senior IT techs believe their employees have picked up bad cyber-security habits while working from home. Nearly two in five home workers admitted that their cyber-security practices at home were less thorough than in the office, with half admitting it’s due to feeling less scrutinised by IT departments.

During the height of the pandemic in 2020, there was a staggering 667% increase in malicious phishing emails. Google also reported blocking over 100 million phishing emails daily during that time.

The consequences of such phishing attacks can often be dire. While global multinationals may be able to recover from substantial losses, cyber-attacks can be catastrophic for both small businesses and individuals.

Now, with many employers formalising the home-working policies they set up during the pandemic, they must ensure that proper security procedures and training are put in place to keep both themselves and their employees safe.

Can Cyber Insurance help?

Cyber insurance is more crucial than ever as attacks and data breaches increase in both frequency and sophistication. Having the right cover in place will support and protect your business if it is the subject of an attack by a malicious hacker or experiences a data breach. It not only provides comprehensive cover but will provide you with a trusted partner to support the business in the event of a cyber-attack.

A range of insurance products have been developed to meet the increasing demand for cover, so not only is there a product available to suit your specific business needs, but it’s also far more cost effective than ever before.

Obtaining a quote for your business is a simple and straightforward, simply contact Charlotte.

Contact

Charlotte Perkins – Group Managing Director
[email protected]     0115 9420 111

 

 

Categories
News & Blogs

Home working fire risks

Home working fire risks

3 September 2021

Pizza ovens, fire pits and BBQs were incredibly popular purchases or projects during lockdown, as was the rise in working from home in a ‘shoffice’ – which resulted in an increased chance of fire.

A major insurer warned that outbuilding fires – in sheds, garages and conservatories – rose by 16% last year compared with 2019. The popularity of conversions to home offices, gyms and social spaces increased the fire risk. Three-quarters of areas in the UK recorded more fires, the data shows.

Phil Ost, from insurer Zurich, said: “Aside from storing gardening tools, our sheds and garages have become a haven to escape the stresses of family life and for others, a place to work. But as they take refuge in their garden sheds and garages, it appears to have sparked a rise in accidental blazes.”

Another survey by insurer Aviva, suggested that one in 10 of those asked worked from a converted shed, garage or summerhouse – a proportion expected to rise to 13%. The popularity of ‘shoffices’ (shed offices) has risen, with some people investing in bespoke garden rooms with all the luxury of home.

However, analysts said some people risked invalidating their insurance, or any subsequent claim, if they don’t inform their insurer about any changes to their property, especially if it’s new purpose increases risks. There is also the risk that expensive equipment in less secure locations, such as laptops left in an unsecure shed, may not be covered if it’s stolen or damaged.

Pizza ovens and fire pits only add to the existing fire risks created in gardens by mowers, barbecues, and paint thinners. As the good weather ends, those still working in the shed or garden room may increase the risk even further with the use of patio or bar heaters.

Zurich collected data from UK fire authorities highlighted that there were 3,681 residential outbuilding fires recorded in 2020, compared with 3,170 the year before.

Whilst insurers appreciate the changes we’ve all had to make to our working environments and our lifestyles since March 2020, there has now been sufficient opportunity to reflect any changes at renewal, or notify your insurer of any changes to your property or contents limits. If you haven’t, act now or any claims you need to make may be rejected in future. ALWAYS keep your insurance details up-to-date.

If you need any help or advice arranging your home insurance, contact our Private Client Team on 0115 942 0111 or email [email protected] – we’re always here to help.

 

Categories
News & Blogs

Holiday booked – what about your travel insurance?

Holiday booked – what about your travel insurance?

6 August 2021

With so many people finally able to take a long-awaited holiday, we’ve received many enquiries about Travel Insurance in relation to Covid-19, but don’t forget to check the other areas of the policy too.

It’s vitally important you check the details before taking out the policy, to ensure you’re covered for all the activities you’ll enjoy on your holiday – whether that’s scuba diving or off-road motorcycling. Don’t forget to estimate the valuables and tech you’ll be taking too; research has shown that cost for replacing or repairing personal tech could top £1 billion.

As with every insurance policy, always read through the policy documentation to understand what’s covered and what’s not – and if you’re unsure, check! We know it’s not the most exciting part of your holiday planning, but it’s one of the most important.

Here are the most common issues travellers experience when they need to claim.

Taking all your tech?

Most of us don’t go anywhere without our mobile, but what do you do if you’re poolside or on the beach and decide to take a dip? If you leave your phone unattended on your sunbed or tucked under your towel and it’s stolen, it’s possible your insurer won’t pay your claim.

Most insurers expect you to take “reasonable precautions” to stop your property being damaged or stolen. Leaving an expensive device such as a phone, tablet or laptop unattended would not be seen as taking reasonable precautions.

Covered for your sports?

All sports come with risks, some more than others, but when you’re on holiday you want to take part in all those activities you probably don’t get to enjoy at home. Standard travel policies usually provide cover for most of the usual holiday sporting activities such as swimming, snorkelling and tennis.

If you’re seeking the more adrenaline fuelled activities, such as scuba diving, jet skiing or bungee jumping, they are likely to be excluded or have specific conditions enforced.

For those travellers taking sporting holidays such as skiing or diving trips, you’ll know there are specific travel policies that cover you for your chosen activities, but it’s always wise to check even with those policies so you understand the cover and its limitations.

Taking sports equipment?

If you’re taking a sporting holiday, chances are you’ll be taking your own equipment with you and your specialist policy will probably cover your related equipment such as skis or snowboard.

One type of holiday that usually falls through the net in terms of sporting equipment is golf. Most standard policies won’t cover your expensive set of clubs, but the majority of good insurers will offer this cover as an add-on.

Locked your doors?

Your hotel room, apartment or villa can feel like such a safe space. However, leaving valuables such as travel documents and tech in plain sight may invalidate your claim if they were to be stolen. It’s down to ‘reasonable measures’ again, as is the case with leaving items unattended – if you can’t prove that reasonable measures were in place to keep your valuables safe, then you may struggle with your claim. If you’re not using your valuables, just lock them away and then you can enjoy your holiday without worry.

Know your claim limit?

All policies have claim limits, so make sure you check them before you take out the policy! If your policy only covers you up to £1,000, but you know the tech you’re taking is worth £3,000 then you’re obviously underinsured.

Make sure you have adequate limits for everything you need to cover – and don’t forget to factor in any purchases you plan to make while you’re away too.

Let us help

Our Private Client team have a wealth of experience in arranging travel insurance for our clients, giving them the peace of mind they need to enjoy their holiday. They’ve also supported our clients that have needed to claim on their travel policy, so understand the claims process.

If you’ve planned your holiday, get in touch with our Private Client team and they’ll help you plan your travel insurance. Or simply email [email protected] and we’ll get in touch at a time to suit you.

 

 

Categories
News & Blogs

The Green Card Free Circulation Area

The Green Card Free Circulation Area

28 July 2021

On the 30 June 2021 the European Commission announced that the UK would be able to participate in the Green Card Free Circulation Area (GCFA), which comprises all 30 European Economic Area (EEA) countries as well as Andorra, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia and Switzerland.

This takes effect on the 2nd August 2021 and will remove the requirement for Green Cards to be issued for travel within these countries.

Following the MIB’s recommendation, most insurers will continue to issue Green Cards up until September 2021 to ensure a smooth transition period.

If you have any queries regarding the issuance of Green Cards please contact your Wilsons account handler, or your insurer directly.

 

Categories
News & Blogs

Business Masters Awards – Nominations now open

Business Masters Awards – Nominations now open

23 June 2021

This week The Business Desk launched their East and West Midlands Business Masters Awards. Entries are now open – and as usual there’s a Family Business category! In 2020 this was sponsored by Wilsons and won by Wathall’s, a fantastic 5th generation family business, but who will triumph this year?

To nominate in the East Midlands Awards, please click here.

To nominate in the West Midlands Awards, please click here.

Deadline for entries is 16th July 2021.

The categories are:

  • Start-up
  • Disruptor* [new award for 2021]
  • Sustainability* [new award for 2021]
  • International Trade
  • Investment
  • Community Impact
  • Professional Services
  • Property Business
  • Family Business
  • Small Business (up to 50 employees)
  • Medium Business (51-250 employees)
  • Large Business (251+ employees)
  • Fast Growth Business

The annual awards ceremony is a key event in the business calendar, recognising the achievements of East and West Midlands companies. This year is particularly important because of the huge disruption and challenges caused by the pandemic which have forced all businesses to be agile, innovative and resilient.

The Business Masters winners will be revealed at TheBusinessDesk.com’s annual East Midlands dinner on Thursday, October 21, at Colwick Hall, Nottingham and West Midlands dinner on Thursday, 11 November at the Macdonald Burlington, Birmingham.

 

Categories
News & Blogs

We’re launching a new online family business community

We’re launching a new online family business community

17 June 2022
A new not-for-profit online initiative which connects family businesses across the UK is launching today, providing businesses in the sector with interactive support and expert advice – and a fantastic community to be part of.

Organised and backed by The Wilson Organisation, a Nottingham-based third-generation family business behind the annual Midlands Family Business Awards – the online only Family Business Futures (FBF) initiative has been designed to bring family enterprises across the UK together.

Following the unprecedented events of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the absence of face-to-face meetings and many events including the Midlands Family Business Awards, FBF was born to establish an ethical, supportive and friendly online community of likeminded people to share networking opportunities, trusted support and expertise for family businesses to not only survive, but to thrive.

FBF aims to deliver a trusted space in which to connect people to other businesses in the community that understand the unique challenges of leading a family business, providing support and advice. It’s a safe space with active social hubs to connect people with each other, where they can share experiences, and build friendships and support networks.

Community areas are only accessible to trusted sponsors and supporters enabling family business owners to seek support and guidance from advisers that understand the sector and are active within the community.

A whole media centre is also available to share specialist content with all users including presentations and videos to benefit the community, with all the latest information and services that member businesses provide.

Annabel Jackson Prow, CEO of The Wilson Organisation, said: “Family businesses survive over generations by taking a long term and sustainable outlook. The past year has been incredibly challenging for so many of us and for family run businesses, big or small, we’ve all really felt it.

“We’ve launched the FBF website, so businesses will be able to build relationships, share their experiences with one another and seek guidance. There are so many unique challenges that come about when running a family business that only others doing the same thing will understand, so we are hoping this new site will be a trusted online space that people can turn to for help, support and for sharing great news and opportunities to network and interact within the sector.”

“We really encourage family businesses within our network and from all over the UK to sign up to the FBF, as the greater the online presence the community has, the more benefits received among family members, giving our network and its businesses a chance to flourish.”

FBF only works with organisations that the Midlands Family Business Awards have previously worked with, to ensure those introduced to members are trusted within the sector, and all membership requests are screened by FBF to ensure community safety. To be part of the Family Business Futures community, please visit familybusinessfutures.co.uk or email [email protected]

 

 

Categories
News & Blogs

We’re proud to support POhWER!

We’re proud to support POhWER!

20 May 2021

Mental Health Awareness Week may be over, but it’s essential that the focus on mental health continues – problems don’t just go away when the ads stop and the email footers change.

We have many ways we support our people at Wilsons, but what if you don’t work or have no Employee Assistance Programme and Wellbeing Policy to fall back on? We need to ensure this vital support is provided to the most isolated in our communities too.

2 in 5 people felt their mental health suffered during the COVID pandemic. As lockdown is easing, we will be supporting POhWER Nottingham to enable them to restart their highly successful, volunteer run, EmPOhWER Peer advocacy groups that are especially relevant to those with mental health issues. They great news is that you can help.

POhWER is a charity and membership organisation providing information, advice, support and advocacy to people who experience disability, vulnerability, distress and social exclusion. They empower people to have a voice, make choices, uphold their rights and make a positive difference to their lives and work, working with them to plan and deliver the services that matter to them.

Peer advocacy refers to support provided by advocates with a similar disability or experience and can be very beneficial in supporting people adversely affected by their mental health. It builds trust as the peer relationship is founded on equality. It also challenges the discrimination and stigma attached to mental illness. A peer advocate is a good role model and shows recovery can be a reality.

EmPOhWER groups are welcoming, empowering support groups for people with a shared experience and common understanding of mental health. The groups are confidential, free and non-judgemental.

Before the pandemic, POhWER held monthly groups in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and were about to start a women only group. These face to face groups will restart as soon as it’s safe and appropriate to do so.

We are proud to be supporting POhWER through a donation to facilitate these groups, in order to provide vital support to the most isolated in the community. If you would like to show your support too, they’d love you to get in touch!

Contact Sonia Burns, Community Development Work at [email protected]

Tel: 0300 020 0093

Web: www.pohwer.net