This was an email that I received earlier today. Let me explain.
Last year the business of Cathedral Accountancy merged with that of The Long Partnership. It had been in the planning for a little while but as far as most people were concerned, very little changed. Cathedral is still in North Guildry Street, Elgin and most of the staff are unchanged. You are still greeted by Kirsty when you come through the door. Sue and Debbie are still doing tax and Debbie and James are still looking after the accounts work upstairs with their teams.
As some of you will already know we have another office in the Park House in South Street, where we have been for the last 12 years, and where Cathel and his team look after everything.
For a number of years we printed and posted out, by snail mail, monthly newsletters to all of our clients and other contacts. We resisted the move away from paper for as long as we felt able but at the beginning of 2022, we made the switch to email and increased the frequency to weekly. So, every week, you will get an email from us, which we hope you will find both interesting and informative. We try not to get too technical.
We use Adder Business to look after all of our mailings and social media posts. They also look after our website. So, last week I got around to extracting all of our Cathedral contact emails, and gave the list to Adder, or more particularly, Lauren at Adder, to add to our mailing list. If you don’t have a Lauren yet, I would recommend that you get one, but you can’t have ours!
If you are dealt with at Cathedral, I should perhaps have warned you this was coming. I think it caught some people unawares. Hence the email that I received “Have you been hacked”. I am not sure what that says about the content of the email, but probably better not to go there.
So, now you know!
We speak a lot about all the new and old scams that are currently out there. I am always careful about what emails I open. If it addresses me by my Christian name and makes sense, then I may open it. If it addresses me as Mr Alan .long and has a remittance or purchase order attached from a company I do not expect I will probably delete it.
Today I was sent an email that was received at The Park House in Elgin. It purported to be from a member of staff in another office and it was addressed to one of our payroll people. We probably say who they are on the website.
Anyway, the name of the sender (or at least the purported sender) was genuine but the request immediately set alarm bells ringing. Please change the bank account for my next salary. This made me look more closely at the email and the actual email address of the sender was not as I would have expected.
If we had complied with the request a reasonable chunk of money would have been stolen at the end of the month.
Have you had requests to change bank accounts for staff or suppliers? Unless you have actually spoken to them, and I mean in person or on the phone, treat such a request with suspicion. This could not only cost you a lot of money but just think of the embarrassment.
So, maintain a healthy scepticism about any emails that seem a little unusual. Also, be deeply suspicious of emails purporting to be from HMRC. Just give us a call and we will tell you if they are genuine.
Don’t get lured into their trap.
Alan E Long
The Long Partnership