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Cyber crime and modern slavery on the agenda

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has been working in partnership with West Mercia Police to highlight the many threats posed to smaller enterprises by cyber-crime and modern slavery.

The organisation hosted a free half-day seminar for local small businesses, which took place at Shrewsbury Town Football Club.

Attending delegates were alerted to the latest techniques used by opportunist criminals and serious organised criminal gangs who are involved in cyber-crime and modern slavery.  They also received advice on how to recognise criminal activity, how to report it and how best to protect themselves and their businesses.

The event was chaired by local small business owner and FSB area lead, Hollie Whittles.  Hollie is the driving force behind ‘Fraggleworks’ – a training, web, social media, online digital marketing and training company, headquartered in Telford. 

Hollie said: “While many people feel that cyber-crime and modern slavery are unlikely to affect them, nothing could be further from the truth.  For example, FSB research, conducted earlier this year, showed that small businesses suffered almost 10,000 cyber-attacks a day.  The annual cost of such attacks to the small business community is estimated to be £4.5 billion, with the average cost of an individual attack being around £1,300.

“Meanwhile we learned that modern slavery is often much closer to us than we think.  Apart from it being morally unacceptable to take advantage of vulnerable people, this practice also undermines the efforts of legitimate businesses who strive to pay and treat their workforce fairly and in line with legal requirements.

“We hope that our work with West Mercia Police will help to alert small business owners to the illegal and immoral activities that are causing decent businesses and individuals so much misery.  By highlighting the issues and ways to tackle them, we will help to protect those at risk and the interests of legitimate small businesses."

Pictured: From left, West Mercia Police participants Mark Blackstock, James Squire, Hollie Whittles, Vicki Ridgewell, Karen Perry

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