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Ex-footballer Sol Campbell targeted by phishing scam – his advice to avoid getting conned

Nic McBride

Nic McBride
Apr 26, 2018

You can be an ‘Invincible’ on the football pitch, win the Premier League, and play in the Champions League final, but you can still be conned by scammers.

Just ask Sol Campbell.

Sol and his wife Fiona run bespoke furniture business FBC London and were targeted by fraudsters.


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A new personal assistant to the couple - who had only been working for the pair for a week - was tricked into clicking on a phishing e-mail link.

Campbell - who earned 73 caps for England, played for Tottenham and Arsenal – spoke to LOVE SPORT about the experience.

"They almost mimic the person they are trying to impersonate through the internet and it is so sophisticated, it is unbelievable."

“They're kind of like parasites, waiting for someone to slip up.”

Fraudsters were more likely to target small to medium sized companies, Campbell said.

“These fraudsters are every day waiting to get a weak link somewhere.

“When someone new joins the company they see, there’s a new email, lets try our luck with that person. It is just unbelievable it is so sophisticated now.”

Campbell said it cost businesses money to employ people to tackle online fraud.

“That’s another wage – but if we don’t have anyone there, we could lose even more money, or go under.”

YouGov data puts the cost of fraud to small businesses at £40 billion.

52,000 employees were left jobless in 2017, as a result of firms that were forced to being to cover losses by making staff redundant.



Sol Campbell's advice for avoid scammers 

  1. Strong defence: The best way to keep attackers out is a strong password. It's much harder for fraudsters if you use lower and upper case letters, along with numbers and symbols.
  2. Build a wall: Protect your computers with anti-virus software, as well as a good firewall and keep software updated regularly. Delete unsolicited emails with links and attachments as these could allow fraudsters to infect your device.
  3. Call offside: If something feels wrong speak up and check it. Don't assume a call, text, email or invoice is genuine, fraudsters can sound convincing. Always check requests using known contact details and never move funds to a 'safe account' even if the request appears to have come from your bank or CEO.
  4. Pay by the rules: Have a clear procedure for making payments in your firm. Always check email requests to make payments or to change payment instructions by calling a trusted number, not by return email. Unexpected calls, particularly from fraudsters claiming to be from telecoms providers and retailers are on the rise – so make sure you stay alert.
  5. Team talk: Every team is only as strong as your weakest link. Boost tactical knowledge and share guidance with your team.