Barclays said the property and construction sector fell victim to the most scams in 2020, representing nearly a quarter of the total.
The most common tactic is impersonation, when criminals pretend to be organisations or authorities to persuade their victims to share sensitive information or transfer money out of their account.
It appears to be a growing problem – scams targeting businesses increased by almost a third in January and February compared to the same period last year.
Ian Anfield, managing director, said: “This is money that companies can ill afford to lose. Companies can take simple but effective steps to protect themselves against scams and safeguard their interests.”
These include never disclosing your banking details to an unexpected caller, email or text, making sure you check the credentials of new partners, double-checking any new banking details provided by suppliers, keeping your cyber security software up to date and verbally confirming any payment requests from colleagues sent by email.
Mr Anfield added: “We take security extremely seriously and have robust processes and procedures in place to shield our clients against financial crime.”