Protect Your Business from Fraud
As a business owner, chances are you wear many hats. While you’re focused on the big stuff, it’s easy to overlook things that can make you more vulnerable to scams.
As the risk of cyber fraud continues to grow in today’s constantly growing, digital world, it is crucial for individuals and businesses to proactively protect themselves. Likewise, it is just as important that businesses and consumers take the correct approach to safeguard their financial information and assets.
Here are the top four scams targeting businesses and tips on how to protect yourself and your company.
Cyber criminals will try to harm your business by sending phishing emails to your employees. The criminal will typically use a compromised or fake email address that appears to come from a legitimate source such as a senior executive or a familiar vendor to trick you into changing account information or conducting a fraudulent financial transaction.
Cyber criminals set up fake online businesses that claim to help you run your company more efficiently, such as by offering small business loans or products that can help your brand stand out on social media. They may also ask for payment via untraceable methods such as a wire transfer or gift card.
Similar to a business email compromise, an unknown company sends an invoice that appears to be for something critical or from a regular vendor. What’s really happening is the criminal hopes you’ll be too worried or busy and that you—or your employee—will pay the invoice immediately.
Your company receives an overpayment for an item you’re selling, immediately followed by a request to deposit the check (which turns out to be a bad check) and then sends them the difference via a wire transfer or gift card.
How to protect yourself:
- Train Your Employees: Your best defense is an informed workforce. Train your staff and explain to them how scams happen. Train them to discuss with one another when they spot a scam. Often times, a scammer will target multiple people within an organization. One person’s catch could help prevent another coworker from falling victim. Another great tactic to train your employees on is to not share passwords or sensitive information by email.
- Verify Payments: Check all invoices closely and don’t ever pay until you have verified the bill is for items you actually ordered. Make sure procedures are clear for approving invoices or expenditures. To reduce the risk of a costly mistake, limit the number of people who are authorized to place orders and pay invoices. Review your procedures to make sure major spending can’t be triggered by an unexpected call, email or invoice.
- Know Who You Are Dealing With: Before doing business with a new company, search the company’s name online with the term “scam” or “complaint.” Read what others are saying about that company. When it comes to products and services for your business, ask for recommendations from other business owners in your community. Positive word-of-mouth from trustworthy people is more reliable than any sales pitch.
Alert your state Attorney General. You can find contact information at NAAG.org.