Don’t be a victim! Here are some tips you can take to better protect your business from some common forms of fraud and cybercrime.
Since this is a common area of fraud for everyone from sole proprietors to employee-based firms, this one goes at the top of the list. Start by separating your personal banking and credit cards from your business accounts – this will ensure fraudsters don’t get their hands on ALL your money. Separating your accounts will also make it easier to track your business expenses and report deductions on your tax return.
Next, make sure you use your card wisely. Don’t hand over your plastic or your card number to employees or companies with which you don’t have a familiar relationship. Switch to online bill pay or make sure you store paper bills securely. Likewise, use a secure mailbox for receiving and sending bills. If you don’t have one, deposit your mail directly at the post office (this goes for any mail that contains sensitive information – you don’t want to leave it lying around in an unsecured mailbox).
Lastly, be sure to check your online banking every day for suspicious activity.
Every business owner should invest in a firewall as well as anti-virus, malware and spyware detection software. Backing-up is also a must and will make it a lot easier for you to continue working in the event of a cyber attack.
Use a dedicated computer for all your online financial transactions and, ideally, make sure it’s one that isn’t used for other online activity such as social media, email and web-surfing which can open up the machine to vulnerabilities.
Another easy step you can take to protect your IT systems is to institute a password policy.
Employees are perhaps your biggest point of vulnerability when it comes to fraud, but they are also your first line of defense. Hold regular training sessions on basic security threats (online and off) and prevention measures – both for new hires and seasoned staff. Enforce the training by instituting policies that guide employees on the proper use and handling of company confidential information, including financial data, personnel and customer information.
One of the first steps to preventing fraudulent employee behavior is to make the right hiring decision. Basic pre-employment background checks are a good business practice for any employer, especially for those employees who will be handling cash, high-value merchandise, or have access to sensitive customer or financial data.
Fraud and cybercrime does happen; however, you can still seek to cover your damages by purchasing an insurance policy that protects you against any losses that you may incur from crime or fraud.
Learn More about ID Theft for Business