A scam targeting your business can cause significant setbacks, especially if you are trying to establish your company by expanding or maintaining your current practice. Subsequently, you and others involved in the business may suffer losses and additional challenges, making it hard to reach your targets at the required time.
Although scams are on the rise, you can equip yourself with valuable information regarding common malpractices and how to safeguard your business from attacks. In doing so, you become less susceptible to fraudulent and malicious approaches often targeted towards small business owners.
Learning how to protect your business also safeguards your employees’ future because they are assured of a stable working source with continuous remunerations and benefits. With Wide Merchant Group, you can learn the different approaches to safeguard your business from malicious third parties. When seeking details on how to protect your business, you want to have your work industry in mind because scammers use various approaches for different work fields.
Prevalent Scams Targeting Businesses Today
As technological developments increase in today’s world, scamming tactics also advance as the malicious parties behind the fraud adapt to new software and online platforms. Consequently, a business owner with little to no knowledge of how businesses are attacked through scams and fraudulent attackers may jeopardize their source of livelihood.
The following are common scams manifested in various forms to manipulate you or your employees into giving the attackers access to your business. They include:
- Inaccurate Billing
- Receiving Malware
- Overpayment Requests
- Online Shopping Commitments
For attempts like phishing and inaccurate billing, you want to ensure that extra attention goes to the messages sent and received between you and your clients. This is because the practices prey on an email recipient’s inattention to detail, which occurs unintentionally.
Billing scams are often tied to online shopping activities, especially when you leave your billing details on the shopping site. A scammer can quickly collect the necessary information and drain your business finances, leaving you with multiple challenges to address.
How to Protect Your Business from Scams
Upon learning the various scam techniques and what they target in your business, you are better positioned to develop protection strategies and implement them in your daily business undertakings. Ensuring that you and your employees can identify signs of malicious approaches is an excellent step towards strengthening your business security.
Some of the best approaches to take when safeguarding your business include:
Install Security Systems on Software Used for Business
Further, you want to avoid unsolicited scamming approaches by ensuring your business software is secure. A great starting point is incorporating a VPN and Firewall that prevents malicious parties from tracking your computer’s specific location. This is because the parties often rely on the details to plan and execute location-specific hacks that then grant them access to sensitive business information.
On top of this, you want to install anti-virus software to help you diffuse situations where an attacker may gain access to your systems. The malware installed into your workplace computers is safeguarded and does not suffer any security compromise or data loss thanks to the anti-virus.
Installing security software is only half the journey, as you need to update the systems as required for continued protection. For example, once your current anti-virus software expires, you want to remain on tabs and acquire a new one as soon as possible. Having a continuous subscription can also serve well, ensuring you have continuous access to the protective software. In return, your business information remains secure despite various attempts to penetrate your systems from hackers.
Beware When Responding to Spoofed Emails from Old and Existing Clients
As discussed, phishing is a prevalent means of scamming small businesses, particularly because the scammers use domain names that are very similar to the institution they try to mimic. Phishing often occurs through emails, whereby you or an employee receives a mail requesting banking details, passwords, or any other crucial business details.
If the email recipient is not keen on identifying the small differences that help identify a phishing attempt, you will have revealed the confidential information to a malicious third party waiting to misuse it fraudulently. Hence, you want to double-check that the email sender is who they say they are for an airtight exchange of information.
For example, you can call the person, company or institution signed off at the end of the email to confirm that they sent the email requests. Further, if the message you received talked about the person or company changing their bank and phone details, you can run the new information through software dedicated to tracking valid business operators. The extra precautionary steps will save you from phishing attacks and reveal malicious parties looking to sabotage your business.
Have a Separate Computer Device for Your Business Banking Activities
Doubtless, scammers are interested in accessing your banking details or having a direct reach to your finances for unlawful gain. Their efforts are made more accessible when you use consolidated computer accounts to store the important bank details, as they will only need to hack and access one entry point.
On the other hand, having a separate device containing all sensitive information regarding your bank and financial details is advisable. This is because you can better ensure the device is secure by installing the required software and using a separate password.
Further, you can restrict access to the device dedicated to banking only, meaning that only a few people are accountable for handling the information. Hence, in case of a security breach, you can narrow down on the assigned parties who will then help with investigations and explanations involving the breach.
Include a Two-Step Authentication Process to Access Business Details
An additional security feature to avoid scammers is ensuring that all your business software and devices provide a two-step authentication process before gaining access to what they seek. Doing so provides extra security on top of what passwords provide because the passwords may be leaked.
A two-step verification process lets the user request entry to a device, website, or software service to input the password. If they fail at the initial stage, security is upheld, and the scammer seeking access will not necessarily pose any risk to your systems.
However, if the malicious party has access to your passwords, the two-step verification further shoots down their efforts. Usually, all your devices are registered under one email address or username. This means that you can receive alerts about activities on your phone or another computer regarding any actions completed using the business place device.
Hence, the two-step verification enhances security by asking you to confirm whether you are the party trying to gain access to the platform, records, or software in question. If you are, you will only need to accept the prompt by clicking ‘yes.’ Conversely, if an unauthorized third party tries to gain access, you can block them by confirming that your system may be under attack.
Train Your Employees on Useful Business Security Guidelines
Although you may be committed to upholding all the business security practices discussed so far, your employees may be out of the loop, meaning that they may be susceptible to scammers. As a result, you want to make unanimous efforts at your workplace to ensure all employees understand the importance of exercising caution when handling clients, especially online.
You can offer training sessions from professionals once in a while, as they provide important resources that educate your employees on helpful security practices. During the sessions, the presenter should be engaging and provide practical explanations that help make clear demonstrations. Be sure to give specific examples of what you classify as confidential business information for clarity. This way, every employee will have a clear picture of what not to do.
Additionally, you can include security training resources as part of your onboarding materials every time you add a new employee to your business. With the material in place, you do not have to worry about providing recurrent oral training, as it may be time-consuming.
You may also be prone to omitting important pointers when training new employees each time you make an addition. Thus, consolidating the necessary rules and conduct is more efficient and accurate.
Change Your Software Passwords Regularly
While passwords offer moderate to strong security from scammers online, they are easily decipherable and may expose you to unforeseen cyber attacks. Therefore, you want to ensure that your workplace's policies affecting passwords for critical business data are comprehensive and implemented.
For example, your employees may each have access to their own devices in the office, meaning they have the liberty to use individual passwords. While this may diversify the security web and make it difficult for malicious third parties to access your business information, the employees may use weak passwords.
Consequently, weak passwords defeat the purpose of security measures and jeopardize your business stability. Instead, you can present a policy requiring everybody to create a complex combination for their device. The passwords should also not be shared unless necessary to avoid further risks involving careless reveals of sensitive details.
Moreover, switching to new passwords after a specific duration is excellent as an extra security step. This is because third parties may have already acquired the initial passwords, so you will need to deter them by making constant changes. A practical approach would be making password changes every two to three months, although any other duration is acceptable.
Conduct Background Checks on Your Employees Before Hiring
Among the most important steps to take is ensuring that the people you trust with sensitive business information earn it. This is because they will be in charge of multiple undertakings on your behalf if you decide to employ them, meaning that they may have access to important details that should remain confidential and within the company.
Hence, you want to conduct background checks on prospective employees to ensure they do not pose any security risks to your establishment. Some guidelines to help you obtain important information include asking them why they left their former workplace if they have previous experience.
Their reasons for exiting the previous company can provide important clues on their character and loyalty to their employer. Additionally, you can contact the former employers, particularly where you need to verify what the prospective employee revealed to you.
Further, you are also encouraged to run a criminal background check to access any necessary details regarding the candidate’s previous encounters with the law. Doing so is an easy pathway to helping you discover whether the person was involved in cybercrime or any fraudulent activities that may jeopardize your business.
When you find alarming information, you can then make an informed decision to dismiss the potential employee, as they are likely to perpetuate their behavior when working for you. However, you should note that background checks are primarily used to help employers make informed decisions. Therefore, you should not discriminate against past convicts based on their status without sufficient grounds for disqualifying them.
Do Not Be Intimidated by Threats or Blackmail
Most business owners are also familiar with threats or blackmail sent through anonymous mail. While some messages are useless scare tactics based on inaccurate business details, some may include substantial threats and truthful information.
If so, you should not respond to the sender, as they are likely to push their demands and issue more scary threats. Instead, you can call for backup from an established software security company or the police in aggravated circumstances. Your non-response to the attacker’s threats gives them less power to manipulate you and ultimately less access to your business details.
Find Business Financing Near Me
When trying to safeguard your business, you may incur additional costs based on the numerous steps to undertake. As a result, you may need the support of a small business financing company to help you safeguard your business and promote growth. At Wide Merchant Group, we dedicate our services to helping small business owners receive the best financing support for their individual needs. We have worked with hundreds of business owners established all across the United States, and Puerto Rico, helping them achieve their goals and protect their businesses by supporting their security projects. For more information on business financing, contact us today at 800-630-4214.