Thought leadership. Threat analysis. Cybersecurity news and alerts.
Are You Failing to Protect Yourself Against Fraud?
Online fraud is, sadly, a common danger.
More than 15 million people fell victim to it in 2016, and the risk is still very much present. Companies across all areas of industry must take steps to protect their finances, making any changes necessary to minimize threats.
Some of these may seem simple, while others appear a tad more complicated. As specialists in cybersecurity, we’re dedicated to helping businesses like yours stay safe against ever-more sophisticated tactics.
So, what changes can you make to your everyday operations to combat online fraud?
You Ignore the Warning Signs
Seeing new customers make large purchases can be an exciting time, but you need to be aware of some common warning signs.
Orders placed late at night could be a red flag, while large orders of products that can be resold easily are another fraud giveaway to watch out for.
Another red flag? Multiple attempts to buy an expensive item (or items) with the same payment method, but with minor differences in the expiration date or name.
Purchases made by buyers who have been repeat customers for a long time should be watched if they make an unusual change in their purchases, address, contact details, and order size.
Last but not least: be wary of customers buying goods with a domestic billing address but sending the purchases to international locations. This is especially true if multiple international addresses are used.
You Don’t Invest in the Best Security
In our experience, too many businesses – both big and small – invest too little into their cybersecurity. Even though businesses are expected to spend more than $100bn on online protectionin 2020, it’s still not uncommon to see companies letting themselves down.
It’s easy to assume you can handle your business’s online security when you first enter the market. After all, download some anti-virus software, get yourself a firewall – job done, right?
Sadly, it’s not so simple. Finding the budget for high-quality security protocols can be difficult, but it’s vital – you’re reinforcing your company’s infrastructure, protecting your assets, and minimizing further expense.
In other words: take the danger of online fraud seriously. Your customers and your employees are depending on you to keep their details, their salaries, and safer.
You Haven’t Educated Your Team
Your workforce has to be educated on the signs of online fraud, trained in criminals’ latest tactics and the techniques available to combat them.
After all, they’re the people keeping your operations running day in, day out. They’re handling customers’ purchases, processing transactions, communicating with buyers, using your databases, downloading resources, and more.
Uninformed staff may end up making mistakes that leave your business vulnerable, facing fraudulent activity, and ultimately at risk. When they have the information and the training, they can actually be a much-needed defense against cyber criminals preying on companies like yours.
Make sure you host regular meetings to train your employees on the cyber-security threats they are likely to encounter, and the warning signs they should watch out for. This doesn’t have to be at an expert level, as you don’t want to overwhelm or confuse them, but it should be enough to give them the confidence they need to perform at their best.
Your staff should know enough to identify possible fraudulent behavior, handle customers’ personal information properly, and avoid leaving your business exposed.
You Haven’t Implemented a Reliable Password Policy
Passwords have to be strong, hard to guess, and varied. Make sure your employees and your customers have the information and advice they need to avoid weak passwords.
We all have so many passwords to remember today. Many of us run numerous different aspects of our lives online, relying on online banking, online shopping, online communications … it’s easy to be complacent.
However, complacency leads you to use the same passwords again and again. Your customers may simply create an account and make purchases with your business, but inadvertently let someone else know what their password is.
This could lead to fraudulent purchases, and the customer might blame your company for failing to offer them sufficient advice on how to best create efficient passwords.
It’s vital, then, to provide helpful information at the sign-up stage, and a dedicated page on your site. Make sure they know not to use something simple and easy to find out, such as their child’s name or their birthday. Varying letter case, adding symbols and numbers, and combining words to make longer passwords can all be a big help.
Your employees should follow the same strategy. Using the same password in their work emails or accounts as their personal ones can make increase your business’s vulnerability.
You Don’t Run Background Checks on Your Employees
Hiring employees with a history of criminal activity or suspicious behavior in previous roles (leading to dismissals) can be an easy way to expose your business to fraud.
Running background checks may seem to be something of a hassle, but it’s well worth doing to protect your company. This should consist of criminal background checks, their education, and their past employment – you will have the information to identify who you have working for you.
Trust goes a long, long way in maintaining an efficient, satisfied workforce. If you know your team is unlikely to undertake fraudulent activity and put your company’s and your customers’ data at risk, you can focus on combating external dangers instead.
Employees will generally accept that these background checks are par for the course. Though it might seem intrusive, it’s for the good of your company, your clients, and your reputation.
Online fraud is an intimidating area and makes businesses of all sizes feel vulnerable. Taking the steps explored above is an effective start to a stronger infrastructure, but you should trust the professionals to reinforce (and maintain) your business’s cybersecurity program for maximum protection against threats.
Contact ustoday to assess your risks and protect your business.
Steve E. Driz, I.S.P., ITCP