Although we don’t like to admit it, succeeding as a small business takes more than a great idea and strong work ethic. Vigilance and the ability to anticipate the unexpected, whether it’s unforeseen costs, dips in the economy or other more ominous issues it’s just part of the job description for every small business owner.
With International Fraud Awareness Week (November 15 – 21) right around the corner, there’s no better time to examine some of the “more ominous” of these threats and the simple ways small businesses can protect themselves.
In 2014, LexisNexis found that for every actual dollar a business loses to fraud, they incur a total fraud loss of $3.08. This cost stems from related legal and cybersecurity expenses, untimely reconciliation of accounts and disruptions in daily business operations. So fraud is indeed a threat, but there are positive steps you can take to bolster your business.
Five Fraud Prevention Tips in Honor of International Fraud Awareness Week
- Strengthen your password policy
Each business account should have a long, unique password that includes non-dictionary words, numbers and symbols. Change passwords frequently and use an encrypted password manager to keep track of them. Use two-factor authentication when applicable, as it is your greatest defense against account takeover fraud.
- Protect your checks
In 2014, the Association of Financial Professionals reported that despite an overall decline in use, checks were still the most targeted payment method among businesses. Check fraud was also cited as the most expensive form of payment fraud with untimely reconciliation reported as the primary reason for a business to sustain a financial loss. Restrict physical access to checks, implement Positive Pay and utilize EZShield Check Fraud Protection to ensure timely advances of stolen funds in the event of fraud.
- Implement fraud training
Call on your employees to safeguard your business. Prescreen through background checks during the hiring process, make fraud prevention part of day-to-day responsibilities and implement ongoing reviews and education to deter any opportunistic endeavors.
- Put business identity theft on your radar
You’re not the only one at risk of identity theft; your small business is too. Criminals may impersonate a business using its name, tax identification number or even the owner’s personally identifiable information. Secure both your data and your businesses’ data by protecting online information, watching for cybersecurity threats and reviewing tax records and credit reports for signs of misuse.
- Keep hackers out
In 2014, 62% of cyber attacks targeted small to mid-size enterprises. Hackers prefer these smaller targets due to their tendency to lack sufficient security constraints while holding a plethora of customer and business data. Encrypt all sensitive information you store, restrict physical access to devices, do not allow employees to connect to public Wi-Fi and routinely update software to ensure no vulnerabilities exist.
For more information on International Fraud Awareness Week, please visit FraudWeek.com or follow #FraudWeek on Twitter.
Has International Fraud Awareness Week inspired you to spread the word or even spark action within your own organization? Let us know your related plans in the comments section.