As business deals move into the electronic realm, it has never been more critically important to be aware of new cyber threats to your business. People committing fraud are creative, and new scams are introduced daily. The Better Business Bureau published an article about the top ten scams targeting small businesses, which can range from scams that have proved reliable in the past to brand new scams constantly being created by new fraudsters. It may seem impossible to stay on top of your security, but you can protect your business from being scammed by implementing some key practices in your business.
Educate Yourself and Your Employees
Knowledge is your best defense in protecting your business. Anyone can fall for a scam, which means you and your employees are a liability. Because of this, keeping your defenses up is key to keeping your business protected. You can do so by keeping tabs on any new or recurring scams out there, and make sure your employees are on the look-out as well. Keep everyone on the same page by holding trainings, having clear password and internet use policies, and staying in communication about anything that may be suspicious or that they need to be aware of. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission is an excellent resource with information about protecting your business. Carving out time to stay informed can make all the difference in avoiding scams and keeping your business safe.
Slow Down and Ask Questions
Many scams capitalize on simply creating a sense of urgency. Slow down and really evaluate what is being presented to you. The urgency may be alarming, and your instinct may be to immediately take whatever action you are prompted to. When you slow down and take a step back, however, you are able to think clearly about the situation.
Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust. This may look like a service your business uses emailing you to tell you that your payment information is outdated with a link to update it. Or it may look like an email from your bank letting you know that your online account is locked with a link to provide your login credentials, security questions, or other personal information. It is also good practice to be vigilant with any check you may receive. This can be as simple as a check arriving in the mail that you weren’t expecting, or a check that is much larger than you had agreed on and now they’re asking for you to send part of it back.
Get into the habit of slowing down and asking questions. Is your payment information really outdated? Can you go directly to their website or contact them to check on this, rather than clicking on the link in the email? Were you expecting this check? Why is the amount different than expected? Does the story add up? Take your time to verify anything that may seem off, trust your instincts, and don’t commit to or take action on something that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Communicate With Your Financial Institution
One of the simplest ways to protect your small business is to watch your accounts and be aware of what deposits and withdrawals are occurring on a regular basis to catch potential fraud as soon as possible. Financial institutions are trying to stay one step ahead of the con-artists and fraudsters and Idaho Central is available to help you safeguard your business accounts with tools such as automatic card fraud monitoring for all ICCU cards, and CardControl. If fraud is found, our cards are also protected by Visa’s zero fraud liability, protecting your accounts from losses. Do not hesitate to contact us if you ever have questions or concerns! Idaho Central can help you identify scams or fraud, and help you with the next steps needed to protect yourself. Learn more about how to protect yourself at our security center.
As always, please remember that Idaho Central would never send you an email or social media message with a link asking you to provide login credentials, security questions, or any other personal information. Always go directly to www.iccu.com or use our app to log in and access your online banking. If you have received what appears to be a phishing email pretending to be from Idaho Central Credit Union, do not respond to the request. Instead, forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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