How to help protect your business from online fraud

David Pollino
Posted by David Pollino

Roughly 60% of large and small businesses experienced attempted or actual payment fraud in 2012, according to a survey from the Association for Financial Professionals. And the typical loss due to payment fraud was more than $20,000.

Woman using credit card for banking on her iPadBank of the West surveyed business owners in 2013 and found that those who have been victims of fraud are 50% more likely than non-victims to take fraud prevention steps. (For more details on the survey, click here.)

We encourage businesses to take preventive action before they are hit by fraud. Security threats to your business can take many forms.

Many sides of online fraud

A common threat to businesses is online fraud including malicious software, or malware, and phishing scams that try to collect confidential business information such as online banking log-in identifications and passwords, Tax Identifications Numbers, or Employer Identification Numbers.

Be leery of emails or phone calls which request confidential personal or business information or make urgent appeals.

Messages about system or security updates and offers that sound too good to be true can be telltale signs of a phishing scam and should be viewed skeptically.

Avoiding malware

To help protect your business from malware, use reputable vendor-supported software and operating systems, install anti-virus protection on all your computers and mobile devices, including tablets and mobile phones, and regularly update it.

Also, consider these steps:

  • Install a firewall
  • Implement Internet filtering
  • Use complex passwords
  • Promptly delete or disable user access to your business? bank accounts, systems, and other confidential information when permanent or temporary employees, including experts such as bookkeepers, officer managers, or accountants, leave your employment.
  • Avoid downloading from file sharing and social networking sites.
  • Do not open email attachments or install free software from unknown sources.
  • Do not click on pop-up advertisements asking for personal, business, or financial information, simply close them.
  • Regularly update your security and system software and protect your computer and mobile devices including tablets, from malware threats.
  • Establish and communicate a policy to limit employee usage of business computers, systems and mobile devices for business purposes only.
  • Monitor employee usage of business computers, systems and devices for inappropriate or unauthorized use and let them know you are watching. Take appropriate action for non-compliance.

Fraud is an ever-present risk to businesses. The good news is there are steps you can take to help protect your business from fraud, letting you focus on making your business a success.


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