Are you taking the appropriate steps to secure your small business’s assets from fraud, cybercrime, and identity theft?
Companies with less than 100 employees lose over $150,000 each year because of fraud. Small businesses also fall victim to a higher fraud rate than bigger companies and wage earners. Credit card abuse is one of the main sources of fraud small businesses face. Small business owners rarely take the time to scrutinize every item on their bills and many choose to combine personal and business accounts. That fact is one of the main reasons they’re targeted the most.
Small businesses also tend to have an overall lack of security, which makes them more attractive to fraud. Security flaws include poor network and computer infrastructure and poor screenings of employees.
Bank Accounts and Credit Cards
This is one of the most prevalent areas of fraud affecting all businesses from sole proprietors to businesses with tens of employees. If you haven’t already, separate your personal banking and credit lines from your business banking and credit lines. There are several financial institutions such as Advance Funds Network that specialize in ensuring businesses like yours have the proper financial tools and funding they need. Separating your assets will keep fraudsters from touching all of your money. It will also simplify the tracking of your business’s expenses to help you report deductions come tax time. Here are some other steps to take:
- Limit access to company credit cards.
- Use online bill pay, and store paper bills in a locked box.
- Receive and send bills from a secure mailbox.
- Thoroughly check accounts daily for suspicious activity.
- IT Security
Every business must have a strong firewall, malware and spyware, and antivirus software system. It is also ideal to use a dedicated computer to handle all financial tasks. This dedicated computer wouldn’t be used for any other activity including web-browsing, social media, or checking email. Furthermore, backup your data on secure hard drives just in case a virus attacks your main drives. In addition, take these added precautions to protect your IT infrastructure:
- Don’t use mobile banking.
- Implement password-protected employee accounts.
- Have your employees change their passwords every 90 days.
- Use different passwords for different online systems and accounts.
Train Your Staff
Your employees are often your first line of defense against fraud. Properly training them on basic security threats will arm your employees with the knowledge needed to avoid, detect, and eliminate vulnerabilities. Follow up with policies that will guide your staff on the proper handling of sensitive information and data.
Thoroughly screening each potential employee will help you make the right hiring decision. Background checks should be mandatory, especially for employees that will be handling cash, valuable merchandise, or sensitive information and data.
Your business can still become a victim of fraud even if you take the necessary precautions. Having the proper insurance will protect you from any damages you may suffer from your company being compromised. Likewise, become aware of any fraud protections your bank may offer for your accounts and credit cards.